Adding a motion detector to 2 garage carriage lights

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by rockycmt, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. rockycmt

    rockycmt Member

    Nov 13, 2007
    New York Metro Area
    I am familiar with basic lighting wiring. This setup is not for security but is for convenience. I just never installed an addon motion detector. Only installed those all in one units. Here is what I have currently. Garage is unfinished inside. 2 carriage lights on either side of garage door operated by a single switch (Did not buy the lights yet). I want to insert a motion detector between the switch and the lights. This is what I have read to do...

    all whites together
    power black --> motion black
    motion red --> Fixture black
    All grounds together

    Please validate this wiring setup.

    Also are there different types of addon detectors that i need to choose from?
    (Given standard outdoor carriage lights)
    Will the switch act as a motion override if thrown off then on within 3 seconds? Is this a feature of the motion detector i need to look for or is standard?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    From a general viewpoint, that wiring is fairly common BUT, you'd have to read the specific installation instruction for the one you buy to get it right. The constant on override function is also a function of the brand and model you buy.
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  4. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Aug 23, 2005
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)
    Columbus, OH
    Your wiring seems correct. Basically the motion detector is like a second switch in series w/ the addition of a neutral going to it. Check the instructions first though.

    I've seen a three position toggle switch before. You could use one of those such that the lights are either ON, OFF, MOTION. For this, you'd connect that third position wire to the fixtures after the motion detector.

    I have a light that is wired as you describe above, but the turn on for 2 seconds and off for one and on again to stay on constantly is annoying. Every now and again it stays on when its not supposed to or it goes off when I think it is on.
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Keep in mind that the motion detector you have probably will NOT work with fluorescent lights.
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