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AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2941
Experience:  Contractor-40 Years in the ElectricalTrade
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I want to put a motion switch at the bottom of the stairs but

Resolved Question:

I want to put a motion switch at the bottom of the stairs but there is a light switch at the top of the stairs and at the bottom controlling one light fixture. i want to leave the normal switch at the top of the stairs and put the motion sensor switch at the bottom, what is the correct way about going about this
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

AssuredElectrical :

Welcome. My name is XXXXX XXXXX would be glad to assist.

AssuredElectrical :

First, how many and what color wires do you have in the switch box at the bottom of the stairs?

Customer:

there is red, black, white, and a copper ground wire

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, same for the top of the stairs? colors and how many total in the box?

Customer:

At the top I have 3 switches in one box. In the switch controlling the stair light its the same, Black, red, white and ground. but in the actual box there are many wires for the three different switches

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, thanks.

AssuredElectrical :

In the top of the stairs, there should be a group of white wires in the back that are all connected together under a wire nut, can you confirm this?

Customer:

Let me go pull off the plate and I will check. but i am pretty positive that yesterday when i had the plate off there was

AssuredElectrical :

ok, well you will need the plate off and all the switches hanging out for install. You have to rewire the switch at the top of the stairs also and make changes to the connections inside the box as well

Customer:

there are 4 white wires under a wire nut, 4 black ones and then also another wire nut with two black

AssuredElectrical :

ok thanks

AssuredElectrical :

look at the red and white wires on the switch at the top of the stairs. They are part of a 3 wire cable that also has a black wire. Can you follow the red and white off the switch to the cable, then see where the black wire from that same cable connects in that box?

Customer:

The red and white go out the top of the box and the black is one of the 4 under the wire nut

AssuredElectrical :

ok, thanks

AssuredElectrical :

I need to make a diagram, will take a few minutes. Understand, you will have to rewire the switch at the top of the stairs to make this work.

AssuredElectrical :

Is that good with you?

Customer:

whatever it takes to make the wife happy. but im in no hurry so take your time

AssuredElectrical :

ok, let me get to work. Do you wish to wait? or let the system send you an email stating I have posted when I get it done?

Customer:

ill leave my computer open and when it comes through i will see it. so waiting is perfect

AssuredElectrical :

ok, one more item needed

Customer:

and that is?

AssuredElectrical :

Look at the switch at the top of the stairs, which wire is on the BLACK screw?

Customer:

the black wire is on the black screw

AssuredElectrical :

ok, thanks, XXXXX XXXXX all. let me start the diagram and write up

Customer:

thank you very much!

AssuredElectrical :

no problem

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, you there? Problem

Customer:

yes sir

AssuredElectrical :

Going over the sensor specifications, the sensor has to go in the location with either the hot wire or the light wire

AssuredElectrical :

Yours has neither at the bottom of the stairs

AssuredElectrical :

we need 4 wires

Customer:

Okay. So would buying another motion sensor fix the problem?

AssuredElectrical :

yes, ythat is what I was looking at on the specs. If you install one at the top and the bottom, then only 3 wires needed

Customer:

So then do I have to have on at the top? or can i buy a totally different switch and keep the normal switch at the top and the motion switch at the bottom or are all motion switches the same?

AssuredElectrical :

let me check a couple, give me a few minutes, but I think on the motion switches they are all close to the same, but there maybe one out there

AssuredElectrical :

still looking, Leviton only makes single pole for the 3 wires, no 3 ways.

AssuredElectrical :

I am not finding any in the 3 ways, they all need the 4 wires. probably because of the 2 switch positions, the 2nd switch has to communicate with the sensor to operate properly

Customer:

okay thats fine. so when i buy another motion switch, hook it up as i did before on the lower switch. The three wires and it should work correctly?

AssuredElectrical :

Nope, I need to make a diagram for it. You will change a couple wires at the top of the stairs on the wires going down to the bottom

AssuredElectrical :

3 ways have a cable between them and the wiring on them will change a bit, not difficult

Customer:

okay. I plan on buying the exact same switch if you need that info

Customer:

okay perfect!

AssuredElectrical :

ok, great. Let me get back to work. be a few

AssuredElectrical :

ok, you around?

Customer:

yeah i am

AssuredElectrical :

see if this makes sense to ya, and we can write up here what helps to understand anything

Customer:

okay

AssuredElectrical :

Full Size Image

Customer:

okay so where you have take the black wire off the current switch and put it on the sensor, is there suppose to be 2 black wires one for the black off the switch and one where your saying put the black and red together?

AssuredElectrical :

Right now, you have a red, black and white on the switch at the top of the stairs

Customer:

correct

AssuredElectrical :

the red and black come off that switch and they both connect to the red lead on the sensor

Customer:

okay so then the black on the sensor is capped off? because the black and red will be combined?

AssuredElectrical :

no

AssuredElectrical :

do you remember the black wire I had you find and it was grouped with the others under a wire nut?

AssuredElectrical :

4 blacks together?

Customer:

oh yeah, i do.

AssuredElectrical :

ok, that is power to the down sensor, so you connect the up sensor to that same group

Customer:

okay. i forgot about that wire. but i understand now

AssuredElectrical :

yea, that is why we need questions and then you understand why I asked them

Customer:

okay perfect. I'm going to run to lowes in just a short while to grab another sensor. i appreciate the help. i looked all over trying to figure this out. i guess its just a little bit of common sense

AssuredElectrical :

well, it does take some changes, so knowing the standards of wiring of does help a little. That is what I am here for, to assist.

AssuredElectrical :

Understanding the diagram takes more, you already have that down, so half the battle is won

AssuredElectrical :

they make it hard when they require that 4th wire in your situation. 3 way switches are wired in about 4 different ways

Customer:

so then if my house was wired with the blue connecting switch it would be easier or that blue is never really necessary?

AssuredElectrical :

if they ran power to one switch and the light cable to the opposite one, then only one sensor is needed and the blue is used.

AssuredElectrical :

on yours, they have power and the light cable in the same switch

Customer:

oh okay. makes sense now. I really appreciate the help. I would of never figured this out!

AssuredElectrical :

You are very welcome. Glad to be of service.

Customer:

Have a good night!

AssuredElectrical :

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2941
Experience: Contractor-40 Years in the ElectricalTrade
AssuredElectrical and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 1 year ago.

Not sure what happened.

 

If they sent you an email on this post, just ignore it since we were finished.

 

I thought it posted that you were rating, and something happened on the switch

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