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Old 02-14-2016, 04:36 PM   #1
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Replacing switches with bath 4-function fan/heat/lights


Hello - thanks for checking out my issue. I've reached the limit of my knowledge and am ready to call in an expert but figured I'd see what the experts here would recommend. I'm definitely not an expert but do feel that I have a solid grasp of the caution and care that needs to be taken while doing any electrical work.

I purchased an older 1960s-era home a few years ago and I have wanted to change the switches that control a Nutone 9093WH multi-function bathroom exhaust/heater/light/night-light. My goal is to put the exhaust on a spring-wound mechanical countdown timer and the other three functions on a single-gang 3-function switch.

I cut the power at the circuit breaker and then double-checked that there was no power coming into this switch box. I unwired the existing switches paying attention to how it was wired. Then I wired the new switches in the manner that I thought was appropriate based on the instructions. When I turned-on the breaker the unit made a very loud buzzing sound that I could hear from quite far away at the breaker-box.

At that point I thought that I had not correctly identified the hot line leading from the panel to the box so I unwired everything and then had all the lines nutted-off and I was going to test to see which was hot. So at this point nothing is connected and the wires are all separate with a nut covering the exposed copper. When I flip the circuit breaker something makes that same sound. As best as I can tell there is nothing else on this circuit to make any noise so I am confused as to how something is being energized with all the wires disconnected from the switches.

I'll provide some pics as well as the rough wiring diagram I've drawn showing how the wires were originally when it was functioning, and how I had wired-in the new switches. Any advice is welcome - barring something obvious that I'm missing i will call in a professional to sort it out.

Some links in case it is helpful:

Nutone installation with wiring diagram:
http://www.nutone.com/common/product...3-ecf32f0c25b3

Timer instructions:
http://www.intermatic.com/~/media/in...structions.pdf

Combo Switch instructions:
http://www.legrand.us/~/media/produc...er/340819.ashx

Thanks,
David
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Old 02-14-2016, 04:49 PM   #2
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An electrician will be along soon---the sound was ,most likely, caused by a short circuit--perhaps one of the bare grounds touchin an exposed screw.

Did the breaker pop ?
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Old 02-14-2016, 04:52 PM   #3
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thanks for the feedback oh'mike - no, the circuit breaker didn't trip, which also added to my confusion.
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:38 PM   #4
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You have one power and four switch legs---I would get out my tester ,first, and test power to each each leg--one at a time --and see if one of them lights up the tester.

If it does--that one is grounded out--or perhaps is a neutral--

If that test doesn't light up the meter (a two wire meter like a Wiggy)--then touch the power to each switch leg and see what turns on---if all four work when touched to the power---your problem is in the switch wiring.

An electrician WILL be along soon--and bawl me out if I steered you wrong.
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:00 PM   #5
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Based on your drawing and description, everything you did appears correct. You could open up the fan to or look for another associated jbox. Since you're okay spending some money and it doesn't look like you did anything wrong, I'd suggest having a pro evaluate it. Just make sure you keep him busy for an hour if that's his minimum charge
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theorbo View Post
When I turned-on the breaker the unit made a very loud buzzing sound that I could hear from quite far away at the breaker-box.

At that point I thought that I had not correctly identified the hot line leading from the panel to the box so I unwired everything and then had all the lines nutted-off and I was going to test to see which was hot. So at this point nothing is connected and the wires are all separate with a nut covering the exposed copper. When I flip the circuit breaker something makes that same sound.
Can you try turning on the breaker, and follow that sound ! ... see where it's coming from
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Old 02-14-2016, 08:07 PM   #7
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You could open up the fan to or look for another associated jbox.
Thanks Arrow3030, I considered that. Is it possible that the run from the panel goes straight to the fan/box in the ceiling? And then the switches in the box are in another part of the circuit?

Emtnut, thanks to you too. I did have someone close the circuit breaker so that I could hear and it is above me, sounding like from the same area as the device.
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:18 AM   #8
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It is possible but based on your drawing it looks like that isn't the case. If it were my service call I'd take the fan jbox apart
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:23 AM   #9
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Have you used your tester yet?
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theorbo View Post
Thanks Arrow3030, I considered that. Is it possible that the run from the panel goes straight to the fan/box in the ceiling? And then the switches in the box are in another part of the circuit?

Emtnut, thanks to you too. I did have someone close the circuit breaker so that I could hear and it is above me, sounding like from the same area as the device.
Looking at your wiring diagram again , It looks like you have 'B3' on the 'ground' of the switch. B3 should be connected with B4.
You have 'grounded' one side of the exhaust motor.
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by emtnut View Post
Looking at your wiring diagram again , It looks like you have 'B3' on the 'ground' of the switch. B3 should be connected with B4.
You have 'grounded' one side of the exhaust motor.
Thanks. This switch has a separate ground screw at the very bottom of the combo-switch that I had used to ground. The two bottom-most screws on the left and right-hand side are both labeled "common" and are darker in color than the other brass screws.
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:01 PM   #12
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Have you used your tester yet?
Not yet as I am at work today. I have a digital multi-meter and am afraid that it's not the best thing to use? The only alternative I have is a proximity meter.
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:19 PM   #13
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Your multi meter will work--but the death stick will not.
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