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Ceiling fan wire nut connections in fan canopy (outside of electrical box) - OK?

Ceiling fan wire nut connections in fan canopy (outside of electrical box) - OK?

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Old 12-01-09, 09:11 AM
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Ceiling fan wire nut connections in fan canopy (outside of electrical box) - OK?

I recently installed a Hunter ceiling fan with remote. The electrical connections involved 9 wire nuts (3 to connect to Romex, and 6 connections between remote receiver and fan). The instructions said to push all wire nuts into the electrical box after making the connections.

The fan box is a plastic saddle-style unit with a 2x4 running through the middle. The ceiling fan mounting bracket is a round plate with a hole in the middle about 2" in diameter. This means that the hole in the mounting plate is mostly blocked by the 2x4. I found it impossible to push the wires into the fan box without inflicting an unacceptable level of violence on the wires and wire nuts.

So I now have the 3 Romex wires coming through the hole in the mounting plate and all 9 wire nut connections inside the fan canopy instead of the fan box. I am a little bit uncomfortable with the Romex insulated wires coming through a hole in a piece of sheet metal, but the edges are not sharp and even if I had followed the instructions exactly there would still be a bunch of wires going through the same hole. Assuming that insulation on the Romex wires is as durable as the insulation on the stranded fan/remote wires I don't see that it makes any difference. Is this a safe assumption?

Am I ok here or do I need to do something different?

(Instructions here: http://hunterfan.com/uploadedFiles/S...uals/42797.pdf)
 
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Old 12-01-09, 11:15 AM
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Connect the romex wires to the reciver and stuff into the box. There is actually a fair amount of room in the box along side the cross 2x4 to get those 6 wires into (3 pairs). Then make the rest of your connections in the canopy of the fan. The fixture wires are many times more durable then the wires found in romex. I would not be concerned bringing the wires through the sheet metal hole.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 12:17 PM
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There is some space inside the box as you say, but I can't get the wires in there when the mounting plate is in place because it covers the sides of the box where there is space. I tried to do this and I had to manhandle the wires so much that the wire nuts started coming loose.

I could make the white/black Romex connections to the receiver and put these in the box before tightening the mounting plate, but I can't easily do the same with the Romex ground because it connects to the fan ground and I can't have the fan hanging from the mounting plate if the mounting plate isn't attached to the ceiling.

When you say the fixture wires are "many times" more durable than Romex do you mean they are often more durable or that they are much more durable?
 
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Old 12-01-09, 02:05 PM
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If trying to get the splices into the box loosened the wire nuts they were not installed properly or were a poor quality connector and should be replaced with a quality connector.

I would check all the splices before installing the canopy.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 02:45 PM
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They were the wire nuts that came with the fan.

I have used the Buchanan B-Cap yellow nuts and found that if I tighten them too much I will hear a "click", and then if I loosen them the plastic part comes off and the metal spring stays on the wires. I asked at one of the big home stores and was told this is normal if they are overtightened. Because of this I try not to over tighten wire nuts. Any advice on this point?

Maybe I didn't have them tight enough, but in any case I'm not comfortable with how much I would have had to bend the wire to get it into the tiny space between the fan box 2x4 and the mounting plate.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 05:55 PM
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The B-caps are a good product. I can't describe the correct amount of tightness. It is a feel. You can check by tugging on the cap while holding the wires to make sure everything is secure.

Did you shorten the leads that came on the fan?
 
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Old 12-01-09, 06:30 PM
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Take the metal mounting plate and the remote receiver. Pull the line wires through the hole in the plate and connect the wires to the romex wires. There also should be a green wire or screw that attaches to the mounting plate. Make your connections, push the wires into the box and then attach the mounting plate with the 3" screws. Now you can make the rest of your connections as PCboss posted.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
The B-caps are a good product. I can't describe the correct amount of tightness. It is a feel. You can check by tugging on the cap while holding the wires to make sure everything is secure.

Did you shorten the leads that came on the fan?
Thanks, that makes me feel better. I did tug on all the wires. All of the connections I've made with the B-caps are 14 GA solid to stranded (and I replaced the wire nuts that came with the fan with the B-caps after they came loose; I only used them because they were smaller and I though they'd be easier to get inside the box). I read recommendations to twist hard enough to get the wires to twist together but if I do that I get the "click of death".

One of the ground wires (for the mounting plate) pulled out of its screw lug, so I replaced it with a 12 GA ground pigtail. So now that yellow B-cap has a 4 GA solid, 18 GA stranded (fan ground), and 12 GA stranded in it. Upon further inspection of Ideal's website I'm not sure that combination is allowed. I guess I should replace that one with something else.

I did shorten the fan leads (but still left them fairly generous).
 
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Old 12-01-09, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
Take the metal mounting plate and the remote receiver. Pull the line wires through the hole in the plate and connect the wires to the romex wires. There also should be a green wire or screw that attaches to the mounting plate. Make your connections, push the wires into the box and then attach the mounting plate with the 3" screws. Now you can make the rest of your connections as PCboss posted.
I will try just that. The only trick will be that there are two ground wires (one from the mounting plate, one from the fan) so I'll only be able to make the black and white Romex connecions before tightening the screws and hanging the fan from the plate. But since I'm not concerned about damaging insulation on the ground wire when squeezing it through the hole on the mounting plate I am willing to be a little rougher with that one.

The 3" screws (supplied with fan) were hard to get in and one of the heads is kind of in bad shape, and I realize now it's because they're threaded further into the 2x4 than intended because of the style of the box (2x4 is not as far above ceiling drywall as with traditional style box). I think I will replace with the thicker but shorter hex head screws that came with the fan box. Much harder to strip.

BTW, I've never installed a fan before (can you tell?) but this fan was more of a pain than I was expecting. Other fans I've seen have a canopy that is purely decorative, so you can hang the fan in the final position before doing the wiring. Not so with this design -- the canopy is what actually attaches the fan to the mounting plate. Also, the mounting plate is less compatible with saddle fan boxes than the other type of mounting bracket I've seen (a cast V-shaped bracket) in terms of getting the wires into the box.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bajinnova View Post
I will try just that. The only trick will be that there are two ground wires (one from the mounting plate, one from the fan) so I'll only be able to make the black and white Romex connecions before tightening the screws and hanging the fan from the plate. But since I'm not concerned about damaging insulation on the ground wire when squeezing it through the hole on the mounting plate I am willing to be a little rougher with that one.
That sounds like a good plan.

Originally Posted by bajinnova View Post
The 3" screws (supplied with fan) were hard to get in and one of the heads is kind of in bad shape, and I realize now it's because they're threaded further into the 2x4 than intended because of the style of the box (2x4 is not as far above ceiling drywall as with traditional style box). I think I will replace with the thicker but shorter hex head screws that came with the fan box. Much harder to strip.
Yeah, some smaller hex lag type screws should do the job. You could predrill some holes in the wood too.

Originally Posted by bajinnova View Post
BTW, I've never installed a fan before (can you tell?) but this fan was more of a pain than I was expecting. Other fans I've seen have a canopy that is purely decorative, so you can hang the fan in the final position before doing the wiring. Not so with this design -- the canopy is what actually attaches the fan to the mounting plate. Also, the mounting plate is less compatible with saddle fan boxes than the other type of mounting bracket I've seen (a cast V-shaped bracket) in terms of getting the wires into the box.
I feel your pain! What you are describing is pretty much 98% of the fans I install for people. Its always a good time.
 
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Old 12-01-09, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
You could predrill some holes in the wood too.
I did, as recommended (9/64" bit). So I was surprised at how hard it was to get the screws in.

I feel your pain! What you are describing is pretty much 98% of the fans I install for people. Its always a good time.
That makes me feel a little better. I'll be sure to tell my wife that when she asks why the heck I'm taking the ceiling fan apart again.

On the Buchanan B-Caps, the website has a list of wire combinations, some with an asterisk, but it doesn't explain what the asterisk means. The box does, though. It says:

#12 w/#18 2 or 3*
#12 w/#14 2 or 3*
* Any combination totaling number shown

I think when doing the installation I took this to mean that #12 + #14 + #18 was ok. But now I think maybe it means that you can do 2 #12 + 1 #14 or 1 #12 + 2 #14, but not that you can mix between the two lines. So unless someone can clarify this for me I will get some red Ideal Wing Nuts to be safe. The website lists this combination for those:
1 #12 w/1 #14 w/1 to 3 #16

Thank you very much for your patient help!
 
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Old 12-01-09, 08:39 PM
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As long as the #4 was a typo and you are splicing a #12, #14 and an #18 together you are within the range for the yellow B-cap.

The lines are kind of like min and max ranges for the cap.
 
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Old 12-02-09, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
As long as the #4 was a typo and you are splicing a #12, #14 and an #18 together you are within the range for the yellow B-cap.

The lines are kind of like min and max ranges for the cap.
Yes, it was a typo, sorry. Thanks!
 
 

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