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HandyMomof2

06:46AM | 01/13/07
Member Since: 01/12/07
2 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I am attempting to install a dimmer switch and a separate 3-way rotary fan control switch. The task seems simple enough match wire for wire right? Well Murphy's law has intervened and now I need help.

I opened the double panel and removed the old fan switch. When I did this a black wire popped out before I could see what it was attached to.

The fan switch itself still had 3 wires connected to it: the bare copper ground wire and two black wires so I attempted to install the new control switch.

When I turned the main power back on neither the new fan switch nor the old light switch (which I had not touched at that time) worked.

Thinking that it might help if I could get the new dimmer switch wired and working I removed the old light switch. The switch only had 2 wires connected: a red one and the bare copper ground wire.

At this point I'm thinking the black wire that popped out be must missing from the light switch. I pulled it from the box in order to attach it and the entire wire came out of the wall.

Now this errant black wire is stripped at both ends. So now I do not know if it was ever connected to anything in the box.

In summary, my switch box contains two black wires, one red wire, several capped bare copper wires, one bare copper wire attached to the fan switch and one to the light, and two capped white wires.

Needless to say I have stopped all work.

Is there any way for me to tell what this loose wire is for?

Is it possible for my light switch to only have had the one red wire.

How can I tell if I have all the wires (for both the lights and the fan) going to the correct switch.

Can anyone help with this or is it time to admit defeat and call a professional?

PS Yes, this is, my first attempt at an electrical project.

Billhart

07:05AM | 01/13/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
"Thinking that it might help if I could get the new dimmer switch wired and working I removed the old light switch. The switch only had 2 wires connected: a red one and the bare copper ground wire."

The ground is only for safety and some older wiring does not have it. The switch requires two insulated wires to work.

Lets be clear about the circumstances.

If I understand you have one cable conduit that has black, wire and bare (ground). And a 2nd one that has black, red, white, and bare.

Is that correct?

And before you had two separate on off switches. One controlled the fan and the otherone the lights. And you could turn one on or off without affecting the other one.

Is that correct?

And that you wanted to have a dimmer on the lights and separate fan speed control without using the pull chain.

Is that right?

If so it appears that this is the way that yours is wired.

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switchoutlet/fanlight/fansepswitch.htm

Note, it ignores the ground. All grounds are connected to gether and pig tails are used to connec to the controls.

Go back and put in individual switches, wired as shown.

Then verify that the light work and the fan works and make sure that you the light pull chain on and the fan pull chain on high.

The you can ID if the switch connected to the RED controls the fan or the lights.

Then replace them with the dimmer and fan controller.

HandyMomof2

07:35AM | 01/13/07
Member Since: 01/12/07
2 lifetime posts
Lets be clear about the circumstances.

If I understand you have one cable conduit that has black, wire and bare (ground). And a 2nd one that has black, red, white, and bare.

Is that correct?

[HM]:The cable conduit coming into the top of the box has three wires: black, red, copper. The red and copper wire are connected to the light, black is not connected.

The cable conduit coming into the bottom of the box has three wires: black, copper and white. The black and copper ones are connected to the fan.

And before you had two separate on off switches. One controlled the fan and the otherone the lights. And you could turn one on or off without affecting the other one.

Is that correct?

[HM]: Correct.

And that you wanted to have a dimmer on the lights and separate fan speed control without using the pull chain.

Is that right?

[HM]: Correct.

If so it appears that this is the way that yours is wired.

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switchoutlet/fanlight/fansepswitch.htm

Note, it ignores the ground. All grounds are connected to gether and pig tails are used to connec to the controls.

Go back and put in individual switches, wired as shown.

Then verify that the light work and the fan works and make sure that you the light pull chain on and the fan pull chain on high.

The you can ID if the switch connected to the RED controls the fan or the lights.

Then replace them with the dimmer and fan controller
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