Location: USA.

The light switch to our laundry room is in the hallway outside the door. I replaced the standard light switch with a motion sensing switch (Leviton ODS10-ID). When we enter the room, the lights turn on automatically and stay on for about 10 minutes. The problem is, when we leave the room, the sensor is triggered again and the lights stay on for another 10 minutes while no one is in the room.

I have researched various types of motion sensing light switch products from all the major manufacturer's websites and can't find anything that will simply turn lights on when motion is detected and then turn off when motion is detected again. I'm okay with getting the lights turned off on me if someone happens to walk by the room while I'm in there.

It seems like a common need, so perhaps I am in need of guidance on the correct terminology to use. This is not a request for a product recommendation, rather a request for help on researching products or re-wiring needs to include an additional sensor that could potentially address this waste of electricity while continuing to have the convenience of a motion sensing light switch.

  • 1
    FYI: Even if its a 100W bulb (actual, as in an old incandescent), 10 minutes is about one tenth of one cent of electricity.
    – derobert
    Feb 18, 2015 at 22:21
  • Yeah, at $0.12/kwh peak, with the room being used 5 times a day (it's also a bathroom), it comes out to about $4.40 a year of wasted electricity - or a tasty pint of beer.
    – user27429
    Feb 18, 2015 at 23:30

5 Answers 5


Put the sensor in the space you are trying to light, and suddenly this "common need" becomes "not a need at all" which is why you can't find them, since that's how it's done, when done conventionally.

Either move the switch into the room or get a remote sensor switch and put the sensor in the room.

  • 2
    Even with the sensor in the room, the lights will still stay on for 10 minutes after the OP leaves the room. Occupancy sensors turn off X minutes after motion is no longer detected. So the light will stay on X minutes after the OP leaves the room. I think some of these things have a test mode, which turns the lights off after 30 seconds of no motion. Maybe if the OP installed one of those in the room, and left it in test mode, that might satisfy the requirements.
    – Tester101
    Feb 19, 2015 at 9:56

I have a similar situation in my restroom. My sensor is in the room and the time constant is 1 minute only. Each pulse of the motion sensor will reset the 1-minute timer, so after the door is closed from the outside (the last movement the sensor detects) the light will stay for 1 more minute and then be switched off. Everyone in the house is used to eventually move from time to time ... this may be applicable for your laundry as well.

Simnilar to you I started with a longer delay (5 min in my case), but that's too long as long as the motion detector constantly "resets" the time. Long delays are only good for stairway lights without motion detector where you speculate that a user will need a lighting period of max. x minutes.


A switch like this either does not exist, or is not commercially available. It sounds like you need to teach the folks you live with (and maybe yourself), how to turn off lights when they (you) leave a room.

Occupancy sensors; like the one you have, turn on when they detect motion, and have a delayed off when no more motion is detected. In some cases the delayed off is adjustable, and can be set for 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Some devices even have a test mode, that will turn the load off after 30 seconds of not detecting motion.

As Ecnerwal points out, it would be helpful to have the device installed inside the room it's monitoring. Though even so, the light would stay on for 10 minutes after you left. Though most occupancy sensors have an actual on/off button, so you could always turn the lights off manually.

At some point in the future, biometric switches that can more accurately detect the presence of a person may become economically viable. Until that day, you're stuck with the lights on for 10 minutes.


As stated, this is not really possible with normal relay switches. you CAN however add a toggle relay board which will toggle each time it sensors state changes from the PIR or motion sensor. LINK HERE

These boards can be found/built at any electronics store. You could probably find a commercial kit online somewhere (besides the provided link)

In this example, you would just wire the normally open channels from your sensor to this board (on this one its the two middle inputs near the button). Then, every time the sensor picks you up it would change the state of the light (from off to on)

What I would also do, is replicate the normally open channel to a toggle switch (bell press light switch) near the exit. Since you will be dependant on the fact that the sensor has not picked you up a few times when you walk around the room (haha)

the other thing you can do is employ a delay on the sensor, so that it only re-activates after 30 seconds or so.

All in all... This is not an elegant solution since the sensor and circuit will probably just turn off and on the whole time and annoy you!. you could get it right, but not without intelligent circuitry.

ON/OFF Toggle Switch


Maybe you could use two sensors. One in the hallway (A) and one inside the room (B). You could set it up so activating sensor A then sensor B as you are walking into the room would turn the lights on and activating sensor B then sensor A as you walk out of the room would turn the lights back off. I haven't tried this but it is a thought.

  • -1 because such a product is not something that appears to exist, at least not something you can search for by a name like "motion sensing light switch". This may be a theoretical answer for the raspberry pi site but we are looking for stuff your local handyman would be able to pickup and install.
    – BMitch
    Dec 18, 2015 at 14:36

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