I have a motion sensor light in my driveway. One night I turned
it on and the bulbs flashed on and then immediatelywent out. I put in new
bulbs, but the light wouldn't work at all. Not even a flash when
I turned it on.
What could the problem be? Where should I start?
Thanks in advance,
I have over a dozen motion detectors of the various home store brands
and they go bad a lot. You might have had a bulb blow it or it muight
have just give up the ghost.. Sometimes when a bulb goes bad an
internal standoff will bridge and short out. That blows the triac in a
dimmer or motion detector. I have even had them trip a breaker.
when someone first told me this i didnt believe it, but after seeing a few
go and testing them its true.
for some reason the sensor seems to go bad in those fixtures. you could
probably trace it to cheaper fixtures. maybe better ones dont do it. ive
ripped into a couple and after testing them enough to know the sensor was
bad component, i cut the sensor out of a couple of em and used them in
locations that just needed a swtich...
its extremely unlikely something happened that is causing both bulbs to
instantly burn out.
did you try those bulbs someplace else? i bet they work. i'd just replace
These low-cost motion sensor lights seem to be a high failure rate item.
Fortunately, they are also cheap. I suggest:
1. Make sure the lamps you have used as replacements are really good.
Check the new ones with an ohmmeter if you know how, or try them in a
table lamp. (I mention this because it is amazing how often I get a call
to repair a light fixture that someone absolutely knows has good lamps
in it, but doesn't. I get to bill them my minimum for changing their
light bulb. Yes, I do mention this when they call, but they're
absolutely sure. Also, brand-new lamps are sometimes defective and may
either not work, or fail during the first few seconds or minutes of
2. Are other devices on the same circuit working? If not, it is probably
a breaker, or possibly a wiring problem. Once in a while a breaker will
trip for no apparent reason. If it happens just once, don't worry about
it. If it keeps happening, you should have it diagnosed soon.
3. If you are up to it, check that the fixture is getting power. Do this
only if you know how to do it safely.
4. If the lamps are good, and the fixture is getting power and it still
doesn't work, just replace the fixture. They're cheap.
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