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Old 09-01-2013, 12:14 PM   #1
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


Hey Guys & Gals,

I have power to a switch box and from there I want to run a 2 or 3 wire to a motion light at the top peak of my garage. I'm thinking I need a 3 wire for this. White is the neutral and bare is the ground - tie the black into the switch so I can turn it on when needed (like shine light outside garage while I am inside the garage) and use the red wire as the constant hot that would feed it and turn on when motion outside was detected - when the black wire in the switch was turned off.

Thoughts - wrong/right? - Cost of 14/2 over 14/3 no big deal - about a 15 ft run from switch box to light.

I don't want to have to have the switch in a constant "on" mode - so I think the red wire satisfies this.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:17 PM   #2
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


Motion detectors have a manual mode and an automatic mode. You flip the switch in a certain pattern to change modes. You only need a 2 wire.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:02 AM   #3
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


I knew that you had do some combo of on and off - I think 3x quickly.
What I was getting at is - with a 2-wire the switch has to be "ON" for the motion to work at night.

I am concerned that the wife and/or kids will turn it off - since the switch is in the garage and at night the garage door will be closed and locked and the light at the peak won't work.

Am I correct?
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:55 AM   #4
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


The always hot red wire will render the switch and black wire completely useless and cancel your ability to set modes. There are a couple options you could employ at the switch that would get you where you need to be. One is a switch cover that prevents normal operation. Another is to eliminate the switch. There are also keyed switches available. My all time favorite though is the tape all over the switch and a nasty note warning others to leave it alone.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:29 AM   #5
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


PC - enlighten me on how the red and black will disable it?
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:58 AM   #6
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


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PC - enlighten me on how the red and black will disable it?
If the red is feeding the light all the time with power how will the black interrupt that feed?
It won't.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


True, very true - just seems weird that I need to do the on/off 3x or whatever the instructions say to get it to stay on.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:37 PM   #8
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


I've always hated that 'flip the modes' nonsense on 2-wire motion lights. What's the correct way to wire it with 3 wires and the motion as always activating but with the wall switch being able to turn it on/off manually?
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:40 PM   #9
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


If you run a switch leg to the fixture side of the motion detector, you will be able to turn it on manually, but off will be controlled by the detector. In addition, if you turn the switch on, you disable the motion sensor.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


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In addition, if you turn the switch on, you disable the motion sensor.
In that you're providing power through the switch, not so much "disabling" the sensor, just keeping the light lit regardless of what the sensor indicates. What you lose is the auto-off aspect. But at least then the switch acts like a switch should, discrete on/off control. And then just fall back to motion detected activation when the switch is 'off'. Granted, you'd lose the ability to force it to stay off.
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:54 PM   #11
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


WK - that's what I want!! - but now I am getting mix signals that I can't do it.

I don't care about a "total" off setting. I want it to work when needed (as in detect motion) when I am not in the vicinity/turn off after the pre-set timer expires AND I want to turn it on an stay on when I need the light for an extended period of time.

Am I crazy?
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:59 PM   #12
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


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Originally Posted by icepal1999 View Post
WK - that's what I want!! - but now I am getting mix signals that I can't do it.

I don't care about a "total" off setting. I want it to work when needed (as in detect motion) when I am not in the vicinity/turn off after the pre-set timer expires AND I want to turn it on an stay on when I need the light for an extended period of time.

Am I crazy?
Bonsoir Icepal.,

You are not " Fou " ( crazy )

But let us suggest a better idea why not use two gang switch box and one single pole switch act like a master switch to complety shut off if the motion sensor do fail so you can able turn it off mais.,

The timer you can set up on red conductor so you can force the luminaire to stay on when the timer is enabled ( on ) mode so therefore you will need XX-3 conductor for this set up.

We have done this few time before in France.

Merci,
Marie et Marc
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:21 PM   #13
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


Sure, if you have the opportunity to run the added wire, that's a fine idea. But then you're faced with people not screwing up the setting of the other switch!

And be sure if you do set one up for pseudo-manual operation that you get a sensor that's NOT 'intelligent'. Or at least has a 'dummy' mode to keep it from getting configured for that on-off-on-off nonsense.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:34 PM   #14
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


There will be only switch as this is a single box. No one will have a clue about the on/off 3x thing either.

I rather just run the 14-3 wire with the black as the switch and the red bypass the switch and be the constant hot so that the light will go on when it detects motion outside the garage. I will only turn the light switch on when I need light to be on till I am done working in the area instead of flailing my arms around so that motion is sensed and the light comes back on.

Plus on the flip side:

1) If I forget to turn the light off - I will noticed because it will be on past it's pre-set time.

2) With the 14-2 wire - if the switch was turned off by accident by me, kids, wife, etc. - the motion would never come on - so by having the constant hot this won't become and issue.

The light is a 2-headed flood with the motion on it - nothing special just the standard one you pick up at HD.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:33 AM   #15
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2-wire or 3-wire for Motion Light?


Let us know how that works out. I like that configuration but am concerned that the motion sensor electronics will not tolerate having line applied on load side.
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