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Old 11-05-2010, 02:49 PM   #1
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Ceiling fan wiring


Hey all,

New to the board, well a new member anyways. I usually get on here to gain as much knowledge as I can. Well, now it is time I posted, b/c I've got a major problem. To begin, I have experience with residenital wiring, as this is my 3rd home that Ive either remodeled, added an addition, or just did some basic electrical updated. So here is my dilema:

I have a single pole switch that controls a ceiling fan w/light. Inside the switch box, there are 4 branches of wiring: power supply(14-3, leg to fan/light(14-3), and 2 legs(14-2) thats go to outlets. All I wanted to do was add a new switch, but the box screw hole was snapped, so the screw would not tighten. So I had to rip out the box and replace with a new one. I didnt draw up the existing diagram, b/c I planned on doing it the same day, but I got distracted and didn't start work again for 4 days, so needless to say, I forgot. Anyways, I hooked it back up the way I assumed it was, but it didnt work. What I am sure off( I think) is:

1. All blacks capped and pig-tailed to the switch terminal.
2. All whites capped.
3. All grounds capped.

The issue is with the red wires. The red wire on the light leg caps to the blue wire in the fan/light. When I took out the switch at the beginning, there was one of the red wires at the other terminal of the switch, but can remember which one. So my question(s) would be: Where/Which red wires connect to what?

Sorry about the long post, esp. being my first, I just wanted to make sure I gave everyone enought info on the situation.

Thanks for all you help!!!

KC

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Old 11-05-2010, 04:55 PM   #2
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Ceiling fan wiring


So your supply is a three-conductor, black, red, white?! Do both red and black of the supply have voltage? What is the voltage between black and red? Interesting.

Quote:
All blacks capped and pig-tailed to the switch terminal.
I don't believe this to be correct. One of the blacks likely goes to your fan. This should not be tied in to your supply. Instead, this should be on one of the switch load terminals.

Quote:
All whites capped.
Most likely correct.

Quote:
All grounds capped.
Also, most likely correct.

Quote:
The issue is with the red wires. The red wire on the light leg caps to the blue wire in the fan/light. When I took out the switch at the beginning, there was one of the red wires at the other terminal of the switch, but can remember which one. So my question(s) would be: Where/Which red wires connect to what?
It may help also to describe your switch. Is it a double switch or single? Do you want to control both light and fan with a single switch?

The red wire in supply seems to me to be the odd situation. Is there a second switch that controls the fan? Are you sure that both of the 2-conductor wires are supplies to outlets (no voltage present)?

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Old 11-06-2010, 10:47 PM   #3
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Ceiling fan wiring


Hey Oberkc,

Yes, it is very interesting, which is why I'm at a lose

The power supply is 14-3, both blk and red have current, though dont know how much. I just tested with a simple wire tester, and it read 110v.

I agree with you on the blk wire to the fan/light should not be tied in with all the other as this would provide a constant puwer supply. But if i recall correctly, I only removed 3 wire nut connections, blacks, whites and grounds. The black wire that connected to the switch, which is a single(2 terminals and ground) was the pig-tail from all the black connections. BUt like I mentioned in my initial post, I didnt go back to work on it for 3-4 days, so I might have just forgotten.

Like mentioned, 1 switch controls power to the fan/light, with the pull chains controling on and off. I would like to keep it as is, UNLESS you feel it would be better to have a switch for each the fan and light.

Lastly, the 2 14-2 conductors are to a hall outlet(right outside the bed room doors) and another outlet in the adjacent bedroom. This I am sure off.

NOW, here is something else I happened to fall upon, which might lead you to some kind of solution: I took the power supply(14-3) and tied it to the hall outlet, black on black, white on white. I had voltage in the outlet, however, when I plugged in a light, it would not turn on. I thought maybe the outlet was bad(30 years olf), so I connected a new one, and still nothing. Any thoughts?

Thanks for helping me out!!!
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Old 11-07-2010, 12:12 AM   #4
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Ceiling fan wiring


I'm not an electrician but the red wire is often a runner when using two switches to control a single appliance. I'm pretty sure that this is where your problem is.
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:55 AM   #5
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Ceiling fan wiring


excuse the poor drawing...i assume it looks like this? is there voltage on the red on the power source from red to neutral? and the same for the black...black to neutral?

do you control the fan from another switch in the house as well as the one you worked on? if so, the red is most likely for a 3way switch.

with both blacks going to the outlets and the black 'feeding' the box spliced together, and all the neutrals (whites) spliced together...do you have 120volts at the outlets?

up at the fan, the black is connected to the black on the fan, the red is connected to the blue, correct?
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:56 PM   #6
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[quote=heartlessmcfly;530049]excuse the poor drawing...i assume it looks like this?quote]

Nice drawing!!! If I could have done that, it might have helped everyone out understanding it a little more, so THANKS!!

The only thing incorrect is that one of the red wires WAS connected to the switch. This I do remember, b/c the end of the wire was hooked as done to attach to the terminal screw.

I have 120 to the outlets, but like mentioned in my previous post, when I plugged a lamp into, I got nothing. I know it does have current b/c i tested, so something is wrong.

So there are two things I can do: 1. figure this out. or 2. just put up a new light, and cap of the red wires and be done with it. But if you guys are anything like me, this will eat at you and you will try to figure this puzzle out.

Again, thanks for all the help!!!!
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:03 PM   #7
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Ceiling fan wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobra281 View Post
I have 120 to the outlets, but like mentioned in my previous post, when I plugged a lamp into, I got nothing. I know it does have current b/c i tested, so something is wrong.
Please don't take this as a smart-assed comment, but did the lamp work in other outlets?

Could be simple, like a bad bulb in the lamp.
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:03 PM   #8
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Ceiling fan wiring


If you have voltage on the outlets and then u plug a light in and it doesn't work, sounds to me like u have an open neutral. If u take ur volt meter and go from neutral to ground, tell me if u get voltage. If u get 120volts from neutral to ground then check ur splicing on the neutrals.


Also, if the red was on the switch and the red is used to the light kit and the black feeds the motor constantly, if I were u...splice the red and black together and make a pigtail and hook that to the switch. This way, if u ever have to service the fan, it has a means of a disconnect

When u say "cap off the red wires"...are there two reds up at the fan? Or just in the switch box? Does the feeder red have voltage?

Last edited by heartlessmcfly; 11-07-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:38 PM   #9
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Ceiling fan wiring


Quote:
Originally Posted by itin1200 View Post
Please don't take this as a smart-assed comment, but did the lamp work in other outlets?

Could be simple, like a bad bulb in the lamp.
I thought the same thing at first, but it worked in other outlets.

[quote=heartlessmcfly;530255]If you have voltage on the outlets and then u plug a light in and it doesn't work, sounds to me like u have an open neutral. If u take ur volt meter and go from neutral to ground, tell me if u get voltage. If u get 120volts from neutral to ground then check ur splicing on the neutrals.quote]

I'll check that when I get home later.

[quote=heartlessmcfly;530255]


Also, if the red was on the switch and the red is used to the light kit and the black feeds the motor constantly, if I were u...splice the red and black together and make a pigtail and hook that to the switch. This way, if u ever have to service the fan, it has a means of a disconnectquote]

Ah, thats an idea. I'll give that a shot,a nd see where it takes me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heartlessmcfly View Post
When u say "cap off the red wires"...are there two reds up at the fan? Or just in the switch box? Does the feeder red have voltage?
No, there is only one red at the fan/light. What I meant is inside the switch box, I'd cap off the power red and red to the fan, just so that in the future for either I or the next homeowners will know whats going on in the box.
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:35 PM   #10
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Ceiling fan wiring


Quote:
The power supply is 14-3, both blk and red have current, though dont know how much. I just tested with a simple wire tester, and it read 110v.
Current is a function of the load. Without a load, current is zero (or close enough). So...there is 120v between black and white? And between red and white? What about between black and red? It should either be zero or 240v. If 240, you may have one of those funny circuits. This could indicate black and red are on two different circuits and phases. I best not comment on those for the likelihood of being wrong.

Quote:
I agree with you on the blk wire to the fan/light should not be tied in with all the other as this would provide a constant puwer supply. But if i recall correctly, I only removed 3 wire nut connections, blacks, whites and grounds.
Memories can fail. Mine sure does. Regardless, if you supply your fan with an unswitched source of power, it will run constantly. Unless this is what you want, that sounds wrong to me.

Quote:
UNLESS you feel it would be better to have a switch for each the fan and light.
That is how I like them. Only you can tell how hard it would be to add any additional wiring and devices that this would take, however.

Quote:
NOW, here is something else I happened to fall upon, which might lead you to some kind of solution: I took the power supply(14-3) and tied it to the hall outlet, black on black, white on white. I had voltage in the outlet, however, when I plugged in a light, it would not turn on. I thought maybe the outlet was bad(30 years olf), so I connected a new one, and still nothing. Any thoughts?
I have read folks speak of "phantom" voltage. They describe this as an indication of voltage where there is none. I understand digital voltmeters are especially vulnerable.

If you do this and plug the lamp in, you should still see 120V at the black supply lines. If you don't, then you may have had a case of the phantom. If you still see voltage, then you either have some faulty wiring or the wire goes somewhere else.

Did you measure voltage at the outlet?

Quote:
I'm not an electrician but the red wire is often a runner when using two switches to control a single appliance. I'm pretty sure that this is where your problem is.
Yes, this is why I was wondering if there was another switch controlling the fan. It is also possible that there was, at one point, and it has been removed, with the travelers left in place. That sounds like a plausible explanation, to me.

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