Motion Detector Light Switches

Posted by mitch on December 03, 2011

I installed a Leviton ODS10-ID Decora Wall Switch Occupancy Sensor in a room in my basement with a cold-start fluorescent tube and an instant-start fluorescent tube (wired in parallel off the same switch) and it works great! I’ve tried some cheaper motion-sensing switches but they can’t control non-incandescent bulbs, especially cold-start fluorescent tubes.

There are some great properties to this switch–the angle of visibility and length of time to run the lights are configurable. The pigtails on the switch are copper, not aluminum, so you don’t need special wire nuts to wire this in properly. There’s no audible click of a relay (not to my ears anyway).

I did run into two small snags while installing this. I was installing this in a standard 2-gang steel electrical box with a GFCI outlet, which was quite tight, but I did manage to make it all fit. If you’re installing this in a cramped box, beware that the unit is quite large–as large as a GFCI–so you may find you need to install a bigger electrical box. Like many installs in steel boxes, I had to snip some of the metal support to make it fit. There’s no scoring on the metal (as there are on outlets), but aviation snips took care of this fine.

The other small issue I ran into was the plastic cover for the settings–this is a small cover on the front of the switch, between the push button at the bottom and the sensor at the top. I left it off, installed the switch into the steel face of the electrical box, and had a heck of a time getting the cover back on. I ended up using an Xacto knife to cut down a bit of the width on one side of the cover to get it back in place.

All in all, it was a great install and I’ve ordered another switch for my workshop lights.

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