How to Disable a Motion Detection Sensor

A man works on a motion sensor.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • N/A
What You'll Need
Paper bag
Old newspapers

Disabling a motion detection sensor in order to fix it or install a new one is very easy since various types of sensors are wireless or battery operated. Thus all you have to do is to remove the battery to turn off the alarm. For some alarm or buzzer-based systems, you only need to switch the alarm off. If you want to get rid of your detector completely, you basically need to de-construct it, remove the battery and cables, and some additional parts if needed, un-mount the board from the wall, and recycle everything. When it comes to wired detection systems, if you are not technically savvy enough, you will need professional help.

If you need to disable the sensor only to save energy during the day (if your device is light bulb operated) you basically have to switch your device either into auto or manual mode, depending on what kind of switch you have. This will not disturb the regular function of your device. If you don’t have the auto-mode which regulates its function automatically, all you need to do when you want to activate your device again is to switch to "on" mode.

Step 1 - Prepare

When you want to disable your motion detector, either temporarily or permanently, make sure that you have old newspapers, a paper bag, and a screwdriver handy. If your detector is mounted high on the wall, you will need a ladder as well. Arrange newspapers around the ladder in case some pieces of wall or alarm board fall off.

Step 2 - Disconnect Power

If your motion detector has an integrated switch “on” and “off”, make sure to put it in the off-mode. Many detectors have “auto” mode as well, but disregard it for now. Some detectors (mostly light-based ones) also have a separate switcher, installed outside the main panel. Again, you have to switch it off. If your device is fully battery operated with no available switch, your first step is to remove batteries.

Step 3 - Disconnect Sensors

If you have a PIR sensor installed in your detector, and you want to remove the device permanently. After removing batteries you need to disconnect wires. Red, black, and yellow wire ends should be removed from the inputs on the panel. If you used a poly block to place your sensor, the next step is unsetting the output to a neutral position, which will disable the alarm.

If your device is light-bulb operated, once you disconnect the battery you should remove the bulb.

Step 4 - Remove Components

Now, unmount the device by removing the screws. If you are disabling your motion detection sensor for good, once you disable power and un-mount your device, put the panel and removed batteries and/or bulb on the arranged newspapers at the table to finish the task. Disconnect any remaining elements from the panel, and make sure that you place all parts in the paper bag, and store it for recycling.


If your motion detection sensor is installed outside and it has a manual mode available, you can disable it by simply adjusting your device to that mode. This way, you disable your device until night falls, when it automatically reactivates itself.