Installing a Motion-Sensor Light
Learn how to mount and wire an outdoor security light.
Motion-sensor lights require 120v and must be mounted on boxes rated for outdoor use. The fixture must be listed for damp locations if installed under eaves, or listed for wet locations if directly exposed to weather. Exterior boxes should have flexible gaskets between the box and the fixture base and threaded openings with closure plugs. If the box has only standard knockouts, it is not raintight.
In the sequence shown here, we installed a Defiant® motion security light. Closely follow the installation instructions that came with your light.
If there is an existing fixture, cut power to it and test with a noncontact tester to be sure it is off. Unscrew the mounting screws and gently pull the old fixture away from the box 1. Be careful not to touch exposed wires. Then, using a probe tester, test the wire splices. When you are certain the wires are not energized, disconnect the splices. If the existing junction box is damaged or inappropriate, replace it.
Screw the new light’s mounting bracket to the box 2. Feed the supply wires through the hole in the wiring plate. Screw the plate to the threaded hole in the middle of the bracket 3. Connect the ground wire from the junction box to the ground screw on the wiring plate 4. Insert the neutral wire and the hot wire into the appropriate terminals 5 and tighten the terminal-block screws to secure the wires. (If the wire ends are not straight, you may want to cut and re-strip them first.)
To secure the light fixture to the wiring plate, align the posts on the plate to the corresponding holes in the fixture 6. Then bolt the fixture securely. At this point you may want to adjust the lamp heads and the motion sensor below 7. Now you can download the Defiant app onto a smartphone and follow the prompts to pair the light to the app, adjust the light settings, and test the sensor.
Excerpted from Wiring Complete, 3rd Edition (The Taunton Press, 2017) by Michael Litchfield and Michael McAlister