Hanging a ceiling fan/light in an old house--wiring help?


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Old 01-18-16, 02:50 PM
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Hanging a ceiling fan/light in an old house--wiring help?

Pics are attached. I have a standard modern ceiling fan with five wires total--two grounding wires from the downbar and brace, and then the standard white-blue-black.

The pictures show the wires numbered for ease of discussion.

Previously, I've installed ceiling fans and lighting fixtures in more modern homes that had only the three coming from the ceiling (wires #1, #2, and #3). This older home has additional wires (#4 and #5). Capping those and using only the grounding and grounded/ungrounded black, white and copper wires (1, 2, 3) wasn't catastrophic but didn't power on the fixture either.

That was: Connecting #9 to #3; Connecting #6 to #2 (white to white); and connecting #7 and #8 to #1 (blue and black from fixture to black from cieling.)

There was a simple hanging light fixture there before, but the wires weren't color coded. I should have taken pictures before I took it down; sadly, I did not. In that setup, what I do know is that the plain copper grounding wire was not attached to anything; I thought this was the oversight of the same person who apparently cobbled together their own wiring.

There are two wires there, #4 and #5 must play into it somehow, but I have no idea how and can't seem to find a good reference for this kind of wiring. This is an old (1920's) house with some of the wiring replaced in the kitchen and living room but not this room.

Any advice?

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Old 01-18-16, 02:58 PM
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This older home has additional wires (#4 and #5). Capping those
How were they connected when you took down the previous light? The only two wire you should have disconnected was the two to the light. (Grounds aren't relevant to function so not discussed.)

You almost certainly had a switch loop. You can verify this by looking at the switch. Is there only two wires, one black, one white, both on the switch.

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Old 01-18-16, 03:23 PM
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The next fixture I replace, I will take pictures; though hopefully I'll learn how this kind of wiring works.

The original fixture had three wires--blue, black, white. The white wire was connected to #4... the blue wire was, I believe, just screwed down to the box, not apparently attached to any of the wires from the ceiling. For the life of me I can't remember where the black wire was attached. I believe that of the three copper wires, either the white or black wire was attached to #5, and the black wire from the fixture was attached to one of the copper wires. It must be the black sheathed cooper wire (#1) right? If the white wire from the old fixture was attached to #4. (looking at it I can tell because they were wound together so tight and without a cap so I had to clip some of the wire from the fixture.)

That fixture was just an old hanging light. This one is both a fan and light. Perhaps it should be...

#2 to #5 (white ceiling wire to another wire in the ceiling, off center)
#9 to #3 (grounding wires to plain copper, listed to keep myself straight)
#1 to #7 & #8 (Blue and black from fan to black copper ceiling wire; this means, I think, fan and light on one switch?)
#6 to #4. (white fixture wire to center ceiling wire, like the previous fixture)

The only difference, I believe, would be that the blue wire from the fixture is attached to a wire in the ceiling rather than screwed down to the box; the diagram in the instructions for the new fixture are based on a modern three wire arrangement (two live and a ground). In that diagram, the blue and black wires from the fixture are both attached to the black wire in the ceiling.
 
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Old 01-18-16, 04:08 PM
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That arrangement did it. Thanks for the diagram! I checked another light fixture upstairs, they're all the same--I understand better now what those wires actually do.

Peace!

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Old 01-18-16, 04:32 PM
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Glad to help. Come on back if you need more help.

Tip: I find it easier to think of cables and their associated wires not just wires.
 
 

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