Motion sensors to control lights are a great invention! They're economical, practical and reliable. They usually are used to control outdoor floodlights or fixtures. The purpose is to turn on the lights if it's dark and there is motion in the area.
You can set how long they stay on; 5-10 minutes is good since the time is for how long the light stays on after motion ceases in the area. If you're out there for 15 minutes, the light stays on for another 5-10 minutes after you leave.
The units can be aimed and the sensitivity is adjustable.
Some units have the option to keep lights dim from dusk to dawn, and if there's motion in the area, they turn the lights on full until after motion ceases. This is better for wall sconce applications by entry doors.
Manual over-ride feature if you want to leave the lights on for arriving guests.
If you want to manually turn the lights on, even if there is no motion triggering the lights, the sensor had a built-in feature that lets you use the wall switch to override the sensor. (This feature only works when it's dark.)
Shut the switch off for one second, then turn it back on. This tells the motion sensor to deactivate the motion control and to simply turn on like a normal light.
When you're ready to go back to normal 'Motion Sensor' mode, shut the switch off for one second and then back on again. If you forget to go back to 'Motion Sensor' mode, when it gets light the next day the unit will automatically goes back to 'Motion Sensor' mode.
Helpful Hint: The switch for the motion sensor light must stay on. This allows the electricity to go to the sensor for it to operate. If the switch is off, the unit can't work. If the unit is not working, make sure the switch is on and make sure you have good bulbs installed. If animals trigger the light, you can try reducing the sensitivity or adjusting the aim of the sensor.
Instruction manual for our most common unit: Heath-Zenith manual