ceiling fan switch problem

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  #1  
Old 05-24-05, 11:39 AM
idonthuff
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Unhappy ceiling fan switch problem

After painting a room in our new house (built 1950), we decided to replace the light switch and outlets for the color change. Originally, the switch controlled power to a ceiling fan and the attached light fixture. I replaced that switch and 3 outlets in the room. I didn't find anything appearing odd in the boxes, and I wired everything exactly as it was. However, now the fan runs independent of the switch. The light works as expected. The other part of the mystery is that all the outlets used to show up as grounded on my tester, and now none of them do. There's no ground wire in any of the boxes though.

I absolutely cannot think of what changed, and I'm concerned. Now I'm worried about having created an unsafe condition. I stood around for an extra hour scratching my head and worrying that I'm about to move my family into this house. What can I look for? Thanks

Isaac
 
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  #2  
Old 05-24-05, 12:13 PM
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Did the switch also perhaps control any or all of the receptacles, or a=either half of any or all of them? Did any of the old receptacles have the brass tab broken? Did you break the corresponding tab on the new receptacle?

Check all of your connections. Did you make them identical to how they were previously made?
 
  #3  
Old 05-24-05, 12:22 PM
idonthuff
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I did check, and none of the old receptacles had their tabs broken. As far as I know, the switch did not control any of the receptacles either. I did make the connections identical to the originals. I also know that the fan, light, and receptacles are all on the same breaker.
 
  #4  
Old 05-24-05, 12:30 PM
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On the grounding @ recepticals...

Are the recepticals in metal boxes? If so, and if they are wired using armored cable/conduit, the old recepticals may have been getting a ground through the armor/conduit. Are you testing the recepticals with them mounted back into their boxes, or with them just hanging by the wires? Did you make any changes to the boxes/conduit/etc?
 
  #5  
Old 05-24-05, 12:42 PM
idonthuff
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The only thing I did with the boxes is clean out some plaster dust. They are metal, but I don't know if they are wired with armored cable. I'm not sure how to recognize that from inside the box, and all the wiring is plaster walls. I might be able to tell by some looking in the basement, but I haven't done that yet.
 
  #6  
Old 05-24-05, 02:38 PM
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My guess with the grounding is that the old receptacles were self grounding, and that the new ones are not. You need to add a grounding wire from the back of the box to green screw on the receptacle. They sell these in packages of some number at the big box stores, complete with screw.

My guess with the fan running all the time is that you screwed up the wiring at the fan and/or at the switch. If you provide a complete inventory of the wiring then we can help set it right.
 
  #7  
Old 05-24-05, 02:47 PM
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Personally, I would prefer that the fan be independant of the switch. I absolutely cannot stand having to use the pull string to turn off a light just so the fan can keep going. I want the switch to control ONLY the light.
 
  #8  
Old 05-25-05, 06:47 AM
idonthuff
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I spent more time looking last night, including removing the ceiling tiles in the finished basement and tracing out several parts of the circuit. There is no armored cable, so I don't see any way that the boxes could be grounded. All the wire I've seen is 14/2 with no ground. Regarding the fan - I do prefer for the fan to be independent of the light switch. However, I wasn't working to accomplish that at the time. All I was doing was replacing the switch/receptacles for a color change.

The only other possibility I've been able to think of is that, while checking some wire nuts for looseness, I "fixed" a bad connection that had something to do with the fan. However, the bedroom opposite this one also has fan & light controlled by a single switch - so I assume they were wired that way intentionally. (Nothing in that other room is connected to the circuit I'm working on.)
 
  #9  
Old 05-25-05, 06:49 AM
idonthuff
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I forgot to mention that I'm hoping to look at the actual wiring in the fan today - but up until this point I haven't even removed the cover. That rules out having changed the wiring at the fan end.
 
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