Ceiling Fan Wiring

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Duffin04, May 23, 2021.

  1. Duffin04

    Duffin04 New Member

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    Trying to install my new ceiling fan and need help with what wires are what. There are 4 red and 3 white with no black. The old fan that was there did not work but the light did. I’m not certain it was wired properly to begin with.

    Please help!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    More information is needed.
    • Is power in the ceiling box?
    • Is there wall switch?
    • Have you ID's which wire has power?

    Seeing only red and white and no green wire (gnd) makes me believe it is wired with conduit. With all of this disconnected, more lights and outlets are probably not working so it is possible for you to ID what is what. Telling by the age of things this was originally wired for a ceiling light with a wall switch. An educated guess is one leg is power, another is to a wall switch and the third may feed another light. Generally red wire is used for a switched circuit but since it is all red, the electrician might have been out of black wire. Unless it is wired specifically for a fan as in new homes and using a old light ceiling box there is one hot wire from a wall switch. Both the fan motor and light are connected to the power and between the wall switch and pull chain for the motor three speed fan is used to turn on the lights, fan or both.

    My take is if you're asking this kind of question, hire a electrician to do it. Miss wiring can cause shorts and fire and unless you know what each of the three legs do, then it is possible to offer some suggestions.
     
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  4. Duffin04

    Duffin04 New Member

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    There is power and a wall switch. The light above my sink is not working but everything else in the kitchen is, however the clocks on my stove and microwave are lagging.
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    With the switches off...take the black lead of your multimeter when on a high enough acv scale so you don't go into overload, place it on a known good ground...the round pin of a receptacle should be a good place. Then, touch the red lead of your multimeter to each wires to see if any have power on them. Make notes, and maybe put some tape on them to mark so you don't forget, or take a picture and put notes on it. Then, turn whatever switch(s) on individually, and see if there's any change in what lines you may have power on.

    This may not be definitive, as you can get some weird indications in a high impedance circuit, but may be enough to help figure out what's what.

    Is your stove gas, or electric? On a gas stove, they typically have 120vac for their lamps and other electronics, but on an electric stove, they use 240vac, but usually have a neutral to let 120vac stuff run. That isn't universally true especially with some imports, but mostly on stuff sold in the USA. Given the gauge of wire, if it was doing anything to a stove, it would likely be a gas one. Can't think of a good reason why it might affect your microwave, though!
     
  6. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Old homes were never wired for a microwave. A conduit installation without a ground wire dates the home well before 1975 when the conduit was used as a ground. Most likely someone in the past tapped off a nearby outlet to power the microwave.
     
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
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    New England
    Devices only 'need' ground generally for safety, so many will work without one. They may not be particularly safe if they're designed for a ground, though, and older devices assumed neutral was a viable grounding point, that may not be true all of the time. Something like a surge suppressor does want a ground to be totally effective.

    I can't think of a good reason why having that circuit open would cause weird things to happen to the clocks of devices that otherwise are still working unless maybe there's a shared neutral and they may be trying to deal with 240vac rather than the 120vac they were designed for...if that's true, they may not continue working for long!

    When you take something apart that was working, it's not a bad idea to take a picture of how it was connected, and even put some labels on the leads. Trying to figure it out later without knowing where they are coming from and what they are supposed to do can be daunting to figure out.
     
  8. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Being a red wire it’s a good chance that the white is a shared neutral. I got caught on that at my parents condo in Maui. Conduit everywhere and I replacing an outlet that was corroded by salt air, getting a tinkle touching the neutral and kitchen outlets going dead like the microwave threw me off for a few minutes since the two breakers were not pinned together. Place was built in 1979.
     
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