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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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Installed new celing fan and will not work light or motor. 2

Customer Question

Installed new celing fan and will not work light or motor. 2 switch layout on wall one for the fan one for light. Red wire on switch on wall but no red wire at fan box in celing. Old fan worked new fan does not? Fan was 15-18 years old.
Have bare copper wire, black wire, white wire. When new fan was hooked up check power 120v on black wire grounded with copper.
Test 2nd fan option and did not work either. I think I have ruled out bad fan.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Since you have 2 separate wall switches, can you measure for 120 volts at the ceiling box on each of the switched loop conductors without the fan being connected?

2) Are you able to identify the 2 switched loop conductors in the ceiling box? How many ceiling box wires and the colors?

3) Temporarily back out the 2 wall switches from the wall box? How many and what are the wire colors that terminate to each switch?

4) What are the wire colors on the fan/light kit wiring harness? Black, blue, white and green or other colors?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Kevin, I am able to continue with our session are you available?
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Yes, just reply back to me when you are available and we can take it from there.........Thanks.............Kevin:)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Kevin,
at the wall switch there is 3 wires on one switch White, Red, Black, there is only 2 wires on the second switch and they are both black. At the celling there is three wires black,white,green. I understand electric just enough, the white is neutral, the black is hot(power) and the green is ground. The red at the switch I am unsure of and also why there is 2 black on one switch and not one black and one white is also confusing to me. Just let me know what to check and or meter and I can handle that.thank you
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the replies.

1) On the switch that has 3 wires, does the switch have 1 black screw and 2 brass screws? If so, what wire color lands on the black screw? Sounds like this is a 3-way switch?

2) At the switch with 2 blacks, that is a single pole switch. Using your meter, you should have a constant 120 volts on one of the screws and 0 volts on the other screw when the switch is in the OFF position and 120 volts on the 2nd screw when the switch is in the ON position.

3) At the ceiling box, measure for 120 volts on the black wire to the ceiling white neutral. Should only measure 120 volts when one of the wall switches are in the ON position.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
only 1 screw was used the rest had the wires pushed into the holes. The only wire on a screw is the white wire on the brand screw. Either way there is no black screws on the switches only 2 screws per switch. The switch with the 3 wires only has 2 brass screws, the other switch also only has 2 brass screws. Is there any way I can get a photo to you?The metering went like this
switch with red wire on & other switch off 24.4V
switch with red wire on & other switch on 123.4v
switch with red wire off & other switch on 123.4v
switch with red wire off & other switch off 3.8v
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

OK, Thanks for confirming...........both of those switches are Single Pole switches.

1) On any switch or receptacle, the wires should always be terminated to the side screw terminals and never the "back-stab" insert holes. The wires will easily get loose and eventually fail if using the "back-stab" insert holes.

Sounds like you have a loose connection at one or both of the switches?

2) Do both switches reside on the same circuit breaker? Most likely they do. There should be a small jumper wire that connects both of the switches together. This connection will be the common hot for both switches. At the common hot location measure for a constant 120 volts from hot to a ground.

2) Yes you can post a photo here if you wish. On your end you should have a paper clip to attach JPEG photos.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Both switches have power 120v at the black wire, but the one with the white wire has power at the top of the switch and the other with the 2 black wires has power at the bottom of the switch. I checked all the wires behind the switches and they are all tight from what I can see. The fan that I am replacing worked fine why would the new fan not? Could the wall switches be bad? I have attached the a photo the switch on the left photo has power to the lower black wire and the other switch with the red wire has power at the screw on the top of the switch.
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the photo.

1) It is a slim possibility that the switch is defective. If you have an Ohm meter or a audible continuity tester on the meter, this can confirm if the switch is good or not. If checking for continuity, the circuit breaker must be in the OFF position and de-energized.

2) Is this the original wiring connections inside the switch box or were they altered in any way?

3) Which switch controlled the fan, left or right switch?

4) What does the switch with the red wire control?

5) At the ceiling box, can you measure 120 volts from the black ceiling wire with one of the switches in the ON position? At the ceiling box measure from black to white and from black to ground. Also measure from white to ground at the ceiling box

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
this is the original wiring, the switch with the red wire controlled the light. The switch with the 2 black wires controlled the motor.
The reading from black to white read funny with the switch with the red wire on i got 81v, the other switch on 93v
White to ground i got red switch wire on 123v
other switch on 24.9V
Very confused about the funny voltage numbers
continuity check was good on the switch with 2 black wire but did not work with the switch with the black red and white wire?
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

1) So you are saying that the right switch (red wire) used to control a ceiling fan light kit and the left switch (2 blacks) controlled the ceiling fan motor, is that correct?

2) You originally mentioned at the ceiling box there was only 1 black, 1 white and 1 green. In order to have 2 switches extending to the ceiling box, there must either be an additional black or red wire which you don't have. Each switch requires a separate switched loop conductor leaving the switch and extending to the ceiling. You only have 1 black in the ceiling box as the switched loop conductor. I'm confused:(

3) If you are measuring 93 volts at the ceiling white to ground, that means that there is a loose neutral connection somewhere. N to G voltage should always = 0 volts or very close to 0 volts.

4) Did you disconnect all 3 wires on the right hand switch when checking for continuity?

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