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smokey847 05-31-2012 12:13 AM

Garage Light Situation
In our detached garage, we have a wall sconce between the doors. This is rigged to the garage opener by placing a socket-to-receptacle converter in the socket for the light in the opener, which is connected to the outdoor sconce, thus, turning the outside light on when the door is raised, someone crosses the lasers, etc. I am aware this is completely rigged and likely a fire hazard--this is why I am posting.

I would like to be able to turn on the light from a switch I install, but also for it to activate with the garage door. Any way of doing the two of these?

k_buz 05-31-2012 12:25 AM

I can think of a decent way to do it. It would include a 120V photocell and motion sensor.

1) Bring power to the switch box for your switch.
2) Run straight power to a photocell on the outside of the garage from the switch box
3) Wire a ceiling mounted motion sensor to the load side of the photo cell and mount it above the door when it is raised
4) Wire the light fixture to the load side of the motion sensor

(The photocell will only allow the motion sensor to turn the light on when it is dark out)

5) Run a normal switch leg to the light fixture

At the light fixture you will have three wires in the splices. The switch leg from the switch, the switch leg from the motion sensor, and the wire from the light fixture.

fa_f3_20 05-31-2012 11:49 PM

An alternative to motion sensor, if you didn't mind hacking into your garage door opener, would be to wire a relay into its light circuit. This would probably void the warranty, but it's doable.

I will note that this is the sort of thing that home automation systems can do in a snap. IMO more people should have one.

smokey847 06-01-2012 12:07 AM

I'm not opposed at all--please explain a bit more please.

joed 06-01-2012 07:20 AM

No need to hack into the opener circuit just get a screw in adapter for light socket.

smokey847 06-01-2012 09:25 AM

Thats what I currently have but I would also like to be able to turn it on from a switch as well.

curiousB 06-01-2012 09:39 AM

Put one of these relays at the switch box with NO contacts in parallel with the manual switch. Then run low 24V line from coil side of relay to the GD opener. Put a bulb to plug adapter (as shown in #5) in one of the bulb spots. Then plug in a cheap 24 V "wall wart" transformer and connect with LV wiring back to the relay coil.

Now external lights will be on if either the switch is on or the GD opener light is one. Since the RIB is UL listed and mounts in a knockout of the switch box this would be code compliant.

joed 06-01-2012 11:52 AM

My GDO has a work light switch on the manual panel. I can turn it on/off anytime without opening the door.

curiousB 06-01-2012 11:57 AM


Originally Posted by joed (Post 933864)
My GDO has a work light switch on the manual panel. I can turn it on/off anytime without opening the door.

Most if not all do.

I think the point here is that in addition to being able to manually turn on garage lights you can also have the entire garage light up when the door opens. Particularly valuable in multi-car garage where the GDO light only illuminates the bay opened. If you use the GDO to turn on a relay all the lights in the garage can come on, including lights in front of garage.

joed 06-01-2012 12:08 PM

Use a motion sensor switch. I don't like the idea of modifying GDO to direct connect to house wiring.

curiousB 06-01-2012 01:28 PM


Originally Posted by joed (Post 933878)
Use a motion sensor switch. I don't like the idea of modifying GDO to direct connect to house wiring.

To each his own.

The solution I outlined doesn't modify the GDO. It just re-purposes a light bulb holder to drive a relay. The modifications are on the home wiring front by adding the relay. It isn't direct connect either since there are two cascaded isolation points; 1) the small transformer plugged into the bulb adapter at the GDO and 2) the relay (a UL approved device) mounted at the switch location. There is plenty of electrical isolation between these two devices.

smokey847 06-05-2012 10:42 PM


Where could I purchase one of these relays, and what exactly is it called? It does't appear for sale on the site you listed--i'd love to buy locally.

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