Help wiring - loose wires


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Old 10-02-22, 02:10 PM
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Help wiring - loose wires

Hello all -

When my house was constructed 10+ years ago I had the electrician run wires to an outside balcony. The idea at the time was to leave a provision to hang future lights or a ceiling fan from the underside of the balcony. He also installed an exterior light switch (see photo). Fast forward 10+ years and I am finally getting to this project!

1) After some hunting, I have located an interior outlet box that has FOUR (4) electrical cables tucked away. The outlet is live having a lead connected to the top screw on the left and the bottom screw on the right of the plug.
2) For each cable, I used an alligator lead to connect B to W. I then headed outside and test each paired B&W for continuity. Process of elimination but I was able to trace all four cables from the interior to the exterior.
3) My project is to install an outdoor ceiling fan that has a built-in led light. The fan and light is controlled by a remote, however, I would still like to have the exterior wall switch control power to the fan/light.
4) If my memory serves me well, I think the electrician might have ran an extra cable here in case I wanted to install a ceiling mounted outlet (?)...not sure.
5) The exterior wall switch was wired so that two Black wires were on the top side of the switch and two White were on the bottom side. Two Ground wires connected to the switch ground terminal.

In the photos, I have number paired wires 1, 2, 3 and 4 and also the exterior points. I would appreciate any help on how you think the electrician planned to connect all these wires. I assume he was going to jump all from the interior wall socket?




 
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Old 10-02-22, 02:22 PM
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First he was no electrician. Only one wire per screw is allowed and the cable should stripped back to to within 1 inch of entry.
Can't see the inside wiring. Is that 1,2,3,4 inside?
At the switch
Connect the black wires to the two screws of the switch.
Connect the two whites with a wire nut and tuck in back of box.

At the receptacle.
Connect all the whites including the one on the receptacle.
Connect 4 and 2 black to the hot connected to the receptacle. Use a pigtail. only one wire per screw.
Connect 3 black to 2 black.

At the light 2 black will be the switch hot for the light.
1 black will be the always hot black for the fan remote.

 
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Old 10-02-22, 02:22 PM
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Also, it appears that there are no direct wires from the wall switch to the overhead box. All four sets of wires run from the exterior to the interior (2 from the wall switch and 2 from overhead box).
 
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Old 10-02-22, 02:24 PM
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Yes, 1 & 2 are the wire pairs left of the plug and 3 & 4 are on the right.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 02:42 PM
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JoeD,

Can you please clarify for me...

Connect all the whites including the one on the receptacle. (Use a pigtail to connect back to receptacle?)
Connect 4 and 2 black to the hot connected to the receptacle. Use a pigtail. only one wire per screw.
Connect 3 black to 2 black. (Is this correct? Does 3 pair with 2 or perhaps 1? If I pair 3-2 then essentially I've paired 4-3-2 according to the step above).

Thanks for your help! Much appreciated!
 
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Old 10-02-22, 03:12 PM
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Definitely no electrician. Way too many cables in the boxes.
VERY confusing,

We can see 3 and 4 in an outside box with a switch.
We can see 1 and 2 at a ceiling box.

We have no idea why he ran two cables to a switchbox with one switch.
That should have been only one cable.

Why are there are two wires to the ceiling box ?
Are you sure they are both from the same location as that makes no sense.

Are you sure all four... 1, 2, 3 and 4 are at the receptacle ?
 
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Old 10-02-22, 03:29 PM
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Hi Pete,

Why are there are two wires to the ceiling box ? I just mounted the ceiling box myself this weekend. He had left them wound up in blue round plastic box with a lid. He had left two wires. It's been so long but I thought at the time he mentioned not only a box to hang a fan/light but perhaps a seconds separate wire if I wanted to install a ceiling mounted outlet? BTW, the ceiling fan I bought comes with a built-in led light. From what I can tell from the installation instructions all that I will need is a B/W/Gr (one wire).

Are you sure they are both from the same location as that makes no sense. Yes..I used a multimeter to check ohm by connecting a pair of B/W on the interior and then tracing for a read on the exterior. I triple checked each time. 1 & 2 from ceiling box and 3 & 4 from switch box all go to this one interior outlet box.

Are you sure all four... 1, 2, 3 and 4 are at the receptacle ? Yes, exterior continuity only when the interior black and whites were connected one pair at a time.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 03:33 PM
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Also, the only connection he made was at the exterior switch. He had two Black on one terminal and two White on the other terminal, and two ground wires to the ground terminal. Based on my continuity check there is no direct wire running from the switch to the overhead box. Everything feeds from this one outlet box. Two wires to the switch and two wires to the overhead box.
 
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Old 10-02-22, 04:00 PM
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Ok... so we've confirmed all four cables at one location.

At the switch.... connect white and black from cable #3 to the switch.
Cap off the #4 white and black wires. These can be used in the future if you install a dual switch.

At the light box.... cap off the white and black wires from cable #2. These are future spares.
You will use the white and black from cable #1 for the fan.

At the receptacle.... cap off the white and black wires from cables #2 and #4. They are future spares.

The bulb is the fan. Feed in is from the receptacle.
Connect the white from #3 to receptacle black/hot.
Connect the black from #3 to #1 black.
Connect the white from # 1 to receptacle white/neutral.

 
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Old 10-02-22, 06:00 PM
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Connect 4 and 2 black to the hot connected to the receptacle. Use a pigtail. only one wire per screw.
Connect 3 black to 2 black. (Is this correct? Does 3 pair with 2 or perhaps 1? If I pair 3-2 then essentially I've paired 4-3-2 according to the step above).
I think I got some number mixed.

Here is the fix

At the switch
Connect the black wires (4 and 3) to the two screws of the switch.
Connect the two whites with a wire nut and tuck in back of box.

At the receptacle.
Connect all the whites including the one on the receptacle.
Connect 4 and 2 black to the hot connected to the receptacle. Use a pigtail. only one wire per screw.
Connect 3 black to 1 black. We are sending power to the switch on 4 and bringing switched power back on 3. Send that switch power to the ceiling box on 1 by connecting 3 to 1.

At the light 1 black will be the switch hot for the light.
2 black will be the always hot black for the fan remote.





 
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Old 10-02-22, 06:14 PM
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You guys are awesome! I will review the drawings/steps and try on my next installation attempt (Wednesday). Thank you for the step-by-step instructions!
 
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Old 10-03-22, 12:39 PM
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So now here's a new dilemma. The outdoor ceiling fan/light I purchased has a transmitter that needs to be hardwired and hidden in the fan canopy. The fan/light is controlled using a remote. The remote controls fan speed and six different light temperatures. According to the installation manual I should not be using a wall switch to control this unit. There's a warning of the transmitter failing and also that the light color temperature will change each time the wall switch is used. So know I'm thinking I'll hardwire from the outlet to the fan unit using the #1 wire and just use the remote control. As for the wall switch, if possible, I'll install a second surface mount box on the ceiling for a double canister light. Is it possible to run power to the switch from the outlet and eventually power #2? Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 10-03-22, 01:21 PM
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The previous directions I gave will have the #1 cable at the fan always hot. You can use that for the remote.
The #2 cable will be switched and can be used for the new light by either moving the cable or running a new cable from the fan box.
 
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Old 10-03-22, 06:36 PM
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Got it. Thank you!
 
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Old 10-04-22, 10:08 AM
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JoeD -

One more question should you have the time to answer. I was able to connect with the electrician (business owner) whose employee (at the time) wired my house. The employee no longer works for him. I showed him my photos and also a wiring diagram of your solution. His only comment to me was that the outlet box is too small to accommodate four (4) cables (8 wires) in addition to the current connection of the outlet plug (so I questioned him why his employee would have wired this way). His concern is the amount of potential heat all the wires can generate. His recommendation is to either swap out for a bigger outlet box or install a jumper box. What I am having difficulty understanding (or perhaps he's not understanding) is that three of the cables will be used to connect the exterior switched light and the remaining cable will be a direct connect to the remote controlled fan. Isn't that two loads? Is he perhaps thinking each of the four cables will be servicing some end point (fan/light/out/outlet)? In his defense, I showed up at his shop unannounced and he was rushed so he didn't spend much time reviewing the diagram before assessing that a larger box or jumper box is needed.

As I see it..
We are sending power from the outlet along Cable 4 which connects to outside switch then passes along (switch ON) to Cable 3 sending it back to the outlet box where it is wire nut connected to Cable 1 which terminates at the light. I don't mind having him come out to either replace or add a box if necessary but I just can't understand how using the existing box could cause an overheating/fire hazard based on only two terminal points.
 
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Old 10-04-22, 10:24 AM
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There is a calculation for box fill for the maximum number of wires allowed in a box.
For you setup it goes like this I think. It is slight different in Canada
5 cables = 10 conductors.
all grounds = 1 conductor
Receptacle counts as 2 conductors.
That brings us to 13 conductors.
In Canada we count wire nuts but I don't think you do in USA.
If those conductors are #14 then you need 13x2 or 26 cubic inches space in box.
If those conductors are #12 then you need 13x2.5 or 32.5 cubic inches space in box
 
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Old 10-05-22, 05:19 AM
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Thanks again! I will be looking to replace the existing outlet box with a bigger one to accommodate the extra wires. For my own edification, if I was trying to power four lights each on its own cable versus one fan (one cable) and one switched light (three cables), assuming all have the same draw, wouldn't there be a difference in potential heat generation in a box? I'm just trying to understand the concept.
 
 

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