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Occupancy Sensors 3-Way and 4-Way Switches

How do I wire a motion a sensor to control lights? How to Wire 3-Way and 4-Way Occupancy Sensors to replace existing 3-way switches.


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3-Way and 4-Way Occupancy Sensors for Indoor Motion Detector Applications
Electrical Question: How do I wire a motion a sensor to control lights?

I have a three family home unit and in the common stairwell I have a 3-way switch on the first floor,  a 4 way switch on the second floor and a 3 way switch on the 3rd floor which are all controlling the common stairway lighting. My question is how do I install a motion sensor so all the lights will go on when my tenants leave their apt at night? Can you please help?
Thank you

This electrical wiring question came from: Craig, a Homeowner from Bristo, Connecticut.

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

How to Wire a Occupancy Sensor Light Switch

Application: 3Way Light Switches.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional 3-way switch wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Materials: Make sure replacement 3-way light switches have the same amperage and voltage rating as the original three way light switch, and is the switch is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used.

Wiring a 3Way and 4Way Occupancy Sensor

3-Way and 4-Way Occupancy Sensor Light Switches

Occupancy Sensor Light Switches

Part Reference:
I have found for example, that Pass and Seymour has a multi-way Occupancy Sensor switch which you may consider for this application.

Pass and Seymour Occupancy Sensor

Part Documentation:
Click here for the PDF file:  Multi-Way Occupancy Switches

More about Wiring Switches

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Occupancy Sensors 3-Way and 4-Way Switches”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Travis,
    You should be able to replace your switches with occupancy sensors to accomplish what you have described. Be sure to identify the wiring for the proper connections, and it may be best to use occupancy sensors of the same brand to eliminate compatibility issues. Both brands you have described are very reliable as well. Occupancy sensors are a great way to control the lights and save energy.
    Be Safe,

  2. Travis J. Scott says:

    I have a split level house with a 4 way switch setup that controls the light above the entryway. The 4 way switch is on the basement level and there is a 3 way switch in the entry and at the top of the steps on the main floor. I would have to double check, but I’m 90% certain the power is supplied at the entry level switch (or it could be powered at the light). I would like to put in an occupancy sensor switch on the entry level so that the light comes on automatically upon entering but can also be turned on manually from the basement or from the main floor. I already tried replacing the 3 way switch in the entryway with a Cooper occupancy sensor switch (OS306-U-V-K). It worked to turn on the light when entering, but would turn off within seconds of being switched on from the basement or main floor. Is it even possible to accomplish what I want to do? I also purchased a Lutron occupancy sensor switch (MS-OPS5MH-LA) that I haven’t tried yet. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Fred,
    The switch at location #1 appears to have wiring that will only work with a 3-way switch.
    At switch location #2 you will have to determine if the power source is available with both the neutral and power of the circuit.
    The problem is that this appears to be a 15 amp lighting circuit which should not be used as a laundry room outlet. A Laundry room should have a dedicated 20 amp circuit which is protected by GFCI.
    The photos show that these are standard 3-way switches, therefore there really isn’t a Master or Slave because they are identical switches. The only difference is that each switch is wired differently because of the configuration of the circuit wiring.
    An occupancy switch may work depending on which switch location it will be installed, and if the occupancy sensor requires a neutral wire or not.
    I hope this helps,

  4. Fred Stellabotte says:

    Hi Dave,

    I have a small laundry room with two 3-way light switches that control one ceiling light. There are no outlets in the room. I would like to replace both switches as follows,

    Replace “master” switch with a normal 120v power outlet I plan to use:
    Legrand Adorne Tamper-Resistant Outlet White ARTR152W8

    Replace “Slave” switch with:
    Pass & Seymour RW3U600 Multi-Way Occupancy Switch

    I have posted photos of the wires coming out of the switches here:!i=3075021321&k=gGJ9vgJ

    I need help with 3 things:
    1) What wire goes where – a wiring diagram
    2) How do I test the wires so I know what wire is what. I know that what the common wire in Switch is ..
    3) One side bar question, can any 3-way switch work with any other 3-way switch on the same circuit ?


  5. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Ray,
    The function of a 3way occupancy switch is as follows:
    Each 3way occupancy sensor light switch works independently, and will turn the lights On when movement is detected, then automatically turn Off when the preset On Time Duration has been reached. This way the lights may be activated and turned On from either or both locations. The 3way occupancy switch is not designed to turn the lights Off when movement is detected, however they will automatically turn the lights Off if there has not been any motion detected at each switch location.

  6. RayMort says:

    I have a question about how the above 3-way occupancy switches work in practice. Say a tenant exits his apt and trips the switch at the top of the stairs which turns the lights on. As he descends the stairs and walks by the next switch, wouldn’t that switch turn the lights off? Or, does the light sensor built into the switch sense that the lights are on and leave them on?

    I am also thinking about another similar scenario where there is a regular switch and an occupancy switch in a 3-way setup. If you turn the lights on with the manual switch, then walk by the occupancy switch, do the lights turn off?