I'm looking for a PIR controlled exterior light with manual override (so
that a quick off-on-off-on turns the light on and the timer off). All
the ones I've looked at so far don't mention this feature but it seems
like something many people would want.
Is it so common that it's just not mentioned in the specs? And is there
any way to confirm short of wiring it up and trying it?
Thanks for any advice.
It varies from model to model, or even from time to time for the same
make/model. It may be standardising now, though they're getting a bit
more long-lasting and I don't have to replace them as often as I used
to. At one time the first switch-on turned them to permanently-on walk
test mode, which was expensive after a power cut. You had to do an off-
wait-on sequence to get them into normal mode, and it often failed, so
there was a lot of hanging around for 5 minutes so see if it ever went
off. Later, they reversed the behaviour to come on in normal mode. If
you had a mixture, you had to keep a record of which worked which way.
The latest ones I have don't have this switchery-pokery game at all --
you just set the knobs to get test mode. This can be difficult, as
you're trying to read black-on-black lettering, upside down, often in
the dark, whilst blinded by the light itself.
The short answer is, no, you'll have to read the instructions (if any)
on the box, or try it and see.
Some do have a manual override cable and/or interlink option and you'd
do best to seek out one of these.
All of the cheap Chinese lights that I have bought have this feature,
activated by just off-on in less than 10 seconds. I actually find it a
nuisance. People turn the switch off by accident, or there's a very
short power cut, and the light stays on all night. The neighbour's
light stayed on for a week while he was away because I did not have
access to the switch.
I wondered why my most recent one
needed off - on - off -
on to get into permanent on mode, perhaps it was to avoid that problem. It
also has the nice feature that it goes back to auto mode at dawn or after 6
hours, though I suspect the 6 hour limit might be a nuisance for some.