Controlling Outside Lights with Motion Detector Sensors
How to Control Outside Lights with a Motion Detector: Wiring a Motion Detector to Control Lights, Wireless Method for Controlling Outdoor Lighting.
Installing Motion Detector Sensors for Outdoor Lighting
Electrical Question: Does anyone make a recessed can light for outdoor use that has a motion sensor?
- Or how do I add a motion sensor to an outdoor recessed can light in the ceiling of my porch?
This electrical wiring question came from: Chris, a Homeowner from Aubrey, Texas.
Additional Comments: Great Site!
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Chris.
How to Control Your Outside Lights with a Motion Detector
Application: Wiring Outside Lights that are controlled by a Motion Detector.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a Voltage Tester and a fiberglass ladder.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools and work with the outdoor light circuit wiring.
Precaution: Identify the panel circuit for the outdoor lights, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Modifying or installing additional electrical wiring for outdoor lights and lighting controls should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Wiring a Motion Detector to Control Outdoor Lights
- Motion detectors can be purchased and used to control just about any type of lighting.
- The only limitation will be the number of lights that will be controlled by the motion detector.
- If the lighting load exceeds the watts limitation of the motion detector, then simply use the motion detector as a switch to activate a relay that would then control the load of the lighting circuit.
- Multiple motion detectors may be installed to control lights from various locations as long as the control wiring is configured properly.
- Multiple motion detectors can be wired to control the lighting fixtures for a staircase that has multiple levels.
- The motion detectors act as a switch which controls a relay.
- The circuit components and wiring must be sized according to all the devices that will be installed.
Wireless Method for Controlling Outdoor Lighting
- Wireless Motion Detector Yard Light
- I have a hard wired Heath Zenith switch in the garage and another at the back door with the wireless motion detector on a post in the back yard. You can turn the lights on manually from each switch or else they will come on automatically when activated by the motion detector. I haven’t found another product where the motion detector is battery operated and wireless.
- The only limitation is that you can’t use these switches with CFL bulbs, even the dimming ones. I’d like your opinion on this idea:
- I would like to use a relay to operate as the light fixture switch control.
- When the Heath Zenith switch is turned on manually or automatically by the motion sensor the relay would be energized and then the CFL lights would be controlled by the relay.
- Would that work?
- Using CFL Lamps for a Motion Detector Light Fixture
- Using a relay to operate outdoor lights will enable you to use CFL lamps as long as the lamps are rated for outdoor use.
- As described in this question, the circuit of the wireless control does not allow the CFL lamps to be used, so by using a control relay this may be a good solution.
See More about Wiring Outdoor Lighting and Motion Detectors
Installing Motion Detector and Security Light Fixtures
- Installing motion detector lighting fixtures provide security and energy savings and they can easily replace an existing exterior wall fixture.
How To Install Recessed Light Fixtures
- Installing recessed lighting for your home electrical improvements.
- Discover how recessed lighting can enhance the mood of any room in your home.
- Security Lights and Motion Detector Wiring
- You identified your project to be about Light Switch Wiring, so you might find this information useful:
- Light Switch Wiring
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
- Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.
- All About Electrical Relays
Understanding Electrical Relays
- The use of relays that are sometimes needed to control special device loads such as Air Conditioners and other high demand equipment from starting at the same time.
The following may also be helpful for you:
Electrical Wiring Video #2
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Learn more with my Home Electrical Video Course:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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