Major ceiling fan wiring problem: Need help please

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Alf S, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer

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    Hello,

    Sorry for the length, but want to cover everything I've got...

    I needed to replace a ceiling fan in one of bedrooms that stopped working.

    Stupid me, I didn't write down how IT was wired up, now putting the new one up has become a problem.

    The house was built in 1983 and the current wiring that is in the ceiling outlet(this room only) is THREE BROWN WIRES, and THREE WHITE WIRES, and the ground (very thick gauge).

    What's strange is when I disconnected all the wires from the old fan it caused the neighboring rooms overhead light and closet light to not work, and the closet light in the bedroom I'm working in doesn't work (although the wall outlets work) Leads me to believe that the overhead outlet with the 3 brown and 3 white wires are tying the two rooms together somehow.

    The steps I did to connect the fan w/ light were as follows.

    -- Used a wire nut to connect the THREE BROWN wires and blue and black wires from fan...
    -- Connected the 3 white wires to the ONE white wire from the fan.
    -- Then connected the green ground wire from fan to ground screw in outlet box.

    I then went to the garage and flipped the circuit switch and heard a slight hum, and nothing happend...no power to anything that was on that particular circuit. I quickly shut it off an diconnected all the wires for now in hopes someone can assist me in figuring out what to do.

    After I disconnected the wires, I flipped the circuit breaker switch and all my power is restored to the appropriated lights etc. (however the overhead light and closet lights are not working until I wire the fan)

    I did tear apart the fan in the neighboring room and it had TWO white wires connected to the one white fan wire, and ONE BROWN wire connected to the fan BLUE and BLACK WIRE.

    I hope there are some electrical wizards out there that can help me out!

    Thanks in advance
    Alfer
     
  2. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    How many wall switches do you have for the fan? If you have two, or a special switch made to control a fan, then there should be three wires running to the fan. If it's just a single switch then there are two wires. If it's two wires, this tells you that some of the wires should be tied together to power the other rooms.

    Take the switches out of the wall and examine the wires there, it might help you figure out what's going on. But if you can't remember how things were wired before, it's going to be tricky. Are you certain all six were wired to the old fan?
     
  3. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer

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    Keith,

    It's just one wall switch running everything. When I took it down, I recall unscrewing 3 wire nuts, but I failed to determine what was being held together with each nut. [​IMG]
     
  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Typically in this situation two wires are going to connect to the fan. Look at the wall switch and see what color comes out of it. If your fan has lights, then follow the instructions in the fan regarding wiring for a single switch.

    If you had three wire nuts, then I think that one of those wire nuts wasn't connected to the fan. Does that sound familiar to you? Unless one of those was on the ground.

    What you need to do is figure out which of those six wires is connected to the switch. But dammit I just don't really know enough to give you any advice. A friend of mine once helped me figure out some switches by just connecting the different wires to a desk lamp to see what completed the circuit, but that could be dangerous if you do it wrong.
     
  5. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer

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    Thanks for your help Keith..I called a friend and his dad has some electrical wire tester that I guess could determince which wires belong to what...

    I could kick myself for not writing down my set-up...but I somehow figured it out 5 years ago, I should be able to now! haha..
     
  6. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    The ceiling bracket was used as a junction box.
    Without a continuity tester it is going to be difficult.
    One set of brown & white wires could be coming from the wall switch, which is used to disrupt current to the fan.

    You might have to screw the 3 brown wires together. And the two white wires to the white wire of the fan. And the third white wire would go to the blue and black wire on the fan. You need to figure out which white wire is the hot wire coming from the wall switch, this white “hot” wire needs to be screwed to the blue and black wire.

    Again a continuity tester or voltmeter would help. One way to check it would be to tie the 3 brown wires together you could check to see if current is coming out of one of the white wires when wall switch is turned on. This is dangerous without a voltmeter. To reiterate there is probably a brown wire going to the wall switch then from wall switch a white wire going back to the ceiling box, meaning that two white wires are neutral and one white wire is a power wire. (Or hot side).

    During this age of litigation, we recommend wiring should always ONLY be done by professional electricians or something terrible could happen

    I asked my husband he’s a ‘Do it your selfer” who has wired countless ceiling fans, and an entire building mongst other things. Good Luck!
     
  7. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    Mary's on the right track. It'll be solved a lot easier with a meter to check continuity.
    With only six lines here's what you've got. One hot, one that connects to this hot that goes off to pick up your lost lights. A third comes back in from the lost lights, connecting to a fourth, the neutral returning to the breaker panel. The last two go out to the switch for your fan. One of these ties into the hot bundle, the other onto one fan lead, with the second fan lead tied to the neutral bundle.
    If you know what you're doing, it'll be easy to determine which is which with a test lamp, or a table lamp substituting for one.
    What it comes down to is whether or not this is something within your level of comfort.
    With a continuity meter it can be done with the power off for the most part. A test lamp will find your hot.
     
  8. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Alf,

    Do confirm, - which is the mystery ‘hot’ wire, needing to be tied back to the black/blue of the fan.
    That ‘hum’ you heard is not a good thing. You do not want to be ‘ruling’ out by attempting to connect each one in turn to discover which is the additional hot wire out of your white choices. (Traditionally the black or brown wires are hot, - white are neutral if all colors are reversed by a prior weekend warrior, you really have a conundrum)
    Tying a hot wire into your neutrals can do damage to your home wiring.
    Wait for the friend’s voltmeter or continuity checker or at minimum; use the lamp method.

    Best.
     
  9. Alf S

    Alf S Cinematographer

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    Thanks all for the responses.

    Well father in law left and we still can't solve it.[​IMG]

    We tested which wire was hot etc, but when we hooked it up the way "made sense", it stayed on for 20 seconds and then tripped the circuit breaker.

    We tried one more way, and got nothing....got scared off at that point and plan on calling an electrician tomorrow...argh!

    Thanks again all.

    Alfer
     

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