Bathroom fan issue

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  #1  
Old 04-08-14, 01:30 PM
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Bathroom fan issue

Hi there,

OK first time posting here, hoping someone can help me. The fan in my ground floor bathroom suddenly stopped working. The pilot light on the switch is on so there is power to it but the 'timer buttons' (5 mins, 10 mins, etc...) simply do not work and turn the fan on as needed.

I opened up the panel and found this mess (picture attached). I bought a new switch and tried it, same result. Things seem to be wired OK but the only thing that seems odd to me was that there was a cap inside the box sitting at the bottom and 2 uncapped wires (1 red and 1 one black) that I have marked using arrows on the pic. Both uncapped wires are coming from the back of the box, not from either the light or fan switch.

Is it possible that something came loose and caused this? I'm not sure if the photo is enough to highlight the issue, but I can map out the wiring in detail if you think that would help.

Of course, the other possibility is that the fan has died but I thought I'd tackle the switch first just in case.

Thanks
Joe
 
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Old 04-08-14, 02:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

the only thing that seems odd to me was that there was a cap inside the box sitting at the bottom and 2 uncapped wires (1 red and 1 one black) that I have marked using arrows on the pic. Both uncapped wires are coming from the back of the box, not from either the light or fan switch.
I see what appears to be one black wire and one white wire that aren't terminated or spliced. If so, that implies that one of your controls was wired as a switch loop. Having them disconnected and loose in the box doesn't look right.

I would tell you to just splice those two wires together if the white wire was tagged with electrical tape or permanent marker to show that it was being used as an ungrounded conductor. But it isn't, so I would do some testing first.

So you have a multimeter, preferably an analog one?
 
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Old 04-08-14, 02:27 PM
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Yes, it's white and black wires that were disconnected (had 'red' arrow in my head and wrote red while looking at the photo).

Yes I borrowed an analog multi-meter from a neighbor. What reading should I be getting?
 
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Old 04-08-14, 02:42 PM
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Yes I borrowed an analog multi-meter from a neighbor. What reading should I be getting?
Set your meter to the lowest VAC setting that's greater than 120. With one probe touching the grounded metal box, you should see 120V when you touch the other probe to one of the two disconnected wires - probably the black one - and no reading when you touch it to the other one.

If so, turn the power off at the breaker and mark that white wire with any color except gray or green, using electrical tape or a permanent marker. Use a pair of pliers to solidly splice (twist) the two wires together. Trim them to be even if you need to and put a new wire nut on the splice.

When you fold everything back into the box, try to have all of the wire nuts pointing up.
 
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