Bathroom Vent with Light, Need Help


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Old 05-16-16, 12:26 PM
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Bathroom Vent with Light, Need Help

Hello. I bought a new exhaust vent to install in the ceiling of the bathroom. For some reason the previous owner put a vent in the floor. The bathroom has two lights, one over the sink, and one close to the shower. The room has two switches. Switch 1 would turn off the light near the shower. Switch two the over the sink. I took out the light near the shower and replaced it with a vent with light. I tried to wire it up, which is where I ran into trouble.

In the attic, the light I replaced had 4 wires running to it. One from the garage, I'll call that Wire A, one from the light over the Sink, I'll call that Wire B, the other two go down to the two light switches, which I'll call 1 and 2. Wire 1 ran to the switch that controlled the light near the shower, Wire 2 ran to the switch that controlled the light over the sink.

I tried hooking everything up, black to black, whites to whites, grounds, and it would pop the breaker. I disconnected Wire 1 from it, and everything worked fine, switch 2 would turn off the light over the sink, except the new light and fan would stay on.

I've tried a number of solutions, but I won't write that out yet. I'm hoping based on this information someone could tell me what I am doing wrong. Thanks so much in advance.
 
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Old 05-16-16, 01:39 PM
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the light I replaced had 4 wires running to it
No, it had four cables. (A wire is an individual conductor.) It sounds like you had switch loops. Does each of the switches have a black and white wire on them? Does one of the cables in the attic box (when disconnected) show 120 volts when measured from black to white with a multimeter (a non contact tester won't work)? If that is so that is more proof you have switch loops.

This is a basic switch loop:

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Notice the black of the "hot" cable is connected to the white to the switch.
 
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Old 05-16-16, 02:03 PM
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Thank you for the response. Switch 1 has a black wire on the top, and a white on the bottom. Switch 2 has two white wires.
 
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Old 05-16-16, 05:30 PM
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Do you have two 2-conductor cables (black, white) in the box? Can you post pull the switches out but leaves them connected and give us a picture of all the connections in the box. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html
 
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Old 05-17-16, 01:33 PM
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It might be hard to see in the picture, but the right side switch that has two whites to it, is one cable, spliced at the box, the black wire uncut, while the white wire was cut and connected to the switch.

Sorry for the prolonged response. Here are the pictures from the switch. The vent with light has a white and black wire for the vent, and a blue and white for the light.

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If I connect the Bathroom Vanity cable to Switch 2, black to black, white to white, everything works as it should, the switch turns it on and off. The same goes for if I connect the Kitchen Cable to Switch 2, the lights go on, and the light switch in the kitchen operates the kitchen light. However, I connected the bathroom vent and light to switch 2, seperate, with nothing else connect, black to black, white to white, the light and vent come on, but it will not shut off, the switch does nothing.

I'm really starting to think the unit is defective. Switch 2's cable, which has the hot, wired to the vanity light black to black, white to white turns it off and on, doing the same to the vent will give it power, but the switch will not turn it off. The same problem happens if I just connect the light, without the vent, or vice versa.
 

Last edited by Brian Bowers; 05-17-16 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 05-17-16, 03:15 PM
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If you determined the black wire was hot you haven't really determined it is hot. Non contact tester are to prone to false positives. My guess is you have an incorrectly wired switch loop.

Please post a picture of the attic box and check if one of the cables is power in. To check for power tag how each cable is connected then disconnect the cables and measure between the black and white of each cable using a analog multimeter (or neon test light or solenoid tester). This test can't be made with a non contact tester.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:18 PM
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But going to the basics, and just wiring the old vanity light to switch two, black to black, white to white, etc, it works prefectly. Doing the same to the light in the new unit simply gives it power, but it will not shut off.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:30 PM
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Am I correct you have only two cables at the switch box. If so then the only likely correct way is one cable to each switch. It is hard to guess when it is done wrong.

Why didn't you just connect the light to the same two wires that the light was connected to or did you?
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:46 PM
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I had to take the old box out to fit the new exhaust box, it was a mess in there, so I had to take the wires loose. Yes, there are only two cables to the switch box. Getting everything else to work off of the cable from switch two is easy, it's all black to black, white to white. I'm ignoring the cable from switch one at the moment. It's when I hook up the new light to switch 2(which is making everything else run perfectly fine, as it should be working), the light simply won't turn off, which makes me think something is wrong with the new vent/light.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 04:14 PM
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Does this look like your wiring? If Not tell me what is different.

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If it is correct you need to verify the garage cable is power in using a multimeter.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 04:25 PM
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The fan has two whites, but yes. Even if the garage has power in, when it's disconnected, using the power from switch two to the sink light works fine, but connecting solely the vent light to switch 2 it won't shut off. Does that make sense?
 
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Old 05-17-16, 04:32 PM
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Ray will draw you the correct diagram.

Just a few points....
The power comes from the garage and goes to the light.
The two white wires from the fan will be connected together.

Let's see who draws the better diagram.

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We mark the white switch loop wire with tape or marker so that it is not just white. White usually signifies neutral which is not the case here.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 04:45 PM
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Both whites from the switches are connected to the garage black?
 
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Old 05-17-16, 04:52 PM
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That is correct.

With 2) two wire cables between the switches and the light..... you could actually install a standard single switch and a double switch and control all three separately.

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Old 05-17-16, 04:59 PM
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Pete's diagram is correct.
Both whites from the switches are connected to the garage black
Yes. The old way as I said was wrong. It may have worked but did not meet code.

Get rid of that odd piece of white wire in the switch box. You do not need it. In the switch box use only the screws. In the switch box use only the screws. Backstabed connections are less reliable.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:06 PM
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Doing it EXACTLY as your diagram shows, the bathroom vent will turn on and off from switch one, but nothing else will work.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:17 PM
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Have you verified the cable you think is from the garage is power in? If not you need to. If you don't have a meter disconnect the cable and connect a light to the cable you believe is from the garage. Does the light come on when you turn the breaker back on?

Test tip: If you don't have a light connect a receptacle and plug a lamp into the receptacle.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:22 PM
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The cable to the garage is actually run to a kitchen light box, which is then run to a garage light, there is no power coming in from the garage, that is what I keep saying. The only power is from the black in switch 2....
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:37 PM
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................................................
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:56 PM
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It appears that there are three cables at the switch box.... not two. Is that correct ?

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Old 05-17-16, 06:04 PM
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The only power is from the black in switch 2
We were ignoring that because power should come from a cable not a single wire. As noted earlier that seemed to be a spurious reading from using a non contact tester. I see I wasn't clear when I wrote:
If you determined the black wire [using a non contact tester] was hot you haven't really determined it is hot. Non contact tester are to prone to false positives.
I left out the part in brackets. Sorry. So do you have three cables at the switch box? Earlier you wrote:
Yes, there are only two cables to the switch box.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 06:09 PM
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There are only two, whoever wired the house before, on the second switch, the one on the right, it is one cable ran to the switch, but looped at the switch, they cut the white wires and connected them to the switch at the loop.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 06:13 PM
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You need to find out where power comes in. That is a cable that shows 120 volts from black to white when disconnected and measured from black to white with a multimeter (or test light). It is not a single wire.

A quick smoke test would be to swap the sink cable and garage cable in the diagram and test.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 06:17 PM
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I checked every single wire, the only one with power is that black wire from switch two. Regardless, this all worked at one point, however screwed up the wiring in the house is. There are no more wires at that box that I'm missing, it's those 4. The only one that gives power to any light is the black from switch 2. With the breakers on, I checked all the wires touching them one by one to each other. I realize that is an incredily stupid way to check, but I did. The garage doesn't have power, the vanity doesn't have power, and switch one doesn't have power, they all got their power from the black in siwtch 2.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 06:55 PM
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You are not still trying to use a non contact tester are you? If so give it to the kids to play with. You should be checking cables not individual wires. We need a cable that reads ~120 volts between black and white. There must be a power cable because you have gotten some circuits to work..
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-17-16 at 10:45 PM.
 

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