Proper wiring for exterior light with motion sensor


Old 09-12-07, 05:35 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 38
Proper wiring for exterior light with motion sensor

Can I run power to two cables inside a junction box, one for an outlet with a switch, one for an exterior light with motion sensor? So that's three blacks connected, three whites connected and three grounds connected. All inside a box with a cover with the requisite wire nuts and electrical tape.
Or would it be safer to run the power from the sub panel to the exterior light, then to the switched outlet? The exterior light needs power running to it all the time. Since the exterior light is first in the circuit, the switch that is next in line won't make a difference, right?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 09-12-07, 05:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Electrical tape on wire nuts is NOT "requisite." Some people use it, but most do not.

Either of your methods is legal, provided your junction box remains permanently accessible.

However, the junction box is why I would avoid your plan. Every junction presents a possible failure point. If (or when) a failure occurs, the more places to have to check for the failure.

My advice is to avoid extra junction boxes unless absolutely necessary, even if it means having to run more cable.

One other comment. If I were you I would still wire in a switch for the light. Someday you, or someone else, may want to swap out the light and NOT use a motion sensor or daylight sensor. If the wire and switch are there you can easily do so. If they are not there then they would need to be added. For now you can bypass the switch, or place a device on it to keep it turned on.
Old 09-12-07, 07:26 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 38
Thanks for your advice. Your suggestion on the switch makes sense and I will definitely put one in.
I'm very cautious when it comes to electricity, so wire nuts and tape are necessary in my world. I even have a contractor friend who checks my work, but he won't be here until this weekend. And the motion sensor light is in response to a break-in on Sunday night. Well, that and the shot gun.
Thanks again for everything.
Old 09-12-07, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
It'll be easier for him to check your work if you don't put the electrical tape on. Put on the wire nut. Then carefully inspect to make sure no copper is showing. Then pull firmly on each wire one at a time to make sure it doesn't come out. If you do this, the tape adds nothing except a mess.

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