double wall switch / ceiling box wiring puzzle

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  #1  
Old 05-03-04, 06:11 PM
nrchandelsman
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Thumbs up SOLVED: double wall switch / ceiling box wiring puzzle

Can anybody sort out this wiring scenario? As I mentioned earlier "wiring ceiling fan w/2 switches" I want to hook up a ceiling fan with light (fan has 1 black, 1 blue, 1 white, 1 green wire) so that fan and light have their own wall switches and here is the existing set up:

the ceiling box has 3 cables coming in, one sheathed in white plastic; two in braided grayish black cloth; I'm calling them C1, C2, C3

C1 plastic sheathed;
has 1 white 1 black 1 copper

C2 braided material;
has 1 white 1 black 1 red

C3 braided material;
has 1 white 1 black

ceiling box connections:
C1 connected to nothing
C2: black wire connected to black from C3; these two end in a cap
white wire connected to white from C3, these are capped together and a short white extension wire coming from that connection hangs loose (this was where white wire from original light fixture was attached)
red wire hangs loose (this was originally attached to black wire from light fixture)
C3: black wire connected to black from C2 and capped as mentioned above; white joined with white in C2 and extended as mentioned above

Switch wiring:
double switch box has four cables, two sheathed in white plastic, two in the braided material covering, I will call them S1, S2, S3, S4

S1 plastic sheathed; has
1 white, 1 black, 1 copper

S2 plastic sheathed; has
1 white, 1 black, 1 copper

S3 braided material; has
1 white, 1 black

S4 braided material; has
1 white, 1 black, 1 red

switch box connections:

the two switches are connected by a short white piece of wire connected to nothing else

S1: black wire connects to left hand switch; white wire joins white wires from other 3 remaining cables and ends in a cap; copper wire is joined with copper wire from S2 which goes back into the box

S2: black wire joins with black wires from S3, S4, these three are capped together and a short extension attaches them to the left hand switch; white wire joins white wires from other three and ends in cap; copper wire is joined with copper wire from S2 which goes back into the box

S3: black wire joins with black wires from S2, S4 as mentioned above and attaches to left hand switch; white wire also as above attaches with those from all other cables and ends in a cap

S4: black joins with black wires as mentioned above to attach to left hand switch; white also connected as mentioned to other white wires and capped; red attaches to right hand switch.

I am pretty sure they are on the same breaker.

I hope I'm not running afoul of forum etiquette by reposting this ...

thanks
 

Last edited by nrchandelsman; 05-04-04 at 01:31 PM. Reason: asked and answered! thanks
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  #2  
Old 05-03-04, 07:06 PM
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You're going to have to do a little better than that. You told us which wires are connected to the switch, and that the switches are connected, but we need to know which termninals on the switches the wires are connected to, and which terminals are shared between the switches. I think I know, but please clarify.

You also need to determine where power comes in to this circuit. You will have to disconnect some wires and use a tester to find the hot wires. Also, please determine if C1 and either S1 or S32 are the same wire. Use a tester to do this, and see if the black wire in C1 becomes hot when the left switch is turned on.

I think that with some reconnecting existing wires we can come up with the switching you desire.
 
  #3  
Old 05-03-04, 07:18 PM
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FYI:
Duplicate questions in mutiple forums creates more confusion to all concerned parties.

Duplicate question to this question is also in the lighting fixtures forum.
Question is electrical but it pertains to a ceiling fan.

Lighting forum also has highly qualified electricans covering that forum topic as well as this one. Ceiling fans will soon be added to the lighting forum and the electricans will cover there also.....

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=166720
 
  #4  
Old 05-03-04, 08:07 PM
nrchandelsman
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Originally Posted by racraft
You're going to have to do a little better than that. You told us which wires are connected to the switch, and that the switches are connected, but we need to know which termninals on the switches the wires are connected to, and which terminals are shared between the switches. I think I know, but please clarify.

You also need to determine where power comes in to this circuit. You will have to disconnect some wires and use a tester to find the hot wires. Also, please determine if C1 and either S1 or S32 are the same wire. Use a tester to do this, and see if the black wire in C1 becomes hot when the left switch is turned on.
I think that with some reconnecting existing wires we can come up with the switching you desire.

Left switch:
White wire comes out of back and connects to back of right switch
Top terminal: black wire that connects thru a cap to S2, S3, S4
Bottom terminal: connected to black wire from S1

Right switch:
White wire comes out of back and connects to back of left switch
Top terminal: open
Bottom terminal: connected to red wire from S4

Yes black wire in C1 is hot with left switch on!
 
  #5  
Old 05-03-04, 08:30 PM
nrchandelsman
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Originally Posted by Sharp Advice
FYI:
Duplicate questions in mutiple forums creates more confusion to all concerned parties.

Duplicate question to this question is also in the lighting fixtures forum.
Question is electrical but it pertains to a ceiling fan.

Lighting forum also has highly qualified electricans covering that forum topic as well as this one. Ceiling fans will soon be added to the lighting forum and the electricans will cover there also.....

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=166720
Sorry for any confusion; I put my 1st message on the lighting board but then realized I hadn't noticed a read-b4-you-post: "To better serve you and obtain the help needed, if the question pertains to wiring, switches or any facet pertaining to electrical, it is suggested and best to post electrical questions in the electrical forum topic"
 
  #6  
Old 05-04-04, 05:57 AM
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Okay, you still did not answer my question completely, but I have enough to go on. When you described the white wire connecting the switches, you should have told me if the wire connecting the switches was at the top of the back of the switches, or at the bottom. This wire, byt the way, is connected using back stab connections. It is not the best way to connect the switches as backstabs are prone to failure, but that is another issue.

The white plastic sheathed wires are new. The black cloth covered wires are old, probably original. Whoever added the second switch to this setup did not do so in the proper manner, but what they did does work. However, I will give you instructions on how to make it correct.

Before that, however, I wish to address the bare copper wires. These are ground wires. Original wiring in your house did not have ground wires except perhaps for some special areas of the house, like the kitchen. In these two locations (switch box and ceiling box) tie the ground wires together. They also need to be conected to the metal boxes, although that may not serve any purpose.

I am only going to tell you how to connect the current carrying wires. Obviously, make these connections with the power off.

At the ceiling box: Connect the white wire from C1 to the black wires from C2 and C3. Use a black marker and marke the end of this white wire. Use the black C1 and the red C3 to provide power to the fan and to the light, using the white pigtail as the return.

At the switch box: Remove the white wire from S1 from the group of white wires, and color the end of this wire black. Remove the white wire that is connecting the two switches together. Move the black wire connected to the top terminal of the left switch to the top terminal of the right switch. Connect the white S1 wire to the top terminal of the left switch.

Please post back with any questions, and to let us know how it goes.
 
  #7  
Old 05-04-04, 10:22 AM
nrchandelsman
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Thumbs up Success!

Originally Posted by racraft
Okay, you still did not answer my question completely, but I have enough to go on. When you described the white wire connecting the switches, you should have told me if the wire connecting the switches was at the top of the back of the switches, or at the bottom. This wire, byt the way, is connected using back stab connections. It is not the best way to connect the switches as backstabs are prone to failure, but that is another issue.

The white plastic sheathed wires are new. The black cloth covered wires are old, probably original. Whoever added the second switch to this setup did not do so in the proper manner, but what they did does work. However, I will give you instructions on how to make it correct.

Before that, however, I wish to address the bare copper wires. These are ground wires. Original wiring in your house did not have ground wires except perhaps for some special areas of the house, like the kitchen. In these two locations (switch box and ceiling box) tie the ground wires together. They also need to be conected to the metal boxes, although that may not serve any purpose.

I am only going to tell you how to connect the current carrying wires. Obviously, make these connections with the power off.

At the ceiling box: Connect the white wire from C1 to the black wires from C2 and C3. Use a black marker and marke the end of this white wire. Use the black C1 and the red C3 to provide power to the fan and to the light, using the white pigtail as the return.

At the switch box: Remove the white wire from S1 from the group of white wires, and color the end of this wire black. Remove the white wire that is connecting the two switches together. Move the black wire connected to the top terminal of the left switch to the top terminal of the right switch. Connect the white S1 wire to the top terminal of the left switch.

Please post back with any questions, and to let us know how it goes.

Done and Done. Do you think you can explain to me what exactly I (we) just did? It works perfectly, even so the first switch you flip when you come in the door turns on the light, VERY exciting. That's the good news. The bad news is we live in southeast Texas and have ceiling fans in 3 other rooms that now I feel I probably should check out...

Thanks so much for your help
 
  #8  
Old 05-04-04, 10:50 AM
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Someone added the new wiring and the second switch for the fan. When they did so they simply used 14-2 wiring and ran the switched hot and the return through the new 14-2 cable.

While this works, and would have worked with your setup, it has problems. The main problem being that the current rhough C1 and C3 is not properly balanced.

What I did was have you use C1 as a switch loop. A switch loop is a cable that contains two hot wires, with current flowing in opposite directions.

In your setup, you have switched (red wire) and unswitched power going to the ceiling box. What I did was to route unswitched power back to the switch box and and switch it through the left switch, and then route it back to the ceiling.
 
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