Dimmer for a floodlight


Old 07-29-08, 04:58 AM
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Dimmer for a floodlight


Can an house eave mounted exterior floodlight be put on a dimmer switch? Does it matter if it is floodlight with a motion sensor.

Following is the configuration I would like to setup.
- Mount a exterior floodlight with motion sensor in the house eave.
- Connect to a dimmer switch inside the house.
- Typically, I would leave it on at full strength at night - so that if the motion sensor goes off, the whole area will get lit well.
- Sometimes though, if we are entertaining outside at dusk, I would like to put the floodlight on at a dimmer light strength, so that it throws light on the playset in the backyard, to allow the children to play. Upon finishing of this activity, I would return the dimmer switch inside the house to full strength, to let the motion sensor floodlight do its normal job at night.

Is the above configuration with a floodlight possible?

Old 07-29-08, 04:41 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Most motion sensor flood lights have a feature that, with the flick of your control switch, you can have the light come on and stay on. One second off and turn it back on, it will stay on. Turn it off for 5 seconds or so and it will return to motion sensing mode. With what you propose, you will have to acquire a dimmer switch with a positive toggle on it, so you can utilize this feature. You will get really tired of yelling, "hey, bubba, move a little so the light will come on" at your parties. Be sure to get a dimmer rated for the number of bulbs you have. You definitely don't want an underrated dimmer. Check sites such as Lutron or Cooper, or visit an electrical supply house and tell them what you plan and supply you with a good dimmer with positive switch.
Old 07-30-08, 03:22 AM
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Running a motion sensor through a dimmer is a very poor idea and it may not even work.

Instead, I suggest that you have a three-way switch and a separate dimmer. The power would come into the "common terminal of the three-way switch and from one of the other terminals go to the motion sensor as normal. The other terminal of the three-way switch would go to the dimmer and the second terminal of the dimmer would go directly to the floodlamp or the red output wire of the motion sensor.

You would have the three-way switch in one position for normal motion sensor operation and when it was desired to bypass the motion sensor you would turn the three-way switch to the other position and adjust the floodlights by the dimmer.

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