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Old 01-05-2012, 01:36 AM   #1
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


I've added pictures below but basically I started off with a bathroom ceiling fan and light (all-in-one) with the following switches:
One controls the light and the second is a timer (pic below) that controls the fan.

My plan was to remove these two switches and install two plain on/off switches, one switch for the light and a second switch for the fan. However, I hit a snag when I saw the wires behind the plate.

The numbers on the pic below indicate where the wires were originally connected to on the original switches. But basically, when I removed the plate:

The black wire marked (D) or (1) was connected to the light switch where it says “black wire only” (1)

The wire marked (F) was connected to two things, the other end of the light switch at point (3) and also the bottom of the timer switch at point (4) half way down the wire.

The red wire marked (E) was connected to the top of the timer switch.

So four connections total.

When I removed the electrical plate and the switches the following summarizes the picture below:

(A) Three white wires capped together
(B) Two black wires capped together with a third black wire (F) coming from it
(C) Three bare ground wires twisted together
(D) Another black wire
(E) One red wire

My question is how to I simply wire two on/off switches so I can use one to control the light and the other to control the fan.
Thank you in advance!!






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Old 01-05-2012, 01:56 AM   #2
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Your box appears to have an (always hot) 2W feed wire and a 3W "switch leg" wire in it.
You'll need to VERIFY... that but assuming so:

1)Wirenut the two white wires together.
2)From the 2W (feed)... attach two additional BLACK wires to the first BLACK wire with a wire nut
3)Put one of these BLACK wires onto each of the two switches you want to use.
4)From the 3W (sw leg)... Put the RED wire onto one switch and the BLACK wire onto the other.
Done.


hth

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Old 01-05-2012, 03:48 AM   #3
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp
Your box appears to have an (always hot) 2W feed wire and a 3W "switch leg" wire in it.
You'll need to VERIFY... that but assuming so:

1)Wirenut the two white wires together.

hth
which 2 white wires?
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:51 AM   #4
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


In addition to the first post add two pigtails to the ground wires and ground the switches.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:56 AM   #5
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


I do not know why you want to remove a timer from the exhaust fan. It is nice to have to keep fan running for a 1/2 hour after shower without having to come back and turn it off. But if you want two single pole switches thats your choice. Anyway this pic should help and like Julius mentioned, add two grounding pigtails under the bare ground wire and attach 1 each to each switch.

And also keep the 3 white wires under "A" connected.

Does "D" control the light or fan?

To find out. Verify under "B" which wire is always hot and touch this always hot wire to "D". This will tell you if "D" controls light or fan. If you dont feel comfortable touching wires together, Undo "B", verify the always hot wire, turn power off, wire nut the always hot wire and "D" together, then turn power back on.
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Last edited by hammerlane; 01-05-2012 at 05:02 AM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:07 AM   #6
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Julius793 View Post
which 2 white wires?
oi. missed the feed through.
beware of insomnia posts!
---
OP:
2)From (your "B") the feed wire pair which currently has that stripped piece...
attach TWO BLACK wires under that wirenut; discard the stripped piece.
3)Put one of these BLACK wires onto each of the two switches you want to use.
4)From the 3W (sw leg)... Put the RED wire onto one switch and the BLACK wire onto the other.
Done.

Last edited by TarheelTerp; 01-05-2012 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:50 AM   #7
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Thanks everyone for replying.

Everyone made since and the diagram from hammerlane really helped a lot. I verified that one of the black wires were hot so I now have four black wires cap as suggested. I am short ground wire (or wire in general) so I will need to run to lowes to get more before proceding.

Thanks again everyone and I will post my results.

Oh and to hammerlane, I'm just trying to update the look of the 1/2 bathroom (no shower) to eventually put the house on the market. There timer was very dated and never really used.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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I have one additional question. Why did the original setup work without grounds connected to them? But I need grounds for the current setup?

Excuse my ignorance.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Quick View Post
I have one additional question. Why did the original setup work without grounds connected to them? But I need grounds for the current setup?

Excuse my ignorance.
The original setup worked without grounds for the same reason a car can work without seatbelts. They're not necessary for normal operation.

But when something goes wrong, you really want them there. The ground wires are for safety, helping to ensure that you aren't electrocuted by faulty wiring or defective appliances.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Quick
I have one additional question. Why did the original setup work without grounds connected to them? But I need grounds for the current setup?

Excuse my ignorance.
Grounds wont effect the operation of a unit they are there to protect you from electric shock in case of a failure. If you have some extra time read info on grounding
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:46 PM   #11
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Thanks for the clarification. Makes since now.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:07 PM   #12
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Quick View Post
Oh and to hammerlane, I'm just trying to update the look of the 1/2 bathroom (no shower) to eventually put the house on the market. There timer was very dated and never really used.
Im in the opposite situation you are in. I have a switch controlling my fan and would like a timer.

Problem is I have a 2 gang box cut into a very large mirror.

One side of the box has a GFCI and the other side has a double rocker decora switch where the top switch controls the light bar above the mirror and the bottom switch controls the exhaust fan.

So I'm running into a space issue. I do not want to have to cut the mirror to make room for a 3-gang box.

Im going to get some more photos together and start my own thread to get some ideas.
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Last edited by hammerlane; 01-05-2012 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #13
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
I

Im going to get some more photos together and start my own thread to get some ideas.
move one of those devices somewhere else (I'd suggest the GFI)
the side of that cabinet would work well.

go into that closet and open the back side of that mirror wall some.
or go to the wall in from inside the cabinet
this gains access to the back side of that 2G overstuffed box.

hth
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:38 PM   #14
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Like I said I'll get some other photos and post something later. I'll put the link to the new thread in here also.

But Tarheel you are correct...the 2G box is overstuffed. Gotta give the electrician who did the bath remodel(prior to me buying the house) credit for getting four 12-2 cables, the two devices and grounds folded nicely in that box so that the devices do fit easily.

He gets credit only for that....not for box-fill calculations
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:26 AM   #15
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Need help wiring switches to bathroom light and fan


Quote:
Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
Like I said I'll get some other photos and post something later. I'll put the link to the new thread in here also.

But Tarheel you are correct...the 2G box is overstuffed. Gotta give the electrician who did the bath remodel(prior to me buying the house) credit for getting four 12-2 cables, the two devices and grounds folded nicely in that box so that the devices do fit easily.

He gets credit only for that....not for box-fill calculations
2 gang box with 4 X 12-2 NM cable I have done often and the trick you have to know excatally where you can pull in and make the proper connection and fold it back neat.( that for deepwell verison the shallow typically 3X 12-2 is my limit )

This is my S.O.P. is do the ground first and make sure you leave the pigtails out for it, Then do the netural next if all switches only ( if the timers do not need netual just fold it back neat otherwise you will have to make a pigtail if it do required it ) Then finally the power that will take care of it easy.

Just remember to leave some slack useally 6 inches out of the box ( some peoples will say 3 inch out of the box plus 3 inches inside IMO that is kinda pushing luck with some devices espcally with receptales or GFCI receptales that useally get ya.)

Oh last thing do not ever backstab it ( aka push in ) they are famous for failure if not heeded just make a hook and put it on the screw that will be easier to deal with it.

Merci,
Marc

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