Need help bypassing switch to replace outside light with motion sensor light.

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Old 01-21-14, 08:55 AM
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Need help bypassing switch to replace outside light with motion sensor light.

I am replacing an outdoor light with a motion sensor light. It is controlled by a switch that also controls other lights, also outdoors. I want to wire the motion sensor light to always be on but still have the other lights controlled by the switch.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 09:16 AM
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The motion controlled light must have power at all times. If you shut off the power to that light it won't work. Supply power to that light seperate from the other lights. You should be able to bypass the switch to supply power to the sensor light and still provide power,switched, to the other lights.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 05:32 PM
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All outside security lights, which often include lights controlled by photocells and motion detectors, must have a switch as a service disconnect.

Tell us how everything is wired now and we can advise you on strategies for making this happen.

I'm assuming you're asking about bypassing the switch so that you can turn the power to the other lights off while leaving it on to thw light with the motion detector. Is that correct?
 
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Old 01-21-14, 05:38 PM
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The motion controlled light must have power at all times. If you shut off the power to that light it won't work. Supply power to that light seperate from the other lights.
Lights controlled by photocells and motion detectors are like any other loads - they only need power when we need them to work. The power can be turned off at any other time. I know a number of folks who've installed a timer in place of the standard switch for these.

You should be able to bypass the switch to supply power to the sensor light and still provide power,switched, to the other lights.
If the existing lights are wired as a daisy chain, supplying one of those lights separately is likely to require changing some of the existing wiring.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 06:15 PM
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Natshkat1,

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. You are correct that a motion detector only needs power when in use, but the whole point of a motion detector is to provide action or light when motion is in fact detected. For that to happen you must have power to the unit at all times.

Also I assumed that when I said providing power to the motion detector needs to be separate from the other switched lights I also ment that is should also be switched for the option of turning the whole unit off. Although I have seen several new installs where the outside light fixture is not switched at all and can only be deactivated by the circuit breaker. Is that to code? IDK! But none the less its done.

Also most motion detector lights have three setting, always off, always on or on if motion detected. Albeit, it must be switched inorder to provide all three states.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 06:40 PM
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I have seen several new installs where the outside light fixture is not switched at all and can only be deactivated by the circuit breaker. Is that to code? IDK! But none the less its done.
No. AFAIK, a switch is required/ It's often included in the instructions for the motion detector/photocell, so not having one would be non-compliant for that reason alone.

the whole point of a motion detector is to provide action or light when motion is in fact detected. For that to happen you must have power to the unit at all times.
Not if it also has a photocell and you want to make sure it stays off on overcast days.
 
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Old 01-21-14, 06:57 PM
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Not if it also has a photocell and you want to make sure it stays off on overcast days.


I must be missing something! If I take a photo cell and lay it on my desk or on a table in bright sunlight or in my darkened closet, it won't do a thing! However, if I apply power to it, then I can activate or deactivate lights and other things.

To quote another source:

"Photocells are circuit elements that have many applications. A major application of photocells is in automatic lighting devices such as "dusk-to-dawn" lights. Photocells react to ambient light via a changing electrical resistance."

That electrical resistance has to be resisting against something, ergo a power source (120 vac)

Or do you mean a photovoltaic power supply? A solar cell? Which would supply the power to actually light the light as opposed to 120v ac.

Me thinks, we both misunderstand each other.

BTW...We agree on everything else. But like I said I've seen new installs without switches. And pass inspection. Not what I would want.
 
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