A motion sensor light is an automatically controlled outdoor light that switches on when it detects movement within its motion detection area.
Based on the sensitivity and model of your motion sensors, even small pets or wild animals can activate your motion sensor light switch. It is easy to install a motion sensor to your walls and will only take around an hour to get it set up and working.
A motion sensor light comprises three different colored wires: white, black, and red. Let’s take a look at how to wire a motion sensor light’s red wire as well as the other wires needed to make your light work.
How to Wire a Motion Sensor Light
1. Disconnect any electrical power that is connected to your light fixture that you will be wiring with the motion sensor. This could mean that you need to shut off the whole circuit break or just pulling the fuse which supplies the power to the electric circuit.
2. Unscrew the light bulb and remove it from the light fixture. If there are any glass covers or lenses, dismantle these from the light fixture.
3. Pull the lighting fixture away from the electrical box. If there are any fixture nuts, use a pair of pliers to loosen them. If there are any mounting screws, use a screwdriver to loosen them. Take note of the electrical connections that are on the inside of the mounting box of the light fixture.
4. Next, loosen all of the plastic wire nuts and remove them from the wire connections. Observe that the power supply is the black insulated wire, the electrical system’s neutral wire is the white insulated wire, and the electrical system grounding wire is the bare copper wire that you will see connected directly to the light fixture.
5. Take note of the electrical wires in the motion sensor. Normally, there are three wires in a motion sensor. Check on your specific motion sensor model for any connections or instructions because some models may have a different wiring system to what is described here. Typically, a white insulated wire, a black insulated wire, and a red insulated wire is most common for motion sensors.
6. Using a pair of wire strippers, remove ¾ inch of insulation from all of the motion sensor wires so that you can see the bare copper encased in each insulated wire.
7. Mount your motion sensor to your outdoor lighting fixture. Normally there will be two knock out holes that are each ½ inch in diameter on the exterior fixture. Using a screwdriver, remove one of these ½ inch metal discs so there is a hole. Place the threaded part of your motion sensor through this ½ inch hole. Tighten the motion sensor against the exterior light housing by putting an electrical nut on the threads. Use pliers to tighten the electrical nut so it is securely holding the motion sensor to the exterior light housing.
8. Next you need to connect all of the electrical wires in a specific order. The steps are as follows:
9. Take the copper wire from the red insulated wire in the motion sensor and twist it with the light fixtures black wire.
10. Use pliers to ensure there is a good electrical connection between the two wires.
11. Cover the wiring with a plastic wire nut.
12. Take the copper wire from the white insulated wire in the motion sensor and the white wire from the light fixture and twist it together.
13. Again, use pliers to ensure there is a good electrical connection between the two wires.
14. Cover the wiring with a plastic wire nut.
15. Take the copper wire from the black insulated wire in the motion sensor and twist it with the black wire that comes from the fuse or the power supply’s circuit breaker.
16. Cover the wiring with a plastic wire nut.
17. Lastly, connect the bare ground copper wire with the metal housing in the light fixture.
18. Install your fixture to the electric box. Put the light bulb and glass cover or lens back into the light fixture. Turn on the circuit breaker or install the fuse to reenergize the electric circuit. Switch on the interior light switch which control the light fixture if there is one.
Walk in front of the motion detector and check that the light comes on. Read through the directions from the manufacturer to check if there are any instructions about sensitivity or angular adjustment for the motion sensor.