New outdoor light fixture compatibility with existing wiring
When we bought this house, the two old carriage light fixtures on either side of the garage door had had the sensors busted off. One of them works, the other doesn't, and they look bad. So I want to replace them. I've hardwired a smoke alarm before, and also replaced a broken light socket in an old fan successfully, so I think I can handle this.
I looked in the garage first. There is a standard light switch for those lights, but above the switch is a small electrical box sticking out from the wall. On the box is a printed set of instructions on how to flip the switch on/off in order to change from one timer setting to another.
What kind of replacement fixtures should I buy in order to match whatever function this box does? Does it matter? The current fixtures also had small switches on the fixtures themselves.
It sounds as though the extra boxes were just a device to cut the power to the lights while making adjustments. I wouldn't be too concerned. The main issue is to make sure you have power to the light fixtures and you're good to go. If the "extra boxes" have a switch, try it (them) to see if they cut power. If not, turn the appropriate breaker off before installing new light fixtures.
The wires should be 14/2 or 12/2 (nothing special) and if they were already in place, chances are everything is fine.