To bolster my settlement defense, I recently added some spotlight turrets in Sanctuary to sit alongside the machine gun turrets. I connected them to power and watched as they came to life, rotating and shining bright.

After fast travelling out and doing some exploring, I returned to Sanctuary to find the turrets unlit. They are still connected to power, everything looks wired properly, but they are simply off. By going into Workshop mode, picking up, and placing the spotlight back in the same exact spot, it turns back on. This happens every time I leave and return to the settlement.

Power is also not the issue... I have more than enough power to light these. Everything else is properly lit upon returning to the settlement besides these turrets. I actually built a separate Medium Generator (generating 5 power), connected it solely to 2 spotlight turrets (requires 4 power), and after initially working, were off when I returned to the settlement.

Is there any reason these spotlight turrets keep turning off?

Edit: Taking a closer look at these malfunctioning turrets, I realized they are actually rotating back and forth, so that portion of their functionality is working, and makes me further believe this isn't any issue with power. They are just rotating with the light off.

3 Answers 3


After some experimentation, and expanding on information in the comments:

Short answer

  1. Because of bug.
  2. But it doesn't really matter.

Long answer

[The problem]

This happens consistently in my Sanctuary settlement too, the only settlement where I have spotlights installed. I have two spotlight turrets; each is on level ground, and each is right next to its own dedicated generator.

The problem appears to be triggered by the passage of time rather than fast travel itself. For example, a very short fast travel (e.g., to Vault 111 and back) leaves the spotlights on, but a little further (e.g., to Starlight Drive In and back) and they'll turn off.

But most importantly, the problem is only cosmetic.

[The experiment]

Wait until a spotlight turret is in its darkened state, then:

  1. Note that it's still moving; this strongly suggests that the game still considers it to be active.
  2. Go into Workshop mode and notice your settlement's defense number.
  3. Pick the turret up and set it back down. It should be lit now.
  4. Notice your settlement's defense number is the same whether or not the turret is lit, so long as it's moving.

Then, to be extra sure:

  1. Fast travel a good distance, for example, from Sanctuary to Starlight Drive In.
  2. Return to your base. The spotlight should be dark.
  3. Check your settlement's defense number. It's the same.


While a little lighting in your settlement would be convenient—not to mention darned pretty—this appears to be a purely cosmetic bug.

You can sleep soundly knowing that those turrets, even when dark, are scaring away bad guys. And you can also sleep soundly because those turrets won't keep shining in your window. (Until Bethesda fixes this bug.)

  • The solution: cycle the power.
    – Mazura
    Commented Sep 26, 2018 at 19:53

This is (most likely) a bug which occurs if the turret is too far away from a surface which it could lighten. I had the same problem in the star-drive-inn where I placed the spotlight turrets above a gate I've built, which apparently was too high and it seemed like it didn't work. I only noticed it because the top side of the gate was bright.

I'll add some screenshots once I'm at home to show you the exact problem, but for now, simply try to place the turrets closer to the ground.

  • Thanks for the answer, it's a good point. But I don't think this can be the case I'm running into. I have 2 locations in Sanctuary that have these spotlight turrets, both are on the ground level. One is on the main road right outside of the house with the workbench/power armor station (a very flat surface, not raised at all), and the others are on the road by the southern bridge (again, a pretty flat surface). I can try to take pictures later when I get home to show the exact configuration, but I can't imagine it's running into this scenario.
    – king14nyr
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 14:39
  • If you can post some screenshots later, it were quite helpful. Maybe, there is a wrong setup with your power supply or a switch is turned off. Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 14:41
  • Yeah, I'll try to get the screenshots added tonight. As I mentioned in my edit, I'd be surprised if it was anything power related. They are definitely getting power. When they are unpowered, the light faces downwards and doesn't move. These ones are rotating like they are doing their intended job, just with the light off. Also, unpowered spotlight turrets do not provide any defense rating for your settlement. These seemingly malfunctioning turrets still provide the +2 defense in my settlement statistics.
    – king14nyr
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 21:18

You can confirm that the spotlights are actually still working by simply going into workshop mode, pick up the spotlight, and cancel.

It will immediately light up, but you have changed nothing with the setup. It seems to be a bug with the lights going off after a while and not turning back on, but it is still active.

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