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Old 01-13-2009, 04:44 PM   #1
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Motion flood "non-standard" wiring


I also posted this in another site's forum but thought I might get some responses here too.

I want to install 2 separate floodlights each with its own RAB Stealth motion sensor on my boat house/dock. I also want maximum flexibility to switch on and off each light (motion sensor) independently and for setting each sensor’s functions and to facilitate testing and trouble shooting. I also want the ability to have both lights come on if either sensor detects motion but also the ability to switch this function off. I think I have the wiring figured out but also I have a sense in the back of my mind that I may be doing something wrong.

I plan to install a triple gang box with 3 switches. Switches 1 & 2 will receive power from the same feed circuit (14-2) from the existing sub panel at the boathouse. These switches will be wired in the normal manner but with a 14-3 wire going from each switch to a motion sensor. The black wire from each 14-3 will be wired to switch 1 or 2 and to the input (black wire) of a motion sensor. Switch 3 will be used to control whether each sensor will turn on both lights or just its own lights. In the switch box the red wires from each 14-3 will be connected to Switch 3. Switch 3 will not get power from the feed. At each light the red wire in the 14-3 will be connected to the red output wire from the motion sensor along with the black wires to the lamps. All white wires will be tied together and all bare and green wires will be tied together.

Anything wrong with this configuration and does it meet electrical codes. I don’t want to create any kind of wrong wiring “loops”. Any comments or advice will be welcome. Thanks


Last edited by Fishin_Man; 01-14-2009 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Edited to remove incorrect reference to 2 pole switches
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Old 01-13-2009, 04:53 PM   #2
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Motion flood "non-standard" wiring


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Originally Posted by Fishin_Man View Post
I also posted this in another site's forum but thought I might get some responses here too.

I want to install 2 separate floodlights each with its own RAB Stealth motion sensor on my boat house/dock. I also want maximum flexibility to switch on and off each light (motion sensor) independently and for setting each sensor’s functions and to facilitate testing and trouble shooting. I also want the ability to have both lights come on if either sensor detects motion but also the ability to switch this function off. I think I have the wiring figured out but also I have a sense in the back of my mind that I may be doing something wrong.

I plan to install a triple gang box with 3 switches. Switches 1 & 2 will receive power from the same feed circuit (14-2) from the existing sub panel at the boathouse. These switches (2 pole) will be wired in the normal manner but with a 14-3 wire going from each switch to a motion sensor. The black wire from each 14-3 will be wired to switch 1 or 2 and to the input (black wire) of a motion sensor. Switch 3 will be used to control whether each sensor will turn on both lights or just its own lights. In the switch box the red wires from each 14-3 will be connected to a pole on Switch 3. Switch 3 will not get power from the feed. At each light the red wire in the 14-3 will be connected to the red output wire from the motion sensor along with the black wires to the lamps. All white wires will be tied together and all bare and green wires will be tied together.

Anything wrong with this configuration and does it meet electrical codes. I don’t want to create any kind of wrong wiring “loops”. Any comments or advice will be welcome. Thanks

I believe what you have described will work with no violations.

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Old 01-14-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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Motion flood "non-standard" wiring


Thanks Chris. I was concerned that by wiring to the output wire of the motion sensors I may be back feeding the sensor but I have been told that the RAB sensor can handle that.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
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Motion flood "non-standard" wiring


I think I follow what it is you would like to do. Here's how I would wire it up:

14/3 From Light 1 (Black to Power In of Motion Sensor, Red to Output of Motion Sensor and to Lights at location 1) this gets wired to a 3-way switch. Do this the same for the second light to a second 3 way switch.

Separate power in (14/2) feeds a hot into the common screw of switches 1 and 2 and the red/black wires from each light tie to the other two terminals. This allows you to switch the lights from constant on and motion sensor.

The third switch just needs to be a single pole switch, tie a pigtail off both red wires to the single pole switch to make or break the connection from the output of the motion sensors. This will only work if BOTH switches are set to motion sensor (switches 1 and 2); otherwise the lights would both be on constant if switches 1 and 2 are not both in motion sensor.

As far as "backfeeding" the motion sensors, this should not be an issue so long as both lights are only fed from one power source.

Just thinking about it, technically switches 1 and 2 could be single pole switches. You would just tie the power in to the black wires of both fixtures and both switches 1 and 2, with the red wire of each fixture tied to the other side of the switches. Motion sensors would have power all the time and would attempt to turn the lights on even if the single pole switches are already on (bypassing the motion sensors).

Dang, thats a long post. I hope this makes sense. I'd draw up a diagram but I am at work right now.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:52 PM   #5
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Motion flood "non-standard" wiring


if you turn on and off the switch quickly it will set these to test mode. on off on quickly will keep them on.,
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:20 PM   #6
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Motion flood "non-standard" wiring


Per the manual for the RAB sensors I can turn the lights on as long as it is dark (photocell) by flicking the switch twice. Flicking it 3 times will set it to come on at dusk and stay on for however long the evening timer on the sensor is set for. Turning the switch off for at least 10 seconds and then on sets them to the test mode for 5 minutes, then they go to normal mode which is motion activated on if its dark. As an FYI, test mode in daylight just lights an LED on the sensor for 3 seconds if motion is detected. At night the lights go on for 3 seconds.

One of the reasons I wanted the flexibility to switch on and off the function of having both on even if only one senses motion or is turned on is if I'm on my boathouse at night and only needed one light. The other light will be used to shine down the pier for entering the boathouse from land and to light a deck area.

I don't think I need 3-way switches or "feed" power to switch 3 because of how the lights can be turned on by flicking the switches.

Thanks for the replies.


Last edited by Fishin_Man; 01-14-2009 at 03:23 PM.
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