Occupancy Sensor Won't Turn Off - Leviton IPS02

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-29-17, 03:53 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Occupancy Sensor Won't Turn Off - Leviton IPS02

I have a pretty simple task that I am struggling with. I have a regular light switch that I want to convert to this sensor. There is only 1 wire in the switch which means it's a switch loop. White wire, black wire (black is the line, I verified), and a bare metal wire.

I wired everything up correctly and when I turn the circuit breaker on, the lights come on, but will not turn off. When I press the button, I can't turn it off. .

I understand that these sensors require a ground wire to pass a small amount of current. I tried:

- Directly inserting the incoming bare copper wire to the green ground screw.
- 6" pig tail to the green ground screw on the metal box (I added the screw).

Neither worked. What can be going wrong?
 
  #2  
Old 12-29-17, 04:54 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
(Before anyone jumps on me, I did check the manufacturer's instructions and they do in fact use the EGC as the return for this device. )

Does the LED blink when motion is detected? I'm guessing not?

Sounds like that bare wire isn't really a connected ground. In your other thread you were saying your receptacles don't have grounds, so it's very likely your light fixture doesn't have one either. Somebody just ran a cable with a ground from the fixture to the switch, but the ground isn't hooked up to anything in the fixture. At least not anything meaningful. (A metal box isn't necessarily a ground.)

With a meter or neon tester, check for voltage between the black wire and the bare wire in the switch box. If 120V is present, then your ground is good. But I'm betting you won't get voltage. If you don't want to go find your meter, you could open up the light fixture and see what that bare wire is connected to at the other end.
 
  #3  
Old 12-29-17, 05:23 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I did some investigation and was about to post back. It's exactly like you said. Essentially, the light fixture has those metal tubes (the ones from 1950s) and in them is the old style two wires (black and white) and obviously no ground. The wire to the switch has its ground wire cut/terminated.

This is really starting to irritate me to be honest. What is my best recourse here? I was planning on installing 4 of these in various places and they all have the same ground problem.
 
  #4  
Old 12-29-17, 05:39 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,933
Received 1,348 Votes on 1,246 Posts
What is my best recourse here?
Upgrade to grounded wiring. There aren't many choices available.
 
  #5  
Old 12-29-17, 05:53 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
"Metal tubes" meaning like electrical conduit? They just might provide the ground you need. The only way to tell is with a meter. Of course, since the ground wire up top has been snipped off, you're kinda screwed anyway unless there's enough slack to pull in, or enough length to at at least attach a longer wire to it. It's all moot if the conduit isn't grounded anyway.

There might be an easy way to get that conduit grounded ("easy" relative to running all new wiring) but I really doubt you're interested in all that just for the sake of a few occupancy sensors. That old house just might be doing you a favor, because I hate those damn occupancy sensors anyway.
 
  #6  
Old 12-29-17, 05:55 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,933
Received 1,348 Votes on 1,246 Posts
He's describing old style BX cable which did not have a ground wire.
 
  #7  
Old 12-29-17, 06:18 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This is BX cable as PJMax described.

Running the wire from switch to the light again is not a problem at all. It's 10ft at most, all exposed, unfinished basement. But can I use the BX cable's metal cover as ground?

Also when you say running a ground wire, what does that involve? I'm now thinking this is going to become its own project for all BX cable I have (which is neither too many nor few, somewhere in the middle).

I just need some guidance thats all. I m not a quitter, so until I get what I want I ll keep on trying. Cost is not an issue here (to some degree).

For example, I opened that light fixture to trace the ground wire and what I saw was pretty scary. All these old, very very old, cables with worn out insulation (and the insulation is so bad, its like someone wrapped a piece of cloth) covered with black electrical tape. In fact, once I opened the fixture and closed it (I literally unscrewed 2 screws and put it back, did not touch a single cable). The ENTIRE circuit broke. It drove me crazy and I realized in the end, it was one of the cables loose inside and I had to use a new wire nut to temporarily fix it. So bottom line is, that entire fixture and all the cables there need some rework and I m happy to do this.

Unfortunately though, this particular circuit goes upstairs and feeds bunch of outlets/lights so this being out of commission for a long time will be inconvenience and the other challenge is, cables inside the walls of a 60 year old house. Not sure how easy it will be.
 
  #8  
Old 12-29-17, 06:31 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Is your fuse box / breaker panel also in this same unfinished basement with the light fixture in question? If so, it sounds like it shouldn't be too much trouble for you to run new cable with a proper ground from the panel? Meaning replace all those runs of BX, one-by-one, exactly as it's currently routed. At least until the circuit heads upstairs. That would give you a proper ground on that circuit everywhere in the basement at least.
 
  #9  
Old 12-29-17, 06:42 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,933
Received 1,348 Votes on 1,246 Posts
If the BX jacket were ground..... the box where the sensor switch is would be grounded and would be working, Since it is not working.... the BX is not a reliable ground.

The BX jacket should technically be grounded but from age and fittings loosening up..... many times it is no longer a reliable ground.
 
  #10  
Old 12-29-17, 07:02 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If the BX jacket were ground..... the box where the sensor switch is would be grounded and would be working, Since it is not working.... the BX is not a reliable ground.

I don't think he has put a meter on the BX in the fixture yet. I got the impression the switch loop itself was NM ("the wire to the switch"), but I suppose it could be something else with a ground wire that's been cut.

In other words there still might be hope?
 
  #11  
Old 12-29-17, 07:20 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I have a decent ($30) multi meter, could you please describe how I would test the metal BX cable casing for ground?
 
  #12  
Old 12-29-17, 07:40 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I have a decent ($30) multi meter, could you please describe how I would test the metal BX cable casing for ground?

In the light fixture box, you need any hot wire. Perhaps the one that the switch loop black wire is connected to. Set your meter to the 200 volts AC setting. Put one probe on the hot wire, and the other probe on the BX cable armor. A reading of 120V would mean that the BX is making ground at least at some marginal level. A 0V reading means either the BX isn't grounded, or your hot wire isn't really hot.

Do be careful and don't accidentally touch anything with your bare hands while you're up there.
 
  #13  
Old 12-30-17, 02:48 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I gave up on that particular switch and decided to try another one in the garage.

This one is interesting though because it has 4 cables, 3 attached to the switch. 1 ground wire attached to the metal box. Black/white/red wires are all attached to the switch.

This particular switch has another switch in the same circuit that controls the same set of lights.

Switch 1 in our laundry room that controls the same lights in garage.
Switch 2 in the garage that controls the same lights (I want to install the sensor here).

How do I wire these 3 wires?

Note that the wire comes to this box with the switch and terminates. There is no leaving wires.
 
Attached Images   
  #14  
Old 12-30-17, 03:35 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,933
Received 1,348 Votes on 1,246 Posts
Since you are doing your own work.... you need to learn the jargon.
You have one cable there with three wires.

That is a three way switch with black as the common and red and white as the travelers. What are you trying to do here ?

The sensor linked to at the beginning of the thread is a single pole only and can't be used to replace a three way switch.
 
  #15  
Old 12-30-17, 04:52 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I am trying to install that sensor in place of this switch. Do they make 3 way sensors? Homedepot only had this and "professional" version of the same one which was 2x as expensive and no other ones.
 
  #16  
Old 12-30-17, 05:05 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Don't be tempted to go shopping for a 3-way occupancy sensor just yet. You don't have a neutral in this box (that I can see), and that ground wire connected to the metal box may not be doing anything because the box itself may not be grounded. You'd have to test it.

I think you're going to run into this throughout your whole house. X10 has made various stuff for decades that works without a neutral nor a ground, but then you're limited to using incandescents in the fixtures. I had that kind of setup in my last house (all switch loops w/ no ground). It wasn't worth it having to waste insane power on incandescents.

Does anyone make a battery powered occupancy sensor?
 
  #17  
Old 12-30-17, 06:21 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,933
Received 1,348 Votes on 1,246 Posts
I don't keep up with occupancy sensors for a house. They are very rarely used in a house setting. I do install many in commercial applications.
 
  #18  
Old 12-30-17, 06:28 PM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
They are very rarely used in a house setting.
I thought they were required on the planet of California, but there could be an exception for CFLs/LEDs. If there is an exception just based on the bulb type, I dunno how they'd enforce that after the inspector leaves.
 
  #19  
Old 12-31-17, 06:32 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Can I abandon the 3 way switch all together?

- Terminate the switch in the laundry room and connect the two wires together abandoning the 3rd. This would mean using wirenuts to abandon one wire and connect two wires together. Get a solid faceplate.
- Install the two wires which were connected in the above step with wire nut to the occupancy sensor. Terminate the 3rd wire with a wirenut, same wire as previous step.

I'm guessing first I would need to determine which wire is the line from the breaker. Once I do that, I just choose any other wires of the 2 remaining wires to be within my new switch (which should be white for simplicity reasons). Then I simply abandon the red wire in the circuit.

If you think about it, the entire purpose of this other switch in the laundry room was to turn on the light without having to enter the garage which will not be necessary since the lights turn on instantly with the sensor.

This obviously assumes the ground wire there is functional. For that test, I need to use my multimeter at 200AC, connect one diode to black and the other to ground wire and see if there is any voltage (correct?).

Btw, I successfully installed one of these sensors yesterday in the basement. Not all my circuits are not grounded. In fact, I estimate about 10% of the wiring to be not grounded. It just so happens that these "light switches" were the first things to be wired in the house and all of them are on the same circuit breaker. So for example the lights in the garage are together with 2 bedrooms upstairs, laundry room, and a set of lights in basement.

The question I have is, if I do what I suggested above, can it have any bad side effects to the rest of the circuit?
 
  #20  
Old 12-31-17, 06:58 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
When testing the ground, shouldnt I use the continuity mode?
 
  #21  
Old 12-31-17, 07:05 AM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This obviously assumes the ground wire there is functional. For that test, I need to use my multimeter at 200AC, connect one diode to black and the other to ground wire and see if there is any voltage (correct?).
Not diode.. probe. Close enough. Test before you buy anything, of course.

Hey, can I ask you a question? What is your aversion to meters? The basement one you gave up on just as we were about to test it. Even before then you sounded averse to doing so. Now this other switch it's obvious you didn't probe it either. It's almost like when the meter has to be used, you resist.

If there's anything good we can do for you, it's get you to use that meter. That way you can think this stuff through (you seem smart enough) rather than having to ask around alll the time about how to test voltage. (right?)
 
  #22  
Old 12-31-17, 07:10 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
So this is what I have done:

- When I set the multimeter to 200/400A setting, nothing happens.
- When I set the multimeter to V~ setting, connecting to either black or red wires and the ground with other probe shows 120V
- When I set the multimeter to continuity mode and select OHMs, and shut off the power to the circuit from breaker box, touching either black or red wire AND ground wire (or the box) causes the multimeter to beep.

I'm guessing that ground works. Homedepot sells a 3 way occupancy sensor for 30$. I will just get that wire
 
  #23  
Old 12-31-17, 07:13 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by core View Post
Not diode.. probe. Close enough. Test before you buy anything, of course.

Hey, can I ask you a question? What is your aversion to meters? The basement one you gave up on just as we were about to test it. Even before then you sounded averse to doing so. Now this other switch it's obvious you didn't probe it either. It's almost like when the meter has to be used, you resist.

If there's anything good we can do for you, it's get you to use that meter. That way you can think this stuff through (you seem smart enough) rather than having to ask around alll the time about how to test voltage. (right?)
There is no aversion at all. That particular light fixture is extremely fragile. It is so bad that when I touched it to open, it took me 3 times to position the wires correctly so they make good contact or else the entire circuit breaks (nothing works). I just dont want to touch it. I am a very OCD person who loves digging in to details and test things out so by no means I am trying to go the easy route here.

PLUS

My initial plan was to add 3 sensors to basement. I have 3 set of lights, 3 circuits. I realized that I dont need all 3 and I managed to add the 1 that matters the most yesterday, its in the middle and controls 6 light fixtures and lights up the entire basement. So once I have done that, I didnt think it was worth the risk touching the other very old circuit,

That being said, isn't it ironic that right at the same time you posted this I also posted my previous post which was about using the multimeter See Its not what you think
 
  #24  
Old 12-31-17, 10:55 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Got the lutron 3 way sensor working in under 20 min. All good!
 
  #25  
Old 12-31-17, 11:05 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,933
Received 1,348 Votes on 1,246 Posts
Good job.

When you want to use the meter set to continuity (ohms) to check for ground..... you need to check from the box you are confirming to a known ground. A known ground is a water pipe or other grounded item.

Checking from the wiring in the box to the box will not determine ground.
Voltage from the wiring in the box to the box will confirm ground.
 
  #26  
Old 12-31-17, 11:06 AM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Awesome. So that garage box was grounded via BX? I'm actually surprised you found a 3-way locally.
 
  #27  
Old 12-31-17, 11:19 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I measured the ground between the ground cable (so its a 14/3 wire in the box) and black and red cables. Both showed 120v while breaker was on and beeped in continuity mode when breaker was off.

Am i doing this right?

A) Breaker on, multimeter on V~ mode, one probe on hot wite another on ground

OR

B) Breaker off, multimeter on continuity ohm mode, same as above

In A) it shows 120v and in B) it beeps.

Just trying to learn the right way.
 
  #28  
Old 12-31-17, 11:26 AM
core's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 1,127
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Testing for voltage (as in the first case) was correct. In this situation you've got a 3-way so the white traveler was only hot this time because of the position of the switch. But yeah, you got that part down.

Testing for continuity is not something you want to be doing in this case. Pjmax described a case where you would, but that requires a known good ground and your meter leads are only so long. Don't get in the habit of testing continuity on your household wiring willy-nilly without damn good reason because next time you'll forget the circuit is energized and you could damage your expensive $30 meter!
 
  #29  
Old 12-31-17, 01:05 PM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Understood.

Now that I have done couple of these successfully, I am actually considering alternatives to the ground problem I have and thinking maybe I should just do the other switches in the basement

For two of the switches I have in the basement without a ground, I was wondering if I could just pull a ground wire in an insulated, single green 12 gauge wire adjacent to any other 12-2 wire. So I would use receptacles around those switches as sources for the ground wire and run an insulated single 12 gauge wire to the switch.

First question I have is, is this allowed? I want to do this right, I want to follow the code. Is there anything I need to know?

The second question I have (assuming the answer is yes to above), one of the switches will require special handling. I will post a picture later on but the switch is buried in the concrete block (its not a concrete wall but those big blocks) on the wall. About 2 ft or so above it, I can see the BX metal cable being fed in. I am assuming the blocks were drilled through from top the bottom and that's how the cable went the switch because there is no other visible input.

Where this gets interesting is, right where the BX cable enters the cement blocks, there is also the natural gas pipe going to our laundry for the dryer. Imagine a 2" or so hole in the cement block. The pipe and the BX cable both go in. Pipe goes straight through where as the BX cable makes a 90 degree turn and goes down to the switch.

Now is it going to be okay for me to run that green ground wire there right next to these guys?

Again, I want to do everything according to the book here and these are too specific questions. I appreciate everyone's help.
 
  #30  
Old 01-01-18, 08:41 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I took the liberty of running a ground cable from an adjacent outlet after doing some research I see that NEC 2014 allows this as long as everything goes back to the same box.

Now the problem is, the sensor is still not functioning correctly. I confirmed with my multimeter that the ground is good in the receptacle. FURHTER, when I turn the breaker on, the lights come on, and so does the blinking LED light meaning the occupancy sensing mode works (whereas without ground, the lights would stay on and LED wouldnt blink). And even furthermore, voltage tester tests positive for the ground wire all the way back to the box, meaning the ground is working for the occupancy sensor.

What am I doing wrong? I already swapped white and black wires in the sensor with no avail.
 
  #31  
Old 01-01-18, 10:24 AM
D
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 438
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I dont think the way I am checking for ground is accurate.

1) Set the multimeter on V~ mode
2) One probe on hot wire
3) One probe on potential ground (box or ground wire)
4) It should read around 120V

I have now done this on 3 different places and in 3 different locations I am wiring the sensor and it's not working. It's not working in a sense, the light is always on, LED blinks, but it never shuts off.

Before I try any more switches in the house, I really want to know what might be going wrong. Most of my switches have the BX cable coming in. It looks like the BX cable's shield acts like a ground making the box grounded as well. So when I check with the multimeter, it shows 120V against the box. So in theory, a ground screw to the box and a pig tail should work with the sensor no?
 
 

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