cellar motion sensor to activate flour. lights

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  #1  
Old 01-09-12, 09:46 AM
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cellar motion sensor to activate flour. lights

hello, I have 2 -8' flourescent lights controlled by a wall switch at the top of the stairs into the cellar. I sometimes forget to switch on the lights and the electrician did not add a switch at the bottom of the stairs, and up I go to flip the switch. Can someone give me a wiring diagram or tell me how to add ina motion sensor to turn these lights on . Do you have any preference to what works better and model numbers. Getting to old to be going up and down for no reason. I have some electrical ability and can follow diagrams.
Thanks for any help
Rickeyb
 
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  #2  
Old 01-09-12, 05:05 PM
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You are actually in the wrong area of the forums but I can tell you already it can't be done as I tried something like what you want to do and the ballasts will simply not allow it. I wish it were so but it can't be done. The best thing for you to do is call your electrician back and have him or her install three way switches as that is what we did at our house. Have a nice day!
 
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Old 01-10-12, 04:27 AM
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Mod note: Moved from Computer forum.
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-12, 08:36 AM
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1. Generally code requires stairway lighting to have a switch at both the top and the bottom of the stair. But assuming the electrician got a permit for this, if the stair requirement were applicable, it probably would not have passed inspection. Just mentioning that in case it's relevant.

2. If you want motion sensor only, leave the switch at the top of the stair turned on. Since the load is fluorescent, use a motion sensor that is approved for fluorescents (and usually requires a neutral). Or, you can use a motion sensor that does not require a neutral and add a small incandescent bulb to the load.
 
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Old 01-10-12, 08:37 AM
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My company hired an electrician to wire in thru out the building motion sensors to save money . These are in the ceiling controlling many flourescent lights and work great. These are 3 wire sensors small gauge wire and work great. I think it can be done.
 
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Old 01-10-12, 11:45 AM
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Live Free or Die

I live in NH, my electrician was a local person and on the job for many years. He allowed his son to help him and he broke the ground off in one of the outlets, I told him and he didn't fix it. I rebuilt the back half of an old house and we had a 220 line about a 50ft run to a shed , needed new wiring and he replaced it and I found the sheathing thrown in the woods and he didn't ask if he could have the copper he just took it. The building inspector did look and sign off. The inspector started to yell at me for stapling the fiberglass insulation to the studs instead of inside the studs ( the brown paper edge ) I saw in 'Fine home building ) that it was pictured the way I did it, anyway. I don't have much luck with contractors and I'm not very confrontational.
Thanks for your help
 
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Old 01-10-12, 11:48 AM
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How much trouble would it be to run a cable from the existing light switch to the bottom of the stairway? A run of 14-3 (or 12-3 if on a 20 ampere circuit) and replacement of the switch(es) with 3-way switches is the easiest and best solution.
 
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Old 01-10-12, 12:52 PM
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To expand on Furd's suggestion Since this is a basement where looks probably aren't every thing you could just run surface race between the the old and new switches.
 
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Old 01-10-12, 02:00 PM
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With the motion sensor that needs a neutral, this means I have to run a wire from the sensor to the switch upstairs? What color wire and tied to what wires at the switch ?
Thanks
 
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Old 01-10-12, 02:25 PM
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With the motion sensor that needs a neutral, this means I have to run a wire from the sensor to the switch upstairs? What color wire and tied to what wires at the switch ?
Thanks
Assuming there are four wires the neutral would be tied to the two white wires already wire nutted together. If there are only two wires you don't have a neutral at the switch for a motion detector.

Just opinion if you are going to run a cable for a motion detector might as well install a 3-way switch. It will require the same 3-conductor cable but you don't have to worry about a neutral.
 
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Old 01-10-12, 05:47 PM
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The inspector started to yell at me for stapling the fiberglass insulation to the studs instead of inside the studs ( the brown paper edge ) I saw in 'Fine home building ) that it was pictured the way I did it, anyway.
I know this is off topic but I felt the need to address it. What you did is fine, and I think it is the proper way to install the insulation. I would think the instructions on the wrapper would be helpful, but who knows.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 08:16 AM
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The last town I built in (NH) the inspector was a drunk, never saw him and never did get an occupancy permit.
I thought the motion sensor at work was the best thing and wanted to use one at home. To wire in a 3 way I'll have to change the switch upstaires? add a 3 wire conductor from that switch to another 3 way downstairs? The wiring now is only a 2 wire cable.
Thanks
 
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Old 01-11-12, 08:36 PM
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I don't know where you're putting the occupancy sensor, or what exactly the lights illuminate, or where exactly the lights are mounted.

My idea was that the stair-top switch would be left on all the time. It then provides 120VAC all the time to whatever is downstream, i.e. the sensor, which in turn lights up the fixtures. ASSUMING the occupancy sensor is going somewhere near the light fixtures, there's already a neutral at the light fixtures. Otherwise, if your switch requires a neutral, yeah, you have to add one anyway.

I think the ones you're talking about have a master switch located on the wall, and you can add multiple slave sensors that wire into the master. Those can be mounted on walls or, more commonly in a large cube farm, on the ceiling.

Yes, you will have to add conductors to have 3-ways at the top and bottom of the stairs. We can't see the current layout so we can't tell you exactly how to do that, but if you want general info just google 3-way circuit and go from there. It makes a difference where the line is coming from and where the load is located, in relation to the switches, but otherwise 99% of compliant configurations are the same general layout.

If it looks too complicated, contact an electrician. Otherwise post photos or your own diagrams of what you've got now and you'll get some pointers here.

As always, it's best to check local codes to determine if a motion sensor alone meets code for stair illumination, or if 3-way switches at top & bottom are required regardless.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 07:31 AM
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To wire in a 3 way I'll have to change the switch upstaires? add a 3 wire conductor from that switch to another 3 way downstairs?
My point was a motion detector requires a neutral plus a hot feeder and hot return. That is a 3way cable regardless of if you use a three way switch or a M/D switch so cable added is the same for either one. I assumed the switch would work best at the bottom not the top. Were you planing to use it at the top?

However you have now written you have only two wires at the existing switch. If that is correct the current set up will only work with a 3-way switch. For a motion detector you either need a neutral which you don't have or use a M/D switch without a neutral and a relay at the fluorescent light.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 11:52 AM
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The motion detectors you can buy at the local big box mega-mart homecenter are not the same as the occupancy sensors installed in office buildings. I think you would be disappointed in the operation of a motion detector in your basement.

Some detective work is definitely in order. You need to determine a way to get a three-conductor cable to the existing switch location. This cable can either run the same route back to the (first) light fixture OR to the location at the bottom of the stairway where the electrical code requires another switch to operate the light illuminating the stairway. If running the cable to the light fixture is do-able then you will also need to run a three-wire cable from this light fixture to the location of the new switch. The goal is to have a three-conductor cable to each switch regardless of the path it takes.

Once the cables are in place wiring the switches is absurdly simple.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 02:13 PM
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Ok, I give up on the motion sensor. I have some books on electrical circuits and I'll see if they show the wiring and type of switch needed for this to work. I don't do this that often to remember how the wiring is done, but a diagram will help me .
Thanks,
Rickeyb
 
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Old 01-12-12, 03:08 PM
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We can provide instructions and diagram if needed. Just my opinion but if you use surface race between the switches a 30 minute project.

Just to bring you up to steam. If you have only two wires in the existing switch so you have a switch loop. Run three wires plus ground between the switches, two black and one red.

Connect the new blacks to the travelers at both switches.

At the switch you added red is connected to the common.

At the original switch location connect the black from the old switch to the common of the new switch. Connect the white from the old switch to the red from the common of the switch you added.

Assumes only a single 2-conductor cable at existing switch and surface race with THHN.
White from the original switch should be recolored black if the original installer didn't.
 
  #18  
Old 01-13-12, 10:39 AM
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I found a diagram with the correct wire and switches They show the circuit wired differently based on suppling voltage from the switch or to the switch from the lights , based on where the fixture is in the run. I can follow this.
thanks,
Rickeyb
 
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