Did I break the ceiling fan or the switch?


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Old 06-03-14, 04:44 PM
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Did I break the ceiling fan or the switch?

So I had my first major ceiling fan wiring blunder. I was trying to install a ceiling fan/light to one of those combo switches that's a light dimmer and controls the fan speed (I ran 14/3 wiring). The fan has a black, black/white, and a white. The switch has a black, white, yellow, and red.

I hooked up the black on the switch to the black in the switch box (which is hot). I hooked up the red on the switch to the red of the switch box and, ultimately, to the black/white on the fan. I hooked up the white on the switch to the white in the switch box. I hooked up the white on the fan to the neutral in the ceiling box.

Now here's my fatal blunder. I misinterpreted the wiring and hooked up the black on the fan to a black from the ceiling box. This technically is following the directions, but that black was also hot. What I should have done was hook up the white from the switch to the white in the switch box to the black on the ceiling fan. What resulted when I turned the power back on was that the fan worked by the chain without any manipulation of the switch. I then stupidly turned the fan speed up on the switch, there was a pop in the switch area, and the breaker (an AFCI 15 Amp) blew.

I have corrected my error, but now only the light part of the switch works and no combination of chain or switch position will get the fan to go. It moves a little bit when moving the speed selector to the speeds, but ultimately goes nowhere.

My question is, do I need to replace the switch, the ceiling fan, or both. I am thinking (and hoping) it's just the switch, but was hoping for some confirmation.
 
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Old 06-03-14, 05:47 PM
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Was this fan/light existing and did it work previously ?
Geo
 
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Old 06-03-14, 05:48 PM
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The first mistake is putting a dimmer switch on a fan. So right now, you need to replace the switch. Then see what happens.
 
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Old 06-03-14, 06:22 PM
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Was this fan/light existing and did it work previously ?
Geo
No, it's a new install. I took out the existing fixture, put in a ceiling fan box, and ran the 14/3.

The first mistake is putting a dimmer switch on a fan. So right now, you need to replace the switch. Then see what happens
Sorry if I caused any confusion, but it's not a dimmer on the fan-side. It's made to be both a light dimmer and a fan control. Specifically the Lutron Skylark model. It has a slider for the light dimmer and a slider for 3-speed fan control.
 
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Old 06-03-14, 06:32 PM
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Are you saying that you ran two separate hot leads from the switch to the box in the ceiling?
 
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Old 06-03-14, 07:10 PM
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Are you saying that you ran two separate hot leads from the switch to the box in the ceiling?
It's an old work install in an old home. Not sure if it was convention at the time or just a quirk of this house, but the ceiling boxes were treated as the main junction box so all the hot leads for the room are up there.

The more I think about, I believe this is what I did (unintentionally). I ran a hot lead both to the fan and to the switch. I ran a wire from the fan control portion of the switch to the neutrals in the ceiling box. So when I turned on the fan portion of the switch I was essentially touching hot to neutral through the switch; apparently frying the fan control.
 
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Old 06-03-14, 07:38 PM
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Before you go much further the box will also have to be changed out if not fan rated.
ceiling boxes were treated as the main junction box so all the hot leads for the room are up there.
Then you may also have box fill issues. Sounds like you may have unfinished attic access above. Not ideal but I'd suggest putting a Jbox in the attic for all wiring not related to the fan.
 
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Old 06-03-14, 08:30 PM
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None of that sounds right to me. You said that it was a new install & only part of it was new.

"No, it's a new install. I took out the existing fixture, put in a ceiling fan box, and ran the 14/3." <---your quote.

Even if that box is used as a junction box there is still only ONE hot lead from the switch. With that in mind, there is no way that you can have two separate controls, from that switch box. You need a single pole switch.
 
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Old 06-04-14, 05:23 AM
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Did this switch box have a single pole switch only in it to control the fixture you removed? How many conductors were in the switch box?
Geo
 
 

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