I am replacing an old ceiling fan and combination switch in a bedroom in my house. I am trying to connect a new switch that controls both functions (fan and light) separately, as well as a dimming function for both. The previous fan (while unsightly), worked perfectly fine with the old combo switch. The top controlled the light, the bottom controlled the fan. Problem is, when I took the old fan off, and installed the new fan, there were only 3 wires coming out of the ceiling: load (black), neutral (white), and ground (bare). The new switch demanded two load wires (one for each function). I did not take a picture of the way it was wired beforehand (although i wish I had for the life of me). The point is, the ceiling fans were both wired the same way from the wires protruding from the ceiling itself.
In the electrical box, there are 3 sets of wires. From testing I have figured out that the two sets protruding from the bottom are both hot, and the single set of wires coming from the top are the load wires for the fan. The 3 neutral (white) wires were not all connected together originally, but the instructions for the new switch told me to do that. I cannot rewire the old switch to control both functions, a single switch just controls both. if i touch either of the two bottom hot wires to the load wire for the fan, both the light and fan come on and are steady.
I spoke with an electrician about it and he said I either needed a fourth wire or it had something to do with the break-away tab on the old combo switch. I am not trying to use the new switch anymore, I just want to understand how the thing was wired originally. THERE IS NO FOURTH WIRE. I have not added or removed any wires from the previous configuration with the exception that there may have been two wires spliced into one (from the remains of disconnecting the old switch there is about a 3-4 inch black wire by itself no longer connected or spliced to anything else), but like I said, I didn't take a picture of what it looked like beforehand. I am perplexed, please help.