Need Wiring Help to Install Sensor for Overhead Garage Fluorescent Lights

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Old 05-13-13, 04:33 PM
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Need Wiring Help to Install Sensor for Overhead Garage Fluorescent Lights

We recently bought a home which was built in 2007 and has five overhead garage fluorescent fixtures. I'm trying to install an occupancy sensor to turn lights on when vehicles enter the garage. Since I plan to have a shop in the garage located around the corner from the sensor where the sensor can't see me, I purchased an occupancy sensor which also has an on-off switch to enable me to switch the lights on for long periods of time. It is a Cooper Wiring OS310U Auto On Sensor (Single Output) which works as single pole and 3-way, and it works with fluorescent fixtures.

The garage has two 3-way switches which currently work, and the fluorescent overhead fixtures are located between the two 3-way switches. I won't need the 3-way switch #2 after the sensor is installed.

I'll attach an image which shows the existing wiring. I simply want to replace the 3-way switch #1 with the sensor, and it has 4 wires: 1 Red, 1 Black, 1 White, and 1 Ground as shown in the image.

Unfortunately, none of Cooper Wiring's installation diagrams fit what I have. I have only 4 wires and Cooper Wiring's diagrams all have 5 wires. Their advanced wiring diagram which is for the lights located between the 3-way switches shows two sets of 3 wires, I only have 2 wires other than the ground wire at the 3-way switch #2. I tried this 3 wire connection on the sensor, and the lights simply stayed on. Tried to reach their tech department twice, but received no response. To see their wiring diagrams, Google: Cooper Wiring OS310U, then click on each of these selections: Single Occupancy/Vacancy Sensor Instruction Sheet (English), OS310U & VS310U Advanced Installation.

Hope you can help me find the right way to install the sensor.
 
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Wiring for Garage.pdf (10.3 KB, 474 views)
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Old 05-13-13, 06:00 PM
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I don't see a neutral in the box where you want to put the sensor. Does the sensor have a neutral?
 
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Old 05-13-13, 07:14 PM
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I do not see the 3rd wire at the one switch.
 
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Old 05-14-13, 09:17 AM
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You are correct. The 2nd 3-way switch has a black and a red wire. There is a ground wire as well which I didn't show. I'm not an electrician, and this was installed when the home was built and before we became the 2nd owners. I can check for hot wires, but I don't know about neutral wires. All I can say is that the overhead lights work with the wiring as shown for the two 2-way manual switches. Maybe the builder left something out.
 
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Old 05-14-13, 10:03 AM
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Is this cable or conduit? Pictures of the switch boxes with the switches connected but pulled out might help us understand. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 05-14-13, 04:54 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

The 2nd 3-way switch has a black and a red wire.
Then it isn't a 3-way switch. If it only has two wires attached and the lights can be controlled from either location at any time, then that switch may be one of a master-slave pair or a remote.

Tell us the wiring in each switch box and the junction box, the make and model of the switches you have now, and where the power from the panel comes into the system, and we can advise you from there.

Basically, all you need to do is interrupt the "hot" between the panel and your lights with your new switch. Try not to over-think it.

Do include any future pictures in your posts, please. I had to download a pdf to see your illustration. I'm going to delete it now.
 
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Old 05-14-13, 07:40 PM
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Will try to keep it simple. Sorry about the image file. Didn't know how to show the wires in the junction box otherwise since it's a double box with lots of wires. The switches are both Cheetah 6010. You'll see there are no grounds connected to either switch, but the junction box has lots of grounds wrapped together. I checked for hot again, and the image that I sent earlier is correct and has the hot black wire shown on switch #1. The white wire extending from the wall for switch #1 or the sensor switch is connected to red in the junction box. I have a wall mounted metal box for this switch #1, just not installed until it works with the sensor. Took photos earlier. I now have the Cheetah switch reconnected to the hanging wires and the lights do switch properly.
 
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Old 05-14-13, 08:17 PM
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Your second photo seems to be a switch where they substituted two 2-conductor cables for the code required 3-conductor cable (seems to be indicated by the unused white wire). Why is there no box? Was the white wire bottom left not used.
 
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Old 05-14-13, 08:56 PM
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Which of the two photos is shows the panel feed? Which pair of wires is it in that photo?

Ground should be connected to the device if it is not mounted in a grounded metal box.

the image that I sent earlier is correct and has the hot black wire shown on switch #1.
I deleted that file from my system. It didn't have very much information in it anyway, IIRC. If you want us to be able to see it while commenting, include it in a new post please.

I have a wall mounted metal box for this switch #1, just not installed until it works with the sensor.
Good. I wondered, for a second, how you were going to mount a regular switch in a Cheetah box.
 
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Old 05-15-13, 07:39 PM
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I'm attaching the wiring diagram as you requested. You are correct in guessing that the white wire isn't used. Apparently, the Cheetah switches don't use grounds, but the ground wire for the new sensor is connected to the batch of ground wires in the junction box.

I don't know which of the wires are panel feeds. The panel is diagonally across the garage from switch #1 and switch #2 is located across the garage and in front of switch #1 at the garage door. The five ceiling fixtures are all between the panel box and the two switches and the ceiling is painted drywall so I can't see the lines. All I've been able to determine is which is the hot black wire at switch #1. Switch #2 has lots of wires in the box which are tied together as does the box for switch #1. I can pull out all of the wires and wire ties in the junction box and photograph it if that would help.
 
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Old 05-16-13, 08:24 AM
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I don't know which of the wires are panel feeds. All I've been able to determine is which is the hot black wire at switch #1.
If you have a black/white pair at one switch location that tests to have +120V with all of the wires disconnected, that is the panel feed. You will need to mount your single-location switch there or, if possible, use some of the installed wiring to take that feed to the other location without connecting to the lights on the way.

The panel is diagonally across the garage from switch #1 and switch #2 is located across the garage and in front of switch #1 at the garage door. The five ceiling fixtures are all between the panel box and the two switches and the ceiling is painted drywall so I can't see the lines.
Unfortunately, physical location doesn't matter. What matters is functional location.

I can pull out all of the wires and wire ties in the junction box and photograph it if that would help.
Maybe, later. What matters more is locating the pair of wires that are the panel feed and another pair of wires that will feed the lights.
 
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Old 05-17-13, 07:49 AM
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We're getting closer, I believe. The box for switch #2 has a black wire and 3 wire-tied white wires which test positive. Switch #1 has 2 black wires and a white. I knew which was the hot black lead by testing it earlier with the ground wire. Tested it today with the white wire and this hot black wire, and had no power, but I didn't test it with the other black wire. Looks like switch #2 is the panel feed.
 
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Old 05-17-13, 12:55 PM
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Oops, you said to find one white and one black. I tested the white wires that were tied together. Assume I need to release them from the wire ties and check them again for the proper white/black pair?
 
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Old 05-17-13, 08:40 PM
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Assume I need to release them from the wire ties and check them again for the proper white/black pair?
Yep .
 
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Old 05-18-13, 08:10 AM
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Ok, done. The 3 white wires tied together at switch #2 had one white wire that's hot with the only black wire in the box. I've marked it as the panel feed white wire. I also checked the black wire to ground, and it's hot also.
 
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Old 05-18-13, 04:04 PM
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The 3 white wires tied together at switch #2 had one white wire that's hot with the only black wire in the box. I've marked it as the panel feed white wire. I also checked the black wire to ground, and it's hot also.
Yes, that's it. Is that where you want to mount your new switch?
 
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Old 05-19-13, 11:10 AM
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Yes, the switch #2 location will work fine. Can't easily run a new wire, unless surface mounted, to the location of switch #1, and it would be wall and ceiling attached for about 40 feet. My wife would not be happy.
 
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Old 05-19-13, 12:35 PM
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Yes, the switch #2 location will work fine.
Is there a second cable from that location to the lights?
 
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Old 05-19-13, 04:03 PM
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There are two other cables in the switch #2 box. I'll attach a photo of the box and the cables.
 
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Old 05-19-13, 08:39 PM
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That's a nice clear photo, but it doesn't answer the question.
Is there a second cable from that location to the lights?
Does either of those two cables go to the lights?
 
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Old 05-20-13, 07:32 AM
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Hmm, there are 3 cables in the box, and we know one feeds from the panel box. Since the other two cables are hidden by drywall, I don't know where they go. Is there a way to figure this out? The only other electrical item in that area of the garage is the overhead door outlet in the ceiling. When I kill power to the lights using a single breaker in the panel box, the overhead door is also dead. I could plug in a long extension cord to the overhead door outlet, cut the power, and test the leads to single wires in the box.
 
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Old 05-20-13, 04:58 PM
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I just used a continuity tester to check the box wires and the garage door outlet in the ceiling, and one of the cables does feed this outlet. I marked both wires in the box which lead to the outlet, so the other cable pair must feed the lights.
 
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Old 05-21-13, 11:56 AM
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I just used a continuity tester to check the box wires and the garage door outlet in the ceiling, and one of the cables does feed this outlet. I marked both wires in the box which lead to the outlet, so the other cable pair must feed the lights.
It may, or it may go to the other switch location or that J-box you drew earlier.

Good job identifying the cable going to the garage door receptacle. That receptacle needs to be GFCI protected, BTW, but we can deal with that later (if it isn't already).

Wire-nut the wires in that last cable together and test for continuity at the lights, the J-box, and the other switch location. You may need to eliminate or cap off some wires that were needed for the 3-way setup in those areas anyway.
 
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Old 05-22-13, 05:52 PM
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Maybe this will better clarify things. I only have two 3-way switches and no junction box. I was confused, because there are wires from an original switch #1 to a later 3-way switch mounted on a garage wall, and the original switch box is on a stair wall near it. I thought this original box was a junction box, but I now see it's just a switch box. I'll attach a new illustration showing how it's really wired.

I tested each lead from switch #1 and found their counterpart wires in switch #2. Did the same with a fluorescent light by accessing the wiring near the ballast.
 
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Old 05-22-13, 08:36 PM
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OK. It sounds like you're saying now that the third cable at switch #1 is a 3-conductor that carries the travelers to switch #2, and that there's a 2-conductor cable going to the lights from switch #2. If so:

At switch #1, splice all the grounds together and bond the box, if it's metal, and your new switch to the ground wiring. Splice the three white wires together. Add a pigtail to the neutral splice and terminate that to your new switch if it requires a neutral. Splice the black wires in the two 2-conductor cables together and add a pigtail. Terminate that pigtail and the black wire in the 3-conductor cable to your new switch. Cap the red wire in the 3-conductor cable.

At switch #2 cap the red wire. Splice the other wires color-to-color. Cover the box with a blank plate.
 
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Old 05-23-13, 01:59 PM
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Perfect!

Success! I wired it as you said, and it works properly.

Sorry that I was so slow and unknowledgeable through this process. Sure appreciate your patience and clear guidance. The very good part of this, besides having a working sensor, is that I learned a lot. I can definitely say that I don't plan to go into the electrical business, and I really appreciate those of you who understand it.

Thanks so very much!
 
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Old 05-23-13, 04:27 PM
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Glad you got it working the way you wanted it to, and thank you for letting us know.

I learned a lot. I can definitely say that I don't plan to go into the electrical business, and I really appreciate those of you who understand it.
There's a book you can pick up that is both inexpensive and invaluable. It's called Wiring Simplified, and you can sometimes find it in the electrical aisle at a home improvement center or a well-stocked hardware store, if not online. It's in its 43rd edition now because it is continually updated, and it explains why, as well as how, residential electrical systems and their components work. And it's readable!

We sometimes call it the textbook for our online seminar.
 
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Old 05-24-13, 10:00 AM
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Excellent suggestion! I just added it to my Items to Purchase list on Evernote which I check each time I'm out shopping.
 
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Old 05-24-13, 12:37 PM
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Enjoy! .
 
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