Ceiling Fan w/Light Kit: Wiring Problem

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Old 09-12-07, 04:44 PM
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Ceiling Fan w/Light Kit: Wiring Problem

Hi,

I need help desperately. I am trying to install a ceiling fan with a light kit (Aloha brand). There are four wires coming out of the fixture to be connected to the ceiling wires: a blue and a black (hot for fan and light kit), a white, and a green (ground). My problem is that there are only two wires coming from the ceiling. Both are black.

How do I connect the wires? What do I connect the ground wire to? (No green bolt or wire coming from ceiling). What should the white wire be connected to? Why do I have only two black wires form the ceiling?

Thanks!!

PS: I've been searching google all day, but all instructions skip the wiring part. The fixture's instructions are very vague and general. Just came across this forum and think it's absolutely great. Have been reading a few sub-forums for a while now. PLease help.
 
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Old 09-12-07, 04:59 PM
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One of those wires is a neutral the other is the hot. I bet one is actually white.

Use your tester and figure out which wire is the neutral and which is the hot.

Another way to tell is to have paid attention when you removed the old light.

Your ground wire gets connected to the metal box. If there is no green screw in the box you will have to install one.

Finally, did you ensure that the box in the ceiling can support a fan? If it is old it probably cannot.
 
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Old 09-12-07, 05:36 PM
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Thanks Racraft for the instant reply!

There was no fixture installed there before that, just a decorative cover over the box. The house was built in 1980s. How can I tell if it would be able to support a fan? It seems sturdy enough to me just from looking at it.

The metal box is actually a wood/drywall box. I guess I just screw a bolt in there somewhere and call it ground? Any way I can check if the box is grounded?

There should be some sort of a "wiring adapter" that will let me connect the fixture's two hot wires to the ceiling's single hot wire. What do you call that thing/adapter?

I really appreciate your help!
 
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Old 09-12-07, 06:06 PM
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I do not understand what you mean by a "wood/drywall box." Unless you have a fan rated box, your fan will pull the box and some of your ceiling out and you will have a mess. I recommend that you hire an electrician. An electrician will be able to tell if the box is fan rated and if not install the proper box.

I do not what you mean "wiring adapter" to "connect the fixture's two hot wires to the ceiling's single hot wire." You use the same device as you use to connect the neutral wires. You use the same device as you use would use to to connect the ground wires. It's called a wire nut.

You install a ground screw in the threaded hole in the back of the box and connect the ground wire to the screw. However, it;s a mot point since I think you need to replace the box.

I urge you, if you don;t call an electrician, to buy and read several books on home wiring. ALL of your questions (the ones you have asked and the ones you don't know to ask) will be addressed in the book. You should not be doing electrical work at your current knowledge level.

Electricity can and does kill people.
 
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Old 09-13-07, 08:34 AM
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You do probably need help, but you may not need an electrician. A competent, with emphasis on the word competent, handyman can probably do this more cheaply.

A fan-rate box will have three attributes: (1) it will be heavy-gauge metal, (2) the female threads will have about a half-inch of threads rather than just a few threads, and (3) it will be very securely attached to the framing by the top of the box, not just nailed to the side of a joist on one side (pull down hard on the box and make sure it doesn't sag).
 
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Old 09-16-07, 02:36 AM
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I disagree with John Nelson's advice. I feel that it's irresponsible to suggest that you hire a "compitent" handyman. Have you ever heard the phrase jack of all trades master of none? I have been called in to fix many installations done by self-proclaimed "compitent" handymen. The last one I responded to was to fix a chandelier in which a "compitent" handyman used 2 pieces of duct tape as "wire adapters". It would've been an easy fix too if it weren't for the fact that this "compitent" handyman only left 1" of fixture wire to work with. Needless to say I had to rewire the chandelier. Wiring a ceiling fan is not rocket science, but most of these self-proclaimed "compitent" handymen only know enough to be dangerous. Sure it'll work when they leave. Chances are you'll have to call in an electrician to fix it down the road when it stops working, starts a fire, of comes crashing down. You get what you pay for, so don't mess around hire an electrician!

John, you're a moderator, I'm really disappointed with the irresponsible advice.
 
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Old 09-17-07, 12:50 PM
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I can certainly understand why you view handymen with suspicion. Electricians would rarely even see a handyman's work if it were perfect, so almost everything you see is going have problems. The majority of handymen who do good work, however, are those whose work you'll never see.

Since this is a DIY forum, and since most people here are DIYers, I cannot see why we would encourage a homeowner to do this work but discourage a handyman doing it. Chances are the handyman has more experience than the homeowner.

The situations you describe do not fit my definition of a competent handyman. Now as to how one judges a handyman's competence, well that's a sticky question. Some people are better at deciding whom to trust than others.

I suppose we can just agree to disagree.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 05:10 PM
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Thank you all for your input. So here is how things have developed so far.

I decided to stop being so lazy and got up to the attic to explore the situation. There is a white cable with two - hot and cold - wires. It seems somebody decided it wasn't long enough (though it is) to run it to the fixture so there is a small "patch" of black cable that connects the white cable to the fixture. Thus, it was difficult to tell what is what of the two wires in that black cable.

As I said before, there is no metal box there. There is a 10.5"x10.5" drywall-like piece covering the ceiling hole. I guess that would be fine for a small light fixture that is not heavy. I bought a metla box.

Now I need to figure out how exactly the brace gets attached to the beams, then run the white cable to the fixture and ground it. Then I'll attach the fan with the light kit to the metal box. And voila!

One thing I need to figure out, though, is how to install the fan so that the light is operated from a wall switch and the fan - from the little hanging rope. All of that with only one hot wire coming from the ceiling.

As somebody pointed out, installing a fan is not rocket science. It just takes a little figuring out of things but that's the fun part. Maybe I'll take it a step further and install one of those neat fan remote controls.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 05:36 PM
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The "extension" cable from the junction box in the attic MAY be to correct for 60 degree wiring which cannot be connected to most newer fixtures.

To have the fan always hot and the light switched, you wire the fan's hot wire to the always hot wire, and you wire the light as a switch loop.

However, I suggest that you use three conductor cable (plus ground) when you run the switch loop, in case you want the fan switched.

Buy and read one or two books on home wiring. They will explain ALL of this in complete detail. with pictures.
 
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Old 09-21-07, 11:24 PM
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It sounded like you ony have a 2-wire w/ground going to the fan box from the light switch. If so, you have 3 choices:

1. Use a regular switch. It will control the power for BOTH the fan and the light. Can't control fan speed from the wall switch, nor can you dim the lights. This would merely turn the power on and off to both.

2. Install 2 light switches (can use a tandom switch if you only have a single gang box) and run a 3-wire w/ground. This will give you 2 switch legs. 1 for the fan, 1 for the light. This will allow you to control them seperately and use a dimmer for the lights.

3. Install a remote fan switch. For roughly $40-$60 it won't cost much more than option #2, it's less work, and you have more options. It has a dimmer for the lights and a speed control for the fan. You can also use as many remotes as you want, essentially allowing as many switches as you want without any extra wiring.

There are 2 different types, hand remote or wall mount. The wall mount remote mounts directly to the switch box. The hand remote is just like a TV remote. I prefer the wall mount because it uses up the otherwise blank space in the switch box and can't get lost. Both remotes are battery operated, so they don't require line voltage.

Wiring is fairly simple. The mechanical switching actually takes place in the fan box. Therefore the hot and the switchleg in the switch box get spliced together. You could even eliminate the switchloop and switch box altogether if you want, but I'd leave it there for future. Then you wire the signal reciever up in the fan box. Basically you have a hot and neutral "in", and a light switch leg, fan swithcleg, and neutral "out". The switch comes with directions for all the wiring....

Both the remote and the reciever are addressable. They have a series of dip switches that can be turned on or off. The combination of switch positions you use is the address. They should all come addressed the same. Thus you shouldn't have to make any changes, even if you buy more remotes for the same ceiling fan. The only change of address you'd have to do is if you put another remote switch in a different room. You'd obviously want to give the other light a different address so that they aren't controlled by the same signal.
 
 

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