3 way switch ceiling fan - light - chain


Old 02-16-06, 04:15 PM
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3 way switch ceiling fan - light - chain

I have a ceiling fan with light. The paper says to wire the white fan to white(neutral) and the black fan to black power. Then the blue fan goes to 'switch power'. This setup would let the lights come on with the wall switch and the fan could be turned on and off with the chain.

I want this setup with my 3-way switch configuration.

I have two switches on the wall that ran the ceiling light that was installed. Both switches worked the light in any order just the way they should.

Coming out of the ceiling i have 2 sets of wires. Each set has a white, black, and bare ground.

I am confused on getting the fan wired up properly. Since I am not sure about what's HOT and what's SWITCH.

I tested the wires with a multitester and one set of wires(black & white) shows 110V on-and-off when you work either switch on the wall in any order. That leaves one set of wires I dont have a clue for.

While testing the first set of wires, if I move the negative tester wire from the first white over to the 'other' white wire I still get the 110V, but the 'other' black shows nothing at any time.

I hope this is clear enough and thanks for any response.

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Old 02-16-06, 04:35 PM
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Without a separate "hot" circuit to the fan, your fan will work with the chain only when the light swith is turned on. Turn the light off, and the fan ceases to work, too. Just so you will know.
I will explain the theory of a three way switch, but the wiring you are describing is not indicitave of a three way switch set up. Each switch has two brass screws at the "top", and a single andonized (black) screw at the bottom. On one switch, you attach the incoming "hot" lead called LINE. On the other switch you attach the light or LOAD. Run one wire each (usually red and white with a black tape) to each of the brass screws on each switch. It doesn't matter which screws you attach which wire to, as they are just runners, and carry current in an alternating manner. A regular switch makes and breaks one set of contacts. A three way switch toggles between two sets of contacts (the black screw and one of the brass screws alternatively)
So after you kill the power to this circuit at the breaker panel, pull the switches and determine which wires go where on the screws. You can post back after you find this out and we will see if we can help further.
Old 02-16-06, 06:05 PM
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Are there any other wires that you are not telling us about (that you might have missed)? Do you know how the wires were connected to the previous light? Remove the cover plates for the switches and tell us the wiring you have there. It's possible you have power coming in to the light and then have a switch loop.
Old 02-16-06, 06:08 PM
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The setup you describe indicates that there were possibly two lights controlled by the switch. Can you tell us how this was connected to the old light?
Old 02-17-06, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for your replies.

I checked the two wall switches.

The RED and WHITE wires are hooked to the anodized screws and the BLACK is hooked to the black screw. It's the same for the other wall switch.

I am assuming the red wire is just jumping from switch to switch and not to the ceiling since I dont see it up there.

I was in the attic and there is only the two sets of wires explained in the first message, black/white/copper

Like an idiot I took down the ceiling light without noticing where the wires went because since the 3-way switches were doing their job I assumed I wouldn't have any problems.

My fear is that I will not be able to keep the fan or light hot at all times but I am willing to compromise with the wires I do have up there.

If you need more let me know.


Old 02-17-06, 10:08 AM
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Here's some more info.

To eliminate some of the mystery I used my ohmmeter with some long wires(breaker off) and tried to figure out where all the wires are going.

The white wires are all grounded. One of the black wires at the ceiling(same one I said showed hot before) showed a reading at the black wire pole(switch one) AND at the black and white wires poles(switch two).

The other black wire at the ceiling shows nothing anywhere.

So, it seems that (at the ceiling) one set of wires is being used and only the white wire from the other set is used.

Note: If the second black wire at the ceiling isn't hooked. Wouldn't there be a way to use it to heat the fan at all times? And just use the light on the existing circuit the same way the old light was?
Old 02-17-06, 10:33 AM
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Tell us ALL the wiring at each switch.
Old 02-17-06, 11:55 AM
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The wiring I just described is ALL the wiring there is. I even went to the attic and traced it. It looks to me like the source hot is run to one of the switches and through to the lights instead of the source to the light and then to the switches.

Last edited by cooljoebay; 02-17-06 at 12:17 PM.
Old 02-17-06, 12:50 PM
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You have not told me what I have asked for and what need to know.

I want to know how many cables are in each switch box. I want to know what wires are in those cables. I want to know how those wires are connected.

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