Trying to install two three way switches for ceiling fan/light


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Old 04-06-14, 05:41 PM
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Trying to install two three way switches for ceiling fan/light

I am so confused! I can get the light and ceiling fan to work, but then my lights in other part of the house doesn't work...
Ok, so I am trying to install two three way switches in one box. The wiring existing in the box is as follows: One 14/3 and three 14/2. I know that one of the 14/2 is the power coming into the box, I know that the 14/3 is going to the ceiling fan/light. I just cant figure out how to wire the switches. Please Help
 
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Old 04-06-14, 06:54 PM
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One 14/3 and three 14/2. I know that one of the 14/2 is the power coming into the box, I know that the 14/3 is going to the ceiling fan/light.
If that is true then you are missing a second 3-conductor cable. There should be a 3-conductor cable going to the other 3-way switch. I suspect the 3-conductor cable goes to the other switch. Why do you think it goes to the fan/light?
 
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Old 04-06-14, 06:56 PM
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You need to run two new 14/3 cables out of the original box, one for each proposed 3 way switch replacing a regular switch in the original box and going to the second switch location for each new 3 way switch pair respectively. Caution: The original location box has to be at least 42* cubic inches in size and you may need to replace the original box for this reason.

Put a band of black tape or Magic Marker stain on both ends of the white wires of both new cables.

Connect the original incoming power (black of the 14/2) to the blacks of the two new cables, keeping it connected to whatever other wires (but not switches) it was originally connected to.

The incoming power cable white should have been connected to the original 14-3 white and probably the other original whites and should not have been disturbed.

Connect the red and white of a new cable to the traveler terminals of a 3 way switch in the original box. Repeat for the other new cable and the other 3 way switch in the original box.

Connect the common terminal of a 3 way switch in the original box to the black of the original 14/e cable (to the fan unit) Connect the common terminal of the other 3 way switch in the original box to the red wire of the original 14/3.

In the second box for the 3 way switches connect the red and white wires to the traveler terminals of the new 3 way switch. Connect the black wire to the common terminal.

When two wires want to go under one screw, cut a short length (pigtail) of the same color and connect only that to the screw. Connect the other end of the pigtail to the two wires in question. The exception is that two wires with 1/2 inch straight ends can be held by one screw if there are grooves or a washer that hold the wires in place fully under the screw slightly before the screw is tightened.

* One original 14/3 cable, two new 14/3 cables, three 14/2 cables: 15 wire ends, one point each.
Two switches, 2 points each.
All the ground wires, 1 point
All the clamps or fingers to hold the incoming cables, 1 point.
Total 21 points, 2 ci for each point given 14 gauge wires = 42 ci.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 04-06-14 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 04-06-14, 07:03 PM
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If I was reading it as one 3-way switch in the box but if it is two 3 way switches in one box for a total of four 3-way switches then as Allen said you need a total of three 3-conductor cables.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 07:05 PM
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sorry, I just thought that it did because when I attached the switches, the light/fan worked. Ok so I should just start over. previously there was only one switch (one of those multi function switches that comes with some ceiling fans) ok so I installed a new ceiling fan several years ago and I don't know why but for whatever reason never replaced the switch; just used the pull chains on the fan. well I'm sick of seeing wires hanging out of my wall and no switch to turn the light on so I decided to install the switches (since apparently my husband never will)
 
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Old 04-06-14, 07:14 PM
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Did I reply right? Sorry very new to this "forum" thing
 
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Old 04-06-14, 07:18 PM
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So, should I just install one switch and use the chain for the fan? I'm totally fine with doing that; but I still need to know where to connect the wires, and if that is the case do I need to go buy a switch that isn't three way?
 
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Old 04-06-14, 07:46 PM
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So, should I just install one switch and use the chain for the fan?
Possibly. That's how I wired mine and I like them that way, but my ceiling fans run 7/24/365. I only turn them off twice a year, to clean them and reverse the air flow.

I'm totally fine with doing that; but I still need to know where to connect the wires, and if that is the case do I need to go buy a switch that isn't three way?
You only need a 3-way switch to control lights or fans or whatever from two locations. So, unless there's a second switch, or more, that also controls this fan/light combo, you need a single-location switch.

So you have more than one switch box you can control the fixture from, or just one?

One more question: You said
previously there was only one switch (one of those multi function switches that comes with some ceiling fans)... Trying to install two three way switches for ceiling fan/light [and] when I attached the switches, the light/fan worked.
That says that you can control the fan and light and fan separately from that box, that there are two switch locations there, and there was one of the two switches there controlled both the fan and light before. What did the other switch do? Is there a receptacle nearby that used to be controlled by that second switch? If so, would you like to have that work again or would you rather just have the receptacle be always on?

Also, what would you prefer to be able to do? If, as you suggested, the 3-conductor cable on that box goes to the fixture, and that's the only location you can control it from, the wiring is very straightforward. We just need to know how you'd like it to work when you're done.

If you'll answer these questions we can tell you how to connect the wires.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 07:55 PM
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Did I reply right? Sorry very new to this "forum" thing
Your reply was fine. Your duplicate thread was confusing. I've merged them now.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 08:05 PM
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There was not a second switch installed previously, but it was wired to hold two switches. This is the only location to control the fixture from. I would like to have two switches there, one for the fan and one for the light, but if that would involve bringing more wires into the switch box then I would rather just have one switch for the fixture and would use the pull chain for the fan. Sorry about all the confusion/Thanks for the replies.
 
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Old 04-06-14, 08:51 PM
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There was not a second switch installed previously, but it was wired to hold two switches. This is the only location to control the fixture from. I would like to have two switches there, one for the fan and one for the light, but if that would involve bringing more wires into the switch box then I would rather just have one switch for the fixture and would use the pull chain for the fan.
OK. Return the two 3-way switches and buy two single-location switches that do what you want. Buy 16" of 14-2/G "Romex" cable if you don't have some around. Buy a cover plate that will work with your two new controls.

The control for the light can be an on/off switch or a dimmer, whichever you prefer. The one for the fan must be a fan motor control unless you want to have to use the pull the chain to set the fan to OFF or HIGH before you turn it off at the wall. Every time.

At the switch box, splice the four white wires together and put a wire nut on the splice.

Pull the three wires out of the piece of cable. Set the cable jacket and the white wire aside. Cut the black wire and the bare wire in two, so that you have two 8" pieces of each. Splice the ground wires in the box and your two new pieces of bare wire together. Trim the end of that splice and put a wire nut on it. Terminate one of the two short pieces to the ground screw on each of your new controls.

Splice the three black wires in the three 14-2/G cables and your two new pieces of black wire together and put a wire nut on that splice. Check your two new controls to see if it matters where you connect the incoming power. Connect one of the two short pieces of black wire to each control.

Connect the wire in the 3-conductor cable that goes to the fan motor (the black wire/) to the other terminal on your new fan motor control. Do the same with the wire that goes to the light (the red wire?) on your switch or dimmer.

Mount the controls, install the cover plate, turn the power back on and test everything.

ECHO, ECHO, Echo, echo, [SUB]echo...[/SUB]
 
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Old 04-06-14, 08:52 PM
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This is the only location to control the fixture from. I would like to have two switches there, one for the fan and one for the light,
That is not the question you asked. You asked about 3-way switches thus the answers based on you having three way switches.
At the switch box:
  • Connect all the white wires of all the 2-conductor and the 3-conductor cables together.
  • Connect the blacks of the three 2-conductor cables to two pigtails.
  • Connect one pigtail to each switch.
  • Connect the black of the 3-conductor cable to one switch.
  • Connect the red of the 3-conductor cable to the other switch.
At the fan/light:
  • White to white.
  • Red to blue.
  • Black to black.
Grounds connected together and to the box if the box is metal.
Fan should be set to high before turning off at the wall.
 
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Old 04-07-14, 03:52 AM
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Ok, I already had all the whites tied together, all the grounds tied together, and had made two pigtails. I have to work today so I'll try this when I get home tonight. Thank you for all of your help.
 
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Old 04-07-14, 07:36 PM
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Switches installed, but only one of the switches is operating the light/fan; haven't taken fan down to check the wiring there yet, will tackle that another night. Thank all of you for your help!
 
 

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