I have a new outdoor floodlight that works in test mode. Adjusting the range works. It turns on when you walk in front of it. But as soon as I switch it to 1 minute, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes... the sensor doesn't work at all. The red light is flashing so I know it's on.

I have tried in bright conditions and in very dark conditions but it doesn't work. I tried in auto mode and manual mode but nothing. The thing is it works in test mode which lasts for 5-10 seconds so I know it's working. What else could I try before returning it?

7 Answers 7


I assume you have turned it off and on to reset it after initial installation. Just return it, there is no reason if it is powered to malfunction other than defective. Good Luck.

  • The only other thing would be see if they have a website and if they do check it for troubleshooting. But @shirlock homes is right, it sounds like it is defective so don't through a lot of time at it.
    – lqlarry
    Dec 29, 2011 at 0:40
  • Sounds like the light sensor (which keeps it from activating during the day) isn't working, though it could also be the switch or internal electronics. Completely agree, no need to diagnose. Return it and get one that works.
    – BMitch
    Dec 29, 2011 at 2:56
  • I have six of these (DESA Specialty Products 5316-A) motion sensors, half on one circuit and half on another. One circuit works fine but the three on the other circuit have exactly the problem described by Jack. It seems unlikely that the three on one circuit would go bad while the ones on the other circuit remain working. Note that these problematic sensors are on a light switch.
    – rlandster
    Dec 27, 2012 at 4:11

I’m an idiot! My son in law and I could only get the light to come on in test mode. WE WERE WORKING ON THE LIGHT IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!!! We finally gave up and just left it on high sensor and ten minutes. Around 6:30 this evening, it was dark as midnight, all of a sudden the light came on and stayed on for 10 minutes.

If you are working on the light during daylight, you have to cover the sensor with tape and let it sit for a few minutes before it works the way it would at night.


If it has a dusk sensor and you turn it on at night it is probably trying to calibrate itself. Try turning it on with at least an hour of daylight left so it calibrates that it is light to dark outside.


I just troubleshoot for an hour an finally figured out that my light is installed near my security camera and the infra-red is to close and makes sensor think it is daylight. Was able to fix by turning the sensor away from the camera.


You guys know that some of these sensors are designed to work on a light switch? You can blink the light switch to override the sensor and keep the light on. then you blink the switch a few times to turn it back to sensor.

I accidentally got hold of one of these, blew my mind troubleshooting. Evidently they called it a 'feature'.

When I wired up mine, I ran parallel the sensor with a light switch. this way either can control the light. Works really well, with no blinking the switch like a chump.

good luck with this one....


OK I'm a smart ass female that works at a very known chain improvement store. I'm really humble towards everyone. I have worked with lighting for many of years. I would say at least 15. Any question that is about lighting its best to figure out the answer. I love my job and I want to be the best I can be, especially when I'm having the same problem. If your sensor light only works in test mode and when you turn it to minute mode the red light flashes and the light does not turn on heres the problem, more than likely it is receiving light from somewhere else and for the gentleman that had four lines hooked up and one worked properly and the other three are doing the same thing as the problem above then the circuit hit the light that came on first. The light then hit the photo cell of the next light and a domino effect happened which caused the next three lights not to work. Another possibility is it may need to be reset, sometimes you can hit the switch three times it will stay on that should not cause the photo sensor not to work. To reset your light you must keep power off of it at least 20 minutes. You can also try flipping your switch repeatedly up and down three to five times. Just try these things and put a piece of tape of your photos black tape that is electric tape And u will be sure this is the problem. I hope I've helped someone, I had the same problem it took me forever to figure this out I knew it wasn't the light

  • Normal spelling, punctuation, and paragraph breaks would greatly improve the readability of this answer.ography
    – keshlam
    Dec 4, 2016 at 23:06

We had this problem with two lights. We finished the install about an hour prior to dusk and they wouldn't work properly. We gave them some time to adjust their sensors and when we went out to check them after it got dark, they both turned on and off as they should have.

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