ceiling fan with 3 sets of wires

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  #41  
Old 04-08-13, 09:55 AM
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Good Morning Ray,

I have installed all the light fixtures and the switches for them. Also all the receptacles. Unfortunately, I have no power to them and I don't know why.

I have not done anything to the ceiling fans that have three cables coming out of them.. 2 cables are hot..one is not.. on both boxes.

One of the three way switches will control the fans. I have wired the other switch for the fan/light. In the box for the 2 .. 3 way switches there is two hot cables...and two that are not.

The other goes to one that was already installed on the downstairs and it is the upstairs end of that 3 way that will turn off and on the light in the stair well coming from the bedroom. The other switch to that light is at the bottom of the stairs and was previously installed.

What would you like me to break this down to? When I wired the "normal' lol switches they had two cables. I wired the two neutrals together and did the same to the copper.. then attached the two black wires to the screws..

Thanks,
Bev
 
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  #42  
Old 04-08-13, 10:14 AM
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I believe you wrote there were no three conductor cables (red, black, white +ground) in the switch boxes for the 3-ways. If that is true they can not be wired as 3-ways and be code compliant. The reason there are three cables at the fans is probably because they were trying to substitute two 2-conductor cables for a single three conductor cable. That is not code compliant. You will need to either run new cable (3-conductor) or wire to a single location switch. Or it may be they were not intended as 3-ways and one cable was for fan and one for light. Again that would be single location switches. I've probably made this clear as mud so ask for clarification on anything you don't understand.
 
  #43  
Old 04-08-13, 12:16 PM
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Ray,

There are no red wires anywhere... each cable has one white..one red and one copper. The only red ones I have seen are in books lol..

thanks Bev
 
  #44  
Old 04-08-13, 12:45 PM
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Then you can't do 3-ways without running new cables. Are you okay with single location switches instead? If so pick a fan location and tell us the cables at the switch box you want to use and the cables at the ceiling box.

You wrote: each cable has one white..one red and one copper but I assume you meant one white..one black and one copper
 
  #45  
Old 04-08-13, 01:41 PM
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Yes Ray you are right.. I guess I had red on the brain... there are NO red wires . Ok.. then the second switch which is near the bed.. not the door..which was supposed to be the "other" switch that turned on and off the lights and fan.. so we wouldn't have to walk across the room at night. how do I "delete" them.. for lack of a better phrase.. or void them if we are not going to use them. If so.. then I guess we can just use the one by the door to run the lights and the fans. You did note there were three cables in both ceiling fan boxes.. 2 are hot..1 is not.. kinda like me and my sisters.. ha ha!! So is that what we are going to do?
 
  #46  
Old 04-08-13, 01:52 PM
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The two hot cables is a mystery. Are they on the same breaker. Just to verify you are NOT using a non contact tester and the cable you are measuring is NOT connected.
Before we abandon the switch box by the bed please tell us the wiring in that box and check for a hot cable.
 
  #47  
Old 04-08-13, 02:40 PM
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Just to stir the pot a bit, you can wire a light or fan outlet to be code-compliant and controlled by a pair of 3-way switches when you have 3 2-conductor cables in the ceiling box and one of them is a panel feed.

Provided that the other two cables go to the boxes for the two 3-way switches and you have, or can install, one 3-conductor cable between the two switch boxes.
 
  #48  
Old 04-08-13, 02:46 PM
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In the box for the switch closer to the bed there are two cables. This would be the 2nd box I would think. One cable was marked runner [traveler] and one was marked lights. Both black wires are hot. What I had done was I grounded the copper wire, put the neutral[white] wire on the silver screw, then put the black wires on the gold and black screws... obviously that was an error. What should I do? Thank you once again Bev.. the guy from the county that checks the electric checked everything before Michael walked out on us..and approved it with a few minor changes which Michael did before leaving.

Is the only way to check and see if you have a reply is to refresh your page?
 

Last edited by peaches1120; 04-08-13 at 03:03 PM.
  #49  
Old 04-08-13, 03:14 PM
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Remove the switch, cap the wires and check to see if you still have two hot cables at the ceiling. I grt the feeling you are still trying to measure if something is hot you are using a non contact tester. That is no good for this.

Yes refreshing is the only way or set it to notify you instantly by email. Use thread tools at the top of the page to do that.
 
  #50  
Old 04-09-13, 05:38 AM
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Ok Ray, I did that. I think I have been reading this meter wrong...two wires just show continuity...but only one is showing voltage. I am referring to the cables in the ceiling.. So.. what do I do now? and.. Good Morning
 
  #51  
Old 04-09-13, 06:47 AM
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No wire should show continuity unless connected to a switch or it is bad. You will need to have a helper flip switches off and on while you are looking at the meter. Have the helper flip the switch of and on at a steady pace and look for the cable to shift repeatedly between continuity and open while the helper flips the switch.
 
  #52  
Old 04-09-13, 07:36 AM
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Ok.. all the switches are undone as per former message. My multimeter wouldn't work so my daughter went to Lowes to exchange it...but trying to help... she got a Amprobe VPC-10 which is an electrical tester..it shows one vertical row of lights with with +voc.. another vertical row of lights with numbers.. labeled -voc then one light that shows continuity and then VAC... with two lights under that...these things come with NO instructions on how to read them or even really use them... the other multimeter was the same way. I know the two wires lit up the continuity light..but the one lit up the VAC and even spit some sparks at me when I touched it... I am leaving in a few..should I get another regular multimeter? I am sooo just

Which switches are you referring to? So far Nothing works.. and I haven't installed the ceiling fan/lights because of the wire situation.. do you mean the breakers?

going now to return this multimeter and get one with the needles..again... be back as soon as I can.. Thanks Ray.. sorry I am such a dummy..
 

Last edited by peaches1120; 04-09-13 at 08:07 AM.
  #53  
Old 04-09-13, 10:07 AM
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Breakers are not switches. If I say switch I mean a switch. By switches I mean the switch that is intended to conroll the fan we are working on. You said there are two switches.

Ok.. all the switches are undone as per former message.
With the switches undone and all wires separated and disconnected do you still get continuity at two cables where the fan will be installed? Be sure the breaker is off when checking for continuity or you may fry the multimeter.
 
  #54  
Old 04-09-13, 04:34 PM
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of course, I was sure you meant what you said.. however we would have to wire the three way switches...the one by the door..and the one by the bed, [which you just had me undo so we could check the ceiling cables with the wires from the switch capped off] before we could turn them off and on to check the cables..that is what I was referring to as none of those switches are wired, they have two cables each cable has three wires...copper, white and black. The cables for the switch by the bed were the only ones labeled and they were labeled as traveler and light. So we have come in a complete circle.. I do appreciate your help so much..

I went and got another multimeter with the needle. I can continue in the am... I am exhausted. How should I set this multimeter..and use/read it? I wish they had you write the little booklet that comes with the multimeter.. then I am sure I would know what to do with it!
 
  #55  
Old 04-09-13, 05:31 PM
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Can you give me the model number of your multimeter so I can taylor my istructions to your meter.

What I think you have is a switch loop. Basically in a switch loop you have two 2-conductor cables at the light. One cable brings power in the other cable carries the hot of the power in to the switch and back. Below is a diagram of this.



Now the problem is you have one hot cable and two that aren't. One of those not hot cables will not be used. The one that will be used is the one that goes to the switch box by the door. You will not use a 3-way switch. You will use a regular on/off switch. The flipping the switch trick while checking continuity is a way to identify the cable you will use for the switch loop. Easiest to use the switch you will eventually use*. I'm going to stop here and you can post back any questions on what I just wrote.

*If you want to use the 3-way switch you will attach one wire (white or black) to the odd colored screw (usually dark gray) and the other wire of the cable to one of the brass screws (it doesn't matter which one).
 
  #56  
Old 04-10-13, 04:40 AM
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Hi Ray this is a GB gardner Bender multimeter GMT 312 It is analog.
That is the way I had the 3 way switch wired by the bed. I need to mark the one black wire correct? Mark it white? Then if I use the 3 way switch I will attach those two wires..black one and the black one marked white to the two screws.

If that is correct.. that is how I had it done. ..Now with the cables in the ceiling, what do I do to the one we want to get rid of..the one that is not showing any voltage?

So, I will rewire the switch, and then while someone flips it one and off I will check the cables on the ceiling correct?
 
  #57  
Old 04-10-13, 08:29 AM
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I need to mark the one black wire correct? Mark it white?
The white is remarked as a hot (see diagram above). That is usually red or black but can be any color but white or gray or green.

If that is correct.. that is how I had it done. ..Now with the cables in the ceiling, what do I do to the one we want to get rid of..the one that is not showing any voltage?
Simplest is just wire nut the wires and tag not used. Best practice is locate the other end and cut both ends as short as possible and shove out of the box into the ceiling/wall.

So, I will rewire the switch, and then while someone flips it one and off I will check the cables on the ceiling correct?
Yes.

On your meter the green scale at the top of the meter is ohms used for continuity checks. Be sure the breaker is off.

 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-10-13 at 08:56 AM.
  #58  
Old 04-10-13, 10:30 AM
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Yes that is my multimeter. How do I set the knob to check things.. where do I want to put it say to check the voltage.. or to check continuity? Do I need to touch the wire with both prongs?

To check voltage the power will need to be on...but to check continuity it will need to be off correct?

for what purpose do I need, or when do I need to check voltage.. or continuity?

Should I now wire the box by the door? by the bed.. or both?

I will run both black wires to the switch.. and cap off the white and the copper?

or should I do it another way? As soon as I get the switch done as per your instructions. Do I need to check voltage or continuity on the ceiling wires while someone flips those switches as soon as I rewire them per your instructions. Thank you Beverly
 
  #59  
Old 04-10-13, 10:55 AM
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For continuity you turn the knob to the green ohm section. To check AC voltage you set it to the red 250v mark for measuring 120 volts. If you were measuring for 240 volts you would set it to 500 volts. Mid scale will give the most accurate reading so you always choose a voltage setting where the expected reading will be mid scale. You would look at the scale that ends in 250 if the meter is set for 250. When measuring resistance (green) and AC (red) it doesn't matter which probe goes where.

check voltage the power will need to be on...but to check continuity it will need to be off correct?
Yes.

Should I now wire the box by the door? by the bed.. or both?
Since the one by the bed will not be used lets try just the door first. Explanation: I suspect one dead cable at the ceiling goes to the door box and one to the bed box.

I will run both black wires to the switch.. and cap off the white and the copper?
Only one cable will be used. See diagram again please. That single cable will be connected to the switch. White wire recolored black or red to one side of the switch and black to the other side of the switch. All grounds (bare or green) or connected together and if the box is metal pigtailed to the box. Ignore the grounds when testing, just be sure they aren't touching any other wires.

as I get the switch done as per your instructions. Do I need to check voltage or continuity on the ceiling wires
Continuity, checking only the two cables that are not hot. Checking would be only between the black and white wires of an individual cable not between the wires in two separate cables.
 
  #60  
Old 04-10-13, 11:17 AM
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ok. Going to wire the switch by the door.. I think I understand as you want a wire without power to break the power for the off position? even when using a 3 way.. I just want to remind you that the cables by the bed were the only ones that were marked.. they were traveler and light. I believe both of those where hot. There are two cables for the fan/lights in both boxes.. but I will only use one....but not a three way? correct?

just to be sure I have this clear... I will wire one of the white wires to the switch even tho it is not hot... or do I wire both black ones.. ? Thanks for your patience Ray.. I am gonna copy and print your last instructions so I can take them upstairs with me... thank you again.. you don't understand how much your help means to me.. Bev OH ok... just like a switch that is not a three way...maybe that is why my switches aren't working as they ALL have two cables in them...I should ignore one of those cables???? in all the switches?? Also, why is the white one considered HOT... as it is neutral right? or is it.. really one of the black ones.. just colored white.. or red..or whatever? Thanks again for your patience...
 
  #61  
Old 04-10-13, 12:19 PM
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Ray, as there are four cables in that box. I took each one... wired the black and white wires to the switch...but got no response on the meter. I had it set to 150 in the bottom group.. which is labeled..acv.. mine only shows 150 and 300 not 250 and 500 as in the picture. I tried all four cables twice...ok.. what am I doing wrong?
I only used One cable at a time..ok...strike all of that.. I didn't have it set to the green Ohm section... do I leave the red dial on the side at 0??
 
  #62  
Old 04-10-13, 12:42 PM
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As stated in the image touch the two probes together and adjust the needle to 0 using the red dial. It compensates for changes in the battery used for continuity and resistance testing. You do have a battery in it don't you? Not needed for voltage but is needed for resistance and continuity testing.

Four cables? I thought you said you had one hot cable and two not hot at the ceiling box. In any event same instructions apply.
 
  #63  
Old 04-10-13, 12:49 PM
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ok, with the meter set to Ohm.. I tried both wires coming from those two cables with the switch attached to each of the four cables in the box... nothing happened...no response when switch was on or off..
 
  #64  
Old 04-10-13, 12:52 PM
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that is what I said.. I am trying to check the ones that didn't show hot..right? that is what I have been doing but I had not adjusted the needle.. I will do so now.. now that I have that adjusted should I try again...until I find one of the cables that when on the switch the cable in the ceiling shows a response? Yes I put the battery in it first thing.. I am only blonde so deep lol
 
  #65  
Old 04-10-13, 01:44 PM
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Ok Tried them all again... no response.. When I got that response the other day I had the breakers on... but there is nothing showing a response no matter which cable I have attached at the switch.. also.. I have only been checking the cables from one of the ceiling fan/light boxes... could it be the response would be in the other set of cables that go to fan and lights # 2??
 
  #66  
Old 04-10-13, 02:33 PM
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The breaker has to be on the test for voltage. The breaker has to be off to to do the continuity check. What test were you doing?
 
  #67  
Old 04-10-13, 04:06 PM
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I thought you said we were testing the two wires that didn't appear to be HOT for continuity. There fore I didn't have the breaker on...we were using the OHM setting.... right?
 
  #68  
Old 04-10-13, 04:17 PM
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I thought you said we were testing the two wires that didn't appear to be HOT for continuity.
No we are testing the cables that are not hot. I assume you mean cable not wire in the above quote. A wire is a single conductor. A cable is two or more conductors in a metallic or non-metallic sheath.

I think at this point you may be best served by hiring an electrician.
 
  #69  
Old 04-10-13, 04:51 PM
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yes.. I did mean cables.. I usually catch that... so.. I guess you are firing me... par for the course.....
 
  #70  
Old 04-10-13, 05:33 PM
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Not firing you. I figured you were fed up with me. I have an idea for a drawing of what I think is going on and maybe that will help you understand what I'm asking you to do. It will probably be tomorrow before I can post it. Get a good nights sleep and let your head clear.
 
  #71  
Old 04-10-13, 06:28 PM
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NO WAY was I fed up with you.. you have been so good and patient with me...no matter what.. I really appreciate you Ray. I know it has to be confusing when you can't actually see what I have here..etc. But honestly your have been great and I want to thank you.. Bev I appreciate any of your ideas... Yes.. I am headed to bed..right now..Thanks again Ray..
 
  #72  
Old 04-10-13, 06:31 PM
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Here is what I think you have:



Please post back with any question or corrections.
 
  #73  
Old 04-11-13, 06:30 AM
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ok.. so we can abandon all the ceiling cables except the one that actually shows Hot correct? Then connect that cable to the corresponding switch cable that we trace to that hot cable in the ceiling. We don't use the switch by the bed so we just tape those cables off? We just use a regular switch and not a 3 way . On the switch cable we wire it with one white and one black on the screws and then ground it with the copper. Is that correct? There are 2 cables in all of the switch boxes, but actually I only need one cable...for switches. is that correct?
 
  #74  
Old 04-11-13, 07:16 AM
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Ray.. things just got scarier...I turned off a breaker to see how the other three ways were done in this house.. none of them have a red wire.. they are all done with 14-2 although some of the wires have had colors put on them to designate if they were hot.. or not.. I am not sure this is something we can fix.. I just don't know... what is amazing is that these two sets of three way switches have worked just great for the last 11 years..
 
  #75  
Old 04-11-13, 08:06 AM
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Then connect that cable to the corresponding switch cable that we trace to that hot cable in the ceiling.
Not sure I understood that. The switch [loop] cable is one of the dead cables at the ceiling and, yes, it is connected to the hot cable as shown in:



We just use a regular switch and not a 3 way .
That is correct.

On the switch cable we wire it with one white and one black on the screws and then ground it with the copper.
Yes but remember the white is recolored black or red on both ends to designate it is a hot not neutral. You may use tape or felt tip marker.

There are 2 cables in all of the switch boxes, but actually I only need one cable...for switches. is that correct?
Yes, that is correct because that is no 3-conductor cable between the switch boxes that can be used for a 3-way circuit.

We don't use the switch by the bed so we just tape those cables off?
Wire nut not tape but since you can idetify both ends, one at the ceiling and one at the bed you could at the ceiling cut it as short as possible and shove out of the box into the space above the ceiling. At the bed you could remove the box and patch the hole.
 
  #76  
Old 04-11-13, 08:15 AM
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things just got scarier...the other three ways were done ...with 14-2 ...none of them have a red wire
Do you have one wire, probably white, just capped off in each switch box?
 
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