Can anyone shed some light in regard to the following situation:
I have a light outside controlled by one individual light switch. I
also have a light in our dining room that is controlled by a separate
individual light switch. When I turn on the switch for the light
outside, that light is extremely dim. What is interesting is that our
dining room light also turns on at the same time, although, it is also
dim. This light switch should not be turning on our dining room light.
Is the most likely scenario that something has been miswired? Just to
clarify, when I turn on the dining room light switch, it only turns on
the dining room light, so that works properly. Thanks in advance for
We had a standard light outside originally. It was taken off when we
had some siding replaced. Just now did I finally install a new light,
several months later. The previous light did not have this problem.
The new light I installed uses two 150 Watt bulbs, and has a motion
sensor. The wiring is as follows:
Black and Red wires from light go to Black wire from recepticle box
White Wire from light goes to to White wire from recepticle box
Ground to Ground
I did test the outside light switch with a meter and it's showing
Don't test it with a meter. Use a pigtail socket and an ordinary light
bulb. You might want to check the installation instructions for the motion
sensor, but I think that the black wire from the motion sensor goes to the
black in the electrical box and the red wire gets connected to the light
fixture black wire. There should also be a white wire from the motion
sensor that should be connected to the other white wires.
The original way I wired the light was as follows:
Black wire to Black from box
White wire to White from box
Red wire was capped
Ground to ground
However, this wiring scheme caused both the dining room light and
outside light to flicker non-stop. Therefore, I uncapped the red wire
and added it in with the black wires. Doesn't flicker now, but clearly
it isn't working correctly.
For now take the motion sensor out of the equation completely and just try
to get the lights to work with the switch. You should confirm that the
black wire is actually the hot and the white is really a connected neutral.
Are there any other wires in the box?
I should have clarified that the motion sensor is part of the unit and
cannot be removed. The manufacturer has everything wired between the
motion sensor and lights. I will take a look at the black and white
wires tomorrow to verify they are hot and neutral. The only wires
coming out of the box are a black, white, and ground.
First off, mm is right about the lights being in series. This could
even be caused by just a loose connection on a neutral somewhere (the
switch, for example) depending on how things are wired.
But my point is: did you even _read_ the instructions on your new
light? And if you did, why don't you try _following_ them? You seem to
think that if you just connect wires randomly, and the red wire in
particular, you will stumble on the right configuration. Thirty seconds
with the installation instructions will tell you the right thing to do
with the red wire.
Were missing some wires here. You only discuss 5 wires above.
The red wire is the control wire that should FEED the outside light's
black wire. The black wire from the wallbox (which comes from the
Circuit Breaker) should feed the light switch. The other side of the
light switch should be tied to the black wire from the motion detector.
So we have
motion detector red - light bulb black
motion detector black - light switch leed A
circuit panel black - light switch leed B
motion detector white - light bulb white - circuit panel white - any
your main issue will be understanding which black is from the circuit panel.
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
I am assuming that each light is on the same circuit breaker. I'm thinking
that the outside light no longer has a neutral connection and the circuit is
completed through the dining room light. With the outside switch on and
both bulbs burning dim, if you were to unscrew the dining room light bulb
does the light outside get brighter or go out completely?
Did the outside light ever work properly?
Ok, this is really getting weird. I started taking bulbs out of my
dining room light....there are 5 in all. After removing the first
bulb, the outside light got really dim. Once I removed a second bulb,
the outside light went out completely. As I put the bulbs back in, the
outside light got brighter and brighter.....although it is still very
dim compared to what it should be.
On 5 Apr 2006 18:55:54 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
No, this all makes sense.
First, you didn't change the dining room wiring (except for connecting
one wire to it, it will turn out) so the dining room switch works
But you did add the outside light. The simplest** explanation of how
you wired it is Hot wire (black?); switch; outside light; junction box
where you conected the second wire of the outside light to the wire
that runs from the dining room light switch to the dining room
light.**** Maybe you did this by putting two wires on the same screw,
or maybe you used a pigtail, or maybe you the wire came from another
box, and you didn't know it was from the dining room fixture. This is
what you have to fix. Makeing a sketch of all the wires, including
what collor they are and what they go to (IF you know) is the first
step. Include where you think they go, even if your not sure, but put
those labels in a different color.
****This would mean that when the outside light is on, the current
runs through the outside light, then through the dining room light,
and then to the neutral wire, or maybe to the ground. That's why each
light is dim. Because there is twice as much resistance in the line,
and roughtly speaking, half the current, and so each bulb is dimmer.
But its' not quite that becuase the dining room has more than one
bulb, although they may be only 40 watts each, not the 100 watt you
may be using outside. So every time you unscrew a dining room bulb,
you increase the total resistance of the dining room, and even less
current flows through the outside light. The outside light needs more
current than the dining room lights, becuase the outside is 100
wattts, so it goes black first. But all the current going though the
dining room lights is still going through the outside light. It's
enough to make 40 watt lights glow, but altogether, it's still not
enough to make the 100 watt light glow.
**Make a drawing of what I call the simplest. Then you can rearrange
that drawing (while keeping things electircally the same***) until it
more closely matches your situation, including wire colors, boxes, and
***Electrically the same would include say, two wires running to the
same switch, or the same light, but reversing the wires. So it would
work the same but would look more like your situation. The same
thing can happen when a whole bunch of things are in a row, but
reversed, like the swtich and the outside fixture.
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