3-way wiring and fan

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Old 04-06-11, 11:00 AM
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3-way wiring and fan

I am replacing the ceiling fan in my living room with a newer one. The previous owners had crazy stuff done (such as wires not even connected to anything, including the ground). So I followed instructions found on the internet and with my fan, and even replaced the switches with new 3-ways. But I keep having the same problem: Once I reconnect the breaker, the light will be on, but as soon as I switch it off from the wall switch, it won't turn back on. If I avoid the wall switch and just use the chain, I can turn it on and off just fine. And once I turn the breaker off and on again, it all happens the same way again. Any ideas??
 
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Old 04-06-11, 02:09 PM
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Switch

Why are you using three way switches?
 
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Old 04-06-11, 02:11 PM
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What make of fan?
Does it have a wireless remote control?
 
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Old 04-06-11, 03:45 PM
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no, there is no remote control. It's a Harbor Breeze 52" Edenton fan from Lowe's. And if it wasn't clear before, I have to reset the electricity from the breaker box to get it to turn on again after it's been switched off at the wall.

And I'm using a three way switch so that we can turn the light on or off from either side of the room, by both entrances.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 04:28 PM
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Tell us the wiring at each switch and at the fan. Which one of the three boxes has both a 2-conductor cable plus ground and a 3-conductor cable plus ground?
 
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Old 04-06-11, 06:33 PM
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okay, the switch by the front door has only the 3 wires and ground going to it (red, black, and white). The switch by the other door has the same wires (they go up to the fan) and another set that has the same (red, black, white and ground). I know the second one is supposed to only be a 2 wire one, coming from the source, but it's not. I have the white and black connected on the same side of the switch(white on top, black on bottom), and the red at the top, with the ground obviously on the little green screw at the bottom. Then the fan is in the middle of the two switches, with the red from the walls connected together. The fan has a green (ground), blue, black and white coming from it (it's a fan/light combo). Currently, I have all the blacks and the blue connected together, and the white together, and the green grounded. What should I do differently?
 
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Old 04-06-11, 07:16 PM
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Please explain in the same way the "house" wires at the fan. Is there just a 3-conductor cable or is there also a 2-conductor cable?

I know the second one is supposed to only be a 2 wire one, coming from the source, but it's not.
Do you mean the hot cable? How did you determine this?

I have the white and black connected on the same side of the switch(white on top, black on bottom), and the red at the top,
Different switches have their traveler and common screws in different positions and the switches have no specific top or bottom so position is meaningless. What is important is screw color. Especially the dark colored screw. That is the common. When you have this correctly wired power in from a constant source will go to the common on one switch and power out to the fan will come from the common of the other switch.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 08:22 PM
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At the fan, there are two three-wires coming into the box (one from each switch). On both the switches, the black is on the dark screw. But I think I have it set up so that the red is the common, though I'm not completely positive I understand the terms. The reds are not connected to the fan, anyway. I just wired it this way because of some diagrams I looked at online, and because I had tried switching the white and the red wires on the switches (neither on the dark screw, the black still on it) and it didn't work at all.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 08:25 PM
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Switch one:
red, white, black, ground wires going into box. Black wire currently connected to dark screw.

Fan:
two sets of red, white, black, ground coming into box. Fan has blue, black, white and ground.

Switch two:
two sets of red, white, black, ground coming into box.
 
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Old 04-06-11, 08:46 PM
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Almost there. We need to know where power comes in. Assuming there are no 2-conductor cables using a multimeter or test light measure between white and red and then between black and white of all cables not connected to a switch. I'd start with the 3-conductor cable that is not connected at switch 2 then move on to the light.
 
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Old 04-08-11, 02:49 PM
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alright, I got a volt meter, and checked the wires at box 2. There, when testing between red and white, I got a reading, and between white and black, but not red and black.

The fan's instruction book say that black is hot power for fan, blue is hot power for light, and white is common.

Then at the other switch (1), the same thing happens as at the 2nd switch.

Does that help at all?
 
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Old 04-09-11, 01:07 PM
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anyone...anyone? I really need help on this! Sorry it took so long to reply before, I had to go buy a tester...
 
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Old 04-09-11, 05:28 PM
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so confused

well, I just tried connecting the blue wire from the fan to the red wires, and the same thing happened: once I turned the light off at the wall, I couldn't turn it back on anywhere...until I flipped the breaker again. Why would this be happening??
 
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Old 04-09-11, 05:57 PM
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So am I. You should only have power between two wires at one location. You do have all the wires disconnected don't you?
 
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Old 04-09-11, 08:49 PM
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just... wow.... now I'm really confused.

my bad. They were all connected to the light switch still.

Now, I found out that the set of wires I thought were the source are not. In box 2, there is no current at all for one of the sets. On the other set, I put the black lead on the ground, then tested each of the wires. I got a charge on all of them, but then after testing the fan, I went back to box 2, and now I'm getting nothing.

At the fan, only one of the sets is getting power, and only on the black and white wires (not the red). And there is still power, even though there's nothing at box 2 anymore.

And at box 1, nothing whatsoever.
 
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Old 04-09-11, 10:02 PM
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How acurately does the drawing below represent what you have. Tell me any needed changes.

 
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Old 04-10-11, 06:22 PM
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You've got it! That looks right to me. Is it weird or wrong to have the source from the fan box?
 
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Old 04-10-11, 08:28 PM
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Is it weird or wrong to have the source from the fan box?
No but it would normally be a 2-conductor cable not a 3-conductor.

Ok now we need to find out which cable goes where.

If I am correct one of the cables at switch 2 goes to switch 1 and the other cable at switch 2 goes to the light.

Turn off the breaker. Use your voltage setting on the multimeter to be sure all cables are dead.

You are going to uses the lowest setting on the ohm part of your multimeter.

At switch 1 strip and wire nut the red white and black together.

At switch 2 check which cable shows continuity between all three wires, red to black, black to red etc. Mark that cable AD. Remove the wire nut and separate the wires at switch 1.

Repeat the test using the other cable in switch box 2, cable E, and cable B at the light. If it checks out mark the cable in the switch box EB. Separate the wires.

Post back if all goes as it should and I'll tell you how to hook it up.

PS I know it seems to be taking a long time but it is actually quick when you know how so next one ought to be quick and easy.
 
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Old 04-11-11, 10:55 AM
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okay, everything worked out just fine. they are now labeled. Now what?
 
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Old 04-11-11, 11:19 AM
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Cool 3-way wiring and fan

Hello Niccily

On 4-6-11 @ 5:53pm

You said:

"I know the second one is supposed to only be a 2 wire one, coming from the source, but it's not. I have the white and black connected on the same side of the switch(white on top, black on bottom), and the red at the top, with the ground obviously on the little green screw at the bottom."

If I am reading this right, do you have the "White" wire from the power source connected to the 3 way switch???
If you do, you CAN NOT have that "White" wire connected to the switch. It is the "Neutrel" wire NOT a traveller wire.
This is the reason the circuit breaker keeps tripping when you flip that switch.

Hope this helps. Let us know how your wiring project comes out.

Have A Nice Day
Linesman
 
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Old 04-11-11, 11:27 AM
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yes, I had all wires hooked up at both switches. But we found out the source is coming from the fan box. Should I still not have the white hooked up somewhere?
 
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Old 04-11-11, 11:57 AM
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At switch 1 recolor the white to blue or some other color except green or gray. Connect the recolored white to the common screw, dark colored. Connect black and red to the traveler screws, brass colored.

At switch 2:
Connect AD red and AD black to the traveler screws.

Recolor AD white to match switch 1 white. Connect recolored AD white to EB black.

Connect EB red to common of switch 2.

Cap EB White. Not used.

At the light:
Connect the blacks.

Connect B red to light black.

Connect C White to the light.

Cap B white and C red, They are not used.

Tie all grounds together at each box and pigtail to box if metal.
 
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Old 04-11-11, 05:46 PM
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IT WORKED!! Thanks for all your help! You're amazing!
 
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