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Old 10-12-2009, 07:09 AM   #1
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Help? Motion Sensor receptacle


I change out my light receptacle in the garage with a motion sensor receptacle. The motion sensor receptacle has 1 wire green and two wires black. In the outlet box all three wires are black. I finally got the light to work in the garage but the other outlets in the house does not work now. The motion sensor receptacle has a cover on it on the back and the wires are exiting the rear of the cover thru a smal hole. I swap the black wires and still yet it would not work. If I swap the green wire then the light will not work at all in the garage. Don't know what else to do.
Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-12-2009, 08:05 AM   #2
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Help? Motion Sensor receptacle


There is something fishy about that motion detector receptacle.

It needs three wires none of which are green. One for the power to the light being controlled and also to power itself, one wire as a neutral for the detector itself, and one for the light being controlled.

The green is for ground. It is technically illegal to use ground as a neutral.

I would not come right out and say that nothing but three black wires coming into the box from behind is fishy because prior to 1940, some homes had all black wires. You do need to find out which is hot, which is neutral, and which is the continuation to either the light being controlled or to other outlets.

What does the motion detector instructions say?

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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-12-2009 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:00 AM   #3
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Help? Motion Sensor receptacle


AllanJ,
The instruction said to attach the green to ground. One black to hot and the other black to neutral.

How to I find out which is neutral and which is continuation? I have a volt meter. I guess I know which is one is hot due to the sensor is working. But the others black wire were swap and still yet did not work. I'm new to this please bare this in mind.

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Old 10-12-2009, 09:05 AM   #4
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Help? Motion Sensor receptacle


You are talking about a "light receptacle" and a "motion sensor receptacle".... do you mean switches?
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:51 AM   #5
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Help? Motion Sensor receptacle


Another thread that needs more info from op pics would also help
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Old 10-12-2009, 12:33 PM   #6
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Help? Motion Sensor receptacle


Ah yes. This motion detector controls only a receptacle built into it.

Measure voltage between combinations of the black wires coming out of the box, two at a time. Also measure between each black wire and ground (the latter may be the box itself if that is metal).

Only one black wire should be party to all the measurements that came up with 120 volts. It's the hot wire. Temporarily mark it with red tape.

Connect that wire to one of the two motion sensor black wires. Connect one of the other black wires in the box to the other motion sensor black wire. Plug an incandescent light into the built in receptacle and see if the motion detection works and the light comes on full brightness. (YOu do not have to put the cover plate on yet.) Exchange the non-red marked black wires from the box and repeat.

Provide that exactly one of the two combinations worked correctly, reconnect that combination to work (neutral is now on the detector; mark it with white tape) and then connect the loose black wire (the continuation) to the side with the red marked black wire.

(If any of the the above steps did not give exactly the results I described, stop right there. You will need to do more elaborate wire tracing before continuing.)

Don't forget to unscrew the fuse or flip off the breaker again before doing any connecting, disconnecting, or exchanging of wires.

It is technically improper to mark a non-white wire white for use as a neutral. But for an older house with all black wires, go ahead and do that to help you remember which is which once you identify a wire as being a neutral. Eventually, knob and tube wiring should be replaced with more modern wiring such as Romex.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 10-12-2009 at 12:48 PM.
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