no fan of this fan

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  #1  
Old 07-24-02, 12:38 PM
G
garyhouy52
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no fan of this fan

I am installing a ceiling fan with a light fixture and connecting it to two three-way switches. But apparently I've wired something wrong because the circuit breaker shuts it down when I switch it on.......Any ideas?
I know I have the power wire attached to the common screws on the two three-way switches. And I pigtailed the red wire to the black/white wire from fan, as the instructions directed.
 
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Old 07-24-02, 01:49 PM
J
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There are about a million ways to wire something wrong. It would be best if you told us precisely all the wiring at both switches and at the ceiling.

When a switch trips the breaker, it's almost always that the switch is shorting hot to neutral. This often occurs when the power comes first to the fixture, and the person doing the wiring does not understand a switch loop. Do either or both of your switches have a white wire attached to them?

Even if not, if the travellers pass through the ceiling box between switches (a common wiring), then it is not right to attach the red wires to the fixture. The only time it is right is when there is just one wire of each color in the ceiling.

It is quite common that instructions that come with fixtures give bad advice. That's because there are many ways the electrician might have wired your house, and the instructions rarely take time to explain the connections for all possibilities. The instructions usually just cover the case when there is exactly one wire of each color. It is usually wrong to follow such instructions when you have more than one wire of each color.
 
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Old 07-24-02, 03:26 PM
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garyhouy52
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no fan

Thanks for the response.
When I tested for the hot wires, I determined that the power source entered through one of the three-way switches.....and yes, both switches have white wires attached.
So the black wire is connected to the dark screw on each switch and pigtailed into the fixture. The red and white wires are also hooked to each of the 3-way switches.
Is the problem that the red wire is pigtailed to the fixture? Did I screw up when testing for the power source?.....the wiring obviously was done by an amateur (like me); they seem to run everywhere.
In an aside, should I replace the old cloth-wrapped wiring? And is it true that I can't add insulation to areas where those old wires are located? I read that somewhere, but maybe it was an old rule.
Thanks again.
 
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Old 07-24-02, 03:58 PM
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I determined that the power source entered through one of the three-way switches.....and yes, both switches have white wires attached.
This statement is self-contradictory. If power enters through one of the boxes, you should not see a white wire attached to the switch. I'm not sure how you determined that the power entered through one of the switches, but that conclusion is suspect.

So the black wire is connected to the dark screw on each switch and pigtailed into the fixture.
This statement also doesn't make much sense to me. Perhaps your definition of the word "pigtail" differs from mine. You are describing the wiring at the switch, and saying that the fixture is connected to a "pigtail". A pigtail wire is seldom longer than 3 inches, so is your ceiling fan within three inches of the switch? Probably not, so can you clarify?

Also, can you provide a complete inventory of all the wires in the ceiling and how they are connected? And is there just one wire of each color present at each switch box?
 
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