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I've been researching this for about 8 months and finally learned enough to be able to ask my question properly.

Background: Bought a house last summer that was built in 1966 but since renovated maybe 10-20 years ago. The kitchen has a 3way switch which controlled 2 ceiling dome lights, one in the middle of the kitchen and one over the breakfast table area. Each switch is in a 2-gang. Switch A (diagrammed below) is ganged with a single pole, dining room dimmable light. Switch B is ganged with an single pole switch for an outdoor light (also see below).

What I've done so far: I have replaced one light with a track-lighting... and the other ceiling light I replaced with a small ceiling fan w/light. The 3way switches turn BOTH on at the same time, that has not been altered yet.

One issue I noticed: Once in a while the fan w/light will turn off and immediately back on again. It sometimes happens every 5 minutes, I assume too much load on the kitchen circuit maybe.

What I ultimately want to do: I want switch A to only control the track-lighting. I want switch B to only control the ceiling fan w/light. I want to know what I need to do. I can't tell if the lights are in series or in parallel with each other.

Diagram: Here is the existing wire diagram of both switches.

Both 2-gangs, one has Switch A, one has Switch B

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  • What make and model is said ceiling fan/light kit combo, and what are you using in there for bulbs? Apr 5 at 0:07
  • Also, can you get us photos or a diagram of the wiring in the ceiling boxes please? Apr 5 at 1:17
  • @ThreePhaseEel it is a Hunter fan with a stock bulb. Hunter Hepburn [link] (homedepot.com/pep/…)
    – Koushik
    Apr 5 at 4:08
  • ah yea itll take sometime to get the ceiling box wiring in. I was planning to do that and check the continuity of each.
    – Koushik
    Apr 5 at 4:08
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    @FreeMan thanks for catching that! I edited the post. Thank you for the welcome!
    – Koushik
    Apr 6 at 15:48
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As you probably know the 3-way on diagram A is the second switch and connects to the 3 way on diagram B which in turn goes to the light.

I'm almost certain the to lights you wish to control separately are setup in series which means you cannot control them separately from the wired switches without disconnecting the second light and adding a new wire to one of the switches. Assuming the room is finished this is going to be a pain and expensive.

In terms of the fan turning on and off randomly my first question is whether the fan remote controlled? If so is it possible that something else is on the same channel?

If you really want the two lights to be controlled separately then short of adding the wire the only option I can think to control the lights separately is to hard wire the lights to permanently on. You would then replace the now redundant switches with a wireless remote switch and wireless light/fan control unit (e.g. something like https://www.destinationlighting.com/item/levven-wireless-light-switch-kit/768453?gclid=CjwKCAjwx6WDBhBQEiwA_dP8raoGkiSgl44ImgaMoq3v0wqaHLiEuyKXy0MdGhjzMJZmtpFYdmw1DhoCqDIQAvD_BwE#home). I suspect this will be by far the easiest option.

Jonathan

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  • Thanks Johnathan that was very informative. I'll see what i can do/find and report back in case anyone else can benefit from this thread.
    – Koushik
    Apr 5 at 4:05
  • @johnathan question... so I actually was assuming my 3way in diagram A was the main switch, so I'm glad you clarified that. If I were to add a smart 3way switch to Switch B.. then the "add-on" switch would be inserted into Switch A?
    – Koushik
    Apr 5 at 4:14
  • I was thinking about this and realized I hadn't asked the obvious first question. Is there access above the ceiling? If there is you can removed the wire connecting the second ceiling fixture (leaving the first ceiling fixture controlled by both 3-way switches. Then from space above you can hook up a wire to the second ceiling outlet, drill a hole in a wall top plate and drop the wire into the wall where you want to add a switch. As long as the new switch in next to an existing switch you can draw power form that.
    – jonathan
    Apr 5 at 12:04
  • If you have access above the ceiling. two tips. 1) It's acceptable to leave a wire in the walls providing they end in a box. Simply connect all the wires together. 2) You can't just splice two wires together without access but you can add a junction above the ceiling and splice them in the box. 3) Dropping a wire from above is really easy if the wall is 2x4 without insulation. Simply drill a hole in the top plate and drop a weighted string then pull the wire.
    – jonathan
    Apr 5 at 12:12
  • thank you this is great advice. First, yes there is an unfinished attic above this kitchen (I live in a 60s-built split foyer where the kitchen is on the top floor. So here are some more schematics: 1) Switch A is on an interior wall, between the kitchen and adjacent dining room. 2) Switch B is on an outerwall, so there will probably be insulation to work with.
    – Koushik
    Apr 6 at 15:52

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