Dual Switched Ceiling Fan/light Is, Uh,.... Crazy! - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:47 PM   #1
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dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


here's the scoop:

Bought a cabin in the mountains, a few projects to be had. One being a very high ceiling fan in a very high 18' ceiling area, and only a drop of 6' for the fan, leaving it out of reach, certainly, and exposed in the center of the room with very little way to reach it, except with a VERY large step ladder.

I wanted to replace the 6' downrod with a 9' length, which is then perfect to reach the 'strings' and bulb replacement/fan dusting, etc.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The current HUNTER fan and lights work, both on individual switches, with power to the switch outlet, with Black wire for fan, Red for lights, and Neutral(White) combined, all to the ceiling box.
The fan wiring from the motor housing top to the ceiling box, thru the downrod, is 14ga Black, Black w White stripe, and White. I would 'suppose' that these coordinate with the wiring from the ceiling box, with RED in place for the Black w White stripe to the fan housing.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's the crazy part.
Replaced the downrod, and ran new 14ga the full length from the fan housing to the ceiling box, attaching to the correct colors(W=W, B=B, B&W stripe with Red, of course).

NOTHING. Switches do nothing. Pulling fan or light strings with both switches on does nothing. Nata.

o.k. SWITCHED around some wiring at the ceiling box: WE to BK, BK to B&W, and Red to WE.

Works! ????? but, not like you'd expect! No matter the switching of wiring colors at the ceiling box, either I got NOTHING, nata, or I got the following:

******************
Only a SINGLE wall switch works:
The Fan and Light will work together, but the light 'seems' dimmer than it should be.
If the Light string is pulled to off, the fan also turns off.
If the Fan 'speed' is changed from 'fast' to 'medium', the light dims more, and even more again if to 'slow', and then 'off' when the fan is pulled again to 'off'.
The FAN will NOT work is the light bulb is pulled out. (? What??)

further test shows this:**************************

A stronger wattage light bulb gives a faster FAN speed (? What??)

A lower wattage bulb yield the opposite.


a final test:***********************************

pulling the bulb, but jumping the light bulb internal housing with a 14ga wire yields FULL POWER to the FAN ! (? what???!!!)




got any ideas?
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:00 PM   #2
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


Unhook all the fans wiring in the ceiling box and get them out of the way. With your DVM, check the wires in the ceiling box coming from the wall switches. Find out which wall switch is powering which wire. Both wires may be switched, one may be hot all the time.

Get your switched conductors marked and verified for voltage when the wall switches are turned on or dead...when turned off. Then once satisfied, one at a time trace out the fan power wire and the light power wire and connect them as needed. .
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Old 05-06-2018, 08:02 PM   #3
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


Quote:
Originally Posted by NCmountainCabin View Post
very high ceiling fan in a very high 18' ceiling area, and only a drop of 6'
That's about right to get a good 'stir'

Quote:
...except with a VERY large step ladder.
Hire it done (as needed)

Quote:
...fan and lights work, both on individual switches,
with power to the switch outlet, with Black wire for fan, Red for lights, and Neutral(White) combined, all to the ceiling box.
That's about right.

Quote:
...got any ideas?
Is there a problem?
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:24 PM   #4
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


Open neutral between the ceiling box and fixture.

Joints were correct first time but neither light nor fan could operate without
neutral.

After that you applied hot to either light or fan and neutral to the other. With
fixtures common neutral floating it acted as a series connection between light
and fan. The two being in series explains one affecting the other as described.

Find/fix the open neutral, likely in the downrod, and make joints as they were
originally.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:22 PM   #5
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


I think your error is in the connections to the fan/light.
You have the incoming neutral connected to the hot for the fan switch.
To correct move the incoming wire from the down rod that is currently connected to the fan switch wire to the neutral from the fan/light. Connect the other two wires from the down rod to the wires from the fan/light. Does not mater which is connected to which.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:15 PM   #6
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switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... CRAZY!


Quote:
Originally Posted by CodeMatters View Post
Open neutral between the ceiling box and fixture.

Find/fix the open neutral, likely in the downrod, and make joints as they were
originally.
BINGO! Someone here is very smart, thanks. You hit it on the head, or so I think so far.

When I think back to my wiring, the new was pulled thru the long downrod as it lay flat on the floor.
I then used butt-connectors from the end of the new wires, to the wiring from the fan housing's top. The problem I remember is that these fan housing wires were very short and very difficult to get a good 'grab' in order to make the best crimp connection. I even remember thinking that the White NEUTRAL wire was especially tough, and I probably, and truthfully, was not totally confident in the connection.

Apparently my connection did not make it through the 'turning' of the downrod onto the fan housing(3/4" screw on type), which probably stressed the wires even more.


gotcha....now to 'fix' the issue.

and you're right, as I surmised, that only the Neutral(white) matters, as the other two are only 'switched' power. Even if not the same, the change would only be reflected in 'which' switch operated which... not a big deal, of course.

I'll get to that and report back, hopefully with 'good' news... but give me a few days. : )
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:12 AM   #7
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


o.k.

today I disconnect the fan downrod from the top of the fan housing, where the original 'connections' were made. I was able to pull down a little extra cord to help make the new butt connections more easy.

after reconnecting the fan housing to the downrod, I find that now BOTH switches are operational: but...
#1 switch - fan only, good, works, finally...
#2 - light AND fan(?)...light is 'dimmed', like before, and fan runs also - strange.

well, as much as i'd like to 'figure this out', the only option may be to go into the Switches themselves, to move around some wiring. Reaching the top of the canopy of the downrod is almost impossible in such a high cathedral type ceiling.

it sounds like there's still an issue with the Neutral, though now only on the 'Light' switch side, since the 'Fan' switch side seems to work just fine.
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:50 AM   #8
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


If everything worked properly before you started, and the only changes have been the wiring in the fan and ceiling, I would think that changing things randomly in the switches will make it more confusing for the electricians to solve your dilemma.
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Old 05-08-2018, 11:58 AM   #9
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


Quote:
Originally Posted by NCmountainCabin View Post
o.k.

today I disconnect the fan downrod from the top of the fan housing, where the original 'connections' were made. I was able to pull down a little extra cord to help make the new butt connections more easy.

after reconnecting the fan housing to the downrod, I find that now BOTH switches are operational: but...
#1 switch - fan only, good, works, finally...
#2 - light AND fan(?)...light is 'dimmed', like before, and fan runs also - strange.

well, as much as i'd like to 'figure this out', the only option may be to go into the Switches themselves, to move around some wiring. Reaching the top of the canopy of the downrod is almost impossible in such a high cathedral type ceiling.

it sounds like there's still an issue with the Neutral, though now only on the 'Light' switch side, since the 'Fan' switch side seems to work just fine.
Do both parts of my original instructions, not just the first part, and it
will work properly.
"Find/fix the open neutral, likely in the downrod, and make joints as they were originally. "
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Old 05-08-2018, 12:35 PM   #10
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


To re-cap:

Scenario 1 - joints correct in ceiling box but neutral open in downrod
Symptoms match underlying problem


Scenario 2 - joints incorrect in ceiling box and neutral open in downrod
Symptoms match underlying problems


Scenario 3 - joints still incorrect in ceiling box but neutral no longer open in downrod
Symptoms match underlying problem
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Old 05-08-2018, 03:50 PM   #11
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Re: dual switched Ceiling fan/light is, uh,.... crazy!


you've got this down pat, my man!
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Old 05-09-2018, 03:01 PM   #12
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Re: SOLVED!.... ceiling fan/light switches : )


Quote:
Originally Posted by NCmountainCabin View Post
you've got this down pat, my man!
okeeee dokeeeey

got this done, solved, working, and everything is o.k. in Mayberry!
(my fav show, just so you know)

opened the switch plate cover, unmounted the switches, 'switched' the fan's output wire with the 'neutral' white wire, and voila~...solved. also, I added a 'flag' to each of these wires so that I, or the 'next' person in this switchplate, will have some sort of clue, next time, just in case.
SOOOO much easier dealing in this switchplate box than dealing with the fan housing or high downrod connections! ... and you can 'check' it easily!

thanks for all the assistance... you rock!
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