Help: Going from one switch to two??

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  #1  
Old 08-11-02, 07:28 AM
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Wxguy95
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Question Help: Going from one switch to two??

Hello everyone,

Just found this board...a lot of good information. Anyway, I am having a problem (sort of) with installing a new ceiling fan. I want to have separate switches for the light and the fan. The house is new (about 4 months old), and has the wiring for an additional switch. However, the box installed in the wall is for a single switch. My general plan is this (and please tell me if I'm wrong before I destroy my new home ):
- cut wall to fit a new switch box (may be using wrong terminology here)
- use a hammer or some unknown method to remove old box
- install new box, connect wiring to switches

I assume the room is set for two switches because of the wiring in the room (again, correct me if I am wrong) It has:
- currently 1 (15 A) switch, with one black and one red connected. The black is connected to two black wires with a screw cap
- 1 black wire is capped sitting by itself
- 3 white wires screw capped together
- 3 bare grounds screwed together

Thanks for any help

- Mike
 
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  #2  
Old 08-11-02, 07:41 AM
J
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If you are really wired for two switches, it would be much easier to install a duplex switch in the existing single-gang box than to change the box to a double gang.

I cannot tell for sure, but the information you have provided does not really indicate a wiring for two switches. It sounds more like this switch currently controls some split (half-switched) receptacle(s) in the room. Is this true?

Was there an existing box in the ceiling? If so, give us an inventory of the wires in the ceiling box. And is the box a fan-rated box?

If the two switches doesn't work out, you might consider a remote control, or a high-tech fixture that doesn't require separate wires for lights and fan.
 
  #3  
Old 08-11-02, 08:07 AM
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Wxguy95
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John,

Thanks for the quick reply. I connected the fan originally, but after seeing the wiring, my wife wanted to have two switches if possible.

Here's what is in the ceiling box:
4 wires:
- one red (connected to light and motor of fan)
- one black (connected to nothing)
- one white (connected to fan)
- one bare (connected to ground)

In the wall box:
- one red (running to switch)
- one black (connected to nothing, by itself)
- two black wires (running to switch)
- three whites (connected together)
- three bare (connected together)

I was guessing that the black wires connected by nothing is a second installed line in need of a switch (if I want to use it.) I'm just scratching my head on the single gang if the wiring is set for two switches.

- Mike
 
  #4  
Old 08-11-02, 08:22 AM
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Mike,

This sounds more promising. I'd probably shut off the breaker and test for continuity of the extra black wires to be sure. Do you have a multimeter to conduct this test?

I'd still recommend the duplex switch (horizontal levers, one above the other) rather than all that mess changing the box. Done this way, this would be a very simple project. You can probably do this in an hour or so, counting the trip to the store.

You can thank your builder for having the foresight to provide the second wire, but curse him for not providing the double-gang box and extra switch.

Make sure your ceiling box is fan rated and securely mounted. You don't want that fan falling on your head.
 
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Old 08-11-02, 08:31 AM
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Wxguy95
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Thanks for the help!

I do not have a multimeter But I'm willing to test it out and if it does not work, go for a different solution.

I guess the problem is my wife does not want the over under switches (and to be honest I would prefer the look of side by side switches.) Is there an easy way to get a box out of the wall?? I'm guessing there is not. Would that move me into an area better suited for a professional?

The box is fan rated...its funny looking at how this house was built. The builder shows very nice foresight and quality in some areas, and cut corners in others. I guess if it saves them a few bucks per house...that means real money after building a thousand or so the same way.
 
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Old 08-11-02, 08:47 AM
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If you want side-by-side switches, you can certainly have them. It's all very doable. Go buy a double-gang "old-work" box. Use the box to trace the size of the opening on the wall, including the existing hole. Make sure you know what side of the existing box that the stud is on, and extend the hole on the other side. Shut off the breaker first. Then carefully enlarge the hole along the line using a drywall saw. Carefully pry the existing box away from the stud, remove the wires and reinsert them into your new box. Then install the old-work box using the ears on the box.

Work carefully and the job should not be hard. Just make sure you have thought through the thing before cutting the drywall. Done properly, no drywall repair will be required.
 
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Old 08-11-02, 09:16 AM
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Another alternative is a dual sliding fan and light control similar to Casablanca model W-28 at http://www.casablancafanco.com/diffe...l_opt.html#w18 . I've seen similar versions of this type of control at Home Depot which are supposed to work with any brand van/light combo.
 
  #8  
Old 08-11-02, 02:53 PM
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buzzybuzzhead
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Always remember arbor day. The trees are alive with the sound of prairie dogs eating popcorn. It always happens at the races. Never at the farms. Here in Montana we grow horses, big horses. Big horses eat lots of food so here in Montana we grow lots of food. Never let them see you sweat and don't sweat the small stuff. What abut the big stuff you ask? Well, sit right down and I'll tell you a little story about a man named Jed. A poor something or other that barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shooting at some food and up from the ground came some bubblin' lepracahns. Seems he had hit one and they didn't take it too well. After the fall of Mercury the aliens came here and didn't stay. Too cold for them. Eveidence of them is available through the locals.
 
  #9  
Old 08-11-02, 06:25 PM
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Wirenut33
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Originally posted by buzzybuzzhead
Always remember arbor day. The trees are alive with the sound of prairie dogs eating popcorn. It always happens at the races. Never at the farms. Here in Montana we grow horses, big horses. Big horses eat lots of food so here in Montana we grow lots of food. Never let them see you sweat and don't sweat the small stuff. What abut the big stuff you ask? Well, sit right down and I'll tell you a little story about a man named Jed. A poor something or other that barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shooting at some food and up from the ground came some bubblin' lepracahns. Seems he had hit one and they didn't take it too well. After the fall of Mercury the aliens came here and didn't stay. Too cold for them. Eveidence of them is available through the locals.

Buzzy,
As a moderator, and in the interest of being polite and informative to all concerned in my responses, i will not suggest what comes to mind after reading your last post. This particular forum is intended for electrically related questions and answers only. I'm not sure what you might have been smoking at the time, but your comments here in this forum are rude, undignified, and otherwise irrelevant to the subject matter. Your IP address is logged when you sign into this forum, and if necessary, you can and will be blocked from either entering or responding to posts here.
 
  #10  
Old 08-11-02, 06:31 PM
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buzzybuzzhead
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made you laugh, didn't I?
 
  #11  
Old 08-11-02, 06:44 PM
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Wirenut33
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Not in the least. I don't consider electrical problems, which have the potential to escalate into either a property damage or personal injury issue as a laughing matter.
 
  #12  
Old 08-12-02, 04:21 PM
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buzzybuzzhead
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You need to lighten up a bit. I'm not hurting anybody, just having some fun. Anybody who reads my posts will know they are not to be taken seriously. And it looks like there are alot of people who are reading my posts. Maybe they laugh and maybe they wish I'd go away. I don't know. Hell, one of your more knowledgeable guys said I'm "rather entertaining". But I'll tell you what, Mr. Moderator. If the people who come here want me to leave and never post again, I will.

One more thing, I know all too well what can happen whenan electrical current passes through a human body. I've seen the damage electrical current has created, first hand. Try rescuing your partner then having to tell his family you did your best, but...

Life's too short. Lighten up and have a laugh.
 
  #13  
Old 08-12-02, 04:22 PM
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buzzybuzzhead
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One more thing. If I have been rude then I most humbly apologize.
 
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