Removing & Rewiring a Motion Sensor From a Light

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A motion sensor module enables any lighting fixture to become an automated security light. You must disconnect a defective motion sensor module from the electrical power going to the lighting fixture, as well as from the fixture itself. Once you remove the module you can install a replacement. The procedure is straightforward and uses a few household tools. You can buy replacement motion sensor modules from a hardware store or a home and garden supply shop.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Replacement motion sensor module
  • Utility knife

Remove the fuse or trip the circuit breaker in the fuse box that disconnects power from the electric line going to the area where the defective motion sensor module is located.

Remove the screws from around the lighting fixture that is attached to the motion sensor module -- use a Phillips screwdriver.

Pull the lighting fixture off the wall or ceiling -- use a ladder to reach the fixture if it's on the ceiling.

Pull the wiring out of the cavity in the wall or ceiling that was covered by the lighting fixture. Remove the screw tabs from the twisted pairs of wires -- the screw tabs are twisted counterclockwise. Place the screw tabs in your pocket for now.

Separate the wires from the lighting fixture, the motion sensor module that is inside the wall or ceiling and the electrical junction box that is also inside the wall or ceiling. Remove the motion sensor module from inside the wall or ceiling. Dispose of it properly since it is an electronic device.

Scrape the already exposed ends of the wires attached to the motion sensor module with the blade of a utility knife -- this will improve their conductivity.

Twist the ends of the white wires from the motion sensor module, the electrical junction box and the lighting fixture together. Place a screw tab over the ends of the twisted wires. Screw the screw tab onto the wires clockwise until you feel resistance.

Twist the end of the red wire attached to the motion sensor module around the end of the black wire attached to the lighting fixture. Place a screw tab over the ends of the twisted wires and screw the tab on.

Twist the end of the black wire attached to the motion sensor module around the end of the black wire attached to the electrical junction box. Place a screw tab over the ends of the twisted wires and screw the tab on.

Place the motion sensor module back into the wall or ceiling. Push the wiring into the wall or ceiling. Place the lighting fixture back on the wall or ceiling. Reattach the screws. Return to the fuse box and reactive the electrical power.

Tips & Warnings

  • Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) should not be in a lighting fixture that has been connected to a motion sensor -- the characteristics of the CFL are such that they will not respond as efficiently or effectively as an incandescent bulb.

References

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