Light switch chaos!

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Old 09-20-19, 09:22 AM
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Light switch chaos!

So we used to have a ceiling fan/light that was controlled by a remote. We bought a new ceiling fan and we were going to ditch the remote and go old fashion......a light switch. The holder for the remote was where a switch would normally be located. I took the holder down and there was an old light switch that had zero wires attached to it.

There were a lot more wires than I was expecting. There are 3 black (2 are spliced together) and 3 white wires. The 3 white wire were all connected and taped together with electrical tape. The 2 black wires were connected with a wire nut.

I went to a local hardware store and they had no idea on how to advise me. So i decided to scrap the idea of keeping the switch and going back to a universal remote. THIS ISN'T WORKING EITHER. I'm not sure if its because this one is a universal remote and needs a switch in the ON position or what. The original fan was a remote version out of the box and didn't even have a pull string for the light or fan.

I would like to be able to just wire in a switch but I need some help with all these wires!! I have a picture attached below....

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Old 09-20-19, 10:22 AM
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what do you have at the fan?
Do you have a meter to test for voltages?

You should have wire nuts not just tape on those splices.
 
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Old 09-20-19, 01:14 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Keep all three white wires connected together with a wirenut.

If the fan WAS working with the two black wires connected..... those will go on the switch.
If the other one was never connected..... just cap it off.
 
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Old 09-20-19, 02:15 PM
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Check in the box where the fan mounts.
Do you have two lines (two blacks and 2 whites) entering the box.

If yes then they originally may have had a switch for the light and a switch for the fan.

When they upgraded the fan they used one of the lines and disconnected the other.
 
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Old 09-20-19, 04:59 PM
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So when I originally opened the the switch cover, nothing was attached to the switch. The blacks were attached to each other.

The fan side has only 1 white and 1 black
 
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Old 09-20-19, 06:11 PM
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All three black wires were connected together ?

It looks like one cable is power in.
One cable is power out.
One cable goes to the fan.
 
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Old 09-20-19, 08:57 PM
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There are 3 black (2 are spliced together) and 3 white wires. The 3 white wire were all connected and taped together with electrical tape. The 2 black wires were connected with a wire nut.

I think I misunderstood the above.
The way I interpreted it was:
All 3 whites were connected together.
Two of the blacks were connected together
One black was not connected to anything.
OR
Is it as Pjmax asked
The 3 whites were connected together and the 3 blacks were connected together
 
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Old 09-21-19, 08:10 AM
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2 of the black wires are spliced together. That spliced pair was then connected to the 3rd black wire with a nut.

The 3 whites were all connected and taped together
 
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Old 09-21-19, 09:28 AM
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OK so it is as Pjamax said earlier.

Shut the power off to this circuit.
Untape the whites but leave them connected together.
Undo the blacks so they are separate, make sure that they cannot touch any of the whites or the box.
Turn power back on.
Set your meter to 200 volts AC and measure each black to the whites.
One should read 120 volts that is your power in.
The other two should be 0 or close to 0 volts.
Shut the power off.
Short the black to white in the fan box.
Set your meter to it's most sensitive resistance scale.
Now measure black to white of the 2 unknown wires.
One should read close to 0 ohms that will be your wire going to the fan.
The other may read infinite ohms or a higher ohm reading depending if it is feeding a light bulb or a receptacle. That is power out.

So the power in and the power out will go to one side of your switch and the fan wire black will go to the other.
The whites stay connected together with a wire nut.

Be sure to undo the short you did in the fan box or connect in your fan before reapplying power.

If you do not own a meter, I would suggest you purchase a one. You can get a decent digital multimeter for under $20.00. You do not need fancy though it is nice if the leads are a couple feet long.

A couple things to watch when measuring ohms and continuity
1. Always remove power from the circuit otherwise you could blow your meter.
2. Always disconnect at least one side of any device you are checking. This eliminates the possibility of measuring an alternate/parallel circuit path.
3. When checking for closed contacts and continuity use the lowest scale (Usually 200 ohms). Then try higher scales. This scale is 0 to 200 ohms so if the device you are measuring is 300 ohms this scale would show an open circuit which it is not, you are just measuring outside the scale's dynamic range.
4. When you start always short the meter leads together. This will tell you that the meter is working and if there is any 0 offset.
 
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Old 09-21-19, 10:04 AM
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Argghhhhh.....

Keep all the white wires connected together.
Keep the two black wires connected together and a short piece of the same wire known as a tail.
Connect the tail and the third black wire to the switch.
Eliminate any tape and use wirenuts.
You're done.
 
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Old 09-21-19, 12:24 PM
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Thank you all for the assistance. I feel much more comfortable.
 
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Old 09-22-19, 11:45 AM
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I suspect there is one set of black/white wires for the line/power. And two other for the fan/light combo, meaning one set of wires controls the light and the other set controls the fan.

When the original remote control was added, they bypassed the switch, to use the remote exclusively. Which is why two black wires are spliced together, to get power to the fan. The third black wire wasn't needed and left without power.

The three white wires were left spliced together, because it didn't matter if one was not used.

Just a thought.
 
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Old 09-22-19, 12:27 PM
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The OP has stated.....................

The fan side has only 1 white and 1 black
 
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Old 09-22-19, 01:03 PM
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"2 of the black wires are spliced together. That spliced pair was then connected to the 3rd black wire with a nut."

The above is the response from Franco15 to a question for more info.
So all 3 blacks were connected together.
 
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Old 09-23-19, 01:12 AM
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The OP has stated.....................

The fan side has only 1 white and 1 black
When the OP stated the fan has only 1 white and 1 black, was that for the old fan or the new fan?
 
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Old 09-23-19, 04:54 AM
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I was able to get it all set yesterday. I attached the 3 white wires together with a wire nut. Used the 2 black wires on a switch and it worked. I got rid of the universal remote too. So all is good. Thank a guys
 
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