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Old 03-29-2010, 09:41 AM   #1
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


We have quite the electrical confusion in our home. We recently installed a bathroom vent to a switch with out a problem but are having problems with a bedroom ceiling fan light.

There was no ceiling box in the ceiling.
We added a fan hanger and ceiling box. Ran the electrical (12-3) through the attic and down the wall to the switch that controlls a hot switch (though we could never find the outlet it controlled)

After wiring the ceiling fan to the switch and having no power we traced the incoming switch power to the outlet that is should control (but didnt). I spoke to my brother who is an electrician and he suggest that our wires from the outlet to the switch might be bad (we were picking up power with our sensor, but don't have a voltage meter). We decided to try running a brand new power line from the outlet to the switch. All we had was 12-3 so that is what we used.

We wired it (shown in the diagaram, I hope it makes sense) and right now the light works, but when you turn on the fan the fuse blows (even if the light is off, as soon as the fan goes on the fuse blows). My brother told me that means that we are getting a direct short. He is unavailable to help me this week trouble shoot our problem, so I am reaching out for more help and advice.

Any thoughts as to why we are getting a short? Let me know if you have any more questions about our wiring process as the diagaram might not be the best.

Pink = White/Neutral


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Old 03-29-2010, 10:17 AM   #2
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


A trick for troubleshooting is to "bench test" a gizmo to see if it is working as it should and that the wires you are using are the correct combinations of wires.

So remove the fan / light, reread the wiring instructions which came with it, then place it on a work bench and connect a wire with a regular plug on it to just the light. Use wire nuts. See if the light works.

Then connect the fan and see if that works.

Best to plug this into a switched outlet. Then turn on the power with the switch.

If the fan works fine when "bench testing", use a multimeter to measure the voltage on the bathroom wiring.

If the fan has the same problem when "bench testing", return it.

How to use a multimeter...
http://www.google.com/#hl=en&q=how+t...6b5a4f84435186

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Old 03-29-2010, 11:07 AM   #3
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


Cable clamp too tight? Wires touching in switch or ceiling box (just one strand can do it)?
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #4
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


your brother is absolutely right...barring any pinched wires and so forth like the above people mentioned i'd check your switch...i see a gound is attacked to it. If you have the switched side for the fan and the ground wire backwards you'll create a dead short every time you turn the fan on.

i should also add that the reason that the plug didn't switch with the switch is because the small tab between the hot screws needs to be broke off. I'm assuming that the hot came into the outlet box and was pigtailed to the outlet and to the wire feeding the switch. the return from the switch would have been on the other hot screw on the plug. But if the tab between the screws isn't broken off then your just turning on power that's already turned on in essence.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:59 PM   #5
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


Thanks for the suggestions. We are going to give it a try this evening and see if we can get things working.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:10 AM   #6
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


We got things working last night.

We started with the ground screws on the switch, turns out we had them too tight because when we took them off and re-attached (not quite as tight, but still tight enough) it worked.

We never thought the connections could be too tight. Thanks again.
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Old 03-30-2010, 09:14 AM   #7
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan to a Switch that also Controlls Hot Switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by timsarah View Post
We got things working last night.

We started with the ground screws on the switch, turns out we had them too tight because when we took them off and re-attached (not quite as tight, but still tight enough) it worked.

We never thought the connections could be too tight. Thanks again.
Having the ground screws too tight or too loose would have no effect. My guess is you had a ground wire and fan switched hot touching. When you removed the switch to "loosen" the ground wire, you caused the wires to rearrange, eliminating the problem.

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