Wacked-out wiring? Ceiling fan/light combo swap-out becomes endless project

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Old 05-05-11, 07:57 PM
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Question Wacked-out wiring? Ceiling fan/light combo swap-out becomes endless project


Well, dang, at least I know I'm not alone with ceiling fan issues!!

Here's the situation in my early '80s-built home: daughter's BR ceiling fan/light combo (controlled by single light switch; fan stayed hot regardless of switching) more or less died. Since it was dated and not a favorite, we decided to upgrade to a Hunter. Great so far.

Spouse pulled out the old fan without noting any of the wiring. (ADD perhaps not an ideal fit with electrical work.) However, it seemed fairly straightforward. Coming from the existing ceiling box was a ground wire and two black wires. After all the hassle started, I found out that one of the black wires was in fact a braided wire pigtail from a white neutral wire and black wire spliced to it.

This pigtail seems to be mostly controlled by the switch; when the switch is in the on position it is hot. However, my circuit tester still glowed dimly when the switch was off?! Is this a kosher wiring set up? Meanwhile the other black wire, which is 12/2 I believe, is all-the-time hot. And there's our new Hunter fan, still not hooked up and working. Daughter's getting tired of the new stepladder decor in her room, but we're stumped.

Fan wiring has the black, a black 'n white, a white, and a green ground. Tried wiring the black to black, pigtail "black" to the black 'n white, white to white. Got the fan to work but no light. Did the reverse, pigtail to fan black, ceiling black to black 'n white, and that time the light worked but not the fan.

I'm so sick of what I find in my house not matching ANY of the wiring schematics, photos, etc. in a pretty good library of wiring how-to books!

No notable differences between the old & new fixtures; both had/have pull-chain switches for both the fan and the light.

What the heck is going on? I'm still hitting the books, but really am tired of this project...any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!
 

Last edited by oldsoaker; 05-05-11 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 05-05-11, 08:03 PM
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one of the black wires was in fact a braided wire pigtail from a white ground wire
Ground wires are not white. Can you post a picture of the wiring? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 05-05-11, 08:26 PM
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Whoops, that was actually a brain freeze on the "white ground" thing, it should've been "white neutral". I will go in and edit my original post. Unfortunately I don't have access to take a photo tonight due to it being a school night & early lights out.
 
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Old 05-05-11, 09:05 PM
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Just to be clear, exactly what wires do you have in the ceiling box?

Also it might be helpful if you pulled out the switch and tell us what color wires are connected to the switch.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 05:51 AM
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The ceiling box contains 3 wire bared ends, 2 are black and one is a white neutral (the grounding situation is a whole other topic). One of the black wires is identical in gauge to the neutral, both from the same cable. The other "black" however, is not copper, it's a braided wire set up as a pigtail from a black wire/white wire twosome from a different cable coming into the box. In other words, the black braided wire and the other two wires are spliced together.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 06:18 AM
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In other words, the black braided wire and the other two wires are spliced together.
We are going to need to know the wiring at the switch.
 
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Old 05-07-11, 07:54 PM
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By braided do you mean stranded?
 
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