I have a few extra kits and a dark garage... and I am like why not inside? This thing would take 20 minutes to install and would pump out 225W.

Some other things that have come to mind. Is there a way I could electrically use both the motion sensor of a floodlight and also have the option of having it on via switch?

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    225W is not an amount of light. It's an amount of heat. Is it 225W "equivalent", or do you have old stock of incandescent floods? 225W of incandescent is under 3000 lumens, which is like ... one fluorescent tube. Very impressive for walking a path in the pitch black where you use motion sensor flood lighting, but probably not satisfactory workspace lighting. Mar 27, 2020 at 21:20
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica - Yes I know that - was just trying to give a picture of the types of floodlights I have available. Also would probably stick in 3 100W equivalent LEDs (normal bulbs not flood). I have enough bulbs on hand that I can play with the lighting and see what works best. Probably the number one thing is figure out if I can keep it on using a switch with motion still working.
    – DMoore
    Mar 28, 2020 at 5:40
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    "an amount of heat" is in J, not W. ;) Mar 29, 2020 at 4:44
  • As a side note, if your garage has a separate roof, you could replace parts of it with translucent roofing. That's what I did with my barn, plenty of light without cost every day until sunset.
    – Gnudiff
    Mar 29, 2020 at 10:12

5 Answers 5


The immediate issue I see is that a floodlight is not great for lighting a room. They cast harsh shadows, create a lot of glare if you look anywhere near their direction, and will leave plenty of dark areas in the room. Of course, a few of those downsides could be fixed by just installing regular light bulbs rather than flood bulbs unless it has integrated LED floods.

Using a switch and the motion detector is possible if you are running new wiring to them. You could have two switches where one powers the motion detector and the other powers the lights directly. You could even use a three way switch if you never needed the light to be fully off (you could have always-on, or motion, but never totally off with one three way switch).

The other thing to consider is that some (many?) motion detection lights have a feature where they will stay on if you turn the switch off and on a few times. This allows people to easily use the light in a passive motion mode or you can "force" it on from your back door by toggling the switch a few times. Check your instruction manual - I know this used to be a popular feature but haven't had my own lights to try it on in some time.

As far as safety or code are concerned, I'm not aware of any issues that would prevent you from installing the light inside.

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    Glad you mentioned many will stay on if you flip the switch...+
    – JACK
    Mar 27, 2020 at 19:24
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    Those are good points. +1 for the switch override. I need to RTFM. But yes of course I put regular bulbs in it.
    – DMoore
    Mar 27, 2020 at 19:25
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    I guess the gist of my question is... Given you have a three headed light that is sturdy and with motion sensing... why isn't it utilized more inside a garage. I was looking online for options and after looking at the price and lack of abilities... I am like why am I not just installing one of the many leftover floodlight kits I have?
    – DMoore
    Mar 27, 2020 at 19:27
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    @DMoore, it's a good idea. I installed an occupancy sensor in my last garage that controlled the main lights just because I wanted that feature, but for a garage without a light it seems like a winner. Right now my garage door opener has a motion sensitive light, so that might drive down the market for a separate motion light in the garage.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 27, 2020 at 19:31

Due to medical conditions I need lots of light and I don't due well with harsh direct lighting or shadows.

For lots of light, I have often installed alternate 'outdoor' lighting inside. I even have a 18000 lumen high bay light!

To deal with the harshness, I often install in an 'indirect mode' with the light pointing upward with the light bounced off the ceiling. Or I install high enough or in location that I can't see the point of light out of my eye when looking at my work area.

To deal with the shadows, I use two or more sources of lights and separated by some distance if possible.

The downside to non LED lights will be the heat. This can be an upside in the winter.

I suggest going for it. I would. There is no reason why the light is an 'outdoor' light other than meaning that it's sealed against weather.

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    What you're describing with that "indirect mode" is called uplighting, by the way, and it's a reasonably common lighting designer trick to avoid glare, harsh shadows, etc in brightly lit spaces Mar 27, 2020 at 23:58
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    Ah yes, I was approaching it from a photography standpoint
    – Ack
    Mar 28, 2020 at 0:10

I have one in the garage. It is great because when you walk into the garage a light comes on and you don't have to hunt for a switch. If you are just carrying laundry down or getting into the car it is sufficient and will go off after you leave. If you are doing anything much in the garage it is the wrong light for all the reasons everybody said, but you can have other lights that you turn on by a switch.


I have a motion sensor on my garage fluorescent tubes, and its massively convenient because there are three doorways (side-outside, internal, and a car door)

The sensor means the lights come on no matter which door you enter by.

Downside is that I can be working away on something at the bench, and the light sees no movement, and turns off. This can be incredibly annoying if I'm drilling or soldering, or simply in the corner getting something out of a shelf.

Yes its totally possible to turn the light into "always-on" mode with a flick of the wall switch, but that's hard to remember.

ANSWER Motion sensitive lighting works, and doesn't have to be a separate floodlight. There are downsides too.


If you have several, why not fit one which comes on with sensing motion, lit for as long as you want, and a couple of others on a switch, which you then won't have to find in the dark. Mount them as high as you can, pointing down-ish, but be aware that the older types produce a fair amount of heat, so don't put them where they could cause scorching or burning. A metal heatshield would stop that.

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