How to Reset Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights (Step-by-Step Guide)

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Outdoor motion sensor lights are a simple and cost-effective way to light up the outside areas surrounding your home. Not only does this help to create a safer environment for you and your family, but it will also alert you to any nearby people within the vicinity of your house.

Now and then there may be instances when you find that your outdoor motion sensor lights are not working properly. Usually this is caused by blackouts or a power outage. Though it’s usually pretty easy to get them back up and running again, it can be frustrating, to say the least. 

If you’re currently having issues with your motion sensor lights and they’re not working the way you want them to, then they probably just need to be reset. The only problem is, how do you reset motion sensor lights? If you’re currently asking yourself that question, you’re in the right place.

Below, we’re going to be talking you through all of the necessary steps required to successfully reset your outdoor motion sensor lights, so you can get back to enjoying them in your backyard or porch. Let’s jump straight in!

What Are Motion Sensor Lights?

Before we begin talking you through how to properly reset your motion sensor lights, we first think it’s a good idea to run through what they actually are, and how they work. This will help you to gain a better understanding of why they may sometimes stop working the way you want them to, as well as how to be better prepared in the event that they do.

Just like the name suggests, motion sensor lights are artificial light sources that are able to turn themselves off and on by detecting motion. Therefore, this means that if someone or something stands within the range of the motion sensor lights, the lights would instantly turn on automatically.

In the same way, if the motion sensor lights did not then detect any more motion for a few minutes or so after the first detection had been made, then the motion sensor would timeout, due to the fact that no more detections will have been made, and also in order to save on power. This ‘turnoff’ feature is not controlled by anyone, as motion sensor lights are each made with an automatic switch that will turn the light off after a period of inactivity.

As a side note, it’s also worth noting that though motion sensor lights are made with the purpose of being able to pick up on human motion, they can sometimes make mistakes. For this reason, motion sensor lights that have a particularly sensitive sensor range might also be triggered to turn its lights on whenever an animal walks within the radius of the detector (such as a neighborhood cat) and, in particularly bad weather conditions, a strong wind can also sometimes trigger motion sensor lights to turn on.

When Should You Consider Resetting Your Motion Sensor Lights?

When your motion sensor lights are working properly, they should be quickly picking up on motion and automatically turning their lights on as soon as their sensor picks up movement within its radius. With that in mind, here are some instances you should consider giving yours a reset:

  1. If you have noticed that the motion sensor light won’t turn itself on, even when it is being prompted to by large objects, such as people.
  2. Your motion sensor light stays on repeatedly. Motion light sensors are designed to turn off after movement stops being detected, therefore, if you’re noticing that your motion light sensors are staying on for way longer than they should be, consider resetting them.
  3. If your motion sensor lights are extremely sensitive and are being triggered by small objects such as small animals, then they may need to be reset.
  4. If your motion sensor lights will not turn on, then you should try resetting them before purchasing new ones.

How to Reset Motion Sensor Lights

So, now that we’ve covered how the standard motion sensor light works, as well as some reasons as to why you should reset them, we’re now going to be talking you through a step-by-step guide on how to reset your motion lights.

As most motion sensor lights do not come with a factory reset process to reboot the system, we’re going to be talking you through some popular tried and true ways that people manage to reboot their motion sensor lights. Keep reading to discover some of the easiest ways you can troubleshoot your stubborn motion sensor lights and get them working as usual again:

Method one: Refer to the manufacturer’s manual

First things first, before we talk you through some of the most common ways many people attempt to troubleshoot their motion sensor lights and, in turn, reset them, the first point of call should be to cross-check the manufacturer’s manual.

Regardless of what type of motion sensor light model you have, or what brand you have bought it from, all motion sensor lights will have come with a manufacturer’s manual upon purchase. This manual will contain important information about how to use and care for your motion sensor lights, and they can even sometimes include direct instructions on how to perform a factory reset, although keep in mind that this does depend on what brand you have purchased.  

If you do find that the manufacturer’s manual contains instructions on how to reset your motion sensor lights in the event that they stop working, then the best course of action we recommend that you take is to first try following the instructions given, as they will have been tailored to your exact model of motion sensor lights. Failing that, you could even speak to the manufacturer’s customer service team, who will be able to advise and help you further regarding the reset process.

Method two: Switch off the circuit breaker

If restarting the system wasn’t enough to get your motion sensor lights working as well as new again, an alternative method you could try is to switch off the circuit breaker. To carry out this method, you will need to turn off the circuit breaker for around half a minute, which will give the system enough time to fully reset itself. This will usually do the trick, however, if it doesn’t work the first time around, it could simply mean that the motion sensor lights require a longer amount of time turned off.

Method three: Press the on and off switch

One of the simplest ways to reset your motion sensor lights is by turning them on and off again. We recommend switching them off once, leaving them for around 10 seconds to allow the motion sensor system to completely shut off, and then try turning them on again. By restarting them, there’s a good chance that the issues that were preventing them from working will now be resolved.

Method four: Unplug the light

This is another quick-fix that you can try out to see if you can successfully reset your motion sensor lights. All you will need to do is unplug the power that your lights are attached to, and leave it unplugged for a few moments.

Unlike the other methods above, this will cause the motion sensor lights to turn themselves off abruptly, which will mean that the system will be cut off quickly, rather than shut down by getting switched off. By doing this, the systems of the motion sensor lights will need to kickstart themselves during the reboot process when you plug them back in, which should help to resolve any issues that were preventing them from operating correctly.

Method five: Quickly turn the lights on and off

If you’ve tried the methods above and nothing seems to be working, many people find that they are able to successfully reset their motion sensor lights by simply switching their system from automatic to manual, and then proceeding to turn the lights on and off a few times. After doing this, all you will need to then do is switch the system back to automatic, and you should find that your motion sensor lights are working properly again.