How to Install a Motion Detector Light to Replace the Porch Light

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a Motion Detector Light Fixture: Installing a motion detector light to replace a porch light.

Guide to Installing a Motion Detector Light Fixture

I am attempting to install a motion detector light to replace the porch light on my home.

  • Inside the junction box, both the black and the white wires are extremely short. The run in the wall is probably only about 5 to 6 ft to the switch inside the back door.
  • Can I extend these wires so I can strip off a bit to get a clean connection? I would probably have to do this at the switch end and not the junction end because there is not much to work with.
  • I see that the junction box is not water tight. This fixture is for the back door entry to my home so the siding is the congregated metal type.
  • Do they make a junction to accommodate the older homes with this type of siding? I’ve read I can caulk around the junction but the gap is quite wide. Also, I have no idea what the wire size is because again, it’s so short and old I could barely get the old light disconnected.
  • Of course now the existing wires look a bit haggard. I’m not sure what type of wiring they used in my home but I thought it would be great if I could just disconnect at the switch, then connect the new wire with the old and pull it all up and out through the junction?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance,

This Electrical Wiring Question came from: Diane, a Homeowner from Sacramento, California.

Additional Comments: I’ve just found your site and think you’ve just about covered everyone’s needs. Great Job!

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Diane.

How to Wire a Motion Detector Light Fixture

  • Wiring from the Switch Box
    If the length of wire from the switch box to the light fixture is to short it would be good to replace if you have access.
  • Type of Fixture Box
    A weather proof surface mounted fixture box can be purchased and installed onto the exterior of the home.
  • The Size of the Fixture Box
    Make sure that the fixture box and the base of the motion detector light fixture are the same size.

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