How To Wire a Outdoor Sensor for a Security Light

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Wiring a Outdoor Security Light Fixture: How to Replace an Outdoor Light with a Security Light, Typical Wiring Connections for a Security Light Sensor.

Outdoor Security Light Fixtures

Electrical Question: I’m connecting a 4-wire cable to an outdoor sensor for a security light.

  • The actual light is separate and already connected.
  • The new sensor to be fitted is a Titan TP140B/TP140W.
  • The 4-wire cable extrudes from the wall and is connected to the sensor.
  • The actual light, which is situated above it, is cabled separately.

This electrical question came from: Roy, a Homeowner from Saratoga, New York.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Roy.

Wiring a Outdoor Security Light Fixture

Application: Wire a Security Light Fixture.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best Installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Tool Pouch of Electrical Tools, and Voltage Tester, Fiberglass Ladder.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience working with electrical wiring, the number of lights that will be replaced or installed and access to the light fixtures.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit or power source, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the electrical wiring and light fixture connections.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring for outdoor lighting should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Typical Wiring Connections for a Security Light Sensor

  • Black Wire
    Is the LINE or the Incoming Circuit Power.
  • Red Wire
    Is the LOAD, or the Outgoing Power to the Light Fixture.
  • White Wire
    Is the Neutral Wire which is typically shared or connected with the light fixture and the Sensor or Detector.
  • Green Wire or Bare Wire
    Is the Ground Wire which is connect together with all of the ground wires found in the fixture box or junction box.

How to Replace an Outdoor Light with a Security Light

  • Replacing a Light Fixture with a Security Light
    This is a common project where an existing light fixture is wired to be controlled by a outdoor sensor.
  • Motion Detector Sensor
    The sensor requires power and the sensor unit will provide sensor controlled power to the existing light fixture.
  • Dusk to Dawn
    Outdoor light motion detector light fixtures are also available with the Dusk to Dawn feature which allows two levels of light:
  • A lower level when motion is not detected.
  • Full bright when motion is detected.
  • Electrical Wiring Connections
    The electrical wiring is typically controlled by a switch inside the home, or the full featured energy saving outdoor light fixtures go on at dusk, off at dawn, and illuminate to full bright when motion is detected. Electrical wiring at the light fixture is typically made by connecting together the wires of the same color which are commonly black, white and the bare ground wire or green ground wire. Some wiring may vary, however this is the most common wiring scenario for a 120 volt light fixture.
  • Outdoor Light Fixture
    These new Dusk to Dawn light fixtures are a perfect replacement for existing outdoor light fixture because they provide security and they save energy as well.
  • Light Control
    The existing manual light switch may be left on due to the fully automatic features of the dusk to dawn outdoor security light fixtures.

Enjoy your security light!

More about Installing Outdoor Light Fixtures

Motion Detector Wiring
Installing Motion Detector Light Fixtures

  • Installing motion detector lighting fixtures
  • provide security
  • energy savings
  • and they can easily replace an existing exterior wall fixture

Lighting For The Home

Lighting Electrical Codes

Home Electrical Wire
Electrical Wire for the Home

  • Complete listing of electrical wire types
  • electrical parts used for home projects
  • with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

3 Responses to “How To Wire a Outdoor Sensor for a Security Light”
  1. harte says:

    I am replacing an old passive infrared movement sensor. I connect the live (red) and the neutral (blue) The third connection could be white, green, yellow or black. Which of these need to be connected as the wiring it connects to has these 6 wires.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Melissa,
    The easiest way to do this and have the flexibility to do even more is to obtain and install a motion fixture that is the X-10 type. X-10 is a technology that uses existing electrical wiring to transmit frequencies to other programmable devices. So an X-10 motion light could be set up to activate others X-10 devices which could then control a buzzer, or more lights.
    If you choose not to use X-10 devices then a motion detector could be wire so that it activates a relay, which could be used to switch a buzzer ON. The wiring, relay and components would be sized depending on the actual buzzer voltage that is used.
    This may help: Using Control Relays
    Be Safe!

  3. Melissa says:

    How do you wire a bell/buzzer (like a doorbell) to a motion sensor light, so that if the light is activated then the bell is too (to alert you to someone on your property at night) ?


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