Replace a Light Switch with a Motion Detector Switch
How can I replace a light switch with a motion detector switch? I am trying to replace what I thought was a basic switch in my garage that controls an overhead bulb.
Wiring a Motion Detector Light Switch
Electrical Question: How can I replace a light switch with a motion detector switch.
- I am trying to replace what I thought was a basic switch in my garage that controls an overhead bulb base with a motion detector switch.
- After cutting the power at the break box, removing the plate, and pulling out the switch, I discovered a very old switch (probably original to the 55 year old house) that had three screw terminals, one on top and two on the bottom.
- The two on the bottom had a red wire and a black wire attached to them and the one on top had something with which I am unfamiliar. It had a black wire with a partially stripped section wrapped around the screw and did not terminate at the switch.
- Also crammed into the back of the box was a small bundle of white wires capped with a wire nut and a small bundle of bare wires (ground?) capped with a wire nut neither of which were connected to the switch.
- My replacement switch requires either a neutral wire or a ground (it has both) as well as two black wires to connect to power and load. I tried a few configurations but could not get the switch to operate the circuit after energizing it after each iteration.
Do you have any suggestions?
This electrical wiring question came from Bruce in Edison, New Jersey.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Bruce.
Change the Wiring a Light Switch
Application: Change a Three Way Light Switch to a Occupancy Sensor or a Motion Detector.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or Certified Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Light Switch, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Light Switch should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in your specific area of New Jersey. A permit and inspections may also be required.
Change the Wiring a Light Switch in a Attached Garage
This electrical wiring project is about Wiring a 3Way Occupancy Sensor or Motion Detector Activated Light Switch in the Attached Garage of a Old Home.
Wiring a Motion Detector Light Switch
Bruce, from the information you have provided, the existing switch is a Three Way light switch. Typically a standard Three Way switch may be replaced with a 3Way Occupancy Sensor, also known as a Motion Activated Switch. The typical Occupancy Sensor and Motion Activated light switches may require a neutral wire, and a ground wire. These switches are available from online sources, as well as most local hardware stores.
The Following Resources may Assist You with this Question:
How To Install A 3-Way Motion Sensor Switch
How can I install a single pole motion sensor switch in place of an existing three-way switch? Wiring a 3 Way Motion Switch.
What To Do With The Ground Wire
Where do I attach the ground wire?
Grounding Wall Outlets and Light Switches: What to do When there is Nothing to Attach the Ground Wire to, Grounding Wall Outlets and Light Switches, Ground Wires and Un-Grounded Fixtures and Boxes, Bonding the Ground Wire.
See More about How to Wire a Light Switch
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.
Electrical Junction Boxes for Home Wiring
Understanding electrical junction boxes and what they are used for. Home electrical wiring is the process of installing electrical wire to a location that will serve electrical devices or an appliance. One very important component is the box where the wire will be installed. The type and size of the home wiring electrical boxes will depend upon the circuit size, application and its location.
Garage Electrical Wiring
Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Garage Electrical Wiring with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
Home Wiring Projects
Installing electrical wiring projects for safety and home improvements.
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Electrical Wiring Video #2
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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 Electric Wiring Projects.
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