Security Sensor Lights - Are You Having Problems?

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Security sensor lights, or PIR (passive infra red) lighting are those lights that turn on in response to movement past the sensors.  A lot of people seem to have them at the front of their houses either as a security measure or as a welcome home feature.  The main problems that can occur with these lights are:

  1. they may turn on during the day,
  2. they may stay on too long, or not long enough
  3. the light may either be too dim, too bright, or may be pointing in the wrong direction.

Turning on During The Day

There are usually 2 dials underneath the sensor - one usually has a symbol of a sun above it and a diagram indicating that turning the dial can take the sensor from MIN to MAX.  Having this set at about half way, will usually make the sensor activate at around sunset or during a fairly serious storm.  This is the setting most people use.  If this doesn't fix your problem and your lights are still turning on during the day, it is possible that your sensor is set to manual mode.  Turn off all your interior lighting and remove the LIGHTS fuse from your fuse box for at least 10 minutes.  This will reset your sensor to automatic mode.  If these 2 suggestions don't fix your problem, call an electrician.

Staying On Too Long Or Not Long Enough

There is a second dial underneath the sensor which usually has a symbol of a clock above it and a diagram indicating that turning the dial can take the sensor from MIN to MAX.  Having this set at about half way, will usually make the sensor keep your lights on for around 7mins for each movement detected.  The minimum setting is about 30 seconds and the maximum is about 15mins.

Too Dim, Too Bright, Or Pointing the Wrong Way

This is a fairly simple fix - change the globes to brighter or dimmer ones.  If changing the globes, keep in mind that compact fluorescent tubes or energy saver globes are not suited for use in sensor light fittings.  Energy saver globes are not designed to go on and off for short intervals and you will dramatically reduce the life of the globe if you use them in this fashion.  If the spotlight is not pointing to where you want it, most fittings can be adjusted quite simply with a philips head screwdriver.  If using a ladder, ensure you use an insulated one like fiberglass or timber.

These are the main problems with sensor lights.  If you are still having problems after reading this guide, call a licensed electrician.  It doesn't pay to fiddle with electricity.

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