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preciouschristy 10-17-2011 12:42 PM

Wiring a light switch
 
I have a timer/light switch which controls the outdoor motion sensor and patio lights. The motion sensor lights are obviously not original to the house, so I believe that the timer was probably not, either. I'm planning to remove the motion sensor lights, as we never use them, and they're wired incorrectly (loose NM cable on the outside of the house).

My first step is going to be replacing the timer switch with a regular light switch, as the timer switch is difficult to turn on and off. When I pulled out the timer switch, however, the configuration is not one I've seen before. Two cables, one with black, white, and ground; the other with black, white, ground, and red. The red wire was pigtailed to one of the two wires on the timer, the black wires are pigtailed together with the other wire on the timer. The ground wires are pigtailed together, not attached to anything.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with the red wire when I put in the regular single-pole switch. I'm not an electrician, but I have replaced switches before, they're not generally this complicated. Should I just wire it the same as the timer was? Please help.

Code05 10-17-2011 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by preciouschristy (Post 750580)
I have a timer/light switch which controls the outdoor motion sensor and patio lights. The motion sensor lights are obviously not original to the house, so I believe that the timer was probably not, either. I'm planning to remove the motion sensor lights, as we never use them, and they're wired incorrectly (loose NM cable on the outside of the house).

My first step is going to be replacing the timer switch with a regular light switch, as the timer switch is difficult to turn on and off. When I pulled out the timer switch, however, the configuration is not one I've seen before. Two cables, one with black, white, and ground; the other with black, white, ground, and red. The red wire was pigtailed to one of the two wires on the timer, the black wires are pigtailed together with the other wire on the timer. The ground wires are pigtailed together, not attached to anything.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with the red wire when I put in the regular single-pole switch. I'm not an electrician, but I have replaced switches before, they're not generally this complicated. Should I just wire it the same as the timer was? Please help.

Turn off circuit.

Put black wires on SP switch.

Cap red.

Wire nut whites together.

Wire nut and pig tail bare wires to switch.

Replace fixture.

jbfan 10-17-2011 12:59 PM

Just a guess, but it seems that the two black wires are power in and power out with a constant hot, maybe to the motion lights, and the red wire was a switch leg for the patio lights.

Is this the case?

Code05 10-17-2011 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jbfan (Post 750591)
Just a guess, but it seems that the two black wires are power in and power out with a constant hot, maybe to the motion lights, and the red wire was a switch leg for the patio lights.

Is this the case?

So, you thinking the black is a feed to another light/device also. Good call.
I misread OP about timer and switch to 2 fixtures.

preciouschristy 10-17-2011 01:09 PM

Not sure. I never could figure out how to work the timer, and most of the motion sensor lights have no bulbs in them, so I've only ever used it as a on/off switch. If that is true, can I still wire a regular single-pole switch the way Code05 suggests?

jbfan 10-17-2011 01:13 PM

When you turn the timer off, does the motion lights go out also?

jbfan 10-17-2011 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Code05 (Post 750597)
So, you thinking the black is a feed to another light/device also. Good call.
I misread OP about timer and switch to 2 fixtures.

I'm thinking it might be a constant hot to the motion lights, and the red a switch leg to the patio lights.

Code05 10-17-2011 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jbfan (Post 750605)
I'm thinking it might be a constant hot to the motion lights, and the red a switch leg to the patio lights.

Works for me.

preciouschristy 10-17-2011 01:19 PM

Well- the timer has a dial and a little on/off switch at the top. When I switch the on/off switch to "on", the patio light and the one motion sensor light that has bulbs in it go on. When I switch it off, both lights go off, and the motion sensor light doesn't come back on. But since I don't know how to program the "timer" part, I have no idea when they're "supposed" to be on, but they never seem to be on except when I turn them on.

Code05 10-17-2011 01:21 PM

What is the red wire connected to in the fixture boxes?

preciouschristy 10-17-2011 01:32 PM

It appears that the red wire is superfluous. In the fixture, it's pigtailed with all the black wires.


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