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How to wire a motion sensor to an existing light

Do you have lighting around your premises? So many people do these days with all the indoor lights. But if you were to survey your property as you walk out onto it, would you be able to see adequately as the sun goes down?

If not, we have a few ideas for how to fix that. One is by installing or adding a motion sensor light to your outdoor shed. It will turn on automatically when it detects movement and switch off after a set amount of time. You can wire and install it in an hour, and its cost is about $50.

The other solution is to add spotlights using solar panels and lighting that only night. These lights are more expensive to install. They require a larger initial investment of money and time. But it can save you money in the long run because it will eliminate the need for electricity in your shed.

Before getting started with any solution, think about your property. If it faces north or south, the sun should leave enough light when it goes down. It helps you see what you are doing in your shed.

Cost of Wiring a Motion Sensor to Lights

With all the options available, which is more cost-effective in this situation? The light sensor is more economical than the solar lights. With it, you are only paying for the energy used to illuminate your shed. Also, neither technology requires any additional investment.

The wiring cost could range between $300 and $500. However, it depends on the type of material you use and the installation cost. If you are replacing an old light with this one, you can plan to spend even more.

The solar lights will require more work to install than a motion sensor light. First, you must complete and wire the circuit that activates the light according to a set protocol.

Overall, the average cost of these lights is around $50, assuming that you are buying all the components. If they are not already in your shed on hand, then add to the installation cost.

Anyone with a basic understanding of electrical wiring can easily install motion sensor lights.

Benefits of Wiring A Motion Sensor to Multiple Lights

motion sensors for lights

If you have more than one shed on your property, use multiple motion sensor lights. This way, as you move from one shed to another, the light will turn on and off accordingly.


A motion sensor light will not only make your shed more visible but will also deter any unwanted visitors. The lights are not too bright. We can use them after dark because they only turn on when they sense movement. Clarity of Light

Solar lights require a large investment. So, they will not be as economical or cost-effective as the motion sensor lights. But the added security and nighttime illumination they provide are worth the cost.


The motion sensor lights are best for outdoor purposes. So, their primary design objective is visible and functional. However, if you fancy decorating the shed with solar panels and lights, then you can do that too. Your decor choice will depend on what looks good in your eyes and what your budget permits.

Energy Efficiency

The solar lights will be more energy-efficient than the motion sensor lights. They need less energy to operate. But the motion sensor light does not use electricity at all. It makes it a better choice for those who want to avoid any costs of lighting in the shed.


We can use the motion sensor lights to illuminate your property at night when the sun is not out. It is impractical for solar lights. The motion sensor lights are also effective during the day if they are not in use and in case they need replacing.

A Fun DIY Project

Installing solar lights requires more work than installing a motion sensor light. You have to conduct electrical testing, wire the circuit, and install the solar panels first. Then you can install the lights. However, if you like to do your DIY projects, this will be fun for you.

Installation tools

You will need an ordinary screwdriver, pliers, and wire cutters to install the motion sensor light. Depending on your location, you may also need a device that measures the intensity of sunlight.

Cordless Drill

Depending on the type of wire you are using for installation, you will need a drill and enough bits to match the material.

Step by step Process

You can mount your motion sensor light on the wall and even install it on the roof. Here is a step-by-step process that will guide you on how to wire motion sensor light.

1. Preparation

Wiring the motion sensor light is a fairly simple process. Begin by gathering all the materials on hand and clearing an area in your shed that is large enough to work in comfortably.

Preparing is vital for two reasons:

First, it takes away the anxiety of being unsure how to wire the motion sensor light in your shed.

Second, it means that it is ready for you to start installing when you finish everything else. You will find that this is an excellent way of getting started and also saving time.

Start by measuring the area’s circumference, where you will put the light to have a base to know where to work from.

2. Disassemble the Fixture

Knowing the basics is always a good idea when working on a small or medium-sized project. First, disassemble the existing light by removing the switch and fuse box. Next, unscrew the screws holding the fixture together and separate all other components. They include the glass screen, plastic base, and even mounting brackets.

3. Work the Wire Connections

Whenever you are wiring a fixture, it is essential to use a double-insulated wire. This particular wire can carry the current from the motion sensor light to your shed and the circuit at home.

The electrician uses it for safety and protection purposes. You will also find that it is extremely flexible and easy to work with since it does not cause any heat or sparks. You can purchase the wire from any hardware store and use a single or multi-strand wire. A single-strand wire will be less cumbersome and easier to work with. If you prefer a multi-strand wire, then try not to use it for more than two strands at any given time. The reason for this is that the more strands you have, the harder it is for you to work with the wires since they get tangled up very easily.

4. Remove Knockout Cover

The knockout cover is the first piece of metal you will remove to have direct access to the circuit. The knock-out cover is a disk that keeps wires organized and helps protect them from any damage. Remove the knockout cover from the hole in the socket by unscrewing its screws as it comes off easily.

5. Set the Rubber Washer

The rubber washer is essential for the motion sensor light wiring process. When working with the wires, you will find that you will need to keep them in place. The rubber washers act as a buffer so that you can easily thread the wire through the holes of your shed.

6. Mount the Sensor

This is probably the most challenging part of the entire process. You will need to mount the sensor permanently in a location of your choice. The plastic surface that comes with your light will provide you with specific instructions on doing this. However, the wall mount is the simplest and most convenient for most people.

7. Prepare the Wires

The next step is to prepare the wires for the following process. You can divide your wires into smaller groups based on their use and place. Your wires will either power up the motion sensor light or power up your shed. The best way of doing this is by wrapping each group with tape or heat shrink tubing. Then label them so you can easily trace them if hidden. This step is a bit tricky, so it is a good idea to ask a professional from RayMing PCB & Assembly if you are unsure of what to do. Pay attention to the wires. Their colors should be the same for each group.

8. The Black Wires

The black wires connect the motion sensor light to the circuit at home. They will also be the power source for your lights. You should ensure that you do not expose these wires to any rain or sun. They are quite delicate and may get damaged if you expose them to these elements.

9. The White Wires

The white wires refer to the power source for your shed. These wires are typically yellow or orange. Again, you will have to disguise them with tape and heat shrink tubing to help conceal them.

10. The Ground Wires

The ground wires are usually green or bare. They carry the signal from the circuit to your shed. The ground wire is a great place to start when working with pressure switches. They have a wire that connects them to the ground. First, however, you must check with your local circuit breaker. Ensure it is correct before taking action.

11. The Red Wire

The red wire is the most important in any motion sensor light setup. The hot wire carries the current from your motion sensor light to your shed. On the other hand, if you have an outdoor motion sensor light, it will run from your garage to the shed. Take note that you need to connect this wire to power and the ground or through a light fixture that has a ground.

12. Put Everything Back Together

Once you have finished working with the wires and placed them in an easy-to-trace manner, it is time to put everything back together. It is a great idea to test the motion sensor light by connecting it to your circuit breaker for safety purposes. If it does not work properly, you may have disconnected a wire or need corrective maintenance.

13. Final Steps

The last step is to check all your lights and ensure they are working properly. Now is the time for you to test your motion sensor light. If everything goes as planned, then you can enjoy the benefits of working with a motion sensor light in your shed or garage. It will be extremely convenient for you to work on it and also help you forget about other troubles in the long run. In addition, you will find that these lights are a great source of entertainment and joy when using them after dark.

Common Problems

If you choose to wire the motion sensor light switch as well as your lights in one circuit, then you should take note of the following things:

You should wire the motion sensor light parallel with the circuit power wires.

Putting up a ground wire is essential to ensure no problems with the motion sensor light wiring. If you do not do this, there will be issues with your lights.

1. Inconsistent switching

When you use and turn a motion sensor switch on or off, the presence of motion will activate it. Therefore, the only problem is that some people may not respond.

This could be due to dirt or any amount of dust in your wiring. You can correct this by using wire cutoff tools and carefully cutting each wire. Then, you can use needle-nose pliers to connect these wires.

Connecting two or more can be confusing as they are of different colors. Therefore, you should connect them according to the color code. If this is not possible, try using an ohmmeter to determine which wire is live and which one is not. This will help you finish the job properly.

If there are any issues with this switch, you can use a voltmeter to make the correct connections. You can also check for any loose wires that could cause a problem in the long run.

2. Sensors come up even if there’s no movement

There are times when a motion sensor light comes up even when there’s no movement on the ground or area below it. You may consider this a normal situation, but there’s something that you should work on.

There are various possibilities why the light comes up even when there is no movement. For instance, dirt may have gotten into the switch and is activating it whenever something moves. However, this may not be the only problem.

The other possibility is that the wiring of your switches is not up to par with that of other circuitry you have. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake for many people and will cost you money to fix it.

The final possibility is that certain types of lights are chemically sensitive. This means that whenever there’s any amount of dust in your wiring, then the lights may turn on or off as well.

The solution is to ensure that your lights are clean and dust-free to ensure that they work correctly.

3. Using a small current light with a huge sensor

Another common mistake that many people tend to make when working with motion sensor lights is using a huge sensor for a small amount of light. You should take care not to place too much load on the lighting. If not, you may end up facing problems in the future.

To solve this problem, you can place two lights next to each other and place one of them as the main light. This will ensure that you have more room for the sensor.

4. Poor maintenance

Another common mistake that people tend to make is ignoring the maintenance of their motion sensor lights. This can be a huge problem in the long run. You may find yourself spending more money on your lights than you should have.

Motion sensors with the most sensitive ranges are quite expensive. But you will spend less if you keep them maintained.

The best thing you can do is inspect your lights every few days. This ensures that no dust or anything is blocking the sensor from working properly.

5. Interruptions in the electrical supply

When working with a motion sensor, the light suddenly stops operating. This is because the circuit supply may have interruptions. You can check this by starting the lights and seeing if they work.

The solution to this problem is to try turning off certain lights. Then, they start them again to find where the problem started.

If you are using a moth-eye type, you can also try using tape over the LEDs so that no light escapes and activates your light.

6. Bad placement

Once you have installed your motion sensor light, you should ensure it is in the right spot. For instance, if you place your light in the ceiling, it will not work properly.

You can check this by placing your motion sensor light switch won the ground and observing whether it works. If it does, then you may have chosen a bad spot for your motion sensor switch.

How To Test A Motion Sensor Light

Knowing how to test a motion sensor light is essential for several reasons. These include:

A great way to test your motion sensor light would be to use a multimeter or an ohmmeter. This will give you the readings you need, but it will also help determine what is causing the problems.

The first step in testing your lights would be locating where they are in the house and then checking them from there. This will ensure that you know what is going on even if you cannot reach the actual light yourself.

The other thing that you can do is touch or hold the sensor and check whether it works. This will help determine whether your motion sensor light is functioning correctly.

One drawback to this method is that when nothing moves in front of the lights, they may start turning on and off continuously. This may be a problem if you use them as a security system.

You should also make sure that the lights are not blocking anything and are working correctly. There is no point in buying a light switch that does not work, or else you may end up wasting your money.

What is the best outdoor solar motion sensor light

There are a lot of them out there, but here is our list for the best ones:

1. Brinks BML-10 Solar Motion Sensor Light

This detection light is the first on our list because it can deliver optimal performance and the highest quality to users. It also comes with several features that make it stand out from the crowd. For instance, it is pre-wired, and you do not need to connect it yourself.

It is also very easy to install as you need to attach it to the house and then plug it in. At the other end of the wire is another light that you need to screw into your ground. But this will ensure no loose wiring. You should also place a small weight on this while installing it outside to prevent any damage.

It has an advanced technology design that ensures maximum efficiency and quality.

2. Solar Powered LED Outdoor Motion Sensor Light

This very sleek light comes in as the second on our list because it will make nighttime fun for you. It comes with an advanced motion sensor design and an easy-to-use interface. It also features a stylish and modern appearance to look good once installed. You can use this on your garden or front porch without any problems at all.

The lifespan of this light is exceptional as it can withstand weather, shock, and stress resistance in mind. It also has a high-quality LED bulb that delivers over 50,000 hours of use.

This is one motion sensor light that you will not regret buying because it is durable, reliable, and very easy to use.

3. Outdoor Motion-Activated Solar Lights-Lights That Work Even at Night

These are another excellent option when it comes to motion sensor lights. They are highly reliable. An original one can resist natural disasters like floods, strong winds, and extreme temperatures.

It comes with a wireless outdoor solar light powered by solar energy. It also has a motion sensor light for automatic control as well. The best thing about this product is that it does not require any wiring whatsoever.

The lights can shine brightly even at night, so you can still use them for your security systems even when the sun goes down. The best thing about these lights is that the solar panel charges during the day, so you do not have to worry about recharging them.


Motion sensors are a good option when it comes to motion sensor light. They are easy to set up, and they are also energy efficient. They also work well in providing you with a good level of security and safety.

If you have security problems or get dark nighttime, these lights can help you out. They will illuminate your way and make things look better overall without costing you much money or effort at all.

It is essential to test your lights before installing them because there may be some problems.