Adding second switch to one power source

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Old 06-08-13, 06:52 PM
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Adding second switch to one power source

Hi all,

Installing a ceiling fan and would like to have a switch in the wall control it (on/ off is fine). I would like to add a switch to the spot where the current light switch is. My plan is to remove the current box and add a larger- 2 gang box. I also plan on running romex from the ceiling fan to the newly installed box and wire it to the switch.

Here is where I have run into trouble. In other spots in the house where there are multiple switches, the whites are bundled together. In this box, the white is tied to the grounds . Figured I'd better look for a forum and ask before proceeding.

Someone told me there is no neutral in this box. But I'm unsure if it can be rewired to do what I'm hoping.

Thanks for any advice.

Here is a photo of the current switch/ box. Two black wires running out of photo go to a standard light switch. I can provide other pictures if needed.



 
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Old 06-08-13, 07:42 PM
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From what I see there is a neutral in the box but Iam puzzeled why thw two whites are not connected to each other. Disconnect the wires and using either a multimeter (preferably analog) or test light but not a non contact tester Measure for voltage between the black and white of each cable.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 07:52 PM
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Will do.

While I do that, here is how someone on another forum described what I have....

you have no neutral in your box.

Your box has 1 hot leg, grounds and switch legs. No neutral.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 08:08 PM
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I disconnected the wires. One black/ white had 110v. The other had nothing. (which would seem to make sense. Hot wires coming in to switch then out to outlet it powers).
 
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Old 06-08-13, 09:24 PM
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Does the light the switch controls work? It shouldn't with the whites not connected to each other. Please tell us the wiring at the light the switch controls.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 09:27 PM
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Hmmmmm.......some strange wiring. Can you separate (not disconnect) the wires and take a second picture. It looks like you have a switch leg on two separate cables.

White to ground ?
 
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Old 06-08-13, 09:33 PM
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The switch controls an outlet in the room. Don't recall if it controls both (upper and lower) portion of the outlet now that I think about it, but we have our nightstand lights controlled by the switch.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 09:40 PM
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Here's a couple more pics with, maybe a little better light.

As a side note: I checked another switch in another room and it appeared "normal". One pair of black/ white.

Here's what it looks like with switch:




Here is a close up:

 
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Old 06-08-13, 09:46 PM
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Just checked the outlet. The switch controls the top of the outlet only. Bottom is constant on.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 09:56 PM
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Thanks for the pics ...... very clear and very wrong.

The bare copper wire is the ground and should never have any current carrying conductor attached to it. In other words ....those copper ground wires should not be connected to the white wire.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 10:04 PM
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Thanks. I'm sure someone thinks/ thought it was correct when they wired it. But it seemed odd to have the white wire connected to the ground to me too.

Any idea why it's working/ has been working? Kooky for sure.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 10:32 PM
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At the receptacle do you have a ground connected to the silver screw of the switched receptacle? Tel us all the wires and how they are connected. Pictures would be helpful too.

Any idea why it's working
A ground can act as a return instead of a neutral but it isn't safe or code compliant.
 
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Old 06-08-13, 10:35 PM
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Hi Ray... putting the kids to bed. I'll check tomorrow morning when I can move the nightstand.

Thanks to you both for taking a look at this.
 
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Old 06-09-13, 07:18 PM
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Back again. Ceiling fan is up and running. I tapped off a constant-hot in the attic, ran that romex to my newly installed 2-gang box and ran another romex up and over to the ceiling fan. Wife didn't want a remote, so this was the option. I actually like doing this stuff- at least the relatively easy stuff.

Here is a look at the outlet that the switch controls. Hope this helps to see what is going on with that switch wiring.

Thanks again for offering your advice. I'm new here, but not to forums and appreciate the free advice given by people much more knowledgeable than myself.





 
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Old 06-09-13, 07:26 PM
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Is the ground wire going to the green screw on the receptacle?
 
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Old 06-09-13, 09:34 PM
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Installing a ceiling fan and would like to have a switch in the wall control it (on/ off is fine)... Ceiling fan is up and running. I tapped off a constant-hot in the attic, ran that romex to my newly installed 2-gang box and ran another romex up and over to the ceiling fan.
Hopefully you made the first set of splices in a grounded, covered and accessible J-box, ran new 2-conductor cable to your new switch box, and ran new 3-conductor cable to the fan/light combo which you mounted to a fan-rated box.

If so, just one note: You should not control a fan motor with an on/off switch. All electric motors need full power at startup, so the pull-chain switch should be set and left on High and the fan speed should be controlled with a fan motor controller.
 
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Old 06-10-13, 08:26 AM
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Hi Ray. Yes, it's connected to the green screw on the outlet.
 
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Old 06-10-13, 08:30 AM
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Nashkat.... Yes, it's wired as you described.

Good info. I did not know fans should be connected in that fashion. Thanks.
 
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Old 06-10-13, 08:34 AM
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Good at least that is correct. Something weird in that switch box. You must disconnect that ground from the white wire. After that I'd make sure all the receptacles are correctly grounded using a plug in receptacle checker. Reason being that may have been intended as a bootleg ground.
 
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Old 06-10-13, 08:35 AM
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I think it looks like someone was taking a constant hot on the one cable and needed a neutral so they bootlegged one since the original wiring was a switch loop. Very wrong.
 
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Old 06-10-13, 06:29 PM
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Getting a receptacle checker is a good idea.... I don't have one of those and always love excuses to buy new tools.

Someone else mentioned "needing another (wire)" as what probably happened too. That's probably why it's wired that way. I'll have to tackle that next.

Thanks again
 
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