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How to turn off the motion sensor on outdoor lights

Updated February 21, 2017

Homeowners frequently complain that an outdoor light’s motion sensor is too sensitive; some even claim that a strong breeze sets off the light. Fortunately, light fixture manufacturers have made it easy to disable or adjust an outdoor light’s motion activation. Learn how to locate and operate your outdoor light’s motion sensor and adjust your fixture to suit your needs.

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  1. Use a ladder or step stool to access any outdoor lights that are out of reach.

  2. Look for the light’s motion sensor operation switch. It is located on the underside of the light’s motion sensor attachment. If you cannot visually locate the switch, feel around the perimeter of the motion sensor for a small tab or slide-type switch.

  3. Turn the switch to the "off" position. If your outdoor light’s motion sensor does not have an “on/off” function, you must remove the sensor attachment to disable its function.

  4. Turn off the main power supply to the light you are working on.

  5. Attach a pair of slip-joint pliers to the motion sensor’s locknut, located at the rear of the cylindrical shaft that connects the sensor attachment to the light’s body.

  6. Grip, twist and loosen the nut with the pliers. Remove the nut and the motion sensor from the outdoor light’s body.

  7. Unscrew the wire nuts that connect the motion sensor to the outdoor light fixture. Remove the wires from the fixture. Seal the opening left by the sensor’s removal with an electrical plug or cap.

  8. Warning

    Never touch electrical wires without first turning off the main electrical supply.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ladder or step stool
  • Slip-joint pliers

About the Author

Shane Grey

Based in Hawaii, Shane Grey began writing professionally in 2004. He draws on his construction experience to write instructional home and garden articles. In addition to freelance work, Grey has held a position as an in-house copywriter for an online retailer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts from Humboldt State University.

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