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Old 02-06-2011, 12:04 AM   #1
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Both wires in switch are black


Due to weather in past few days my exterior motion light turns on frequently due to high winds. I decided to switch it off from inside and it would not switch off. I had to shut down breaker to switch it off. I thought it is bad switch so I decided to replace it, when I opened the existing switch I found 2 black wires connected to switch and regular copper ground. Is this normal?

I moved into this house in May, so have no idea if the switch is truly used to control exterior light, I was told that it is used for that purpose.
There is no other switch nearby, next to this on the same breaker switch I have a 3 switch which is used to control garage light and it works fine.

How do I troubleshoot this? Is this bad wiring?

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Old 02-06-2011, 12:31 AM   #2
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Both wires in switch are black


Your switch is probably wired correctly. The switch simply interrupts the current in the black wire, so essentially the black wire comes in and the black wire goes out. The white neutrals are probably connected in the back of the box. The switch is likely in a plastic box, which is why it has the ground wire connected directly to it.

I'd guess that the photocell and/or motion sensor in the light fixture is probably the issue. But for a buck or two you can replace the switch and rule that out. Or you could temporarily install a cheap-o light fixture or porcelain lamp holder without a photocell or motion sensor to figure out if your fixture is bad.

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Old 02-06-2011, 06:47 AM   #3
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Both wires in switch are black


Thanks I have replaced the switch. This stared when I changed the bulbs to HE bulbs for outdoor lighting, I bought them at Costco. I will replace with standard bulb and try it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:47 AM   #4
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Both wires in switch are black


Quote:
Originally Posted by Manshri View Post
This stared when I changed the bulbs to HE bulbs for outdoor lighting, .
I would not have expected a different kind of bulb to make the motion detector more sensitive.

Are there tree branches in "view" of the sensor that blow in the wind?

Are there dogs or raccoons or rats that traverse the area?

The sensor may have a sensitivity adjustment, possibly using a screwdriver inserted in a hole, you could use to make it not turn on so often. The sensor should have a physical adjustment to aim it so as not to pick up extraneous motion.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-06-2011 at 07:53 AM.
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