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I have a box with 14-2 power, 14-3 communicator wires (run from another switch that is connected to lights), and a 14-2 cable fora ceiling fan. How do I wire the switches to operate independently in this box?wiring diagram

  • What do you want to work indepdnently? Fan and light? How do you feel about pulling an additional cable through the walls (from fan to this switch)? Are you ok with the far 3-way being unable to control the fan, so you'll have to walk over here to shut it off? – Harper Nov 12 '18 at 17:21
  • Hi Harper! Yes, I would like the lights to be on the three way switch, and the fan to be on the single pole switch. The last 14-2 cable i described is what I have pulled to the box, which is connected to the fan. The far three way switch I only want to power the lights. I would like the single pole switch to turn off and on the fan, independently from the three way switches positions. – EeekaNora Nov 12 '18 at 18:35
  • Since you pulled it, can you go back and pull a 14/3 instead? You can't control lights and fan separtely with a 14/2. As such, builders fit most fan-to-switch connections with a 14/3. – Harper Nov 12 '18 at 18:45
  • Just to make sure im explaining it correctly, the lights on the three way switch are can lights, separate from the fan itself. Would the fan still need a 14-3 cable? The fan installation manual shows I only need a 14-2 cable. – EeekaNora Nov 12 '18 at 19:05
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    No, I had missed that. Yes, if you mean to control fan only, or control fan and the fan's light together, then 14/2 will suffice, but it is still best-practice and the next homeowner will thank you to fit 14/3 to any fan. Since many fans also have lights. It wouldn't surprise me if some jurisdictions made that a local code requirement. – Harper Nov 12 '18 at 19:11
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Yes, what you drew in the diagram is fine.

To de-confuse the rats’ nest of wires in the boxes, I would get some colored tape and mark the 3-way travelers (the red/black in the cable between them) with yellow tape, to indicate they are travelers. Mark both yellow, there is no need to distinguish travelers from each other. Of course, travelers go on the brass screws on a 3-way.

You can also mark the black wires in the /2 runs up to the lamp and fan with red tape, to signify that they are switched-hots.

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I suppose the green line to be common ground (green-yellow wire), blue line to be neutral wire (blue wire) and black/red to be hot wires (black/brown/red wire).

I also suppose you want to control the wan with the rightmost switch only and the lights with both the "middle" switch and the single one.

Finally I suppose the switches have terminals (screw connections) as follows:

  • casing: two terminals visibly connected to each other with no connection to any other screws. it is labelled |||-. In case those are not present, use connector instead.
  • branch one: leads somewhere in the switch.
  • branch two: leads somewhere in the switch (optional)
  • common: leads somewhere in the switch, connected to either branch one or branch two.

Steps are as follows:

  • Turn the appropriate breakers off!
  • Double-check the power is off!

Wiring the fan using the rightmost switch:

  1. Connect the fan's common ground to the casing of the switch.
  2. Connect the fan's neutral to the common neutral. (one position occupied)
  3. Connect the fan's hot wire to the branch one terminal.

Wiring the lights to the standalone switch:

  1. Connect the lights' common ground to the casing of the switch.
  2. Connect the lights' neutral to the common neutral. (one position occupied)
  3. Connect the lights' hot wire to the common terminal of the switch.
  4. Connect the "interface" common ground to the casing of the switch. (both terminals occupied)
  5. Connect the "interface" neutral to the common neutral. (second position occupied)
  6. Connect the "interface" black (hot-one) to branch one on the switch.
  7. Connect the "interface" red (hot-two) to branch two on the switch.

Wiring the lights to the "medium" switch:

  1. Connect the "interface" common ground to the casing of the switch.
  2. Connect the "interface" neutral to the common neutral. (second position occupied)
  3. Connect the "interface" black to branch one on the switch.
  4. Connect the "interface" red to branch two on the switch.

Power it all up:

  1. Connect the fan's switch casing to the common ground (first position occupied)
  2. Connect the light's switch casing to the common ground (second position occupied)
  3. Connect the power cord ground to the common ground (third position occupied)
  4. Connect the powercord neutral to the common neutral (third position occupied)
  5. Connect the fan switch common to the common hot (first position occupied)
  6. Connect the lights switch common to the common hot (second position occupied)
  7. Connect the power cord hot to the common hot (third position occupied)

Security:

  1. Double-check all terminals are connected to single wire.
  2. Double-check all casings have both terminals connected to the common ground wires.
  3. Double-check all neutral wires are connected only and only to neutral wires.
  4. Double check all hot wires are connected only and only to hot wires or terminals.
  5. Double-check that colours do match.
  6. Double-check all screws are tight and wires fit.
  7. Double-check the fan switch is off (or switched to blank branch 2) and that lights switches are switched to branch one and branch two or vice versa.

Testing:

Be sure NOT TO TOUCH ANY NAKED WIRE OR SCREW!

  1. Turn the breakers on (nothing at all shall happen).
  2. Carefully try the switches.
  3. Turn the breakers off.
  4. Close all switches and boxes.
  5. Turn the breakers on.
  6. Enjoy.

This should be a foolproof procedure to set the circuit up. If you have any doubt do not hesitate to ask or call electrician to do the job. It is no shame to admit I can't do that and call a professional in.


enter image description here

Here you can see the one pole switch with body allready prepared to be two pole switch (it is significatly cheaper to have one mold for multiple units; internals for the second pole are just not present here).

You can see there is no common ground (the whole casing is made of thermoplast and thermoset, both are insulators). The top screw is the common terminal, the bottom left is branch one and the missing bottom right would be the branch two.

  • Can you direct me to a picture of a switch to which you are referring to? – EeekaNora Nov 13 '18 at 1:41
  • @EeekaNora We have a lot of switches from brand new to 50 years old ones (Yes, I do know about the hoarding issue) and I cannot remember what switch I have not opened yet. Can you link images of the switches you do have? – Crowley Nov 13 '18 at 9:21

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