Timer/motion sensor on outside lights-how to?

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Old 05-20-03, 06:56 AM
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Question Timer/motion sensor on outside lights-how to?

Greetings. I know little to nothing about home automation. There are some outside lights I would like to automate, but don't know how to go about it, or where to find the right products. I looked around on the smarthome.com sight, but didn't really know what I should be looking for.

The exterior lights (3) on the front of our house we leave on all night long for security. I would like to have these set up to turn on automatically at dusk, either with a light sensor or a timer. The lights are controlled from one switch, which is part of a 3-switch box.

The exterior lights (4) on the back of our house we turn on only as needed. I would like to have those set up to turn on by motion sensor. These lights are controlled from 2 locations: one in a 3-switch box, and the other in a 2-switch box.

Are there products available to accomplish my goals that I could do myself, or should I hire someone? My experience with electrical work is minimal: I've changed out light fixtures, and I once installed a dimmer switch.

Thanks!
Sue
 
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Old 05-20-03, 08:31 AM
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Cool

There are timer, light and motion detector lighting fixtures, and there are some screw-in devices that you just add to your existing light fixtures that do the same thing.
Check at an electrical supply house (Yellow Pages). You may be able to find what you need without needing any electrical work, or you can replace the light fixtures.
For electrical wiring advice if you go that route, you might want to check with the pro electricians over in the Electrical Forum.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 05-20-03, 08:46 AM
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The cheapest (and probably easiest) route to go would be to just change the fixtures. I'm assuming at least some of these fixtures are flood lights. If so, these are very easy to find at Home Depot, Lowes, or any hardware store. You can get motion-sensitive or dusk/dawn sensors. Don't go with the cheapest, they won't last very long and do not work as well as the others. Expect to spend $30-50 each for a good set. Installation is easy, I wouldn't hire someone to put them in (maybe have an electrically-inclined friend "help" or something.) Just make sure you have the switch off and you're ok.

If you have outside fixtures (like wall-hanger fixtures) that you do not want to replace, you can get a timer switch for those. But, adding a motion or light-activated sensor may be difficult (depending on the type of fixtures you have.)

Hope that helps.
 
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Old 05-21-03, 07:21 AM
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Thanks Mike and Brandon! The information you gave will help a lot in my researching my options. Thanks a bunch for the advice!

Sue
 
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Old 05-25-03, 10:52 PM
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Cool

Although I'm sure that Brandon and I have both changed light fixtures with just the switch off, it is far safer to turn off the breaker at the panel also and always test wiring with a voltage meter befoe touching.
Twist the wires together and tightly twist on the appropriate size wire nut. I always add electrical tape to that, as well.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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