Motion light turns on for a few seconds after inside lights switched off


Hello, I recently replaced my back patio light with a security (motion) light. It is on a switch that is inside. It seems to work fine with the exception of one odd behavior. When I turn off a light in the house (kitchen or living room), the security lights come on for about 20 seconds. It doesn’t do anything when I turn on the lights in the house. Only when I turn them off. I’m guessing they are on the same circuit. In addition to the white and black wires at the mount, there was a copper ground wire coming out of the wall. The security light mount had a ground screw, but I chose to put the ground on the copper ground wire instead. Would that have something to do with it? Anyway, I don’t expect it is a hazard and I can live with the oddity but if anyone has a good solution, I would like to try it. Thanks. Larry
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Let me guess... You can stand under the security light and look into the kitchen and living room windows.
Your motion sensor is "seeing" the act of the light going off as motion, and is turning on in response to the perceived motion.
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On Aug 14, 2:07 pm, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Why wouldn't it "see" the light coming on as a motion?
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>Let me guess... You can stand under the security light and look into >the kitchen and living room windows.

LOL! Now why didnt I think of that?
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Actually, it is not the problem. Although a pretty good theory, I went home yesterday and disproved it. In the living room, there is an overlead light/fan combo. I pulled the light string to off so there would be no visible light. I then flipped the switch to on and nothing. However, once I flipped the switch off the outside security lights came on for about 15 seconds. Is apparently has something to do with the circuit it is on but I don't know enough about electricity to know what it be. Any more ideas? Thanks.
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Many motion-detector (MD) controlled fixtures will come on for a few seconds when first powered on.
It sounds like the flipping of the living room switch to the off position is sending some sort of "signal" to the MD making it think it was just powered on.
Maybe the living room switch is arcing when it breaks the circuit. Here's what I would try:
- I would first verify that the living room switch and the MD are indeed on the same circuit. - I would then locate any other switches that are on the circuit and see if they cause the same "problem" - If not, I would replace the suspect switch in the living room. (Turn off the breaker first!) - If other switches, either on that circuit or not, cause the same problem, then come on back and let us know so we can offer some other suggestions - like perhaps you should call an electrician.
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On 8/15/2008 7:15 AM DerbyDad03 spake thus:

I think your first guess is pretty good, but your second (an arcing switch) is grasping at straws here.
Isn't it more likely that the motion sensor is just on the fritz? Right now I'm dealing with about half a dozen different motion-detector lights among different clients. About half of them don't work because the sensors have gone bad.
Fortunately, the sensors (assuming this is one of the garden-variety type that's available everywhere) are pretty cheap, easy to get and easy to replace. They should *not* be affected by the turnings on and off of nearby devices.
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"David Nebenzahl" wrote

David, we have one we unplugged and were about to replace but maybe it's just the sensor? It no longer turns off like it should. Rather than pay for repair, we were going to replace but if the sensor is that easy, can you describe how such might be replaced?
I already have the new unit but I also have a spot I'd rather use it at. I'd like to put one in the screened porch so when making a short traipse out with the dog, it comes on til I cross to where the regular switches are.
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On 8/15/2008 11:40 AM cshenk spake thus:

Again, assuming it's like the standard ones you get at Home Despot and elsewhere, where the sensor hangs down under the fixture with the two lampholders, it's super-simple: open up the fixture to expose the wiring, disconnect the wires going to the sensor (they're a certain color, I *think* red), then pull off the sensor. Stick the new sensor in, reconnect, close it up, that's it.

Since the sensors are available separately from the lights, one thing people often don't realize is that you don't have to buy the whole thing in one unit. I have one customer who had me put in a nice outdoor light fixture she'd bought, with a gooseneck and a nice shade, install it on the wall, then install the sensor in a different location and wire them together. This way, you can control any kind of lighting fixture (assuming it's line voltage, not low voltage) from a sensor, and they can be in two completely different locations. The sensors are pretty cheap, too.
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"David Nebenzahl" wrote

It is. Simple thing there.

Ok, sounds easy enough. I will go shopping tomorrow and see if I can locate a new sensor.

I can then put the other unit in the back porch (grin). Will really freak out anyone who shouldnt be there but mostly it will let me walk the dog at night easier when he has to go pee. *nothing* should move back there but us as it's a framed in screened room.
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On 8/15/2008 2:39 PM cshenk spake thus:

>

Just to follow up on my own posting with some more detailed instructions, after looking at one of those lights:
The sensor has 3 wires: black, white & red.
- Black goes to the incoming cable black; - White gets tied to the two whites from the lampholders and the incoming cable white; - Red goes to both of the lampholder blacks.
The sensor is screwed into the base like the lampholders. After removing the wires, loosen the locknut, then unscrew it. After screwing in the new sensor, make sure it's positioned correctly on the base, then tighten the locknut. You'll be able to move the sensor to aim it.
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"David Nebenzahl" wrote

Don's home now. I read those to him and he said makes sense, so I'm to shop for a new sensor tomorrow before the grocery run.

I bet he can just follow the coloring of the old set. The new fixture then, can be used on the back screened porch. Cool!
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Your stalker is out there. Watch out!
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re: I’m guessing they are on the same circuit.
If you don't know if they are on the same circuit, you should be spending a little time mapping and labeling your breaker box.
I'll assume you turned off the breaker for that circuit before you replaced the light, right? And I'll assume it was daytime so you don't know what other lights were affected, right?
I certainly hope that's the case.
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