Multiple Motion Detectors for Light Fixtures
Can Two Motion Detectors be Used to Control Outdoor Flood Lights? How to Wire Multiple Motion Detectors for Outside Lighting.
Motion Detectors for Outdoor Lights
Electrical Question: Can two motion detectors be used for outdoor flood lights?
- I would like to control my outdoor flood lights with more than one motion detector so the light can be triggered to come on if there is movement detected in different directions.
- If this can be done using standard motion detectors, do both red wires from the motion sensor tie to each other.
- Then the two black wires from the motion sensor will tie to the hot wire from the main power.
This electrical wiring question came from: Ricky, a Homeowner from Fayette North Carolina.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Ricky.
Multiple Motion Detectors for Outdoor Lighting
Application: Wiring Motion Detector Controlled Light Fixtures.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Hand Tools and Non Conductive Ladder.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal experience, the light fixture and access to the motion detector light fixture.
Precaution: Identify the light fixture circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
How to Wire Multiple Motion Detectors for Outside Lights
I have tested this type of control system before, and what I found is that if you wire two motion sensors directly together they will conflict with each other and cause the light fixture to turn on and off rapidly. However, two or more motion detectors can be wired for this type of application using another method which is explained below.
Wiring Two or More Motion Detectors and Light Fixtures
- The way to wire two or more motion detectors to control one or more outdoor light fixtures is to wire a control circuit where the motion detectors are connected to one control relay, and the control relay will turn on the light fixtures. Using this method, the light fixture is activated by either motion detector.
- With this type of application, any number of motion detectors may be used, however each motion detector must be wired to a separate control relay.
- The motion detectors, relays, and the light fixtures should be connected to the same power source, and the coil voltage of the control relays must be the same as the lighting circuit.
- Any number of light fixtures can be wired through the control relay system, however the relay and control circuit must be rated for the total watts or amperage of the light fixtures to be controlled.
- The design of this control circuit must take into consideration the lighting load in order to select the proper size of the control relay contact rating and coil voltage.
- Individual motion detector heads may be used separately, and they do not have to be part of a typical motion detector flood light fixture package.
- Installing this type of system will not overload the internal control circuit of each motion detector because the motion detector is only powering the coil of the relay it is connected to.
- NOTE: This setup works very well for multi-level stair way access lights where this same system has been installed and tested.
See the application where this system was installed at a project for Lighting Covered Stairs
Additional Options for Controlling Outdoor Light Fixtures
- This type of control system can also be accomplished using Wireless Controls.
- There are motion controlled light fixtures that have advanced wiring features that will allow interconnecting light fixtures to one another where if either device detects or senses movement both light fixtures will turn on.
Typical Wiring Diagram for this Application
More about Wiring Motion Detector Light Fixtures
Wire Motion Detector Lights
Installing Motion Detector Light Fixtures
Installing motion detector lighting fixtures provide security and energy savings and they can easily replace an existing exterior wall fixture.
- Electrical Relay Construction and Purpose – Part 1
- This section will cover how relays are constructed and operate due to the current flowing through the control coil and the mechanical reaction that takes place.
More about Electrical Relay Construction and Purpose – Part 1
Electrical Wire for Motion Detectors
Electrical Wire for Light Fixtures
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
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Can you explain what a relay is? If its a product, how do I choose the correct relay for the application. Finally, how to wire a relay to connect multiple motion detectors to a string of lights? I have checked multiple sources and everyone gives the same answer in using multiple motion detectors for a string of lights, use a relay, but nobody explains how to do it.
Howard, I have added a link to the relay section of the website. There are a few wiring diagrams and some information that should help you. If this does not help then make another comment and I may have to get a little more practical information for you. Dave
Did you mean this to read:
I would like to control my outdoor flood lights with more than one motion detector so the light can be triggered to come on if there is movement detected in different directions.
If this can be done using standard motion detectors,
(do both red wires from the motion sensor tie to each other.)
(Tie both red wires from the motion sensor tie to each other.)
Then the two black wires from the motion sensor will tie to the hot wire from the main power.
With this type of setup the motion detectors do not tie to one another. Each motion detector must connect to a separate control relay. I have tried connecting the red wires from the motion detectors to each other and for some reason when motion is detected the two motion detectors make the lights flash on and off. However when I wired each motion detector to a separate relay the lights would control properly. This method can be used when there are motion detectors that are far apart, or at separate levels. This way if any of the motion detectors still detects motion the connected relay is still activated, therefore the lights will still stay on, even though another motion detector may not be detecting motion. This way the passageway remains lighted until there is no motion detected and the set time delay has expired.
Thanks for your input Tom. I realize this will create questions and that is OK. I will be producing a wiring diagram to explain the wiring in detail.
I also placed a link to the page where this setup was installed, and I will add more information showing the final working system.
I hope this helps,
I have a Boulder outdoor motion detector. I think the model number is NW-12 300 watts output. It has four wires coming from the inside of it, two white, one black, one red. I have a light fixture with two light bulbs each one of them has a white and a black wire coming out of them how do I hook this up?
Hi Chris, Typically the black wire on the motion detector is connected to the black wire of the incoming circuit power of the light fixture box. The red wire of the motion detector connects to the black wires of the lights. The white wires of the motion detector, and the lights all splice together with the white wire of the incoming circuit power cable. Be sure to consult the wiring diagram and documentation that came with the motion detector for specific instructions.
I hope this helps you,