Last year we had a contractor come to our house to do a few jobs. In the process, he ended up saying he busted a light bulb on our security light, and said he would fix it. About a week later, we noticed it wasn't fixed. Sadly it was getting towards winter time, and we ended up letting it go because of the bitter cold.

Well, it's warming up again, so i wanted to tackle it. Turns out though, he didn't just bust the bulb. He actually busted off one of the cups that would hold the bulb, and he also busted off the motion sensor. It appears that the entire light itself is one large junction box - the box has two lights coming out of it, and also the motion sensor. The picture hopefully illustrates that (sorry for the quality and distance, I'll have to rent a ladder for this fix).

So, can anyone tell me what I'm looking at? Is the light itself a junction box? Or is it just a housing in front of another junction box? I can't seem to find a similar style light to base it on. If I have to replace the entire box that's fine, I just need to make sure I'm not doing anything that goes against code.

Outdoor Junction Box

  • 2
    Step one - call the contractor and point out that he said he would fix it, and didn't.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 24, 2014 at 13:18
  • Sadly we were his last customer before retiring and leaving the area, so that's a pipe dream at this point. That also should have been a warning sign.
    – Matthew
    Apr 25, 2014 at 10:15

2 Answers 2


Looks like you've got a 1 gang 5 hole outdoor electrical box, like this.

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A couple weatherproof lampholders,

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and a motion sensor.

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You should be able to find each of these sold separately, at your local hardware or big box store. To replace them, you'll have to be comfortable doing electrical work, and working from a ladder. If you're not comfortable with either, contact a local Electrician to complete the repair.

Replace the broken bits

If you have no problems with this type of work, the repair is quite simple. Start by turning off the power to this circuit at the breaker, and verifying the power is off using a non-contact voltage tester. Next remove the cover from the box, which is likely held on by two screws. This will reveal the wiring inside. Take a moment to note (and jot down) how everything is connected. Taking pictures is often helpful.

Remove the lampholder

Locate the wires going to the broken lampholder, and follow them to where they connect to the other wires. Disconnect the wires from the broken lampholder from the other wiring (likely done by removing twist-on wire connectors), making sure to remember where they were connected.

There may be a locknut where the lampholder threads into the box.

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Loosen the locknut with a pair of tongue and groove pliers (channellocks), then simply unscrew the lampholder from the box.

Finishing up

Installation is the opposite of removal.

Follow the same procedure to replace the motion sensor.

Before replacing the box cover, inspect the gasket and replace it if necessary.

  • Thank you so much! I had not seen any information about piecemeal approaches for these lights, so this is super helpful!
    – Matthew
    Apr 25, 2014 at 10:17
  • @Matthew Even on the pre-assembled security light setups, it's usually just weatherproof lampholders and motion sensors connected to an electrical box cover. In most cases, the individual parts are easily replaceable.
    – Tester101
    Apr 25, 2014 at 10:25

It looks like just a junction box with 2 light housings and a motion sensor attached to it. If the box is in good shape, just replace the parts. The hardware store near me sells just the pieces you need in the electrical section.

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