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Old 07-31-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


I wanted to install a occupancy sensor in my laundry room. I removed the cover plate to the light switch and I only have a black and white wire running into to the box to the light switch. No green no bare copper and nothing running out. I knew that was not good. This house was built in about 1958ish.I find the breaker for the light that the switch controls and turn off breaker. Installed sensor and it didnt work (not surprised) When I turn off the light with the breaker back on I get a reading on the meter of about down to 88v and then it jumps up to about 111v and then slowly drops to about 88 v again and back up to 111 and keeps doing that.When I flip switch on and turn on the light I get 00.0 Meter is set at 200 ACVAs of right now I only have one CLF that is opereated by the light switch. What I would like to end up with is the occupancy sensor to turn on and off the light that is already hooked up now and add one more.I have done a little bit of electical work before in the house but I wanted to pick brains on this.Any tips as to what is going on/wrong and what I need to do would be appreciated.Thanks everyone.Joel
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:28 PM   #2
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


The sensor probably requires a neutral. If it is one that doesn't require a neutral then it runs a tickle current through the bulb to operate and probably won't work with the CFL or the CFL will flicker when off.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:33 PM   #3
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


Joed,The sensor is rated for CLF and a number of othe types of lights, also up to 1/6 hp motor load. I was mostly wondering if there was suppose to be wires coming in and then out of the switch box. I just hate old house wiring in general. I will check and see if a neutral is required. Thanks for the input!
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


How many wires are on the sensor? If it's only two, then replacing the CFL with an incandescent lamp will probably fix it. It may SAY it works with CFL, but it may not work properly with every CFL. Try incandescent and see what happens. If the sensor has three wires, though, then it requires a neutral and you won't be able to use it in this installation.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


Sensor has black green red blue. Blue is for a 3 way switch. I imagine if I had a 3 wire coming in id do black to black green to ground and red to white?I did try it with a regular light and that didnt help it. So it may be the lack of a ground thats causing it not to work properly, as you mention. Got a friend going to come over and look and see what I have in a bit.I appreciate the help everyone.
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


If i understand correctly, you only have two wires coming into the switch box?
If this is true, both wires are hot. It was common in older homes to supply power to
The light fixture first, then run two leads to the switch. The black would be constant hot,
And the white would be the switched hot.

Is the switch box metal?
Another thing to consider is that a 3-way wont work unless it is being connected to another 3-way.
If this is replacing a single pole switch, you should use a single pole sensor.

Last edited by MisterZ; 07-31-2012 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:09 PM   #7
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


That makes sense Misterz and you are correct just a black and white wire terminate at the light switch. Im going to go and check the wiring going to the light fixture and see if I can rewire the section going from the light to the switch with a ground. Would this be an ok idea to do? Its all rather easy to access. Then later in time I will replace the wiring going from the breaker box to the light itself.
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


if you have access, change out the wire with either 14/2 or 14/3 depending on how you want to use this area.
14/2 is adequate, but if in the future you plan on installing a fan with light, or something that would use the extra wire, then 14/3 is the way to go.

if you do not have access and the switch box is metal, you can add a ground wire to the box(assuming it has BX wiring which should continue ground to the panel)
Also as i mentioned before, a 3-way wont work. get a single pole sensor with three wires- Black, Red or White, and ground.
unless yours can be wired single or 3-way. what brand and model sensor do you have??
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:36 PM   #9
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


Z,It is a CORE lighting controls #OS306U. The 3 way blue wire is there only as an option.I always prefer to overkill or over do it with stuff like this and thus I will get 14/3. Thanks.I have been able to trace the wire off the panel and across the basement celing and then it goes up the outside wall of my kitchen...up to two outlets then it goes into the room the sensor was to be installed.So my next issue is since I cant get to the wire that goes behind the wall how can I begin using 14/3 wire somewhere near the end? especially if the original wire has no ground at the breaker box? *grumble*I do have access to the switch box which is metal..but I dont know what BX wiring is. The wire is the black cloth type with the b/w wire wrapped in a brown type of paper. Are you suggesting running a single grounding wire from where the sensor is going back to the breaker panel?
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:15 PM   #10
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterZ View Post
If i understand correctly, you only have two wires coming into the switch box?
If this is true, both wires are hot. It was common in older homes to supply power to
The light fixture first, then run two leads to the switch. The black would be constant hot,
And the white would be the switched hot.

Is the switch box metal?
Another thing to consider is that a 3-way wont work unless it is being connected to another 3-way.
If this is replacing a single pole switch, you should use a single pole sensor.
The white is supposed to be the constant hot.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:55 PM   #11
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


brric, yes you are correct
to be certain it was wired this way you should check at the light fixture. make sure which is Hot, and which is switched.

BX wire is cased in metal. you wont see it from inside the box, but if you can see
where the wire clamps to the box it would look similar to this:


this metal casing bonds ground from the panel to switch box.

you can get a metal box with ground screw. attatch a piece of copper to extend ground to device.



connect black from sensor to constant hot wire.
connect Red OR Blue (depending which is for 3-way) to switched wire.
hook up ground, turn on power, and test.

usually the third extra wire would be labeled with tape to distinguish between single/3-way hook ups.


if you were to run new 14/3, it would come off the light fixture box to the switch box
because this is where power to the switch originated.

just to be clear, i am not an electrician but have done my share of re-wiring and service upgrades.
I hope this gets you going
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


Here is a shot of the switch box and one of the light boxes. As ya can see its old stuff.
I also considered the idea of simply running new wire for the lights in the laundry room and the sensor and just leave the rest of the old stuff as is for now. That may be easier. I could then just run 14/2 since the wires will only be for the lights and nothing more.....
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:26 PM   #13
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


well, you certainly do not have BX wiring at the switch. i have pulled out plenty of this old stuff too.
maybe it's just my eyes, but the black from the light box looks to have bare copper showing...
or where they twisted on another wire. not liking the looks of that.

if it were my home i would re-wire everything on that circuit straight from the panel on a 15amp breaker
and non-metallic boxes.
But im also known to go over the top
If you decide to do this, run power to the switch and from the switch to the lights.

you have a few options, with my suggestion being the most extreme.
whatever you decide, use caution and plan ahead.
with multiple devices on a single circuit, a small job can become large quickly.

Last edited by MisterZ; 07-31-2012 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:48 PM   #14
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


Your switch requires a neutral. You don't have one in that box.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:04 PM   #15
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Here is an interesting/odd electrical issue..


originally i thought this too, but he describes the wires as follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by hummer4x4guy View Post
Sensor has black green red blue. Blue is for a 3 way switch.
Not seeing a Neutral there... maybe he left it out of the description
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