Wiring a Ceiling Fan and Multiple Can Lights on Separate Switches

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Old 05-21-13, 12:06 PM
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Wiring a Ceiling Fan and Multiple Can Lights on Separate Switches

I am in the midst of a lighting project where I am installing 4 new can lights in a room that has an existing ceiling fan. After cutting in the holes I went to pull power from the switch only to find that there was no power at the existing fan switch and only one cable was being run from the switch to the fan. I haven't taken down the ceiling fan yet, but I assume the power is being run to the box from elsewhere (I can also see a second cable being fed into the box in a different area of the ceiling.

I have wired all the lights in parallel, not in series and now just need to run the power and the switches everywhere. I drew the attached image of how I think everything should be run.

Can someone take a look at this and verify if I have this correct?

Thanks!
 
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Last edited by aardvarky; 05-21-13 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 05-21-13, 12:20 PM
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Terminology: A wire is a single conductor. A cable is two or more conductors in a metallic or nonmetallic sheath.

Adding an additional 2-conductor/g cable from the fan box to the switch box will work fine. The two cables to the switch box are called switch loops. The white wires of the switch loops must be redesignated as ungrounded conductors (hot) by coloring both ends by remarking with tape or felt tip marker. Usual colors are red or black but any color except gray or green may be used.

If you were doing this from scratch you would use a single 3-conductor cable between the fan box and the switch box but since you already have one two conductor cable your solution is easiest/cheapest.
 
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Old 05-21-13, 12:53 PM
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How would you do it using a 3 conductor cable? Do you pigtail the two black wires at the switch and then connect the red to one switch and the white to the other?

Or I guess, would it be as such?
 
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Old 05-21-13, 01:06 PM
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The white is used to bring power to the switch box and then pigtailed to each switch. The black and red are used as returns.

This follows the standard method of using a 2-conductor cable for a switch loop where the redesignated white brings power to the switch.

Code note: Beginning with the 2011 version of NEC with minor exceptions you must have a neutral at each switch box even if it isn't needed.
 
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Old 05-21-13, 01:42 PM
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How would you do it using a 3 conductor cable?
The simple way to do this and be in compliance with the 2011 code revisions is to run a second cable, a 3-conductor, between the fan box and the switch box.

The wires in the existing 2-conductor cable would be spliced to the wires in the cable bringing the power in, color-to-color. In the switch box, the white wires would just be spliced together if you don't need a neutral there right now. The black in the 2-conductor would be pigtailed to feed both switches, and the black and red wires in the 3-conductor would be connected to take the switched power back up - say black for the fan and red for the lights. The white in the 3-conductor would be spliced to all of the load neutrals.

If you install two switches in the wall, use a fan motor controller to control the fan - not an on/off switch.

Here are two easy alternative that will work without running new wires to the wall:

1) Splice the wire for the fan motor load to the incoming hot wire. Wire the existing 2-conductor cable to the switch as a switch loop - power down on color-tagged white wire and up on black - to control the lights. Control the fan with its pull chain.

2) Install a remote control to control both the fan speed and the lights.
 
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