ceiling fan w/3 wall switches

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  #1  
Old 04-26-01, 05:51 AM
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I am trying to install a ceiling fan with 3 wall switches, one controls the fan, the other 2 control the lights. The only wire in the ceiling is a 3-way wire (one black, one red and one white)It was wired this way when the home was built 10 yrs. ago The ceiling fan has 2 black wires and one white. I put a tester on the wires from the ceiling and I'm getting low voltage reading even with the switch for the light is "off". With a 3-way light wire is this common? Is my house wired wrong, or is it possible to install the fan on this wiring system?
 
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Old 04-26-01, 09:53 AM
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First I want to know your previous setup.
What was at this ceiling location before, and was there 1 switch location controlling this ceiling fixture or could it be controlled by 2 switch locations.

I assume that the black/red/white/bare wire that as you appear to discribe it , the only cable entering the ceiling location, and the there is NO 2nd black/red/white/bare wire that continues on to another location from the ceiling box.

The white at the fan serves as a neutral connection t both fan & light. the 2 blacks at the fan are most likely , 1 black for the fan and one black for the light. I assume we are talking about a fan/light combo unit.

This gives a possibility of 2 wall switches on the wall not 3.
One to control the lights and 1 to control the fan.

Did the existing wall switch control other lights beside the location in which the fan/light combo is to be installed ?

So again tell me how many switches are on the wall now at the location where it controlled the ceiling fixture, was there more than one location that the same ceiling fixture could be controlled ?

I may have a couple of more questions before giving wiring details but answer these first , I always like to get a very clear picture exactly how your wiring is , so there is no surprises later, I try to resist the temtation of guessing what it appears to most likely be.

Perhaps you may be refering to a 3rd switch at the same location that controls on unrelated fixture - clarify.
 
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Old 04-26-01, 11:15 AM
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dkerr: There is only one wire from ceiling (3-way wire). The house was originally wired this way.(3 switches)
Let me tell you how I tested it.
First I put a 2-prong tester on the white and black wire from the ceiling, it was controlled by the fan switch (switch #1).
I then put the tester on the red and white wire from the ceiling, both switch #2 and #3 controlled this wire. When the switches were in the "on" position, the test light was "bright". When the switch was "off" the test light showed current, but the test light was "dim".
I've lived in this house for the last 3 years. The house was built 10 years ago, and I can't see any sign of any remodling, and the switches don't control any receptables or any other lights.
Thanks for youe time in helping,
Tim
 
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Old 04-26-01, 12:03 PM
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To dkerr, I forgot to mention earlier but I have 2 rooms in my house with this same situation.
 
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Old 04-26-01, 02:42 PM
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Hi Tim
I need you to look inside the 3 gang switch box.
I need to know how many wire cables are entering that box, each wire cable should have a black/white/bare OR a black/red/white/bare .
next I need to know what wire is connected to what, perticularyly with switch 2 & 3, but tell me about all of them.

Name your cables for easy reference for both of us, for example red from cable 2 is connected to one screw of switch 3. You get the idea.

Once I have that info , I should be able to figure it out.
 
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Old 04-27-01, 04:05 AM
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To dkerr, please don't give up on me, I'll be back Monday with that information.
Thanks, Tim
 
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Old 04-30-01, 05:09 AM
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To dkerr: First to explain the wiring correctly I will need to tell you everything that is in the switch (light & fan) box. First in one location there are 3 switches. One is a duplex switch which controls two separate exterior lights, the second is for the ceiling fan, the third is for the lights on the fan. Terminating through the box is 5 wires, 3 are 14-2, and 2 are 14-3. I will call these wire 1, 2, 3 (14-2) and wire 4 & 5 (14-3).
Wire 1- black wire goes to ceiling fan switch,
Wire 2- black wire goes to exterior light switch
Wire 3- black wire goes to exterior light switch
Wire 4- black wire goes to exterior light switch, from there a jumper wire goes to the ceiling fan switch (black wire from wire 1 is tied to the same terminal screw as the jumper on fan switch)
Wire 5- black wire goes to ceiling fan switch

White wires from wire 1, 2, 3 & 5 are tied together with a wire nut.
Wire 4- white wire goes to 3-way light switch.

Red wires from wire 4 & 5 goes to 3-way light switch.

Second switch location has only one 3-way switch and one
14-3 wire connecting to it (1 red, 1 black, 1 white)

Ceiling fan/light location has only one 14-3 wire (1, red, 1 black, 1 white) the red for the light and the black for the fan.

I hope I didn't confuse you in the wiring description, but if I didn't make it clear I can e-mail or fax you a schematic.
Thanks, Tim
 
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Old 04-30-01, 08:32 AM
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I am just going to go back to your orginal question until I can sit down and look at this later today.

I was a bit confused on the orginal question. You had already in existence a fan switch and a light switch at one location and at a second location 1 switch that also controlled the light at ceiling - correct ?

Now you mentioned that you received a low voltage reading with the switch for the light in the off position.

I need to know exactly what wires were used to measure this voltage and was there light bulbs in the ceiling fixture at the time you measured the voltage.

your exact quote for your orginal posting was...

"I put a tester on the wires from the ceiling and I'm getting low voltage reading even with the switch for the light is "off". "

So at the ceiling there should be 1 - 3 iwre cable black/red/white/bare - correct ?
white would serve as a neutral for both a fan and light.
now measure with no light fxiture or any fixture of any kind hooked up. measure voltage between black and white,
with teh switch on and with the switch off.
Now measure the voltage between the red and the white , with the switch on and with the switch off.

This is with no fixture hooked up and no wires touching each other.

You should now get 0v with the switch off and 110 v or close to that with the appropriate switch on. if this is the case there is no problem with the wiring or switches.

Now I will assume that you personally have not changed anything /wiring at any switch, and it is as you moved in, would this be correct ?

Repost your findings, I will go over your info in more detail, at first glance I don't find anything unusual but will look over it more carefully.

Also note that you will get 110 v between black and ground with the switch on and 0v with the switch off.

Also you will get 110v between red and ground with the siwtch on and 0v with the switch off, assuming that your house has grounded circuits.

Sometimes you can get a small voltage between white and ground if other things are in use on the circuit at the time.

If you get a small voltage between black and white , or between red and white , with no fixture connected at ceiling and the ceiling wires not touching anything, I would replace the switches first , and then we take it from there, switches are cheap. Also never use the stab/push in type connections on the back of the switch, use the screw conenctions on the side of the switch. Thes push in/stab type connections have been known to be cause of problems.

[Edited by dkerr on 04-30-01 at 10:39]
 
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Old 04-30-01, 01:20 PM
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To dkerr; Thanks for replying, I will answer your questions in order per your reply.

Yes, this is right, there was an existing fan on 1 switch and a switch at 2 locations for future light kit installation.

I tested the red and white wire from the ceiling and the reading was 52.3 volts, both switches were "off" to the lights and there was not a light fixture installed. Turn a light switch "on" and the reading is 125.3 volts.

Yes, there is only one wire at the ceiling (black/red/white/bare)

Measuring the white & black wire with nothing hooked-up and the switches "off" there is no reading. Turn the fan switch "on" and the reading is 125.2 volts. Turn fan switch "off" and light switches "on" there is no reading on the black & white wire.

No wires are touching.

Nothing has been changed since I moved in.
 
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Old 04-30-01, 02:05 PM
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If there was no fan or light fixture attached to the ceiling when you measured the voltage then...

replace the switch, use only the screw connections as they are more reliable than the stab/push in type on the back of the switch. Just replace the switch that switches the red wire at the ceiling. I beleive if I understood you correctly it is only 1 switch switching the red wire, and 2 switches that switched the black wire at ceiling.





 
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Old 05-01-01, 04:29 AM
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To dkerr; Thanks for all your help. I hope I haven't confused you too much. I will take your advice, and if you don't get any other replys, you will know it worked.

Thanks for your help. If I run to any other unusual elec. problems I will look you up. Thanks again, Tim
 
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