Replacing a Motion Detector on Your Light

a Motion Detector in the corner of a room
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 45
What You'll Need
Motion detector
Wire strippers
Wire nuts
Phillips screwdriver

A motion detector is important if you want to keep your home secure. Motion detectors turn on exterior lights when they are needed, which deters intruders and prevents falls in the dark. Sometimes you have to replace these electrical devices if they break. Here's how to do it.

Step 1 - Buy a new Detector

Buy a new motion detector that has the same wattage as the one you are replacing. Before starting the project, figure out which circuit sends power to the motion detector and turn it off from the circuit breaker. If you want to be extra careful, turn off all the electricity in your home. Check to make sure it is off before proceeding.

Step 2 - Remove old Fixture

Remove the old fixture by taking the screws out from the wall plate of the old motion detector. Cut the black and white wires from the broken motion detector to remove it from the wall. If there are any extra open screw holes, fill them with caulk so that water doesn't get inside.

Strip the plastic installation off the ends of the white and black wires that are in the wall using wire strippers.

Step 3 - Install new Detector

Connect the two white wires (the one from the wall with the one on the back of the motion detector). Attach the two wires together with a wire nut. Do the same thing with the black wires, securing the wires together with a wire nut. Place the new motion detector in the right position. Secure the motion detector to the switch box using the mounting screws that come with the detector.

Step 4 - Make Adjustments

Now that the new motion detector has been installed, make adjustments to the sensitivity, light intensity, and timing. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to set the detector appropriately. All you have to do now is replace the wall plate.

Turn the power on at the circuit breaker and test to see if the motion detector is working properly.


To keep the motion detector working well so that it doesn't break down again, make sure you clean the lens once a month with a soft, damp cloth.

Luckily, it's very easy to replace a motion detector sensor if it becomes broken, so if this happens you don't have to worry about replacing the entire fixture, including the lights. Motion detectors are perfect if you want to have extra light on the exterior of your home that turns on automatically when you arrive.

Motion detectors are also a good idea if you want to provide your family with extra security. If an intruder enters your property, the motion detector turns on and illuminates anyone that crosses its path. This is an affordable way to deter burglars and anyone who may unlawfully trespass on your property.