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Old 12-11-2011, 09:46 PM   #1
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Odd wiring... to me anyway


Hello All,

Just purchased a house which has in more than one location a switched light that also has a night sensor motion detector.

I have confirmed that there are 2 separate 110 lines running to the lights.

One hot comes from the switch, the other hot is that way 100% of the time and passes through the sensor and then both are wire nutted to the light. In fact if the night sensor triggers the power to the light and you turn on the switch, you notice the lights getting a bit brighter.

This place was owned by an electrician who added power all around the property and to me seems like quality work. This however has me stumped.

Thanks for the feedback!
BR

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Old 12-11-2011, 09:54 PM   #2
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What is the question?

Some motion detector switches may not deliver the full voltage to the light being controlled. This discrepancy might be in the form of a different AC waveform or an outright lower voltage. When you flip the switch to override the motion detector switch, you apply the full line voltage and (sine) waveform from the raw power and the light brightens up a bit.

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Old 12-11-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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I have 4 wires coming into the light box. Black, Red, white and green. The black is hot 100% of the time. The Red is hot when the switch is on.
At the switch box the black is made into a pigtail with one going to one side of the switch the other black goes to the light box. The other side of the switch is the red wire which also goes to the light box.

There are 2 separate hot leads, each 110 volt. One is controlled by a switch, the other is goes on and off by the sensor. That would have to mean 220 volts.

Does not seem right to me.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:28 PM   #4
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Sounds like there is only ONE 'hot lead'. It serves the switch as well as the sensor. The red conductor is not a 'hot lead'.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:42 PM   #5
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I guess I am missing something and thanks for the help.

If the red is hot when the switch is on and the black is hot all the time, and both go to the wire from the light.

I guess a simple test is to check the voltage at the light with the switch off and on.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:45 PM   #6
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Sounds like it is set up to turn on via the sensor. The switch is there to over ride the sensor. If someone goes into the room and sits out sight of the sensor the light will go off. This way you can turn on hte lights from the switch and not have the light go off. The extra brightness comes from the fact that the sensor having electronic components inside probably has a couple of volts drop.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:07 PM   #7
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That is called wired in "parallel". Or dual function.

Either the motion detector can turn on the light OR the switch.

For example if you were having a bunch of electricians over for a party in the yard, you might want the lights to stay on all the time. So switch them on.

Or if you hear a noise which might be a prowler, you might want to turn on the lights.

And the motion detector is probably an "electronic switch" which does not pass every bit of electricity through like a switch would. Thus it being a bit brighter with the switch.
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Old 12-11-2011, 11:24 PM   #8
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Until I can find out more, I have removed the hot to the sensor(on 100% of the time). At the wire-nut, with the switch on I had 220v, switch off 110v. Even though I know it takes 2 separate 100 circuits to make 220v as a novice, I have never seen 2 separate 100 lines joined via a wire nut.

If this is to operate as a dual function, it would seem someone got in there and moved wires around and or changed out the type of sensor which I guess has fewer wires. If the sensor had the wire to accommodate the wire from the switch it would make sense. As it is, this has 3 which includes the ground.

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Old 12-11-2011, 11:36 PM   #9
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For parallel dual function, both the motion sensor and switch should be from the same circuit. Or at least the same "phase" on the panel.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:11 AM   #10
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ahhhhhhh.....maybe my rheostat(brain) is starting to brighten....

Because the 1 hot lead coming into the light box, leaves as 2 separate leads (one on switch, one not) it can be viewed the same as single line?

(still rubb'n head) but.. my meter says 220v .. would that not mean 220 volts to the bulbs?

Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG1RED9 View Post
ahhhhhhh.....maybe my rheostat(brain) is starting to brighten....

Because the 1 hot lead coming into the light box, leaves as 2 separate leads (one on switch, one not) it can be viewed the same as single line?
Oui it been done pretty often to bypass the motion sensor I did the same way in my home in France I have two hot conductors one is switched and other one is actived ( live ) however keep them on the same phase otherwise you will get your 240 volts if you have MWBC ( mulit wire branch circuit ) at the switch box so take a quick peek to confirm it.


(still rubb'n head) but.. my meter says 220v .. would that not mean 220 volts to the bulbs?maybe so but do you have digtail or anlog voltmeter ? if digtial somecase weak battery can play trick with reading.

Thanks!
My answer in bleu and take a look at the switch box for the connection as well to confirm and if you can take a photo that will really help a bit there.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:48 AM   #12
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Is the meter set to AC or DC? Should be AC...
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:17 AM   #13
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I'm not a MOD but I'm thinking of throwing a yellow flag on this one...especially on the claim of 220 volts (whistle blowing).

Last edited by jlmran; 12-14-2011 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
Is the meter set to AC or DC? Should be AC...
Digital set to AC
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlmran View Post
I'm not a MOD but I'm thinking of throwing a yellow flag on this one...especially on the claim of 220 volts (whistle blowing).
At present I have it disconnected.

All wiring inside and out is in conduit.

The lights that I am dealing with are outdoors, with several switches controlling them. For the light I am working on, I have determined that the wires from the switch go to a different light pole outside which has a junction box. From that junction box the wires heads to the light in question. It also has a junction box and a day/night/motion sensor.


I need to re-check the whole mess... won't be until the weekend.

Thanks

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