Hot wire connected to two neutral wires. Unable to connect ceiling fan


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Old 01-23-22, 12:23 PM
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Hot wire connected to two neutral wires. Unable to connect ceiling fan



My husband and I are attempting to connect a ceiling fan in our room. When we first moved in March ours was working fine for about 8 months and then it stopped working. We connected the fan to an outlet and it worked just fine; but the wiring was showing consistent 120v output on neutral and 120v on hot when the switch is turned on. We thought there might be some wiring problems in the attic and this is what we found. The neutral wire for our ceiling fan connection is in the center cap pictured above with another neutral and a hot wire. Anybody know what’s going on here and how we can fix this?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-23-22 at 04:18 PM. Reason: labeled pic
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Old 01-23-22, 01:18 PM
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Was the fan you connected to the outlet the new or old fan? How was the fan physically connected to the outlet? Unless you have gotten some wires mixed installing the new fan, I doubt the old fan would have operated for 8 months if there was a wiring problem.
 
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Old 01-23-22, 01:57 PM
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The fan we connected to the outlet was the old fan. My husband took an old power cable with two exposed leads. He connected hot to hot, neutral to neutral, no ground and plugged it in. The fan turned on, motor was running great and lights turned on. Then we connected it back onto the ceiling fixture, hot to hot, neutral to neutral, ground to the copper screw. It did not work when we reconnected it.

That’s when my husband used the DMM to check the voltage. Neutral-ground had constant 120v, hot-ground had 120v when the switch was on, 0v when the switch was off.

Technically it shouldn’t have worked. We didn’t connect the fan when we moved in, we only noticed when it stopped working. The neutral wire on the fan is reading 120v on the DMM. So we checked in the attic, followed the wires from our room, and found they led to a hot wire connected to two neutral wires.
 

Last edited by yashira.matos; 01-23-22 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 01-23-22, 04:22 PM
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I added some labels to your picture.
G= ground, H= hot, ?= not neutral.

I see five or six cables in that box. That means there should be five or six wires in the neutral splice.
So.... the ? cable is not neutral. It's some type of switch loop where power is sent to a switch on white and returns on black. In that box should be another splice with three or four white wires. That splice is neutral.

This is what a switch loop looks like.....

It shows a black and white wire splice. This diagram shows a bulb. Yours is a fan.
 
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Old 01-23-22, 04:56 PM
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Diagram 1 ( Original Wiring )


Diagram 2 ( New Wiring )


There were four caps in total. The hot, ground, neutral (not shown in the picture), and the one in question. He was able to solve the issue by rearranging the wiring in the attic.

The neutral and hot connection in the fixture and the switch we’re both connected to the hot in the attic. Because of that, the ground was shorting to the neutral.

The pics shown are the diagrams my husband put together. The first is how the wiring was connected, the second is how he fixed it.
 
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Old 01-23-22, 05:03 PM
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It would seem to be impossible to work if it was wired as shown in the first diagram.
I can't explain how the fan worked for months and then just stopped.
 
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Old 01-23-22, 05:42 PM
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We’re confused about it too. Our theory is that it was grounded. The day it stopped working we pulled too hard on the string to change the fan speed. We think the ground wire disconnected because when we removed the fan the first time the ground had come loose. But we really don’t know how it was able to work for so long.
 
 

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