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SuiteSisterMary's Journal: Anybody good with electrical wiring? 12

Journal by SuiteSisterMary

So the wife and I want to install a cieling fan.

The fan we have has the following wires: blue (light), black (fan,) white and ground.

The light fixture we're replacing has black, white, ground.

The black and white are controlled by three-way switches, there being three switches that will turn the light on or off.

We also have a fan control switch, which has black in, black out, and ground.

The light part, no problem. Blue to black, white to white, ground to ground, and the switch controls the light.

The original idea for the switch was some 14/2 cable wired as: ceiling black to 14/2 white (recoded for hot) to the black in on the switch, and black out on the switch to 14/2 black to ceiling fan black.

We then realized that thanks to the three way wiring, this would, of course, kill power to the fan whenever the light was turned off.

So, my current thinking is to jump a constant hot black from the light switch beside the ceiling fan switch to the black in on the ceiling fan, and black out on the ceiling fan switch to 14/2 black, to ceiling fan black. The 14/2 white would be capped with a marette and electrical tape on both ends.

My understanding, therefore, is that all of the three-way switches would properly control the light, that constant power would go to the fan switch, which then steps the current from off (0) to full (4) through to the ceiling fan, and out the common white.

Am I right thinking on this?

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Anybody good with electrical wiring?

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  • Should work, but I don't quite understand this part, I think you've got the fan in twice (bold):

    So, my current thinking is to jump a constant hot black from the light switch beside the ceiling fan switch to the black in on the ceiling fan, and black out on the ceiling fan switch to 14/2 black, to ceiling fan black. The 14/2 white would be capped with a marette and electrical tape on both ends.

    Should the first bold be the "fan switch"?

    While you should be able to cap the neutral and use the existing one, does
    • Should the first bold be the "fan switch"?

      Yeah.

      Dunno if I mentioned, but the ceiling fan switch has no white; just black in, black out, and ground. So, I'm assuming that I would put constant hot black into the switch, jumped over from the light switch assembly beside it, use 14/1 wire from the switch output to the ceiling fan's fan input, and be done with it, rather than plugging constant hot into the switch, black out into 14/2 black, with the white on the 14/2 going back to wherever the constant hot

      • Ok, yeah, it'll accomplish the same thing to use the neutral of the light so you should be good.

        I just tend to like very "explicit" wiring. One of the joys of working on an old house is replacing a light fixture and discovering that someone decided to wire it constant hot and put the switch on the neutral return...

        Zap!
        • So, from the light switch:
          constant hot->fan switch->fan input on ceiling fan
          white -> white in ceiling
          won't create some sort of wacky loop or alternate path that prevents switches from working or anything like that?

          • The white wire should just be spliced together in the light switch boxes while the hot wire(s) pass through the switches. The white wire effectively runs straight from your breaker box to the fan mount box. So since the white doesn't go through any switches (right?) it shouldn't cause any problems as far as I can tell.

            (Disclaminer)
            Of course, there's any number of ways [the-home-i...nt-web.com] to actually wire it, and there's no guarantee that whomever did yours did it right, but I'd hook it up that way and see what happens :-)
  • a schematic would REALLY help here. :-)

    If you want the fan to be independent of the light, then you need hot coming into the switch, (switched) hot from the fan switch to the fan motor wire, and then obviously the current will leave on the same path as the light leaves on. As long as the lead to the fan isn't switched, you should be fine. 3-way switches are different from regular switches and there is an extra wire. If you aren't familiar with them, read this [howstuffworks.com].

    • Take a look at http://www.muskoka.com/~shayne/crudewiringdiagram. GIF [muskoka.com] for, well, a crude wiring diagram, done in MS Paint.

      The main question is, hot black into the fan switch, black from the fan switch into the fan, but what about the white? I'm thinking 'just skip it; pretend that instead of 14/2, I have 14/1 wire and the ceiling fan's common white takes care of the rest.'

      • The fan's common white wire will take care of the rest, with 1 caveat. Your electricity comes into your house in 2 "phases", so your main breaker box will have 2 copper buses, 1 for each phase. As long as the light's hot and the fan's hot are on the same bus (and therefore the same phase) you shouldn't have a problem. You can test this with a Mulitmeter. Put it on AC setting and touch the hot coming out of the fan switch (with the breaker on and the switch on high) and the common neutral going into the
        • That's the one. There was something nagging at me, and it was the phase. Thanks muchly!

          • My last company manufactured safety switches, and I already knew a LOT about electricity. They offered all these courses in electrical wiring and advanced electrical concepts. We were required to have 40+ hours of training per year, so I used most of my training hours in those type things since they would only begrudgingly send me to Java courses.
        • Good point, by connecting the hot fan switch to the source by the light switch you're sure you're on the same phase.

          There was something bugging me though and I just realized what it was looking at the 1337 MS paint diagram:

          The fan we have has the following wires: blue (light), black (fan,) white and ground.

          So, even if you ran a whole new circuit to the fan, you still only have one single neutral coming out of the fan itself for both fan and light. Meaning, sharing neutral is expected.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.

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