I recently purchased a SensaSwitch, Manual-ON / Timed-OFF (PDF of instructions) and I cannot install it in such a way that it performs as I desire. I have a switch at the top of my basement stairs and a second by the exit, both switches control the entirety of the basement lights.

I want to install a switch that will turn off after x minutes have passed that way when I leave through the basement the lights will automatically switch off without the need of using the bottom switch. I have been able to wire the top switch to perform this function. After dark, if a person enters through the basement he must turn on the switch by the door for the lights to come on. With the configuration that auto-turns-off, the bottom switch becomes completely useless. Is there a way to wire these two switches so that they perform as desired?

Here is a diagram of the circuit: Switch Circuit

In the Top Wire Box (one gang) are five wires; because of the age of the wires it is difficult to tell the colours, mostly the wires look black except for a yellow and a red wire which are joined. From one port come a wire which is black with bits of white throughout, a wire which is black, and a wire which is red. From the other port is a wire which is yellow and a wire which is black.

I have tried a multitude of connections to the Timer Switch, but I have not unbundled the red and yellow wires (and I hope I won't need to). The timer switch has four ports: "3-Way," "White," "Hot," and "1-Pole." The configuration which seems to work is: Black & White Wire and Black Wire in "1-Pole," Black(marked hot) in "Hot." I have managed to make it function with a different wiring but I did not record it (the Black(marked hot) was in "Hot").

This Timer Switch comes equipped with LEDs which should illuminate when the switch is off, but all I have yet seen them do is flicker randomly. The instructions say that a Neutral Wire is necessary for the LEDs to work properly. I do not need the LEDs to turn on if it is possible to make this work otherwise, at the hardware store the sample did not have functioning LEDs.

Please advise. I am very eager to make this work and am willing to try virtually every combination (in fact, I've already tried a great many unsuccessful configurations).

  • Have you tried contacting the manufacturer to ask them whether this unit can do what you want an how to wire it if so? That's what I'd have to do before I could answer...
    – keshlam
    Jan 21, 2015 at 3:58
  • I did call and ask the manufacturer. Their advice was twofold: 1)Read all instructions thoroughly and 2)Call a licensed electrician. The Customer Service Agent understood how I want the circuit to function, and said he believed that this switch is capable of that.
    – Thomas
    Jan 21, 2015 at 20:45
  • Did you figure out how to accomplish this? I have the same situation. My "switch at the top of the stairs" needs to be switched on for the auxiliary sensaswitch to function. Not ideal.
    – user34123
    Feb 26, 2015 at 4:56
  • @Janson -- can you ask a question and provide better photos/a better diagram of your situation? Apr 4, 2015 at 1:45
  • Thomas -- we'll need more info about that top wire box. Would you be able to provide a photo of its innards? Apr 4, 2015 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, the OP will not be able to do anything without running a new wire between the two boxes, or giving us more info about the other box -- there's no neutral at the box he's trying to put the SensaSwitch at, and the SensaSwitch needs a neutral to power itself.

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