2 circuits in ceiling fan box

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Old 07-25-17, 08:46 PM
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2 circuits in ceiling fan box

Hello all hopefully could use some help. I have a bunch of wires stuffed into 1 ceiling fan box. Found out by turning breakers off that there are at least 2 different circuits running through the box. I didn't disconnect the original light and don't know which nuetral goes to which breaker. Is there any way to test them without tracing the lines? This house is a wiring nightmare.

Thanks
 
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Old 07-25-17, 09:01 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

First off.... are you certain it's a fan rated box ?

Please describe the wiring to us or even better post a picture or two.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 07-25-17, 09:50 PM
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Size:  16.6 KB ok tried to pull out the wires and purple on left sparked. It's off a breaker I know is turned off I tested it prior and found it linked to switch. This is a mess. Anyway, the right purple is never hot the pink behind is never hot, the whites are neutral and there is set of black and an orange way up there. I originally wired the light to black and white bundles, but that's not to the switch. The purple on left was hot and not when I switched off. Don't know how it sparked with both breakers off and testing no volts. Purple and black hot are on 2 different breakers both are off when it sparked
 
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Old 07-25-17, 10:06 PM
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You have a conduit wiring system which explains the multiple circuits.
There are too many wires stuffed in that box and that does not look like a fan rated box.

Can you carefully pull the splices out of the box and take another picture ?
 
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Old 07-25-17, 10:23 PM
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Thanks for the replies I appreciate the help. Here are the pictures I have yet to test the black and red bundle.Name:  15010428338211690209342.jpg
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Old 07-25-17, 10:29 PM
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One more picture hopefully this helps. The pink capped next to purple never tested hot, the hard to see capped still in is short it's all black. I first wired it to that and white bundle worked but no switch. Name:  1501043314550236433645.jpg
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Old 07-25-17, 10:42 PM
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Now with the new pictures..... I can see you have what's called a barbox. It's held in between two joists with a metal bar and it attaches with that nut in the center.

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Unfortunately that is not a fan rated box or mounting method.

It looks like all whites are connected together even though there are two wire nutted splices. Is that correct ?

If all the whites are connected together then you have a multi wire branch circuit. It's two circuits that share a common neutral. That means there are two breakers one right above the other one in the panel that control those circuits. The two breakers may have a tie handle combining them. That also means between the red and black wires you will measure 240vac. So be careful.

If I had to hazard a guess, the two purple wires both go to the switch. You could confirm that by looking at the wiring on the switch. If I am correct.... one purple wire goes to the black always live wire and the other purple goes to the light.
 
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Old 07-25-17, 11:03 PM
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You ate correct I know at least one , hot purple goes to box, I tried hooking up the hot purple to the live light and the other purple to the neutral light an it didn't work. The breakers for the purple and black are actually on 2 separate boxes. I just bought the house and they added on. There are 2 boxes with a main switch between them . Think I may need to call in professional as another outlet in the kitchen blew everything I plugged in. Turns out 2 hot wires were wired to outlet. Inspector must have missed that. There was a Nick in the black bundle that may have killed the light when I hooked up the purple hot and white bundle. The breaker flipped and one of the screws was melted have way through. This may be more than worth my knowledge. Do you think it possible to find the right live and neutral to the same circuit without tracing the lines?
 
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Old 07-25-17, 11:06 PM
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Thanks for the pic. It verified my thinking the box is not rated for fan. I knew the tabs were not meant for that and only screws were smaller size 8 that fit. Most are 10 23 or 24
 
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Old 07-25-17, 11:18 PM
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It looks like all whites are connected together even though there are two wire nutted splices. Is that correct ?
Are all the white wires tied together ?
 
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Old 07-25-17, 11:26 PM
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Sorry yes all white wires are bundled together. Worries me that they may be 2 different breakerers
 
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Old 07-26-17, 12:46 AM
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The whites were split in to two interconnected splices because there were too many to fit in a single wirenut. You can use either splice to run the light.

The circuit is how I described it..... one neutral supplying both circuits.
 
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Old 07-26-17, 12:56 AM
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Since all the conduits come in at the tops it won't be that hard to install a fan rated brace and box from below but the box may not have enough holes so you may have to drill one more hole.

Tip: Tape on wire nuts isn't needed if they are correctly installed so when you reconnect just use wire nuts.
 
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Old 07-26-17, 04:30 PM
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Thanks, one last question. I thought you were not supposed to use 1 neutral for 2 separate circuts
 
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Old 07-26-17, 04:49 PM
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If that is a multiwire circuit you only need one neutral in. In your group if the neutrals are separated out only one neutral should show 120v to only two of the hots and the voltage between the two hots should be 240v. If it is multiwire there should be either a 2-pole breaker or two single pole handle tied breakers.

The tape on the wire nuts though means it wasn't done by a pro so who knows what they did.
 
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Old 07-26-17, 04:54 PM
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I
I thought you were not supposed to use 1 neutral for 2 separate circuts
I pretty well covered that and you confirmed the two breakers.

One word of caution... I mentioned it before..... since this is a multi wire branch circuit... there is 240vac in that box. Those neutral connections are VITAL to those circuits. Make sure when you reconnect to the neutral that it is a good solid splice.
 
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Old 07-26-17, 05:31 PM
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If that is a multiwire circuit you only need one neutral in. In your group if the neutrals are separated out only one neutral should show 120v to only two of the hots and the voltage between the two hots should be 240v. If it is multiwire there should be either a 2-pole breaker or two single pole handle tied breakers.

The tape on the wire nuts though means it wasn't done by a pro so who knows what they did.

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