Plz Help a Beginner Install a Ceiling Fan

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Old 03-26-11, 11:57 PM
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Plz Help a Beginner Install a Ceiling Fan

Hi. I did a search and read up a bit before deciding to post this because I couldn't find a similar situation. I have a lot of questions, so I hope you guys don't mind

I purchased a Harbor Breeze ceiling fan w/ light kit and remote control from Lowes. I wanted to install this in a pre-wired room on a switched outlet. From the fan/remote box are three wires, black, white, blue (labeled for light).

Below is a pic of what the outlet box looks like.

- White wire that's capped off by itself
- Black and Red wire capped off together (there's some white paint on them)
- Bare copper wire
- Green ground wire from the bracket



Are the black and red wires the hot wires? And can I assume one of them is controlled by the wall switch?

I have a multimeter, but have only used it for basic stuff on DC. AC kinda scares me. Can I just set the meter to AC, touch the red probe to a wire from the outlet box and the black probe to a ground to test if the wire is "hot?"

Is it possible to wire this up so that I can use either the wall switch or remote to turn on the light? I want to control the fan using the remote, but I want to be able to use both options of turning on the lights. I assume that if this is possible, I would have to have the wall switch turned on in order for the remote to be able to turn on the light (and I'm ok with this).

Thanks for any help you can provide.
 
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Old 03-27-11, 07:16 AM
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Can I just set the meter to AC, touch the red probe to a wire from the outlet box and the black probe to a ground to test if the wire is "hot?"
Color of probe doesn't matter with AC. To test one probe to white and one probe to the red black pair. It should show about 120v witvh the switch on and 0v off.

Qpen up the switch and tell us all the wires there and how they are connected.

Do you want it controled by just the remote.
 
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Old 03-27-11, 07:50 AM
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Ok, I will try testing it by using the red/black to the white, and not to the ground. When I worked on my car, I always went to the ground. Will I get shocked if I touched both probes to 2 hot wires (eg. touching the probes to the red and black wires)?

To look at the wires that are connected to the wall switch (mine has three switches), should I cut the power off before I start removing the cover plate and socket?

I want the fan controlled by just the remote. This seems simple by just following the instructions that came with the remote. But I want the light to be controlled by both the wall switch AND the remote. Is this possible?

Thanks again.
 
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Old 03-27-11, 02:02 PM
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Fan Wiring

You also need to check the switches to see if the blue and red wires are on separate switches.
 
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Old 03-27-11, 08:58 PM
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When using your multimeter do not touch the metal tips of the probes or the wires you are testing and you will avoid being shocked.

Turn off the switches and remove the wire nuts from all the wires in the ceiling box. Set your meter to AC Volts and the range (if it has a range switch) to 250. Touch one probe to the white wire and the other probe to the bare equipment ground wire. The meter should read zero but it might show show some nonsensical number if it is a digital meter. If it shows 120 volts (plus/minus 5-10 volts) STOP! You have some serious wiring faults.

Now touch the white wire with one probe and touch the black with the second probe. The reading should be either 120 (+/-) or zero. If you get a nonsensical number consider it zero. Do the same for the red wire. Write down the voltages corresponding to the colors. Then do the same tests with each of the three switches on while the other two are off and record the results. Finally do the tests with combinations of the switch positions. From this you can make "truth table" showing which switch controls which wire. If you have "standard" wiring one switch will control the receptacle you mentioned, one switch will control the black wire and one switch will control the red wire. If this all works true then you are almost done. Be sure that the light plugged into the switched receptacle works as normal during all these tests.

If you have different results from your testing please post back with the results and someone will help you.

Be sure you read all the instructions with the fan and then re-read the electrical instructions two more times because they ARE confusing (I installed a Harbor Breeze for my sister two weeks ago.) The white wire from the fan connects to the white wire in the ceiling box only. If the aforementioned tests produced the results I described then the black fan wire will connect to ONLY the black wire from the ceiling box and the blue (light) wire from the fan will connect to ONLY the red wire from the ceiling box.
 
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Old 03-27-11, 11:41 PM
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Wirepuller, good point, I'll check. Thanks.

Furd, thank you very much for the detailed step-by-step directions.

I feel better about this now. Just a couple more basic electrical questions.

When testing with the multimeter, why do I use the white "neutral" wire instead of the ground like when I'm working on DC volts?

What will happen if the white wire was mis-wired as a hot wire and I touch one probe to it and another to the black? eg. touching the multimeter probes to 2 hot wires?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 03-28-11, 12:05 AM
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When testing with the multimeter, why do I use the white "neutral" wire instead of the ground like when I'm working on DC volts?
The ground is not a current carrying conductor. It is there for safety only. In fact in older wiring there is no ground.

What will happen if the white wire was mis-wired as a hot wire and I touch one probe to it and another to the black?
It depends on how it was miss wired. If neutral and hot were reversed you would get 120v. If both were wired to the same hot leg you would get 0v. If by some really Alice In Wonderland wiring they were on different legs of the hots you would get 240v.

What will happen if the white wire was mis-wired as a hot wire
It could in some cases make a metal surface of a fixture or device hot relative to ground.

Basically your house is supplied with 240 volts from a transformer with a center tapped secondary. Between the center tap and either end of the secondary winding you have 120v.

That center tap comes in to the house as the neutral. It is more properly called the grounded conductor because it is grounded at the transformer. Under ideal circumstances it will be 0 volts relative to ground. This grounded conductor, the neutral, and either of the 240v legs of the transformer that comes into your house provides the 120v you use for lighting and other things.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 08:58 AM
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Here's the wiring instructions for the remote. I plan on finishing this in the evening after work. Let's assume the red wire from the outlet is controlled by the wall switch.

If I want the remote to control the light in addition to the wall switch, can I wire the red wire to the same cap where the two blue wires connect (circled in the pic)?

Thanks


 
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Old 03-29-11, 10:32 AM
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Assuming red is switched power in:

Black on the remote to house red.

House white to remote white.

Black from box is capped.

Fan black to remote black.

Fan blue to remote blue.

Fan white to remote white.


Note any light or fan settings such as brightness or speed set in the remote will probably be lost if the switch is turned off.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 12:22 PM
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Follow the instructions in the book (which is what Ray detailed) and you will be fine. The lights (blue wire) cannot be connected to the fan motor (black wire) from the remote. The remote has separate controls for the light and fan. Your remote may have a dimmer feature for the light or it may be just on-off.

The original fan my sister bought came with a remote but the fan was too large for the room. The smaller fan she got in exchange didn't come with a remote and I couldn't find any remotes at big blue so I bought one at the orange big box. Before installation I read that this remote only offered on-off for the light (it was a fairly inexpensive remote) so I exchanged that for a higher-priced model that DID have dimming capability. After installing the whole thing we found out that turning off the wall switch and later turning it back on did indeed retain the dimmer setting of the remote. She's happy and that makes me happy.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 01:17 PM
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Maybe Iím just over complicating this, but what I was trying to do was have the fan and lights independently controlled. I wanted to use the wall switch just for the lights and the remote just for the fan (eg. Control the fan regardless if the wall switch for the lights were on or off). Wiring it simply using the red (assuming switch) instead of the black (assuming constant) sounds like I wonít be able to independently control the light and fan.

So if I follow the directions as you guys described, the power to both the fan and light will be controlled by the wall switch (wall switch needs to be on for either to work). If I wanted to control the lights by the wall switch, I would first need to use the remote to turn on the lights and turn off the fan (hoping that it remembers the last setting like Furdís) so I can use the wall switch to control the lights going forward. Then to control the fan, I would have to use the remote.

But if I wanted to use the fan with the light off (wall switch off), I would have to turn on the wall switch, thus turning on the lights and use the remote (instead of the switch like I originally wanted to for the lights) to turn off the lights and turn on the fan.

Sorry if Iím not being very clear.

If what I wanted to do sounds stupid and just doesnít make sense, feel free to let me know as Iím just a rookie. If so, I'll just follow the directions and change my operational process.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 03-29-11, 02:55 PM
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At the switch box:
Connect the black of the "power in" cable to the black of the 3-conductor cable from the ceiling and pigtail to one side of the switch.

Connect the red of the cable from the ceiling box to the other side of the switch.

All whites together.

...................................................

At the fan:
Black on the remote to house black.

House white to remote white in.

House red to fan blue

Remote blue capped.

Fan black to remote black.

Fan white to remote white out.
 
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