3 way switches controlling the ceiling fan and light indepedently

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Old 08-15-08, 02:58 PM
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3 way switches controlling the ceiling fan and light indepedently

HELP PLEASE!
I need a diagram or detailed explanation on how to hook up a ceiling fan and light to work independently of one another with 3 way switches.
I have 3 way light dimmer switches and 3 way silent fan switches.

My current wiring is: I have pulled a 12/2 feed into the first switch box. This box then has a 12/2 and 14/3 running to the second switch box.

In the second switch box I have the incoming 14/3, 12/2 from box one and a 14/3 running out to the ceiling fan/light unit.

One question is: Is it that important that i run all 14 wire? Is the 12/2 screwing things up?

I have them all hooked up by following the instructions below I found online from a post in another forum but it didn't work.

Here are those instructions I followed.
Installing 3-way Switches to Control a Ceiling Fan and Light Independently
March 25, 2007
Q: HOW DO I WIRE A CEILING FAN AND LIGHT WITH A 3 WAY CIRCUIT. THAT BOTH THE FAN AND LIGHT ARE INDEPENDENT? I HAVE RAN 14-3 FROM BOX TO BOX AND 14-3 TO THE FAN CONNECTION AND POWER INTO THE OTHER ELECTRICAL BOX. PLEASE TELL ME IF THIS CAN BE DONE AND HOW.
A: You need to install 1 more cable, a 14/2 with ground in between the two switch boxes.
I am going to assume you installed a 2-gang (approximately 4″ square) switch box at each location. Before you get started terminating your wires make sure the power is off.
Let’s start at your ceiling fan. Here, you need to be sure you have a fan rated box. A regular metal or plastic box is not ceiling fan rated and your fan will come down. You can get a fan rated box at you local home improvement store, hardware store or electrical supply. It’s approximately $5.00 for the fan rated box or $15.00 for the kit that includes a bar that spans between the joists, rafters or trusses, the fan rated box and all of the mounting hardware.
After you’ve installed your fan rated box, let’s start terminating the wires.
• Connect all of the ground (bare and/or green) wires together first.
• Next connect all of the neutral (white) wires.
• Now connect the black wire from the 14/3 to the black on the ceiling fan, this will control the fan.
• Finally, connect the red from the 14/3 to the blue on the ceiling fan, this will control the light.
Now let’s go to the switch box which has the 14/3 that goes to the ceiling fan
• Start with connecting all of the ground (bare) wires together and leave 2 “pig tails” approximately 6” long and terminate these wires, one to the green ground screw on each 3-way switch.
• Next connect the neutral (white) wire from each 14/3 cable together and tuck these into the switch box. Do not connect the white wire from the 14/2 to this bundle.
• Now connect the black wire from the 14/3 cable that comes from the ceiling fan, to the black colored screw on your 3-way switch.
• Next connect the black wire in the 14/3 cable that comes from the other switch box, to one of the brass colored screws on the 3-way switch.
• Now connect the red wire in the 14/3 cable that comes from the other switch box, to the other brass colored screw on the 3-way switch.
• Install the switch. This switch will control the ceiling fan.
• Next connect the red wire from the 14/3 cable that comes from the ceiling fan, to the black colored screw on the other 3-way switch.
• Now connect the black wire from the 14/2 cable that comes from the other switch box, to one of the brass colored screws on the 3-way switch.
• Now connect the white wire in the 14/2 cable that comes from the other switch box, to the other brass colored screw on the 3-way switch.
• Install the switch. This switch will control the light.
Put the cover plate on and go to the other switch location.
• Start with connecting all of the ground (bare) wires together and leave 2 “pig tails” approximately 6” long and terminate these wires, one to the green ground screw on each 3-way switch.
• Next connect the neutral (white) wire from the 14/3 cable to the neutral in the 14/2 power supply cable and tuck these into the switch box. Do not connect the white wire from the 14/2 cable that goes to the other switch box to this bundle.
• Now cut 2 pieces of black wire approximately 6″ long and splice these to the black wire in the 14/2 power supply cable.
• Next connect the black wire in the 14/3 cable that comes from the other switch box, to one of the brass colored screws on the 3-way switch.
• Now connect the red wire in the 14/3 cable that comes from the other switch box, to the other brass colored screw on the 3-way switch
• Now connect one of the power “pig tails” to the black colored screw on the 3-way switch.
• Install the switch. This switch will control the ceiling fan
• Next connect the black wire from the 14/2 cable that comes from the other switch box, to one of the brass colored screws on the 3-way switch
• Now connect the white wire in the 14/2 cable that comes from the other switch box, to the other brass colored screw on the 3-way switch.
• Next connect the other power “pig tail” to the black colored screw on the 3-way switch.
• Install the switch. This switch will control the light
Install the cover plate and go to the power supply location. Before connecting your wires, make sure the power is off. Terminate the ground wire first, then the neutral and finally the hot. Turn on the power and test each switch from both switch locations.




Please help so i can put my kitchen back together...)




Cheers,
Brianr92
 

Last edited by brianr92; 08-15-08 at 05:23 PM.
  #2  
Old 08-15-08, 05:26 PM
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Brian,
I think the easiest way to wire 3 ways is power in to first switch, 3 wire cable to second switch and then switched power out on a 2 wire cable to the fixture. You would need to do this twice to allow both functions to be controlled by the 3 ways. This diagram should be easy to find and follow.
I think it is a poor choice to have 2 wire sizes mixed on the same circuit. It could lead to confusion later on. It also fills up the boxes faster.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 11:49 AM
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Agreed but..

pcboss,
I agree with you on the simplicity. Unfortunately it's not going to happen..primarily because the old house blues. I have changed the 12/2 out to 14 for the run but still am in the same boat as far as hooking it all up..which i am working on now....I think I am just missing a step somewhere.

thanks,
brian
 
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Old 08-16-08, 12:27 PM
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You need 3 conductor + ground between your switches, not the 2 conductor + ground that you have now.

Stop the drywall and fix this now.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 01:06 PM
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I do have that..sorry

Sorry.
I changed the wiring already....sorry. Most of it is going down thru the basement and all the ceiling wires (what I could run in the ceiling based on it's condition is done)

So here is what I have:
I have the 14/2 feed coming into box 1, then 2 runs of 14/3 going to the second switch box which will hold the dimmer and fan controls. 14/3 running out of box 1 up to the fixture also....Box 1 will also contain the regular 3 way switches.

Now is where I am stuck again...

From box 1 I have:
14/3 to fixture: blk on blk; red on blue; neutral together and grounds tied off

Fixture white tied to neutral from source.

Blk source tied to white switch loops..question here..do i pigtail this and tie these to the commons on the switches?

grounds tied

Where does the red and blk from the fan tie to?

Now I was told, red and blk from the switch loops onto the travel screws on both the switches and the controls.

Box 2 is just hanging right now.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 01:33 PM
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So you only have the 2 runs of 14-3 in the second box, no other cables correct?

If so you will need to wire these as dead end 3 ways and the whites will be repurposed.

Confirm this before I take the time to explain something that may not apply.
 
  #7  
Old 08-18-08, 08:01 AM
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Correct

Yes,
The controls will be in box 2 with only 2 runs of 14/3 going to those.
Box one has the 14/2 feed coming in, 14/3 running to the fixture and as stated the 2 runs of 14/3 running to box 2.

My understanding so far is tie the grounds together.

Take the incoming white feed and tie that into the white fan/light.

Blk incoming 14/2 feed ties to the white 14/3's that go between boxes and attach those to the commons on the switches.

Red/Blk travelers between boxes attach to the travelers on both the 3 way switches.

Then the red and black from the fan/light are connected to the commons on the swithces in box 1 respective of what they are controlling...fan or light.

Does that all sound correct?

I think I was confused thinking I needed to pigtail the blk feed tied in with the 14/3 whites (between switches) to connect those to the commons on the switches in box 2...then also attach the red and blk from the fan/light to those same commons...which wasn't making sense in my mind....i think fatigue was setting in over the weekend!!!!

Thanks for all your help....I appreciate it.
 
  #8  
Old 08-18-08, 08:19 AM
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Looks like you are on the right track now.

Re-identify the feed to the 3 ways from white, I like to use blue, but you could use any color besides white, green or gray.

The switched feeds would come off the common terminals at the other switches.
 
 

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