10:23AM | 09/15/07
Member Since: 09/14/07
3 lifetime posts
Howdy all. I'm trying to wire a ceiling fan. The pic shows the wires coming from my switches on the wall. In addition, there is a bare copper wire going from the switch box to the ceiling.

Instructions with the ceiling fan say, for dual switch wiring, to wire it thusly:

1. Fan green wire to ceiling bare wire.

2. Fan white wire to ceiling white wire.

3. Fan black wire to ceiling black wire.

4. Fan black wire with stripe to ceiling "wire for the wall switch" (red is all that's left).

Wiring it that way, neither lights nor fan works.

A complicating factor is that there is another three wires coming from the ceiling (bare, black, and white) which are coming from I have no idea where. The bare and the black from these three are connected to the bare and the black from the four ceiling wires mentioned above. The white was attached to some wire in the previous ceiling fan which I took down. In the current way I have it wired, this mystery white wire is not attached to anything, and I left the black and bare attached as they were.

Any help?



12:00PM | 09/15/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
You have what is called Switch Leg wiring. And it was done incorrectly.

The WHITE to the switches is used as the Always Hot.

It is suppose to be remarked with black or red tape or marker.

It connects to the power source hot and to both switches.


05:37PM | 09/15/07
Member Since: 09/14/07
3 lifetime posts
Thanks a lot for your reply Bill, although it doesn't help me so far because unfortunately I am lost in the terminology used in the article you link to.

"...onward power from the fixture..."

I assume the above means the ability to turn the fan on at the fan?

"(1) If only switched power required onward then at existing fixture...

(2) If only unswitch power required onward then at existing fixture...

(3) If switched and unswitched power required onward then at existing fixture...

(4) If 2 separately switched power is required onward then at existing fixture..."

I can not figure out what the above 4 options mean.

"If you need onward power from the switch then...."

...meaning, the ability to turn on power to the fan at the wall switch?

If you are willing to be patient with a residential electrical novice, and can explain the above, I would very much appreciate it.


08:48PM | 09/15/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
That section cover situation where you want to continue power from ceiling box.

As I understand you first message at the ceiling box you only have 2 cables.

One with 2 wires (plus ground). And one with 3 wires.

And in the switch box you only have the one 3 wire cable.

If that is correct then you don't have any "onward" power.

In your case all of the information is in the section before the "Onward Power" power section.


01:48PM | 09/16/07
Member Since: 09/14/07
3 lifetime posts
The fan now works! You helped tremendously Bill. I never would have figured out what wire to tie to what wire if you hadn't provided that link. Much appreciated!


05:33PM | 09/16/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts


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