I have a Passive Infrared Motion Detector (this one) in my walk-in closet that turns on the light when someone walks in. This setup has been working fine for many years.

Outside of the closet is my wife's make-up area that was illuminated by a 75W incandescent ceiling light controlled by an on/off switch. No electronics here.

Because the 75W bulb was not bright enough, I replaced it with a 42W Compact Fluorescent Light whith a 150W equivalency rating. Now, when she walks into the closet when the CFL on, the light in the closet stays off. She has turn off the CFL for the motion sensor to work. When she turns the CFL back on, the light in the closet eventually times out like normal.

I cannot replace the CFL with a 150W incandescent bulb, since the bulb fitting is rated 100W max and 150W equivalent LEDS are too expensive (and big).

Any ideas?

  • 4
    Most motion sensors have a light detector also: the idea is, don't turn the light on if there's a lot of natural light. I suspect your brighter bulb is making the motion sensor think it's daylight. Normally motion sensors calibrate themselves to "normal here"based on 24hour cycles, that won't work here. I can't tell if this even has that feature because the product description is cheap Cheese, as is the product itself, unfit for use in mains power. Literally illegal (NEC 110.3 in USA). Mar 15, 2018 at 19:49
  • The device is not UL listed nor does it have any other certification.
    – Ken
    Mar 15, 2018 at 22:50
  • 1
    look at the rightmost picture on the ebay link that you posted
    – jsotola
    Mar 16, 2018 at 2:29
  • to expand on jstoola's comment, adjust the light-sensitivity dial all the way to one side or the other (try both). that should fix it. aside: LEDs are cheaper than CFLs around here, try shopping around more.
    – dandavis
    Mar 16, 2018 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


If your wife's makeup area is now too bright for the closet light to turn on, you can use a piece of window tint if you have it or perhaps even a piece of dark panty hose (maybe your wife has an old pair) to cover the sensor area. Dark Panty hose is dark enough and yet has enough fine holes to allow it to attenuate the light (like sunglasses).

  • 1
    You guys are fantastic. I put a waste basket over the lit CFL and the sensor reacted as anticipated. My initial thought was to blame some kind of electronic interference, but the cause was too much light. I will adjust the light-sensitivity. Thank you very much.
    – GreatKing
    Mar 17, 2018 at 0:48
  • Please up vote , thanks are nice but if you up vote an answer this tells the system your question was answered and it may help others with a similar problem, if not the question keeps getting recycled on the list.
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 31, 2018 at 14:54
  • @GreatKing Please mark this as answer if it solved your problem. I generally up-vote an answer and mark as answer. There are 2 reasons I do that - I want it to be listed at the top and I also want to reward the person who answered my question with points they can use toward a question they might have. After all no one I ever met knows it all..
    – Ken
    Nov 2, 2018 at 23:52
  • 1
    @Ken I turned on the green check mark and hope that it does the trick. I had to google Stack Exchange for answers to "how do you mark a question as answered" to learn the answer. Not obvious to me. Also, when I tried to increase the vote count next to the answer, I get a pop-up saying that my vote will be recorded, but it will not be shown publicly, because my reputation is less than 15.
    – GreatKing
    Nov 4, 2018 at 2:02

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