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Old 02-12-2008, 08:32 AM   #1
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Is it possible to have separate 3-way switches for both the fan and the light? If so then how can it be done? I have searched relentlessly for hours and hours on it but found no results regarding my specific question! The only thing I could find was a setup for a 3-way for the light, and a separate switch (single pole) for the fan, which leads me to believe that it cannot be done the way I want it done. Any help would be greatly appreciated and this seemed like the right place to ask. Thanks in advance.

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Old 02-12-2008, 08:47 AM   #2
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Sure it can be done. Easiest way is to have the incoming power and outgoing switched hots and neutral in the same box. If you are using 14ga wire (15A circuit), you would have 14/2 bringing hot and neutral in; 14/3 carrying the two switched hots and neutral to the fan/light; two 14/3 cables going to the second set of 3-way switches, each carrying two travelers and a hot or switched hot.

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Old 02-12-2008, 08:55 AM   #3
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Run the travelers directly from one switch box to the other switch box. Since you have two sets of travelers for fan and light, respectively, running travelers into the fixture box will make for much confusion and too many wires and connections there.

(For conduit installations, running travelers through the fixture box with no splice there is OK)

If you already have separate wall switches for fan and light, not three way, then you can convert to three way by running the travelers out of the existing switch box and without disturbing the fan/light unit itself. This is true regardless of where the power came in.

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-12-2008 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:17 PM   #4
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


I think the easiest way for a novice to do it would be to have the power at one end and the switch legs at the other, and two 3 wire cables between them. Less colors to confuse the poor guy



Run power to one switch box (2 wire cable, black and white wires)

Run two 3 wire cables to the second sw box and run one 3 wire cable from the second box to the fan/light box.

1st box, tie whites together and install two 8" black pigtails on the hot (black) wire. Each one of these will go to the "common" terminal of your 3way switches when you trim it out.

The remaing red and black wires in the cables will go to the other terminals of the switches.

2nd box. Tie whites together. The black and red of the 3 wire going to your fan/light will go to the common terminals of your 2 switches. The black and reds in the cables from the 1st box will go to the other terminals (just like box #1)

To recap,




Of course tie all grounds (bare) together and ground all metal boxes.

Last edited by 220/221; 02-12-2008 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:36 PM   #5
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Only problem with that in this case 220, is you now have parallel neutrals in the two 14/3 cables. While not a big problem, it could cause some confusion. Doing it the way I suggested would eliminate this parallel conductor.
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Old 02-12-2008, 07:52 PM   #6
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Quote:
Doing it the way I suggested would eliminate this parallel conductor
You would still have parallel conductors.

Your extra one would just be black.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:51 PM   #7
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Thank you guys so much for the help! At first I was thinking I needed to run a 4 wire to the fixture from the lead end. I was sorta off but I'm really glad I found this place. One last question though, will having 5 recess lights and a wall sconce affect the load? Its a 15 amp circuit and the recess lights are 65 watt max each. When I figure this kinda stuff out then I'll earn my wings (Journeyman card). Thanks again in advance!
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:48 PM   #8
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


You will be ok......unless your circuit is near capacity already....which isn't likely......unless you have already added to it
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:34 PM   #9
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Just remember that you can't put two three way dimmers controlling the same lights. You can if it's a master/slave setup (Lutron Maestro for example) but not with standard setup. I've never seen three way fan speed controllers, but that doesn't mean they don't make them. Just something to think about.
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:40 AM   #10
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Ceiling fan: 3-way for light, and 3-way for fan


Its a standard 3-way leaving the fan speed control at the pull chain on the fixture. So it will be alright. Thanks again for the help guys!

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