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# Diagram on how to wire 4 - 3 way switches to a ceiling fan

## Diagram on how to wire 4 - 3 way switches to a ceiling fan

#1
09-28-12, 04:23 PM
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Diagram on how to wire 4 - 3 way switches to a ceiling fan

I'm installing a new ceiling fan in a living room and want to use 4 - 3 way switches to control it. Two would control the fan and the other two would control the light fixture. I've read some articles, but as with many things a diagram would be extremely helpful.

Aurora64

#2
09-28-12, 05:14 PM
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How it is wired would depend on which of the three junction boxes power came into. Simplest in my opinion would be:
Power in to first 3-way>three conductor cable to second 3-way>power to ceiling fan.
With separate control of fan and light you will do the same circuit twice. A three conductor cable will conduct power from the second 3-way switch to both the fan and light.

Last edited by ray2047; 09-28-12 at 08:25 PM.
#3
09-28-12, 06:43 PM
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If I'm reading it correctly Ray, he wants to control the fan and light separately and each with a 3-way set up.

Bud

#4
09-28-12, 08:48 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I'm installing a new ceiling fan in a living room and want to use 4 - 3 way switches to control it. Two would control the fan and the other two would control the light fixture. I've read some articles, but as with many things a diagram would be extremely helpful.
There are several different ways to do what you want. As a result, there is no single diagram that will meet all the conditions. What you need to do depends on the wiring configuration you have and on how much flexibility you have to re-work the system.

That said, we can easily talk you through this, but we will need some more specific information to help us focus our answers.
1. Is this being done in new construction or an extensive remodel, where the walls and ceiling are open and you can run new cables anywhere they are needed, or is this being done with closed walls and existing cabling?
2. Will the two sets of 3-way switches be in two 2-gang boxes?
3. Are the switch and ceiling boxes already in place, or do you need to install them?
4. Where does the unswitched power from the panel enter the system - in one of the switch boxes or in the ceiling?
5. Is the ceiling outlet connected to one of the switch boxes now?
6. If so, how many conductors are in that cable?
7. Finally, if so, does the cable from the ceiling to the wall go to the location where power comes in, or to the other location (if the panel feed comes into one of the switch boxes)?

#5
09-29-12, 06:57 AM
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Diagram on how to wire 4 - 3 way switches to a ceiling fan

Here are my responses to the questions you posted:

1. This is a finished room. There is currently no ceiling light or fan in place so this will be done with the walls already finished and no power ran to a switch(es) or the ceiling. I have attic access to the ceiling.
2. The two sets of 3-way switches will be in two different boxes
3. There is a two switch box by the exterior door (over/under) and no box for the other set of switches. I would change the current box to a 4 switch set up and add a two switch box on the opposing wall
4. I have the option of running the power-in where it is most convenient for the wiring process
5. No ceiling light or fan currently in place
6. N/A
7. N/A (nothing currently in place for a ceiling fixture)

Thanks for your help with this matter.

I may just put a 3-way switch for the light at the entrance door and the two switches (fan/light) on the opposing wall. I found diagrams for a three switch set up and this may be the simplest way of wiring the fan.
Really do not need to control the fan at the entrance door.

#6
09-29-12, 06:59 AM
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Sounds good. Where does power come in om the diagram you found.

#7
09-29-12, 11:11 AM
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Here's one that may help if you bring the power in from the ceiling.

#8
09-29-12, 12:33 PM
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And here is one for power in at switch? If the two gang switch box already has power you can use the power in that box.

#9
09-29-12, 12:47 PM
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Power comes in at the junction box above the fan/light

#10
09-29-12, 12:55 PM
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Then Chandlers is the correct diagram. If you want to control the fan from only one switch then you can run a switch loop to the second switch for the fan.

#11
10-01-12, 09:40 AM
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Thank you for the clear answers.

3. There is a two switch box by the exterior door (over/under) and no box for the other set of switches. I would change the current box to a 4 switch set up and add a two switch box on the opposing wall
The box by the exterior door should have a complete circuit - both a hot and a neutral - in it. Given that, the wiring to do what you have in mind should fairly straightforward. First, kill the power to the existing switch box, pull the over,under switch out and look behind it for two white wires spliced together. That will verify a complete circuit there.

Once you have found that, remove the switch, separate the wires, turn the power on, and test with an analog multimeter or test light to identify the feed pair. Turn the power off, mark the hot pair and the other wires. Cut the existing box out of the wall and enlarge the opening for the new 4-gang box. Cut the opening for the 2-gang box in the other wall.

Run one XX-3/G cable and one XX-2/G cable unbroken through the attic from switch box to switch box to switch box. Mark one of these "Fan," and the other one "Light," on each end. Cut the ceiling for the new fan-rated box. Run a second piece of XX-3/G cable from the 2-gang box to the ceiling box.

In the 4-gang box, pigtail the black feed wire to feed the switches. Splice all of the ground wires together. Pigtail those to the box, if it's metal, or to each switch if the box is plastic. Splice the white wire in the XX-3/G cable to the feed neutral, along with any other feed-out neutrals. Connect two of the black pigtails to the point, or common, screw (usually black) on each of your new 3-way switches. Connect the black and red wires in the XX-3/G cable to the traveler terminals (usually brass) on one of the 3-way switches. Mark the white wire in the new XX-2/G cable with black or red electrical tape or permanent marker to show that it is now carrying ungrounded current. Terminate the black and the re-designated white wires in that cable to the two traveler screws on the other 3-way switch. Make up the two switches that replace your over/under switch, fold all the wires into the back of the box and mount the switches.

In the 2-gang box, make up the grounds and bond them to the box or the switches. Splice the two white wires from the two XX-3/G cables together. Terminate the black wire from the ceiling cable to the point screw on the switch you want to control the fan motor and the red wire from the ceiling cable to the point screw on the other switch. Mark the white wire from the XX-2/G cable the same way you did in the 4-gang box. Terminate the red/ black travelers to the appropriate switch and the black and re-designated travelers to the other switch. Mount the switches.

In the ceiling, connect the ground wire to the box and splice it to any green or bare wires from the fan and its mounting hardware. splice the white wire to the fan neutral, the red wire to the fan light feed and the black wire to the fan motor feed. Finish mounting the fan and turn the power back on. Test everything, then cover the two switch boxes.

Note: XX in XX-3/G and XX-2/G designates the wire size. This is 14AWG for a 15A circuit and 12AWG for a 20A circuit.

#12
10-01-12, 03:57 PM
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Further thought

I wouldn't control a fan motor with a wall control unless that control was a fan motor control. It's not healthy for any electric motor to be started with less than full power. Have you thought of controlling just the light from the wall, and controlling the fan with the pull chain?