Now I have a Migraine! Ceiling fan--red wire or not??


Old 04-01-01, 06:23 AM
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I'm serious about the migraine....hope this makes sense...

I purchased a ceiling fan for my living room (vaulted ceiling). I had the builder prewire it for a ceiling fan and there are 3 switches on the wall switch plate - the 1st switch is connected to a red and a black wire, the 2nd switch is connected to 2 black wires, and I know that the 3rd switch is for a general floor/table lamp.

The fan has 1 black wire, 1 white wire, 1 blue wire for the light fixture, and 2 green ground leads - one of which I had to purchase because of the vaulted ceiling. HOWEVER, the ceiling's electrical/outlet box has 1 red, 1 black, 1 white, and one bare wire that I assume to be the ground conductor. The manufacturer's directions make no mention of the use of a red wire. (The red wire was connected to the black wire with a wire nut when I first opened the outlet box.)

In general, the directions are:
- connect the 2 green fan ground leads to the bare wire or green colored ground conductor of the 120v supply;
- connect the white fan motor wire to white supply wire; and
- connect the black fan motor wire and blue light kit wire to black supply wire.

Do I simply put a wire nut on the red wire and assume it's not needed for this project? or do I not connect both the blue and black wires to the black supply wire but instead connect one to the red wire? If so, which one??

Also, there are diagrams showing optional wiring to the switch plate and on up to the outlet box in the ceiling. In these diagrams, the wires that go to the outlet box are connected to only the black supply wire. In comparing the wires in my switch plate to those in the diagrams, it appears that the black and white wires are the only ones that I need to be concerned with because no red wires are shown coming from the outlet box. Therefore I'm led to believe that the wires are already configured and I just need to figure out which wires connect. (but then my home's electrician didn't write these directions)

So what's up with the red wire??

In addition, I have followed the directions for attaching the ceiling fan's mounting bracket to the outlet box using the same screws that were already used for the plate cover of the outlet box. However, the outlet box has slid downward about 1/4 inch past the ceiling's drywall surface. Should I be concerned? If so, what's my best option? If I am to tighten a bolt(s), which one(s) do I tighten?

AND...According to the directions and diagram for the mounting bracket, the screws go in the exact holes in the outlet box that they were taken out of (metal tabs with screw holes). There are 2 other holes in the outlet box that appear to be more appropriate due to additional threading - about the lenth of the screws I think. The screws are too thin to be used in these holes. Am I being a bit petty by sticking with the directions and connecting the mounting bracket to what appear to be flimsy tabs with screw holes and using only the screws that the outlet box already had?


Won't someone please help me ease the migraine pain... I've racked my brain as much as it can be racked so I'll take any help I can get at this point! Thank you!!
Old 04-01-01, 08:57 AM
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First of all Sophie, this is not the migraine as you might think.

Don't touch any wiring at the switch it appears to be correct.

At the ceiling , I think you will find 1 wire cable entering the box with a red/black/white/bare wire.
The white serves as a neutral for both the light and the fan. From the other end of the red/black.white/bare cable is at the switch box. White is already (or should be) connected to the circuit white. And red is on one switch and the black is on the other.

In order to operate the fan and light separately at the switch location, it must have 2 hot switched wires coming from separate switches to the fan/light location. Those 2 hots are the red and the black at the fan. White serves as neutral for both.

So any white at the fan/light fixrure connects to the white of the ceiling wire.

Now the ceiling red and black, blue from the fan/light fixture connects to one wire and black connects to the other. Depending on which wire the blue connects to and which wire the black connects to will determine which switch controls on/off for the fan and which switch turns the light on or off.

Green wires and bares are ground wires, they are connected together and also grounded to the grounding screw of box.

I know that most light fixtures mount on 2 screw tabs that is the only thing the hold the thing from falling off. Some fixtures use a safety wire about a foot long that attach to a additional screw inside the box. Without seeing the mounting instructions and mounting hardware , I can't advise further on that but would follow the manufacturers advice on mounting it to the ceiling , since they built the fan they should have given the best advice on mounting.
Old 04-01-01, 09:28 AM
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Cool Alrighty then...

...that's just too easy!

So then I will connect the blue lighting wire from the fan to the red wire from the outlet box and use the 1st switch on the wall to turn on the light? and then connect the black to the black to work the fan? I do believe I've got it if this is the case. (white to white and green to bare too)

Seriously, that's it? Awe man...

Thank you very much dkerr!

Another thing - there is one single lighted housing unit between the the downrod and the motor and there are 3 lights to the light kit which attach to the switch housing. So will there be 4 different pulls on the pull chain to operate each light? Guess I'll find out! Hell of a project for a beginner I know but I can do it thanks to you (and posts I've been reading all over the forum )

Oh and as for the mounting, I guess I'll just 'wing' it via the directions and pray for success.

Sincerely appreciated -
Old 04-01-01, 01:24 PM
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I can't say for sure how the pull spring for the light works, it could be a simple on /off that switches all lights on and all lights off, you'll find out. In order for the wall switch to turn on/off the light , the pull spring for the light at the fan/light combo must be left in the on position.

[Edited by dkerr on 04-01-01 at 03:34]
Old 04-01-01, 02:22 PM
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Thumbs up I DID IT!!!!

I have completed my first major electrical project!! and much thanks to you, my migraine is completely gone!! I am soooooo proud of myself! It's really a beautiful fan/lighting unit (of course now that I installed it myself it's the best one I've ever seen!!)

Sorry to get so excited but I've never done anything like that before...thank you for your help!

There are 3 different pull strings, 1 for the fan, 1 for the middle light and 1 for all 3 lights. AND .... the wall switches work perfectly!! I did just what you said and not one single glitch at all!!


Happy Camper!!

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