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I am going to be installing one or two motion detector lights to cover my backyard. I would like the ability to "override" the motion detector. What I mean by this is that I would like to be able to flip a switch that turns and keeps the lights turned on regardless of if there is motion or not. When the light switch gets turned off I would like the operation of the motion detector to return to normal.

I first thought about just "jumping" the motion detector with the switch, but I am concerned if the motion detector would be able to handle live power on both sides of its relay when the relay is turned off.

So my questions are, is it safe to do this "jumping" method? If not are there any methods to do this or any common practices for this type of feature?

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Do you have a constant hot in the box where the fixture is attached, or is the only feed coming from the switch leg? –  Tim Post Oct 25 '11 at 7:34
    
This is a completely new add so I would be able to put a constant hot in the box. –  Kellenjb Oct 25 '11 at 14:17
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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Most motion detectors have a built-in override:

  • Normally the switch is kept on all the time. The motion detector monitors ambient light (daylight) and then activates when it's dark enough, and motion is detected.
  • If you turn the switch off and on within a second or so, the light will stay on, and this overrides motion detection.
  • To go back to normal operation, turn the switch off and wait ~10 seconds, then turn back on.
  • I believe most will also go back to normal operations after some hours, or after the sun comes up again

It is possible that you'll damage the electronics by overriding the detector.

The safe way to do this would be to use a relay.

enter image description here

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most every motion detector I have installed can be over ridden by rapid on/off twice, then it will stay on until turned off. next time you turn it on, it goes back to normal motion detect mode. –  shirlock homes Oct 24 '11 at 22:18
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I have experienced this "override" when the power flickers. I never realized this was by design. This probably is the easiest path for me to take. –  Kellenjb Oct 25 '11 at 14:19
    
I have this rig and I love it. That is to say either the motion sensor can run the outdoor sconces OR the light switch. I made choice that there were too many people to train on the 'blink the switch' method of overriding the sensor. yes You can 'jump' the sensor with a switch. remember that the sensor requires a dedicated neutral for its electronics. You can also use this method to allow the two sensors to operate the same light. I'd have to think about it logically before putting two sensors and a switch. It would work, but i'd draw a schematic for reference. this is called parallel. –  Trout Jan 10 '12 at 3:37
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