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Electrical Wire and Cable

Wiring Two Outside Motion Lights to One Light Switch

How to Wire Two Outside Motion Security Light Fixtures: The Most Common Wiring Connections for Two Outdoor Light Fixture.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

How To Hook Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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Wiring a Switch for Two Outside Motion Lights
Electrical Question: What is the correct wiring when adding a second outside motion light to an existing switch?

This electrical question came from: Ron, a Homeowner from Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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

How to Wire Outside Motion Security Light Fixtures

Application: Security Light Fixture Wiring.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Hand Tools and Safe Ladder.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal experience, the light fixture and access to the light fixture.
Precaution: Identify the light fixture circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Replacement parts for the light fixture should be compatible with the type of lamps that have been installed.

More about Wiring Security Lights and Motion Detectors

Motion Detector
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.

Light Switch Wiring
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.

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

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Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
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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.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Lighting, Motion Detector and Home Electrical Wiring:
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

13 Responses to “Wiring Two Outside Motion Lights to One Light Switch”
  1. Rob says:

    Can I wire my outdoor motion sensor lights directly to a hot wire bypassing the wall switch which controls porch light?

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Rob,
    Yes, A motion sensor light may be wired directly to an unswitched power source which will enable it to operate independently.
    I hope this helps,

  3. khabib says:

    Can I run a pig tail off of an existing switch for a porch light so that I can install two motion sensors outside, but I need to also have a switch for these two lights so that they have their own independent on an off switch.

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Khabib,
    An additional light switch may be wired at the switch box for an additional light fixture if the complete circuit wiring is present, for example a 120 volt circuit includes a hot, neutral, and a ground wire. However if the switch box only has wiring for switching only, and the neutral wire of the circuit is not present then providing circuit power for additional light fixtures is not possible.
    Thank you for sharing your question about wiring motion lights,

  5. Tom says:

    Concerning wiring 2 PIR-2ES sensors to one light. Can someone Furnish a picture/diagram of how the final product might look? Tks Tom

  6. Tom says:

    Wiring two PIR-2ES sensors to one light.
    I have two sensors that I would like to install on the side of the house – one aimed north and one aimed south. Both sensors have been tested and work fine when wired separately, but when I wire the two sensors together, neither one works properly. I now have them wired in parallel… Both reds together. all whites together. All blacks together and one black from power source to the two reds. Does not work!! May I find a diagram that shows exactly how the wiring should be accomplished? Help Me..

  7. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tom,
    The sensors should not be wired to each other directly or in parallel. What I would suggest is to install one sensor that has at least a 240 degree sensing capability which will provide more coverage. Another option is to have each of your existing sensors control one light in the direction they are pointing, which would isolate the two sets and you would still have the light coverage where motion is detected.
    I hope this helps,

  8. Tom says:

    Thank you so much for such a prompt, friendly answer. Very generous man you are to take time and effort to help someone out – especially with Christmas season upon us!!!
    Thanks again……

  9. Dave Rongey says:

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply, I really appreciate it!

    Interesting Fact:
    I receive Very Few expressions of Thanks of any kind such as yours after helping people with their electrical projects – for Free too, imagine that! I am quite puzzled by the lack of gratitude found in our society today, it’s interesting to say the very least.

    On the Other Hand:
    I can honestly say that I am Truly Grateful for people like you, who are the Exception, and a Fine Example. Perhaps others will catch on.

    God Bless You, and Merry Christmas to You and Your Family!
    Be Safe,

  10. art says:

    Have installed 3 garage door exterior lights with light sensors.The previous lights would come off and on as long as switch by front door is on. The switch also controls overhead front porch light that stays on all time. After installing the 3 new lights, the light sensors don’t function. The switch must be turned on and off. We also have an overhead light with a light sensor to install. We want to have all 4 light fixtures come on at dusk etc. Do we need to call an electrician? We planned on getting this done in advance of Christmas and now will have to wait until after first of year. Any advice?


  11. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Art,
    Sensor lights are designed to work independently of each other and require a constant supply of power that is on all the time to function properly. Therefore the switch will need to be left on all the time, otherwise the on and off interruption of the power to the sensors will interrupt the operation of the sensor light fixtures. If you desire to have the switch control a non sensor type light fixture then a non-switched power source will have to be installed to the sensor light fixtures.
    I hope this helps,

  12. Tom says:

    Re: Your reply of 22 Dec concerning wiring two outside motion lights to one switch
    I am determined to run those two PIR-2ES sensors to one lamp!! I understand now that that configuration is likely to ‘confuse’ the sensors and you may well end up with one sensor in one mode and the other sensor in another mode. It seems the problem can be solved by running a second power wire, thus having each sensor on a separate switch, which would allow you to program each sensor into the same mode by applying power to each switch separately and then turning on both switches once the sensors are programmed to the same mode. Can I not accomplish the same thing by taking the fixture down and then apply power to only one sensor – get it in the automatic mode, remove power from that sensor and apply power to the other sensor and get it in automatic mode and replace the fixture with the sensors in parallel from the single power source? I understand if I lost power, I might very well have to go through the procedure of programming the sensors again. Hopefully,
    I didn’t set your head spinning!

  13. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tom,
    Before we get involved in some rewiring, I would encourage you to look at the outdoor motion fixtures available at most big box hardware stores, and I will look into this as well. I believe there is a setup that will have the components you need to have two motion detectors control one light. Check into this and let me know what you find.
    If we need to get more complicated and create a special application I can describe how I wired a very unique setup where multiple motion detectors controlled a lighted staircase and a driveway.
    You can see this project here:
    Lighted Staircase and Driveway