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Occupancy Sensing Switch Wiring Question - No Ground Available

Recently I purchased this occupancy sensing switch:

 

http://www.homedepot.com/buy/lutron-maestro-2-amp-occupancy-sensing-switch-light-almond-393029.html#customer_reviews

 

The instructions say that a ground is required.  I suspected that my wiring might be lacking a ground but I didin't think it would be very hard to fish a wire to make the connection.  So far I have had no luck getting my fish tool through my wall.  I suspect that this part of my house is framed differently than other parts with ballon framing and wide open stud access from the basement.  I still have some tricks up my sleve and may yet be able to get through the sill plate to make get a wire through.

 

I'm wondering, how important is the ground connection for this device?  How does it work?  Is it a safety issue alone or does it affect the fuction of the sensor somehow? 

 

Thanks!

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Posted 2012-06-26T12:50:57+0000  by DGray DGray
The sensor will work without the ground but it is needed for your safety
Posted 2012-06-26T14:55:37+0000  by AAriondo

Hello DGray.  Welcome to the Community!

 

Lutron Maestro.jpg

 

The instructions do say that a ground is absolutely required for the unit to function.  It seems to me that the sensor needs a very small amount of current in order to work.  Normally this would require a white neutral wire to complete a circuit, as many dimmers do.  For some reason this neutral is not required, but a ground is.

 

Switch.PNG

 

Click on the above picture to read the instruction sheet.

 

You may well have a grounded switch box.  Since you mention trying to fish wire, then I assume you have wiring through conduit, which may be grounded.  Try using a multimeter to test for ground.

 

Multimeter.jpg

 

If you indeed do have a grounded box, simply attach the ground wire to it with a ground screw. 

 

Ground screws.jpg

 

I hope this helps,

Newf.

 

.

Posted 2012-06-26T18:10:40+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

As I stated prior the sensor WILL work without the ground::

 

 

Wiring Directions for this sensor stated below

 

3.

When no “grounding means” exist within the wallbox, then the NECR 2008,

Article 404.9 allows a dimmer without a grounding connection to be installed as a

replacement, as long as a plastic, noncombustible wallplate is used. For this type of

installation, twist a wire connector onto the green ground wire or remove the green

ground wire on the Electronic Dimmer and use an appropriate

wallplate such as

Claro

R or Satin ColorsR series wallplates by Lutron.

Posted 2012-06-27T14:36:41+0000  by AAriondo

Thanks for all the help guys.  I tried installing the sensor last night and it wouldn't work.  I reinstalled the regular switch and everthing worked fine. 

Could it be that the sensing switch is bad? 

Thanks.

Posted 2012-06-27T19:52:08+0000  by DGray

anything is possible, its very easy to instal as you can see.  Just return it to the store, get a new one and try it again.

Posted 2012-06-27T21:26:21+0000  by AAriondo

I'm having the same issue, and have tried several differnent occupancy switches within this brand. A regular switch works just fine, but the occupancy switch does not. I do not have a ground wire (though the conduit should act as a ground when properly done) and no neutral (as this sensor does not have one either). I only have a wire to the light and to the breaker.

So - what do I do? The instructions say that the ground MUST be properly connected for the switch to work, but I don't know why or how that is. Please advise!

Posted 2012-12-18T03:53:02+0000  by MicahMc

I was having the same problem.  My lights were working, but they would not turn off.  In my switch box, I had two black wires and two white wires that were tied together.  I spoke with a licensed electrician who advised me to take the ground wire and bare wire from the Maestro sensor and tie them together with the existing two neutral white wires.  PROBLEM SOLVED!

Posted 2013-01-02T20:26:05+0000  by Foard

I was having the same problem.  My lights were working, In my switch box, I had two black wires and two white wires that were tied together.  I spoke with a licensed electrician who advised me to take the ground wire and bare wire from the Maestro sensor and tie them together with the two neutral white wires.  PROBLEM SOLVED!

Posted 2013-01-02T20:39:13+0000  by Foard
Probably is will NOT work without the ground. Occupancy sensors require standby power to operate the sensor when the load is "off". To do that it needs a path to Neutral; some models require Neutral, others require Ground (which is used to draw power, but the current is less than 1ma is considered harmless). If that path is not connected, the sensor won't work after the load has been off for a while.

Note that older sensor switches did not use Neutral or Ground, but drew their standby current through the load (essentially like a dimmer set to a very low setting). This makes CFLs flicker and may not work at all with very low-watt loads; also it's a safety concern when changing a bulb in a supposedly-off fixture. Recent designs don't do that, and so require Neutral (or Ground) to complete the standby circuit.
Posted 2013-04-15T20:15:29+0000  by jimav

I was having the same problem with this sensor switch. I had the thing hooked up correctly but the light was on and would not go off, and the switch would not respond to manual on/off.

 

After trying everything and even reading this thread, I called the company. I didn't want to tie ground into neutral without getting the OK from them.

 

The tech was very helpful and immediately knew what was wrong. He said the device didn't "like" the ground attachment and that I could just connect the green wire in with all the other white wires. He said to just cut off the bare wire on the device. I did this and it worked!

 

Lots of frustration but problem solved.

 

 

Posted 2013-08-21T11:56:04+0000  by ajg123
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