3-Way Light and Independent Ceiling Fan Wiring

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Old 10-06-08, 10:42 AM
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Question 3-Way Light and Independent Ceiling Fan Wiring

I'm trying to install a pair of 3-way light switches in the kitchen to control a light (on a ceiling fan) and a standard switch (for now) to control the fan.

In the box with the fan switch I have one 12/2 (feed), and two 12/3. One 12/3 goes to the other switch and one 12/3 goes directly to the fan/light fixture.

The box at the other door way should contain the 3-way light switch. In that box I have the 12/3 from the other switch. I also have another feed if necessary (it's there to power another light, but I never thought I would need it.)

I thought I had this figured out, but when I went to hook up the wires to the switch I got lost. Unfortunately, none of my electrical or home improvement books contain my specific example. I find this even more puzzling, because it seemed like the most common in my opinion.
 
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Old 10-07-08, 08:24 AM
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To clarify, your first switch box is a double-gang box, with one 3-way and one standard switch, right?

You have everything you need to make this work. Do not use the "another feed" in the second switch box--doing so is unnecessary and hazardous.

Let me establish some terminology so that I can describe the connections succinctly.

Let "F" be the wires from the fan itself. Let "C" be the 12/3 cable between the ceiling and the double-gang switch box. Let "P" be the power feed into the double-gang switch box. And let "T" be the 12/3 between the two switch boxes.

Let "b" indicate a black wire, "r" indicate a red wire, and "w" indicate a white wire.

So, for example, "Tr" means the red wire from the cable between the two switch boxes.

Grounding wires won't be mentioned below, but interconnect all grounding wires and grounding screws in each box.

Draw all this out on paper before proceeding.

At the ceiling:
Connect Cb to Fb.
Connect Cr to whatever wire from the fan controls the light (either blue or black with a white stripe).
Connect Cw to Fw.

At the double-gang switch box:
Use a wire nut to connect Pb to two pigtails (short segments of black wire).
Connect one pigtail to the "common" (usually black in color) screw on the 3-way switch.
Connect the other pigtail to either screw on the standard switch.
Connect Tw and Tb to the two traveler screws (not black in color) on the 3-way.
Connect Tr to Cr.
Connect Pw to Cw.
Connect Cb to the other screw on the standard switch.

At the second switch box:
Connect Tr to the "common" screw on the 3-way switch.
Connect Tw and Tb to the two traveler screws.

Use a black magic marker to color the last inch of insulation on both ends of Tw (at each switch box). This reidentifies Tw as a hot wire rather than a neutral wire.
 
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Old 10-11-08, 09:41 AM
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To clarify, your first switch box is a double-gang box, with one 3-way and one standard switch, right?
Yes, this is correct. Thanks, John. I'm drawing this out right now to make sure I understand.
 
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