• Share:
How to Find the Correct Motion-Activated Switch for Fluorescent Lights

Use special motion-activated switches rated for electronic (rather than magnetic) ballasts in most new fluorescent lights. Check the ballast in your light fixture and read the fine print on the switch packaging to make sure you buy the right switch.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

How to Find the Correct Motion-Activated Switch for Fluorescent Lights

Use special motion-activated switches rated for electronic (rather than magnetic) ballasts in most new fluorescent lights. Check the ballast in your light fixture and read the fine print on the switch packaging to make sure you buy the right switch.

Buy electronic-rated switches for fluorescents with electronic ballasts

If you bought a motion-activated switch for fluorescent lights in your garage or other locations and the lights didn't work, your switch is probably rated for incandescent lights and fluorescents with magnetic ballasts. Unfortunately, it won't work with fluorescents that have electronic ballasts, which are now common in better-quality fluorescent lights. (A ballast is the small metal box that modulates voltage in a fluorescent fixture.) It's irritating, but you have to read the fine print on the packaging to discover this limitation.

To find a switch that'll handle both types of ballasts, you'll probably have to go to an electrical supply store (search online or in the yellow pages). Our example, the Leviton model No. ODS15 (or ODS10), costs about $60. Most low-priced motion-activated switches ($15) that you find at hardware stores and home centers aren't rated for electronic ballasts.

Back to Top

Comments from DIY Community Members

No comments on the article have been posted yet. Be the first to add your comment!

You will be required to log in or create an account to post a comment.

closeX

Add Your Comment

How to Find the Correct Motion-Activated Switch for Fluorescent Lights

Please add your comment
closeX

Log in to My Account

Log in to enjoy membership benefits from The Family Handyman.

  • Forgot your password?
Don’t have an account yet?

Sign up today for FREE and become part of The Family Handyman community of DIYers.

Member benefits:

  • Get a FREE Traditional Bookcase Project Plan
  • Sign up for FREE DIY newsletters
  • Save projects to your project binder
  • Ask and answer questions in our DIY Forums
  • Share comments on DIY Projects and more!
Join Us Today
closeX

Report Abuse

Subject
Reasons for reporting post

Free OnSite Newsletter

Get timely DIY projects for your home and yard, plus a dream project for your wish list!

Follow Us

Featured Product

Buy Now