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Wiring a ceiling fan - old house with four wires - two are hot

Wiring a ceiling fan - old house with four wires - two are hot

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  #1  
Old 02-01-05, 01:17 PM
iolaus2
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Wiring a ceiling fan - old house with four wires - two are hot

Hello!
I have a 90 year old house that I am trying to replace a ceiling fan in. The four wires hanging from the ceiling are 1)thick black-hot, 2) thick black - hot
3) thick white - neutral and 4) thin black - neutral. The ceiling fan I'm installing has a light kit. I've seemed to try the hookups every way but it still doesn't work. There was an old fan in this spot, but am replacing it because the blades broke off, so it was alread wired (somehow) for a fan. The fan wires are blue, black, white and green. I know white is neutral and have hooked it up with the white from the ceiling. I have the thin (neutral) black with the green (ground). The two thick hot black ones I have tried six different ways with the fans black and blue wires with no luck. Any advice? Thanks!
Rachel
 
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  #2  
Old 02-01-05, 01:43 PM
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Two wires are hot with all four wires disconnected from each other?

Did you note how the old fan was connected?

Tell us the wiring in the wall switch box.
 
  #3  
Old 02-01-05, 04:14 PM
iolaus2
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Thanks for responding!
Yes, I have four separate wires coming from the ceiling. Two are a thick gauge black and are hot - 120V according to the volt meter, and a thick gauge white - no voltage, and a thin black gauge with no voltage.
I didn't take note to the old hookup (lesson learned) as I thought it would be just as easy as the one I put up in my son's room. But his room is in the new addition that has 20th century wiring. The old part of the house was built in 1910. I have coil(?) and ceramic wiring in the attic.
I took the switch plate off on the wall and it revealed a simple black and white wire hookup.
thanks again for any info - I'm stumped!
 
  #4  
Old 02-01-05, 07:28 PM
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You said, "a simple black and white wire hookup." This is too imprecise to work with. If you have only two wires in the switch box, one black and one white, and both wires are connected to the switch, then you have a switch loop.

I asked, "Two wires are hot with all four wires disconnected from each other?" You replied, "Yes, I have four separate wires coming from the ceiling. Two are a thick gauge black and are hot." Again, this is too imprecise. Can you detail exactly how you conducted the test and what test instrument you used. It would be quite unusual for two of the black wires to test with voltage to ground when all four wires are electrically isolated from each other. Are you using a digital multimeter? An analog multimeter? Or maybe a neon circuit tester? Or maybe a non-contact voltage "tick" tester? Are you testing between wires, or from one wire at a time to ground?

Precision is everything.
 
  #5  
Old 02-03-05, 09:23 AM
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Iolaus,

Firstly, I would not hook the GREEN from the ceiling fan to that smaller black wire my friend...chances of it being a GROUND is slim and None and slim just left town........

Houses back then did not have a ground wire....

1.) Did you check the voltage from EACH black wire to the white wire....?

2.) DId they BOTH give you 120 volts????


I would think you possibly have a switch leg situation where you have a continuous HOT into the ceiling box and the other black would carry it down to the switch and then back up on the other black..since you say 3 of them are black............the wire in this case should be the fixtures neutral connection.......

Just to note...if you hooked that smaller black one to the ground..check your panel...lol.....might need to replace a fuse...

Ok...sorry back to the light......you need to check EACH of the black wires to the the neutral for a refrence point......to find the source voltage first...and then I am sure John can assist you...but after you find that you need to make sure you CUT the power.....and I mean make sure it is OFF.....

Now you can use the continuiety feature of the volt meter to check the lines down to the switch to find which are the loop feeds...but do with with the power off my friend......


Most old houses back before 1960 that had lights in the bedrooms were fed at the ceiling light......and then tapped and when to other rooms...and simply dropped a switch leg down to the switch....so you should only have 2 wires in the wall switch for that switch leg.....note them......look at them and note the colors or atributes of them to assist you in the ceiling wiring.
 
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