wiring a motion sensored light

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-01-02, 02:40 PM
mrbkeller's Avatar
New Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Panama City
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question wiring a motion sensored light

Hey, Brad here,

I've got a question on how to install a motion sensor light on the back of my house. I have no idea about electrical wiring but have pretty good mechanical and logical skills. I know i can do it on my own, just need a little guidance and to learn the nomenclature.
First, do i need to wire it directly into a circuit breaker box? Can i wire it into an existing light without removing it (splice it). Do i need to wire it into a switch for it to work? What's the easiest way? (other than calling an electrician to do it)
I don't own the house so I don't want to pay any money other than parts for the job. All I really need to know is the basics.

Thanx

One more thing, Do I need to have an electrical inspector look at it before or after the work is done?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-01-02, 02:47 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
A new circuit is the deluxe solution, but may not be necessary. To determine if another circuit has sufficient capacity, you need to figure out everything on that circuit and compare the total wattage to the circuit capacity.

A motion sensor light often works best when connected to a wall switch. Most have an always-on mode that can be activated for special situations by the wall switch. There is usually a warning against putting more than one motion light on the same switch.

In most areas, it is not legal for you to do any electrical work on a house you don't own. You'll be in monumental trouble if your work causes a fire.

Don't even think of doing a job like this without reading a book or two on home wiring first, cover to cover. There are far too many details to spell them all out here. We'll be happy to help you with any questions that come up along the way.
 
  #3  
Old 12-01-02, 07:23 PM
mrbkeller's Avatar
New Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Panama City
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
thanx for writing back john, I didn't think i'd hear back in one day from this forum site. But my beginning question is, depending on the circuit capacity, can i wire it into an existing light? I have a light on the side of my house where my back door opens up to. there's a switch inside the house in the kitchen, but do i need to wire it into the outside light, or into the switch in the kitchen? Second, what kind of wire is recommened for running outside wiring? And third, it's pretty much color coordinating right? I still haven't bought a light yet cause I don't have enough basic information that i need, but i'll probably pick up a light as soon as these questions are asked.


Oh, I still need to know if an electrical inspector needs to look at the wiring job or not after it's finished. For safety reasons and all.
 
  #4  
Old 12-01-02, 07:36 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes, you can tap into any lighting circuit that has sufficient excess capacity. You may not, however, tap into many of the receptacle circuits in your house.

Do you need to wire it into the outside light or the switch? The answer is "yes." But which one depends on how the light is currently wired (with a switch loop or not), and whether you want that same switch to also control the new light. We need to know the colors of the two wires currently attached to the switch.

In general, you need UF cable outdoors. However, if the cable will be installed somewhere where it is exposed to sunlight, it will need to be sunlight resistant also. And it must be installed in a manner that will be protected from physical damage. And the cable must be properly secured no less often than every 4.5 feet.

If the circuit is protected by a 15-amp breaker, you will need 14/2 UF cable. If the circuit is protected by a 20-amp breaker, you will need 12/2 cable.

Matching wires by color is right about 75% of the time. Again, it depends. We'll know more after we know what color wires are attached to the switch.

Yes, you most likely need a building permit and an inspection. Call your local building department and discuss your planned project with them. It is to your advantage to hope that they do require a permit. It will help ensure you don't burn the house down. This will require both approval of the plans before you start, and inspection of your work after you're done.

Get the book. And talk with your landlord.
 
  #5  
Old 12-01-02, 08:26 PM
mrbkeller's Avatar
New Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Panama City
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Alright, that's a good start. Thanx for the info and will let you know how it turns out or if i have any problems along the way
 
  #6  
Old 12-02-02, 04:49 AM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: USA
Posts: 950
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
John Nelson said it; I'll ask it also: have you tallked to your landlord?

All leases I have ever seen prohibits tenants from making alterations without the landlords written permission. If one of my tenants tried changing something that burned down my duplex, I would be ever so slightly peeved. Maybe the landlord would install the motion sensor if you bought it.

Bruce
 
  #7  
Old 12-02-02, 08:03 AM
mrbkeller's Avatar
New Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Panama City
Posts: 41
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
No, I haven't asked her yet. I will do that as soon as I get a chance. That's a good idea also, her "mr. fixit" guy that she has working for her might be able to do it.
Yea, I also understand her side of it, about me burning down her house. I don't think I'd be able to sign another lease with her lol

But anywho, Thanx again.
 
  #8  
Old 12-02-02, 03:27 PM
A
amrt
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
John Nelson wrote:

"There is usually a warning against putting more than one motion light on the same switch".

Can you please elaborate on this?

I recently combined two motion detector lights (the lantern type with 100 max wattage for bulbs) that previously had their own switches. Not being an electrician, I would never have guessed that would present any type of taboo. Of course, these lights came with the house so I don't have manuals. What are the dangers?
 
  #9  
Old 12-02-02, 04:23 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There's no danger, but the lights may not work properly. Some of these lights use an on-off-on sequence to set the lights in a different mode. With two lights on one switch, they may not properly get the message.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: