Completely stumped !

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  #1  
Old 07-25-05, 10:08 AM
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Completely stumped !

Greetings, I am attempting to help aN elderly neighbor lady install a ceiling fan. She helps by making the ice tea. Her condo is relatively new so her ceiling box is already rated for a fan. At present she has a chandelier (simple one) at the ceiling box. The wall is just a single pole switch. The breaker is 15A. Here is my problem. When I removed the light fixture, I find the following wires.

A: 3 hots connected by wire nut
B: 1 (in addition to the first three) hot that was attached to the light fixture
C: 2 Neutrals entering that were connected to the neutral of the light fixture
D: One single ground wire that was just capped.

Then, at the wall upon removing the cover and exploring, the single pole switch was connected with the black on the line side and the neutral on the load side. (switch loop? NO BLACK TAPE) and a bare ground to the green screw on the switch.

The ceiling fan is a fan/light combo. It has a black, a blue, a white and a ground, for the fan motor. the light attachment just a male/female disconnect that attaches easily. (even might work if I wired it right )

The assortment of wires at the box is confusing me. I admit, when I connected it the light portion worked fine but the fan motor turned slowly, gave a loud hum & died. The directions only talk about one cable entering the box which I expected to find but did not. The breaker shuts of here entire living room. I hope my explanation of the wires helps one of you great folks help me out here with all the wires up in the ceiling box.

THANKS. .......(VERY FRUSTRATED)
 
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  #2  
Old 07-25-05, 10:21 AM
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How did you connect this up?
 
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Old 07-25-05, 10:55 AM
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I connected the blue & black wires from the fan motor to the single (what I think was a hot" coming into the box. I figures the other 3 hots served the rest of the room. the white I attached to the other whites. And the ground to a bare ground that was entering the box, and then a pigtail to a green screw inside the box. I think one of the problems here is that when painters had come into the condo, they removed all the light fixtures and sprayed the ceilings white. Every wire coming into the box looks white, until i start peeling some paint off. Also, Bob, when the breaker is on, the single pole switch is live on both terminals even tho the switch is in the off position. I'm going to buy the lady another fan out of my pocket (that's ok) . My challenge now is getting it wired correctly. If there was just one cable feeding the switch, and one cable coming from the switch, to the box , then I could do this with my eyes closed. but I have too much respect for electricity to do that. Seems like the power enters the box first, (mixes me up there) then terminates at the switch. Also, that ceiling box is feeding all her living room receptacles. (6). Any suggestions. THANKS.
 
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Old 07-25-05, 02:03 PM
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Bob53, don't be so quick to buy a new fan out of pocket just yet.

It does sound like you have a switch loop, but they're not rocket science (other than there can be a white wire that's "hot") and if the lights worked and the breaker didn't trip, chances are "maybe" that you got the wiring right based on your description. But there could be cause for concern.

First things first. How are you determining that both contacts of the switch are "hot" regardless of switch position? Then, scrape enough paint off the wires to identify the colors then describe the connections again referring to the wires as as colors - black, white, bare - instead of "neutral" and "hot". Also, was the chandelier working before? Did a breaker trip? Did the fan lights work normally - i.e. go on and off with the switch? Did you change anything other than to connect the fan?

I am also curious about the single "ground" in the ceiling box. Is it green or bare. Is the wiring in conduit? Or a combination of conduit and NM?

The pro's here will want this information... just keeping the thread alive...
 
  #5  
Old 07-25-05, 02:53 PM
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Hi, I found both terminals to be "hot" by way of a neon light tester and a tick tester. When the breaker was on , they both lit up regardless of switch position. I think the white wire should have been attached to the bottom terminal and not the top. I believe I should have found black tape on the white wire of the loop switch but there was none. The end of the white from the switch to the fixture box on ceiling should have been labeled with black tape also and it was not. I believe if I go back to the box on the ceiling and wire nut all my blacks before i pick up the fixture , I will be ok. Then i will take my white wire from the loop switch and attach it to the black & blue of the fan/light fixture. And then, take my white wire from the fixture and group it with the other whites in the box. Then Attach my ground to the bare metal ground coming from the NM that supplies the ceiling box. Does this make any sense?

THANKS.
 
  #6  
Old 07-25-05, 03:09 PM
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Put away your tick tester. It is just about useless in this situation.

Forget about the black tape for identifying a hot white wire. While hot white wires should be identifies, it does not have to be with tape. It can be with a permanent marker which might fade or be covered by paint. It is also quite common for this little requirement to be overlooked.

When you used your neon light tester, what did you do with the other end of the tester? Did you connect it to a known good ground or a known good neutral? I think your test was not correctly done.

Do not guess. Did the light work before you started changing things? Did it switch properly? If it worked properly and was controlled by the switch, then all you have to do is to take the neutral in the ceiling and connect it to the fan and light neutral wires. Likewise, take the hot wire in the ceiling and connect to the fan and light hot wires.

If it;s too late and you have no idea how the original light was wired, then you will have to figure this out. But do not guess. Guessing when combined with electricity causes fires and death.

Take detailed notes and determine what wires are hot and what wires are neutral. Use your neon light tester and a good known ground or neutral. Do not simply measure between random wires and expect to be able to determine what is what.
 
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Old 07-25-05, 04:06 PM
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Is this any progress?

The switch worked the lighted chandelier to start with just fine. I did not take the cover off the switch plate at first. I made a bad assumption when I took for granted it was a strait forward ( black to black, white to white, and ground to ground. )wiring job. The switch is at the end of the run taking its power from the ceiling box. The white wire is now( I just put it there) on the bottom terminal of the switch and the black is on the top terminal. I believe my white wire from the switch has to tie together with the black wire from the fixture. and the black from the fixture gets bundled with the other blacks that are up in that box that feed the rest of the room. And the white from the fixture will go with the other whites that are up in that box. Does this seem very wrong? I try very hard to be careful. Safety First. I have it working in this manner right now with just a test light bulb tester up there, and what I have described is working it off & on correctly. Tomorrow should I proceed with the fan in the same manner that I have this test light bulb wired. When I look at my wiring book it shows this method as a "loop switch method". THANK YOU. LET ME KNOW PLEASE.
 
  #8  
Old 07-25-05, 05:33 PM
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In your switch loop you have the wires reversed. By code, the white wire needs to always hot (marked with black or another appropriate color) while the black wire is to be switched hot.
 
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Old 07-25-05, 05:41 PM
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So I shall change the white wire with black marking to the top terminal of the switch and the black shall be on the bottom terminal and become "hot" when the switch is activated?

THANKS
 
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Old 07-25-05, 07:15 PM
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Looks like racraft is offline Bob. What he is telling you is you are backwords with switch loop at the fixture box. Put the white that goes to the switch with the blacks that are bundled and the black from the switch to the black and blue of the ceiling fan. The switch connections are fine. Use the pull strings to operate the light and fan.
 
  #11  
Old 07-25-05, 07:19 PM
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Just a thot here: Since the power is already in the ceiling box, can't I eliminate the switch altogether. Cap the wires, and put a blank cover on the switch outlet? Then I can wire the fan at the ceiling box with black to black....white to white....green to bare ground wire and pigtail to green grounding screw in box. Then just use the pretty chains that control the fan speed and light fixture. Is this possible? Seems to be the easiest solution.

THANKS
 
  #12  
Old 07-25-05, 07:42 PM
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Roger is correct. What I meant is that the you need to swap the connections of the switch loop wires at the ceiling box. It makes no difference what terminals of the switch you use for which wire.

I would not eliminate the switch. Personally, I would use the switch for the light and have the fan wired as always hot, and use the chains to control the fan.
 
  #13  
Old 07-25-05, 08:57 PM
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You must have at least one wall switch operated light [Art.210.70(a)(1)] in every habitable room. Technically you need to be able to control that ceiling fan light from the wall switch if it is the only light in the room.
 
  #14  
Old 07-26-05, 06:47 AM
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Thank You to the moderators and all the experts for the help. I just finished installing the switch loop. I have the fan/light combo working off of their independent pull chains. Also, by the wall switch to control the light function when you enter the room . This DIY'er appreciates all the help.
 
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