Odd ceiling box wiring opinion/options

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Old 08-21-15, 05:34 PM
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Odd ceiling box wiring opinion/options

Ok so I want to install a ceiling fan. Place was a foreclosure but is recently built (converted from a building to condos in 2008). Anyways the exposed box looks like this...

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I've read through as much of the forums and googled as much as I could but still am not sure what to do. I'm confident I can install a ceiling fan and was just going to replace the ceiling box with one of those adjustable ceiling braces but the wiring has me unsure if I should just hire someone.

It's not marked with the normal colors and there is one wire (orange one) that exits into the box then heads back up and out. I'm guessing this is the ground wire? I tugged on it but it wasn't loose at all. Also the tan wire comes out and back up from the box as well, the part that is capped is just an exposed and folded end of the wire...is this normal? The purple wire is the only one that seems normal

If any of you have any guesses or can confirm that it will be possible to hook up a fan that would be greatly appreciated! Also any tips on removing the box would be appreciated as well! Thank you so much!
 
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Old 08-21-15, 05:44 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You will need to change the box but you have one small hurdle in your way. Your wiring is in conduit.

That yellow wire is a hot wire that is passing thru. Since you have metal conduit.... that conduit is the ground. That yellow wire will be in the switch box that controls the fan but will not be on a switch. There should be a splice point there where you can temporarily disconnect it and then reconnect after changing the box.

That box looks like a 4" square box with a 4" round mud ring.

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You will have to open a hole bigger than 4" to get the box out. Not only are there two conduits coming in the back..... there may be a steel bracket attaching the box to the joist.

You can buy a trimplate to cover the hole you make or use a ceiling hugger fan with a wide canopy. (That's what I did.... too lazy to fix the plaster)
 
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Old 08-21-15, 05:59 PM
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Wow thanks for the fast reply! It makes a lot more sense to me now. You're right on the box too, it's definitely a square box with a round mud ring so i'm guessing i just gotta saw out a decent amount to be able to get the box out...If I do that, would it be more probably that I could find where to disconnect the hot wire? I guess I don't really have a choice but to try first anyways huh
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:08 PM
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I see what appears to be a purple wire with wire nut connected to a mounting screw rather than the equipment grounding screw in the box. If it IS purple (violet) then that is wrong and needs to be changed to a green equipment grounding pigtail.

I also see a brown (not yellow on my monitor) between the two conduits. Because of the shadows and poor rendition I can't be absolutely certain but it appears to be a grey wire and a black wire, each with wire nuts, for the power connections.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 06:13 PM
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Pictures can be deceiving.....

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Looks like close to white for neutral.
The purple comes from the switch and is the switched hot.
Yellow is traveling thru the conduits without a stop at this box.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:13 PM
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Although better, there is still something screwy about that picture. I see what looks to be three wire nuts although the "black" one may be a shadow of the yellow nut.

I do see the previous "brown" wire is indeed yellow.

I see the purple from the upper left conduit is bent close to the box mounting hole, turn upwards and has a splotch of white before entering the wire nut. It appears that none of the box mounting holes are being used.

I see the white (which previously look grey except where washed out bu the flash) from the upper left conduit passing over what appears to be a black form the lower right conduit and then terminating in the yellow wire nut.

Also from the lower right conduit I see what appears to be a black wire in the box but appears to be white outside the box. It appears that this wire goes to the black wire nut behind the yellow wire nut.

There are definitely three wires outside the box. There are at least two wire nuts. There may be yet another wire that is next the the purple wire with the whit splotch that appears to end at the edge of the box. There are definitely three wires from/to the upper left conduit and two wires from/to the lower right conduit. Based on the appearance of a white, yellow and purple I would normally assume that the upper left conduit is the source and the lower right a switch loop. That would definitely mean that there IS a black wire nut and that the purple wire with the orange nut is either a different circuit of a multi-wire branch circuit, a continuously hot wire or is switched from some location in line with the source. At any rate, I don't understand why the electrician would run the yellow continuous through the box rather than terminating all three conductors (yellow, purple and white) in the box. The only thing saved is a few inches of wire and a wire nut but the confusion is significant...at least to me.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:19 PM
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Two black shadows and two wire nuts.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:22 PM
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None of the box mounting holes are used. The box is probably a nail on.

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Usually when I wire something like that I would have left a loop on the yellow wire. No splice.
The loop my have been there and pulled into one of the boxes it travels to.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:28 PM
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A Sawzall or hacksaw blade will cut the nails. Suggestion cut just around the box then saw to the nails. Saw kerfs will be easier to fill than making the hole as large as the end of the mounting bracket. You may need to anyway but I like to start cutting conservatively.
 
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Old 08-21-15, 07:50 PM
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Apologies on the picture quality, I will take a couple more tomorrow morning at different angles.

for the time being, to clarify
-ray2047 is right, there are only two wire nuts (black is a shadow)
-there is an orange/brown wire that runs through 2 conduit
-there is 1 purple that comes out the left conduit and has some white paint on it and is capped
-and lastly there is a tan "ish" wire that comes out of both conduit and is continuous but stripped, pinched, and capped in the middle for some reason

Thanks for all your continued input and help!
 
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Old 08-21-15, 08:25 PM
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That tan ish (white) wire is your neutral and the purple is your hot line. Both are needed for the fan.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 08:47 AM
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Hopefully this is a better photo. I removed the cap on the tan wire
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So I take it that I just leave the ground wire from the fan. Also would it be possible to cut the orange wire to make removing the box easier then cap it afterward?

Seriously thank you for your help, I will report back when I get a chance to start cutting the hole.
 
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Old 08-22-15, 09:43 AM
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Just to be clear.... there are no ground wires in your box there. The white is neutral.

You could cut the yellow if there was enough extra wire to make a new splice.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 05:54 PM
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Ok so i finally got to opening up the ceiling and taking the old box out. Good news is that there are some 2x4's there that attach to the rafters (i assume) so I just bought a side mounted box. Bad news is that the conduit doesn't leave enough room for the new box to fit in (about 1" clearance until drywall) and my fan box only has 1 hole for the conduit and not two so I don't know how to get the wires in especially since the "orange" wire doesn't have much slack. If I could somehow shorten the conduit pipes it would make my life a lot easier.

The guy at home depot said my current box is metal so should be fine holding a fan...but I don't know how safe I'd feel with that. I would appreciate any thoughts from all of you. At this point I'm getting close to scrapping the whole idea and just patching it all back up.
 
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