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Wiring a Motion Sensing Light Switch - In Series?

 
 
CDobyns
 
Reply Sun 9 Jun, 2013 06:24 pm
I have a GE Motion Sensing light switch, which I'm trying to wire into an existing circuit in my basement, obviously to turn on the lights when you enter the room. I'm reasonably adept at mainline household electrical repairs and retrofits. However, the configuration of the existing light switch versus the available wiring on the new motion sensing switch has me momentarily perplexed.

The motion sensing switch has the standard three-lead configuration, with a green (neutral), black (hot) and white (load) wires. The existing switch appears to have been wired "in series" (I'm not exactly sure about my proper use of terminology), where the switch is only wired to the neutral ground, and seems to have an input and output black (hot) wire. The inbound white (load) wire is directly connected with a wire nut to the wire to the two other bulbs on the circuit, where I assume the white (load) circuit terminates?

I guess I need to look at the motion sensing switch a little closer, since it must have input and output terminals, like the current switch. And connecting the green (neutral) is straight-forward. But what should I do with the white (load) wire from the motion sensing switch? Should that be wired into the inbound/outbound wiring that's directly connected with the wire nut? That's where I'm hazy since the existing switch doesn't currently have a white (load) wire.

I've tried to describe this sufficiently so that others can "visualize" what I'm seeing, but if it's unclear what's going on the actual "box" - please ask, and I'll attempt to clarify.
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Type: Question • Score: 1 • Views: 9,091 • Replies: 27
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CDobyns
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jun, 2013 09:45 pm
@CDobyns,
Let me already clarify a little terminology ineptitude. The original posting should reflect the following in the second paragraph (since someone is certain to highlight my misstatement . . .)

The motion sensing switch has the standard three-lead configuration, with a green (ground, not neutral), black (hot) and white (neutral, not load) wires.

And after reading through the switch documentation, I still do not yet see where the switch has the capability to be run "in series" to other boxes and lights, but need some mechanism to allow the switch to pass current through the black (hot) lead, down the circuit to other electrical boxes (and lights). Still not sure how to do that.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 11:13 am
@CDobyns,
Forgive me Dob but after spending about an hour attempting to address your q, I gave up. Some of your observations seem to contradict one another. For instance on one hand you seem to be saying that the existing switch is in series with the black or hot (as should be) but then in the next para it appears you're telling us it's connected in the "neutral" side

Please seek help before you electrocute yourself
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 11:47 am
@CDobyns,
Quote:
Let me already clarify…...(since someone is certain to highlight my misstatement . . .)
Okay we forgive you Dob, certainly

Quote:
The motion sensing switch has the standard three-lead configuration, with a green (ground, not neutral), black (hot) and white (neutral, not load) wires.
Yes that does make more sense though some may be confused by "not load," referring to the incoming white wire because it indeed does supply power to the load, that is its neutral side of course. Sometimes we loosely call this side the "return"

Yes Dob, I know the terminology but remember we're also addressing esl

Quote:
And after reading…...do not yet see where the switch has the capability to be run "in series" to other boxes and lights….. allow the switch to pass current…...to other electrical boxes (and [or] lights)...not sure…….
I suppose then you want the new switch to control also a second fixture, say a second light bulb somewhere. Disconnect the hot (center, second bulb's bottom) connection, connecting it (the terminal not the wire you just removed) also to the black wire from the switch (requiring you're familiar with a connection called the "splice"). The two loads are then said to be connected in parallel although they're still in series with the switch itself

But you now have a hot wire hanging loose at the second fixture; so you must also familiarize yourself with requirments of proper insulation

However, that suggestion is based on the notion that both bulbs share the same neutral, entailing possible problems with the load-carrying capacity of those neutrals, so I urge you to get further help asap
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 11:56 am
@CDobyns,
Wouldn't this be normal operation?

The switch controls the state of the circuit to all light fixtures controlled by the switch.

Switch open, all light fixtures off. Switch closed, all light fixtures on.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 12:00 pm
@DrewDad,
Thanks Drew for that. However I'm sure Dob understands about appliances already connected but he's a bit unclear about the terms "series" and "parallel"
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 12:09 pm
@CDobyns,
CDobyns wrote:
The motion sensing switch has the standard three-lead configuration, with a green (ground, not neutral), black (hot) and white (neutral, not load) wires.

And after reading through the switch documentation, I still do not yet see where the switch has the capability to be run "in series" to other boxes and lights, but need some mechanism to allow the switch to pass current through the black (hot) lead, down the circuit to other electrical boxes (and lights). Still not sure how to do that.

You should have a black input and a black output. The reason for the white connector is to provide power to the motion sensing electronics.

dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 12:18 pm
@CDobyns,
Quote:
But what should I do with the white (load) wire from the motion sensing switch?
We must presume that the white was intact when you started and that it runs through the switch box (which incidentally should normally be connected to green). Thus, again, if necessary do familiarize yourself with the idea of "splicing"

If the white wire however runs behind the box--isn't easily accessible--then we're in a another universe. Technically you might have to remove the box from the wall in order to gain access

Now, don't tell anybody I suggested this alternative because it could get you electrocuted: If no incoming white wire, simply connect the one from the switch to the box (This is assuming a metallic box and also one connected to earth ground. Metallic meaning that it conducts electricity

"Earth" , ordinarily the green wire, literally means "ground," the connection to a buried metallic object, and ordinarily is pretty close in potential to "neutral," depending of course, on various load factors

Dob I do hope we've been helpful so far but I urge you strongly to consult your dad

Forgive me Dob, couldn't resist; but best of luck in your risky venture

Do report back, reassuring us all is still well
0 Replies
 
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 12:20 pm
@DrewDad,
Quote:
The reason for the white connector is to provide power to the motion sensing electronics.

thank you Drew for that tidbit. Being a veteran in the field it had never occurred to me that Dob might not be aware of its function
0 Replies
 
timur
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 12:59 pm
CDobyns wrote:
GE Motion Sensing light switch

It would be interesting to know the model you have.

Because the one below, the GE 57885, has two black wires:


http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/2568/motionsensor.jpg
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 02:30 pm
@timur,
Forgive me Tim but if they're both black how do you distinguish one from the other
0 Replies
 
mesquite
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 05:22 pm
@CDobyns,
If after reading all of the above, you are still confused, I suggest you take a look at this page. It covers most of the circumstances that you may run into.

There still appears to be be an error in the info you have provided us. I could only find two types of GE motion detector switches. One was the switch that Timur illustrated which has two black wires (Line, Load) and a green (Gnd). The other is the GE 15314 which has a red (Load), black (Line) and green (Gnd).

The description you are providing sounds like it is more for a motion detector light assy than for a motion detector switch.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 05:47 pm
@mesquite,
Quote:
….. two types….One…...which has two black wires (Line, Load) and a green (Gnd). The other……. a red (Load), black (Line) and green (Gnd).
Thank you Mes on behalf of Dob. Apparently then it's not necessary to differentiate between the two black wires which incidentally brings one to wonder why the latter line-load has two different colors

Quote:
The description you are providing sounds like it is more for a motion detector light assy than for a motion detector switch.
Yes as I understand Dob, it must be a light

Dob let's hear from you, have we been of any help whatever
CDobyns
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 08:16 pm
@dalehileman,
Whoa! Post an inquiry on a Sunday . . . and everyone must be at church, (because there was nary a peep). Wait until the following Monday, and the input comes flooding in (thanks by the way).

Let's see what we can clear up, by way of some of the questions - and other observations. First, despite my lack of command of the exact terminology, I'm still more than convinced that this installation is within my capability (my dad was an electrical engineer, so this isn't my first or even second rodeo" - and no comments about the nut falling far from the tree . . . http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z319/CGDobyns/smile_zps830dc23c.gif). And despite the correct (and much-appreciated) cautions about being electrocuted, I'm canny enough to know to de-energize the circuit at the breaker box before working on anything.

So, this is a GE 57884 Motion Sensing switch. But it must be only slightly different than the GE 57885 (maybe color?). Regardless, this switch does have some minor differences. It has three adjustment screws (light, range, time). Additionally, while the diagram (posted) shows a second black wire (which is clearly the equivalent of the two terminals on the switch being replaced), my model has a red wire. Although the documentation associated with my switch is pretty crappy (another generally-accepted electrical term), I must assume that this is the equivalent to the black wire, which sends current down the circuit to the other light fixtures - when the motion sensor opens the circuit. Despite the lack of correct "color-coding", intuitively that sounds like it must be right. This execution on this will need to wait until the weekend, but it still gives folks four more days to provide more guidance (which I do welcome). Thanks to all.
mesquite
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Jun, 2013 11:58 pm
@CDobyns,
Ah, now you have a red wire rather than a white wire and are describing a switch that matches the diagram for the 15314, which is also listed as being for the 15884 (Ivory) and 15885 (White). The Black wire is the line in and the red wire is the switched power to the load.

http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/898/15314.gif
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jun, 2013 10:03 am
@mesquite,
Thanks Mes

One might still wonder why the two colors since you'd suppose it wouldn't matter which side line and which load
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jun, 2013 12:52 pm
@dalehileman,
dalehileman wrote:
One might still wonder why the two colors since you'd suppose it wouldn't matter which side line and which load

The electronics probably care quite a bit.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jun, 2013 01:04 pm
@DrewDad,
Drew I suppose you're right though I can't see how

Possibly there are different sorts of ac switch circuits, some fussy about which wire is source and which load
mesquite
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jun, 2013 03:17 pm
@dalehileman,
Dale, according to the link in my first post this one, The switches with a red wire are particular about which wire goes to the load. The ones with two black wires don't care. I suspect that means different electronics between the two.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jun, 2013 03:44 pm
@mesquite,
Quote:
I suspect that means different electronics between the two.
Yes Mes I suspect you're right
 

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