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Old 03-01-2008, 04:15 PM   #1
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


I have a ceiling fan that died in my kitchen that also serves as the overhead light. They are controlled by three wall switches and only has black and white wires in the ceiling box. The fan and light work when all three switches are the same - off or on. I want to be able to control the fan and light separately. I don't mind rewiring and have access for running new wire if need be - just not sure how to wire it.

Thanks for any help...
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


You have 3 switches controlling one item? Something is wrong there. (Fan & Light controlled with all 3 switches engaged? You should only need 1 switch if both fan/light come on together). Somehow all 3 switches are wired in series.

Assuming power is coming into the switchbox first and all whites twisted and all grounds twisted, this is what you have:

----S1 & S2 & S3 > F1 & L1 When all 3 switches are "on" you have a continuous circuit to the fan and light.

You need this ---S1 > F1
---S2 > L1
Where one switch controls fan, the other light. You would need two switched hot wires from the switchbox to the fan/light junction box which might be in a 14/3 or 12/3 cable w/ground between the switchbox and fanbox.

Alternately, there are some fans that have a remote control switch with a receiver in the fan box that can do what you want with only the hot/neutral/ground present. You would need to replace the fan and the switch in the wall box for that style.
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:13 PM   #3
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


are all the switches on the same wall or three different walls, could be two three way switches and one four way switch, check the switches and count the terminals on the switch

Last edited by leoacrh; 03-01-2008 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:33 PM   #4
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


You have the switches wired wrong. If you open all the switch boxes and tell use the cables and wire connections we could help you get it correct. A 3way switch has a common screw. It will be black or marked common. The 4 way will be in pairs by colour also. Don't tell us upper, lower, right, left. That means nothing.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


Two words, Remote Control.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:15 AM   #6
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Two words, Remote Control.

The OP stated they have full access to rewire, so no better time than now to do that. If it was a situation where they couldn't rewire, then I would say remote control.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:47 AM   #7
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


It may not need any rewiring. It probably just needs the switch connections corrected.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:41 AM   #8
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


Your switches sound a little like 2 three ways and a four way. But if that is the case, each one should turn the fan/light on and off at each location, no matter what the position of the other 2. How may switched wires are at the fan/light?
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:54 PM   #9
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


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Originally Posted by jrclen View Post
Your switches sound a little like 2 three ways and a four way. But if that is the case, each one should turn the fan/light on and off at each location, no matter what the position of the other 2. How may switched wires are at the fan/light?
Yes they should but if you get the wrong wire on the common or get the 4 way wrong it be just as described.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:06 PM   #10
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


Do you think he:

1) Gave up and called somebody.

2) Just gave up.

3) Made sparks/smoke.

4) Got knocked on his ass.

5) Got lucky and made it work.

6) Just added it to his "to do.....someday" list
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:25 PM   #11
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Multiple switches for a ceiling fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
Do you think he:

1) Gave up and called somebody.

2) Just gave up.

3) Made sparks/smoke.

4) Got knocked on his ass.

5) Got lucky and made it work.

6) Just added it to his "to do.....someday" list
If he was smart, he just called one of us to spend 10 minutes taking care of the problem. I had a customer a few years back who lived with a wacked out set of 3 way switches in the basement for 15 years. I fixed the problem in less than 10 minutes. Kinda funny.
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