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Thread: What Is Causing This Problem?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Default What Is Causing This Problem?

    Hello,

    I have a stairway with a 3-way setup. A switch at the bottom and one at top. I decided to install motion sensing switches. They worked for about 6 months. Now one of the lights flickers unless I turn one of the motion switches to the off position, defeating the purpose of the switch. The other switch does not cause the light to flicker when it is in the on or auto position. What could be causing this?

    Thanks,
    Molo
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    are you using a cfl?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    No CFL, Incandescents.
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

  4. #4

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    Are these motion sensing switches designed to replace a 3-way switch setup? If they are not the problem with this setup is whatever motion sensor did not trigger the light ends up being back fed with power. Electronic switches are not like regular switches and the internal components may not like being back fed . It can lead to immediate or sometimes eventual failure as you are describing.

    There are motion sensor switches available that are designed to work with CFLs. Internally these switches use relays instead of relying on electronics to do the switching. Generally these switches can be connected in a manner such as you have done with no problems because the relays don't care about back fed power.

    I have one trick you can try. If the fixture allows you to use a higher wattage bulb replace the flickering bulb with a higher wattage one.

    -rick

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Thanks for the reply. The motion-sensing switches are designed for a 3-way setup. So I'm not sure what the problem is. I could replace the bulb, but am concerned about going above the heat rating for the fixture. The bulb doesn't flicker when it is turned on by one switch, but it flickers when it is turned on by the other one. Should I still try the higher wattage bulb. Could it be the wiring?

    Thanks,
    Molo
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some of the motion sensing switches rely on a trickle current through the filament...a low-wattage bulb has too high of a resistance to enable the required current for the switch to operate. Often, they list a minimum wattage that can be supported.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    I'll check to see if I can increase the bulb wattage.

    Thanks!
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

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