Trouble with new ceiling fan

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Old 09-22-12, 09:37 AM
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Question Trouble with new ceiling fan

I am trying to install a new ceiling fan in a spot that was previously occupied by a regular ceiling light, which was controlled by two light switches.
The house was built in 1900 and I am not sure if or when the wiring was updated.

The problem that I am having is that I am seeing 6 wires coming down from the ceiling and only 4 wires that come off of the ceiling fan.
There is a black, white, red, bare, and 2 cloth wrapped wires from the ceiling.
and there is black, white, blue, and green wires coming from the fan.

I am looking for a way to wire this so that I can control the light portion with the light switches, and control the fan with the pull chain that is attached.

There are wiring diagrams in the instruction manual for the fan but none of these have a red wire, or the cloth covered wires.
 
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Old 09-22-12, 11:23 AM
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How was the light wired? Tell us all the wires at each switch and how they are connected. No need to include bare or green since they are grounds unless you think they may not be corrected correctly.
 
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Old 09-23-12, 06:04 AM
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The way that it was wired with the ceiling light goes as follows.

The black ceiling wire was connected to one of the cloth wires and nothing else.

The red ceiling wire was connected to the two black wires from the ceiling light. (There was two light bulbs)

The remaining cloth wire was connected with the ceiling white and the light's whites.

The bare wire was not in use at all.
 
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Old 09-23-12, 07:18 AM
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Excellent detail. If you could do the same for the switches we will be a step closer. At the switches be sure to tell us what wires are connected to the common (odd colored, usually dark colored)screw and which go to the traveler screws.

If you have a multimeter or test light but not a non contact tester with the 2-conductor cloth wire at the light disconnected measure to see if you have ~120 volts regardless of switch position.
 
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Old 09-23-12, 08:20 AM
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At both of the switches the wiring is the same. where there is the black wire on the bottom side next to the white wire, and then the red wire is on the top side by itself. The ground wire is attached to the back of the electrical box.
 
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Old 09-23-12, 09:32 AM
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black wire on the bottom side next to the white wire, and then the red wire is on the top side by itself
Switches have no real left or right, top or bottoms, especially 3-ways.Plus location of travelers and common vary from manufacturer to manufacturer so it is important to refer to common and traveler when describing connections not location of the wires on the switch.

If you are saying there are only three wires (+ground) in each box then we have a mystery. At least one box should have at least one 2-conductor cable in addition to a three conductor cable. There may be an additional junction box between ceiling and light if only 3 wires per switch box.

I am looking for a way to wire this so that I can control the light portion with the light switches, and control the fan with the pull chain that is attached.
So far that isn't looking possible without running additional cables.

a regular ceiling light, which was controlled by two light switches.
I have been assuming you meant this was a 3-way light controlled from two different locations by switches and that it worked correctly. Am I wrong?
 
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Old 09-23-12, 10:44 AM
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I took a few pictures of the switches. Both of the switches look like this.

And yes I did mean a 3-way switch for the original ceiling light.

If what I am looking for is not possible without running additional cables, then what would be possible?
 
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Old 09-23-12, 11:27 AM
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Now we need to know if the 2-conductor cable (cloth covered) is always hot by measuring the voltage as I detailed in post #4. I'd hope the switches would tell us that but it doesn't so we need that reading to determine if it is possible.

Just so I am not missing the obvious, You only have one 3-conductor cable in the ceiling box, correct?
 
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Old 09-23-12, 04:09 PM
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Yes there is only one 3-conductor cable in the ceiling box.
I do not have a voltage tester to check if the 2-conductor cable is always hot, though if they're not too expensive I would definitely consider getting one.
Any particular type I should get?
 
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Old 09-23-12, 05:26 PM
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Get an analog multimeter. Should cost $15 or less. Do NOT let a salesman talk you into a non-contact tester. They are useless for serious testing and cheap digital multimeters are more prone to false reading then analog. You could also use a test light but for only a few dollars more you can get the more versatile multimeter. Example: Amazon.com: Pocket-size analog multimeter, YG188: Home Improvement

Or if you still have the light you took down wire it straight to the cable and see if it lights up when you turn the power back on.
 
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Old 09-23-12, 06:51 PM
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Both of the switches look like this.
Both of the switches may look the same, but the wiring on each switch, and in each switch box, is different. It doesn't really matter how, or why, at this moment, but they are. In order to work, they have to be.

Since
there is only one 3-conductor cable in the ceiling box.
and, in the ceiling,
The black ceiling wire was connected to one of the cloth wires and nothing else.

The red ceiling wire was connected to the two black wires from the ceiling light. (There was two light bulbs)

The remaining cloth wire was connected with the ceiling white and the light's whites.
then the cloth covered pair of wires should be the panel feed, and your switches are wired with a switch loop, carrying unswitched power down on the black wire in the 3-conductor cable and returning switched power on the red wire in the same cable. There is a slim chance that power enters the switch box and is then conveyed to the ceiling, but, if so, that doesn't change the function of the wires. The black wire in the 3-conductor cable is unswitched power, the red wire is switched power, and the white wire is neutral. So are the wires each of those is connected to.

Given that, without changing anything at either switch and without testing, you can use the pair of switches to control the light, the fan, or both. To do that, connect all bare and green wires from the fan/light combo to the bare wire in the ceiling box. Add the white wire from the combo to the white/cloth splice in the box. Splice the hot lead(s) from the combo for the function(s) you want to control with the switches to the red wire in the ceiling. Add the hot lead(s) from the combo for the function(s) you want to only control with pull chains to the black/cloth splice in the box.

For example, the most common choice is to control the light with the switches (plus its pull chain) and to control the fan only with its pull chain. To do that, you splice the blue wire from the combo to the red wire, and add the black wire from the combo to the black/cloth splice.

The bare wire was not in use at all.
That is the equipment grounding conductor, or ground. It should, at a minimum, be connected to the metal ceiling box, just as it is connected to the metal switch box in your picture. Then it should be connected, when you're through, to any and all bare or green wires that are part of your fan/light combo, including any attached to the mounting plate or bracket.

If you want to do something different, or have any additional questions, post back and we can help you with that.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 11:44 AM
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Thanks, that worked just as I wanted it to work.
Thanks guys for all the help.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 12:04 PM
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Glad you worked it out, and thank you for the feedback.
 
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