Convert Wall Switch?

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  #1  
Old 01-07-08, 05:46 PM
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Convert Wall Switch?

Hello all,

I currently have a light switch connected to a fan, but I would like to change that switch to one that only controls the light on the fan. So I would like the fan to be unswitched, (using the cord on the fan to incr/decr the speed) and a switch on the wall that only controls the light on the fan. The reason why I want to do this is because I want a motion sensor switch attached to the light.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 05:58 PM
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Is your power at the switch or at the fan? Hopefully at the fan.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 06:20 PM
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We cannot see the cables or your installation. We need to know all the cables at the switch, all the wires in those cables and how those wires are connected to anything. Ditto for the light.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 06:39 PM
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Sorry guys, at the light switch in the wall:

-there are 2 gold wires twisted around each other with a yellow cap.

-there are 3 white wires twisted around each other with a red cap

-there are 3 black wires twisted around each other with a yellow cap --- coming from this bunch of wires is 1 wire leading to the top of the light switch and 1 to the bottom of the light switch.

Thanks for your patience, I really appreciate it
 
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Old 01-07-08, 06:45 PM
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You have not provided enough information yet. In fact, the information you have provided is wrong. The two wires connected to the switch do not come from the same place.

Tell us how many cables exist, what wires are in those cables and how those wires are connected to anything.

Do the same for the light.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 07:06 PM
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Ok here are 2 pictures, should I remove the unit from the wall?
 

Last edited by DIYnovice31; 01-07-08 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 01-07-08, 07:44 PM
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I think trying again with a description like you attempted last time would be clearer than these pictures. It was pretty easy to conclude that your previous description was wrong since it is nonsensical. Try to include cable descriptions as well as wire descriptions (e.g., tell us separately about the black wire from cable #1 and the black wire from cable #2).

Even so, my guess is that what you want will probably not be possible with the current wires. Do you have the ability to run another cable from this switch box to the fan?
 
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Old 01-07-08, 09:07 PM
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After looking at it again, it looks like there are 3 groups of wires, white(3),black(3) and copper(3).

1 Copper wire from each group is twisted together with a yellow cap.

1 white wire from each group is twisted together with a red cap.

1 black wire leads straight to the light switch while 2 other black wires are twisted together and then 1 black wire leads to the bottom of the switch.

I dont know if that clarifies anything, thanks for your patience.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 10:35 PM
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Yes, this clarifies everything.

It is not possible to do what you want unless you replace the cable from the light/fan to the switch.

The issue is that you have only one hot wire available for the power to the fan/light. It can't be both always on and switched. You need one more wire, so replacing the cable with one that contains an additional wire is the solution.
 
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Old 01-07-08, 10:39 PM
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Your description clarifies things somewhat, and strongly suggests that what you want to do is not possible without an additional cable.

The way that you have asked your question strongly suggests that you do not have much background in electrical wiring. Before you proceed with any sort of DIY wiring project, you _must_ obtain sufficient background to proceed safely. This means reading at least a couple of books and asking a bunch of questions. The answers that you get in this forum will not, and can not, be sufficient to enable you to perform a proper installation; there are too many details and too much that we do not know about your situation.

The 'groups' of wires are _cables_. Each cable (as you have described them) includes 1 bare copper ground wire, 1 white insulated wire, and 1 black insulated wire.

The most likely arrangement given your description is as follows. One cable brings power in to the switch box. A second cable brings 'unswitched' power out of the switch box. These two cables are the ones where their black conductors are directly tied together. A small jumper wire brings the unswitched power to the switch. On the other switch terminal you have a black wire which goes to the cable that brings power to the fan.

If this is in fact the actual arrangement, then the only power going to the fixture is from the switch. Either the power is on or off, but you do not have enough cables to separately control the two loads (fan and light).

One approach would be to somehow route a new cable to the fan. This cable could either bring 'unswitched' power to the fan, allowing switched power for the light...or with a second switch you could easily have separate control of light and fan.

Another approach is to use one of the wireless remote controls that are available for fans. In this case you would _eliminate_ your current switch, leaving power on continuously to the fixture. But you would add a control box at the fixture which would then operate the light and fan separately.

-Jon
 
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Old 01-08-08, 03:47 PM
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What kind of cable should I use to bring unswitched power to the fan, so that I can have switched power for light on the fan?.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 01-08-08, 03:54 PM
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Right now, between this switch box and the ceiling you have a 14/2 (or maybe a 12/2) NM-B cable, which has one black, one white, and one bare.

You'll need to remove this cable, and replace it with a 14/3 (or 12/3 if the current cable is 12/2) NM-B cable, which has one black, one red, one white, and one bare.
 
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Old 01-08-08, 04:11 PM
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Before we can tell you what sort of cable to use, you have to be able to tell us what sort of cable that you have. You need to understand the difference between 12/2 and 14/2 cable, and the difference between NM and AC cable, etc.

John's suggestions are the most likely guesses given the information that you've provided. Most likely you will _replace_ the current cable, which carries only switched power, and instead use a new cable that provides both switched and unswitched power (or provides two _separate_ switched power conductors). If your current wiring is 12/2 NM cable, then you would replace it with 12/3 NM cable.

I am going to repeat myself. You need more background. This job is an entirely reasonable DIY project, you need to prepare. Go out and buy the book 'Wiring Simplified' and borrow at least one other book on electrical wiring, and _read_ them, prior to doing any sort of electrical work yourself. There are many details to electrical work that we simply take for granted. Little things like how to properly use a wirenut. Things that we won't tell you and won't even think to tell you, simply because we take for granted that _everyone_ knows them. But these little details could get someone killed.

Best of luck!

-Jon
 
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