Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 10/30/2016

LED motion light and ground wire

I am installing an outdoor motion sensor LED light. The light itself does not have a ground wire coming out of it but the mounting bracket has the green screw. The instructions for the light say to take the ground wire from the house and wrap,it around the green screw on the mounting plate. That is the only ground wire connection for the light. Is it safe to only have the ground wire from the house attached to the screw and that is it? There is no connector caps or nothing but the ground wire from home to baseplate screw. Do LED lights need less protection then normal lights? The link to the instructions is the following Thank you

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question

2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Presumably you saw this other response about your fixture WITH ground wire -

That talks about the single ground system through the mounting bracket (for metal light fixtures), and the direct wire system - and the advantages and increased safety of both.

Many current fixtures come with 2-wire wiring, thanks to the lobbying of the manufacturers in the late 70's as I recall, when UL and the building code organizations allowed a return to 2-wire from 3-wire wiring - a major step backwards safety wise.

Certainly a ground wire from the fixture housing (if metal) or the mounting bracket for the socket (if plastic housing) the the mounting bracket or circuit ground per the other response would increase the safety, but most manufacturers today ignore that. In fact, with plastic/fiberglass housings there is generally zero grounding at the fixture - a thing some people have found out the hard way wehen sticking their hand in to change what they think is a burnt out bulb but turns out to be a shorted out socket or loose wire instead, making the metal on the socket and the bulb base "live".

No - LED lights do not need or justify different grounding or protection - they carry the same electricity and have the same risks. Actually, more (along with CFL's) because filament bulbs usually fail by shorting of the filament, which results in an open circuit. LED and CFL bulbs commonly (in my experience) fail by burning up the electronics inside, sometimes exposing potentially live internal wiring and components to touch.

BTW - make sure the bulb type matches the sensor rating - some sensors can use only resistance (conventional filament) type bulbs, others can handle that and EITHER CFL or LED, some all types. The issue is with the starting circuit - sensors without independent wiring (3-wire without ground) operate off a trickle of electricity through the circuit to activate the sensor and its built-in switch. With incandescent bulbs that just runs a small amount of power through the bulb too, not enough to make visible light usually. But with LED/CFL and some halogen bulb types, that trickle of power in the circuit to power the sensor makes the bulbs try to light - and the continual flow of low power through them can rapidly (in hours to a few days commonly) burn out the bulb starting circuitry. So - read the instructions on allowable types, and if the sensor came as part of the light fixture, stick with the type of bulb that came with it.

And be careful to never use higher wattage bulb - many current fixtures fail if higher wattage bulbs than recommended are used - commonly by buring the insulation in the fixture, which can then cause arcing which can electrocute or cause a fire.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Thank you so much for answering the question. I just installed the LED motion lights and everything seems like it is running good. The lights come with LED lights built in so there is no changing the bulb I am assuming that even though I will have to change the fixture when the lights die it is safer because there is no need to change the bulb ever. Also I just the ground wire from the house and wrapped it around the the screw on the fixture like the directions stated and everything seems ok! Also the black and white wires get screwed into directly into the fixture so there is literally no wires coming out from the fixture itself. Just a screw for the housing ground wire and a space,for the white and back wires that you screw in!

Answered 3 years ago by Dinozzi123


Here is another thread active now about the same sort of project (or maybe your better half doing it ?) about the ground wire connection and wire wrap around the screw - also same principle on clockwise wrap of the wire applies to the black and white lead wires when they go around fixture mounting screws. Go clockwise so the wrap tightens as the screw turns, and hold the wires with your fingers so the whole thing does not try to wrap further around as the screw is turned. Good snug tightening, not reefing on it.

I suspect if you check the instructions you will find the LED bulb is replaceable - they come in a lot of different configurations, so may not look like a normal bulb but instructions should say what type bulb it takes to replace it. Just do NOT get a halogen or tungsten or CFL replacement - get the same type of bulb as it has now unless the owners instruction sheet indicates other acceptable bulb numbers too. The bulb type and size number is usually printed on the bulb base - sometimes also on a sticker up inside the fixture near the socket or on it.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

Related Questions

Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy