ceiling fan with light


Old 02-03-07, 07:40 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1
Unhappy ceiling fan with light

I am trying to hook up a ceiling fan. I have taking down an old light fixture which was controlled by 2 light switches. In trying to hook up the fan i noticed i have 3 black wires in my ceiling box along with 3 white wires. The fan has a black hot wire blue hot for light kit and a white cmmon wire. I am confused as to which black wires go together with what? normally I always put the black together and the white together bur in this situation i am dealing with 3 black and one blue. I tried hooking up putting all the black and blue wires together which would work by using the pull chain on the fan only. When i went to cut the light switch on it tripped the breaker. Please help!!
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Old 02-03-07, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
OK...Lesson for next time: Pay attention to how all the wires were connected before you change anything...of note would have been the fact that one of the white wires was wire nutted to black wires rather than white ones...that's the key!

Also...make sure this box is rated for ceiling fans. If it is just nailed to the side of a ceiling joist, it must be replaced with a box that can properly support the weight/motion of a fan.

Since you have three sets of black/white wires, you probably have the following:

Romex cable 1 (RC1): The black and white wires that bring power from the source.
Romex cable 2 (RC2): The black and white wires that take power to the next outlet.
Romex cable 3 (RC3): The black and white wires that go to one of the switches (the "switch loop")--In this case. (At one of the switches, you will see the other end of this romex cable, plus an additional romex cable containing black, red, and white. The 2nd switch will have the other end of the romex with black/red/white and nothing else--leave the switches alone!)

To straighten this out, we need to figure out which pair is RC3 (the switch loop and the pair who's white wire must be nutted with black wires). Shut off the power and verify that it is off before touching wires. Then separate all of the blacks and all of the whites so that none of the wire ends are touching, and that the blacks/whites from each romex cable are close together (again--no ends touching). Use a continuity tester (ohm meter works well) to see which pair shows continuity when the switch is "ON". Since you have a pair of switches, you have no ON/OFF markings on them, so you will have to try each pair twice...pick one of the switches...doesn't matter which...test the pair with that switch up, then down. One pair should show continuity when the switch is in one position, but not when in the other position...that's RC3, you're switch loop. The other two pairs should never show continuity. One of them is RC1, the other is RC2...for our purposes, it doesn't matter which of them is which.

Now...Do you want the switches to control ONLY the light, or both the light and fan? If it were me, I'd let the switches control ONLY the light, so the fan can stay on when the lights are off. Assuming you agree, wire as follows:

Wire nut RC1 black, RC2 black, RC3 white, and fan black together. Use a magic marker or electrical tape to mark RC2 white as a hot wire since it is NOT a neutral.

Wire nut RC1 white, RC2 white, and fan white together.

Wire nut RC3 black and fan blue together.

Wire nut all bare and/or green grounds together and connect them to the box if it is metal.

NOTE: If you do want the fan controlled by the switches instead of by pull chain only, wire nut fan black with RC3 black and fan blue rather than with the wires I listed it with.

Last edited by chirkware; 02-03-07 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Removed unneeded step.

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