Install Lighting From Fan Source

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by christo, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    I want to install incandescent track lighting on either side of the fan. I want the fan and the track lighting to work off a dimmer switch. How can I accomplish this. Currently the fan box has three wires. Green,White & Purple attached to a single pole switch. Please explain in simple terms as I am a bit challenged by this. Thanks for any help.
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You can't run a fan motor off a dimmer. It requires a specialized speed control. If you only have the hot an neutral wires, you have no way to separate the fan from the fan-light. You will need to run more wires so you can put in more switches and fan controls.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fan

    You may have room to install a wireless controller in the fan mount which uses just 2 wires and the ground to it and then it separates the current to the fan and light, with dimmers and fan speed controls. The main switch has to be a single pole without a dimmer or speed control.
  4. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Further Help Please

    I think I would like to try and run additional wires. As the Purple (The Hot When grounded and tested) Green and White are in conduit and I believe I can pull additional wire through. I hope there is enough space in the conduit. Can I eliminate one wire and use that as a pull.

    Can you explain in simple terms how I go about wiring this. I hope I am being clear.
  5. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Wiring is not a simple thing! There is a lot of danger to life and property if this is not done correctly. You or someone from your family could be eletrocuited or a fire could result from an improper installation.

    Furthermore if something does happen (like your house burns down), and this electrical work was not done to code and inspected, your insurance company does not have to pay a cent!

    If you want to learn about electrical wiring, I suggest you get some books on wiring and learn the basics first.

    Also think about how *you* would do this. Then hire an electrician to do the work and see if he does it the same way you would have done it. If it is done differently, it is for safety. Learn why the wiring was done the way the electrician did it.

    Another thing is electrical "codes". This is an "instruction book" on how to do wiring so accidents will not likely happen. Good stuff! It is called the "National Electrical Code" and should be at your local library.
  6. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Now That Was Of Great Help

    your information may very well be correct, now don't you think i understand the ramifications. my project is not complicated. furthermore i thought this was a diy forum. the only people that achieve success are persistent despite obstacles. btw, i am trying to get a professional to no avail yet, apparently the job is too small, im only guessing. your response is not appropriate. spare me, don't clutter this forum with rhetoric. anyone care to help, i would sincerely appreciate it.
  7. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, yuu haven't helped us a lot..... A picture and/or diagram of what you have would help. A purple wire is rather unusual, so we don't know what we are dealing with.

    Do you want the fan lights to be separately controlled from the new track lights? Do you have the manual for the fan? Is a remote or speed control module available?
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Diy

    If you were a competent DIY'er in electricity, you would know that you cannot "eliminate" one wire, but you can use one of them to pull TWO new wires. The extra one you need and one to replace your pull wire. But you would also probably have known how to do it in the first place without asking here. Why didn't you tell us it was in conduit originally? That would have made a difference in our responses.
  9. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    I am in a condominium and the ceiling is a concrete slab. This conduit is a gray plastic tube that the three wires are in. The box in the ceiling is metal that supports the fan. The purple wire (Hot when tested and grounded by a tester reads 120V)and Green and White wire are also in this box. At the single pole switch the purple and a black is on this single pole switch.
    The channels are in place already. One on each side of the room, with the box for the fan in the center. My ideal project would be to have a fan running, no light attached to it, and it does not have to have variable speeds perhaps just set to slow to medium. My priority is to have the track lighting on a dimmer. Again, thank you very much for your help.
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,015
    Location:
    New England
    So, the switch that activates the fan has a black and the purple wire on it?

    You need at least one additional wire. But, in the electrical box where the switch is, are there also any white wires? Many dimmers need a neutral. If that box doesn't have any, you'd need two new wires, and there should be a ground in there as well.

    How would you get the wires out of the fan box to the track lighting?
  11. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Yes the switch that activates the fan has a black and purple on it.
    The electrical box has a total of three single pole switches. One for the fan, one for the outside light, and one controls a receptacle in the wall. There are several white wires in the box all tied together but do not go to any of the switches. I have used a light aluminum casing to attach the wires from the fan box to the lights.

    I am not clear what wires from the light get tied into the box that has the 3 wires, purple,green and white, and what wires are tied into the switch. Also what new wire do I run from the switch to the box. One last thing, what type of switch do I buy and what wires are attached where on the switch to make the lights and fan function. I hope I was clear, and I wish I could understand it by now. BTW I am trying to obtain an electrician, however to no avail. I guess the job is too small. I sought advise from this forum thinking that this was not that involved. Thanks again all for your patience and help.
    Edit/Delete Message

  12. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Are you in a highrise building? Sometimes in a highrise they use colored wiring which would not be typical to "home wiring".

    Anyway following is a wiring diagram of a switch and light bulb...
    http://www.make-my-own-house.com/images/ellightbulb.jpg

    In the above diagram, black is connected to the switch, then to the light. The light could instead be a ceiling fan. Same wiring. In your case it sounds like they used purple instead of black.

    To be clear on what color is what...
    Purple connects to the switch terminal and this switch turns on the fan and the fan light?

    And white is passed through and also goes to the fan and fan light?

    Then green should be ground. A ground wire would also connect to the metal in a metal electrical box or the metal covering of the ceiling fan.

    Now if the above is true, the big question is...
    Are there several conduit pipes going to this 3 switch electrical box?
    Is there one conduit pipe in which only the fan wiring goes?

    So from the ceiling fan switch, there are 3 wires going into a conduit pipe and these are purple, white, and green? And these are the only wires in that conduit pipe? And only the same three colors come out the pipe at the ceiling fan electrical box?

    The reason I am asking is that sometimes a conduit pipe will go to several points before arriving at its "final destination". So the question is if that pipe goes directly to the ceiling fan from the switch box?
  13. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Please explain or photo that!
  14. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    I am in a multiple dwelling 3 stories.

    Yes Purple connects to the switch and turns on the fan. It is attatched to a wireless remote that turns on the light. I don't have to have the light work if this is a big problem however it would be nice if I could. I could always disconnect the light assembly.

    Yes white is passed through and goes to the fan and also connected to the light.

    Yes, green should be ground.

    Yes there are several conduit pipes each going to there respective points. Only one conduit pipe for the fan wiring.
    Yes only 3 wires going into a conduit pipe and these are purple, white, and green. These are the only wires in that conduit pipe.

    Yes directly from the ceiling fan to the switch. These are the only wires in the conduit pipe.

  15. christo

    christo New Member

    Messages:
    22
    They connect together to get your respective length. It is sold in Home Depot. You can also get left or right angle to make turns. They come in white or beige. Used mainly in condos. Basically conceals the wire. Hope that helps.

  16. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Ok, now just decide what you want for your switches to control.

    What kind of switches do you have?

    Regular toggle switches like this?
    http://images.hardwareandtools.com/T/u325977.jpg

    Or "Decora" like this...
    http://www.asihome.com/images/lev-80411-w.png

    The following is a "double switch" which can fit in the place of one switch...
    https://www.theelectricalexchange.com/user_images/9526342.jpg

    This is a light dimmer switch...
    (One of many different types)
    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/211N9D2PDPL.jpg

    These are various ceiling fan speed controls...
    http://www.foxelectricsupply.com/content/products/ProductCatalog.asp?qscategoryId=24666
  17. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Other things to find out if you can is what size conduit you have? Typical sizes are 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch.

    Then what size wire is used. Typical sizes are 14 gauge and 12 gauge. To confirm your wire size, go to your circuit breaker panel and turn off the breaker which turns off the ceiling fan. There should be a number printed on this breaker. Like 15 or 20. This is the "amperage" of the breaker and determines what size wire should be used. So 15? 20?

    Then with just this breaker turned off, might want to see what all this breaker controls in addition to the ceiling fan. There is a possibility that the additional lights could overload the circuit, but probably not.

    If you know the total wattage of each track lighting fixture, that would help. Or the wattage of each bulb and how many bulbs you plan to have on each track light.
  18. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    And do you have a budget for this project? Want to keep expenses down?

    Or want to get everything working like you want and OK to spend what it takes?
  19. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You can run eight #12 or eleven #14 THHN in a 1/2" PVC conduit; one more of each in 1/2" EMT. Since you need only one ground and one neutral that would leave 6 or more for the hot and controls.

    You might want to remove the existing wires while installing a pull line; then pull all at one time in a bundle. It can be difficult trying to pull in more while there are also some in the pipe.

    You should use some kind of lubricant. One electrician told me that corn starch will work. You can use your imagination; lubricant is lubricant but I would avoid petroleum-based lubricants.

    You can use one switch to apply power but I would keep the fan and light separate for dimmer and speed control.

    You may need to increase the size of boxes to accommodate the wires if you pull a lot of them.

    It will be a lot easier if it is run on #14 with a 15 Amp breaker; and not on the required bathroom receptacle circuit. Pulling the wires is not much different but making up solid #12 is much harder. I like stranded wire in conduit.

    You do not need GFCI protection if there is no receptacle. There are AFCI requirements if it is a new circuit under the 2008 Code.
  20. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Step 1: Turn off breaker, and disconnect all wires at the fan. Tape them together with a polypropelene pull-string at the fan, and pull them all back from the switch box end. Regular old electrical tape works good to hold everything together. Don't skimp on the tape. You will now have a coil of three wires -- purple, green, and white -- lying neatly on the floor, and the pull-string leading back into the conduit up to the fan box.

    Step 2: Having checked the breaker for capacity (15A or 20A), add a 4th wire (black or red would be nice) of appropriate gauge (#14 for 15A, #12 for 20A -- use STRANDED wire for easier pulling) to the bundle, taping it to the bundle at the end where the pull-string is attached. Now have your lovely assistant gently pull the new 4-wire bundle back through the conduit up to the fan box, while you carefully feed the bundle into the conduit at the switchbox end. A "pulling lube", aka "slime" makes the job easier, but probably isn't necessary for a short run like this.

    Step 3: Reconnect the fan as it was, and pull more of the new wire into the fan box to allow extending it to the light, if necessary. The light needs the new wire, a white (connected to the white in the fan box), and a green.

    Step 4: Choose switches appropriate to your needs and switchbox style. One of BillyBob's links showed switches specifically designed to control both a fan and a light using a single gang in the switchbox, which may be just what you need. The existing black wire in the switch box needs to be split via a pigtails and a wirenut to the 2 switches -- this is the "hot" wire supplying power. The other sides of the switches go to the purple -- for the fan -- and the new wire for the light. Some of these dual fan/light switches may use a common power wire, which would eliminate the need for the pigtailed hot.

    That should do it. Turn on the breaker and bask in your success.
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