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I have around 5 security lights with motion sensor around the house but they are not working, and I couldn't figure out where the switches are. Finally, in the garage I found this timer (attached). I can't think of any other thing in the house can be the switch for the security light, but it seems damaged, because the odds of 5 security lights go bad should be very low. So I guess my first question is, is this thing typically used as switch for security light? If so, what is the best way to troubleshoot this?

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    Yes, that type of timer was fairly common for security lights before light and motion sensors became commonly available. If you want troubleshooting help you'll need to revise your question with more detail. There's not enough to go on as it is.
    – isherwood
    Jan 11 at 20:39
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    And the odds of 5 security lights going out over time without anyone noticing are good. Are you sure they were all working recently? Could be the last one or two went out before you noticed the problem.
    – isherwood
    Jan 11 at 20:41
  • Good to know that odds is actually not as low as I thought.. Actually I don't know when it stopped working, it is possible that the previous owner also don't know..
    – diabloooo0
    Jan 11 at 23:58
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    You can jumper around the time. You should anyway; you don't want to EVER sever power to a motion sensor, because it has RAM memory in it... it remembers what the brightest and darkest times are, so it calibrates for day/night in that location. Motion sensors already have light sensors so they don't turn on in the day. Jan 12 at 1:11
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This is a very common type timer for light, sprinkler pumps, pool filters, etc. Start out by pulling out the yellow disk and turn it to the current time. Monitor it to see if it keeps proper time. There is an "off" tab still on the disk but no "on" tab. It looks like it might have fallen off and is still in the box. This would prevent the lights from going on. There is also a silver lever that says "on" and "off". This lever is a manual switch for anything hooked up to it and it will over ride the timer so start checking that to see if the lights go on. Then turn off the power and swing that plastic cover out of the way and check the wiring for power. Also check the bulbs to make sure they are good.

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  • Thanks. I just went to turn the silver lever to on and nothing seems to be working. Also the picture was taken yesterday and when I check today it is in same position, but I do still hear the ticking sounds inside... So it seems for sure this timer needs a replacement?
    – diabloooo0
    Jan 11 at 23:57
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    @diabloooo0 If you mark and remove the wires, after turning off the power, the insides come out by lifting that clip on the upper left of the box. Intermatic sells those motors separately at many home stores. Might save you some time.
    – JACK
    Jan 12 at 0:23
  • Will try it. Any suggestion/recommendation about an easy replacement with some kind of digital display or maybe even "smarter" device?
    – diabloooo0
    Jan 12 at 0:42
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    @diabloooo0 It depends on the load. Mechanical ones are good for larger loads and motors and are good for outdoors. The one you picked at HD will work if load is under 15 amps. You might need to install junction box depending on what's behind the existing timer.
    – JACK
    Jan 13 at 13:21
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    @diabloooo0 You've got 1800 watts to play with... stick with LED and you'll have more than enough.
    – JACK
    Jan 13 at 22:55
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Just so you know Motion sensor lights do have a finite amount of life before they expire. Depending on the brand a motion sensor can be expected to last anywhere's from a few months to several years. The latest LED models have longer bulb life, but it's usually the motion sensor that expires first.

Pull one of them from the round box and check for power with a voltage tester. This is the surest way to know if the light is supposed to be working.

Also, unless you know otherwise, most motion sensors are commonly controlled by a toggle switch located on the interior of the house by a door leading outside.

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  • Thanks for the info! Much appreciated. Assuming it is the sensor that went bad, I would guess it is probably not worth it by just changing the sensor? Any recommendation on a good motion sensor security light that last longer?
    – diabloooo0
    Jan 12 at 3:25

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