How To Make A Motion Sensor Light Stay On?

Horace He     |     June 11, 2021     |     6 min read

Motion sensors are great at saving energy and bringing convenience. They can automatically turn on the light for us when detecting motion from a person and turn off the light for us when no motion is detected. Whether it’s outdoor or indoor usage, a motion sensor light switch is better than a mechanical light switch in most cases.

Why Do We Want The Light To Stay On?

Though motion sensor light is suitable for most cases, there are some situations that we need the light to stay on for a better experience.

For example, motion sensor lights are ideal to cover the backyard or garden, but sometimes we might want to keep the light on all night regardless of if there is motion or not. These are the same for indoor usage, sometimes we want the light of our stairway or study room to stay on for a long time without major motion detected. If the motion sensor is not capable of detecting small motions like turning pages, then it will cause a problem by continuously turning the light on and off.

How To Make A Motion Sensor Light Stay On?

Quickly Switching The Motion Sensor ON And OFF

One of the quick tricks you can try is to quickly turn the motion sensor ON, OFF, ON to override the motion detection and make the light stay on.

To go back to motion detection mode, turn the motion sensor switch off and wait for about 10 seconds, and then turn it on again. The motion sensor will go back to the normal motion detection mode.

This trick does not apply to all motion sensors but it definitely worth a try, because it’s the easiest fix and requires no other tools.

Hardwire Bypass With An Additional Manual Switch

The next trick you can try is to add an additional manual switch to bypass the motion sensor to keep the lights on. 

This hardwire bypass requires some wiring and manual work but it’s not too complicated.

Just open your wall box, add a manual switch directly to the light to bypass the motion sensor switch, so the motion sensor switch and manual switch are parallel, all others are the same.

If any switch is turned on and output power to the light, the light turns on. So, if you want the light to stay on, simply turn the manual switch on, then the light will have power despite the condition of the motion sensor. The motion sensor is now bypassed.

To go back to normal motion sensor mode, turn off the manual switch then the light is completely controlled by the motion sensor. 

In this trick, you will have two switches to control one light fixture.

Use A Motion Sensor With Stay On / Manual On Feature

The best way I’d recommend is to use a motion sensor with a stay on feature or manual ON/OFF mode directly. These types of motion sensors have a built-in manual mode to make the motion sensor work like a normal mechanical switch, without detecting motion. And you can switch back to normal motion detection mode just by touching some buttons on the sensors panel.

rz021 motion sensor switch manual instruction

A motion sensor light switch with manual ON/OFF mode

Why do we recommend using a motion switch with manual mode?

First, switching the sensor on/off method is not working on every motion sensor.

Second, motion sensors are very cost-effective nowadays. Compared to adding a manual switch, the cost of replacement with a new motion sensor with manual mode is pretty much similar. 

Third, to replace with a new motion sensor is definitely easier than adding a manual switch parallelly to an existing motion sensor. And it only requires one switch with one wall box. 

Rayzeek RZ021-5A-G
Motion Sensor Light Switch

Occupancy/Vacancy Sensor

  • Exclusive Manual ON/OFF Mode
  • No Neutral Required
  • 110v~277v Commercial Grade
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Shopify


Sometimes we do need to keep the lights on for special purposes, and motion sensors are a better lighting control than mechanical switch, no doubt. To find a balance between motion sensor and mechanical switch is always an ongoing and interesting topic.

We hope this guide can help you find the best way that suits you to better enjoy your lighting in everyday life.