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I have installed a ceiling fan/light in my living room where only a light fixture used to be. The room is large and with a high ceiling so getting up to change the fan setting and dimming the light is a pain. And a pull chain is not an option or a feature of the fan. I currently have a remote and receiver in the canopy. This is great, except for walking into the room when it is dark as I knock everything over searching for the remote.

What I would like to do is have a wall switch that will turn the fan and light on and off separately, AND have the remote in the room that also has full control to turn the light and fan on and off, but I don't think that is possible. If I'm wrong please let me know.

So my second desire, which I hope is possible, is to have the light controlled (on/off/dim) by a hard-wired wall switch and the remote, and the fan wired hot and controlled by the remote. The fan is a Hunter 3-speed.

About the installation:

  • The current wiring is with 12/2 romex (with ground).
  • I have access to the entire circuit, fan junction box, and wall switch from the ceiling/attic above.
  • The fan, remote, and canopy receiver are all Hunter.
  • I've attached pictures of the switch hardware that I'm working with (alternative suggestions welcomed).

Thanks Fellas, Evan

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Simplest answer is probably to get a second remote and velcro it to the wall, unless the controller is designed to also support a physical switch via a switch loop or the "toggle off and on again rapidly" signalling mechanism. Docs for the controller should answer that question; if they don't tell you how to also use a wall switch you probably can't -- or at least can't use it as anything but a master power switch.

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If you want to use the Remote, then you have the issue of having to find it to turn everything on. You mentioned in your second choice: "light... by a hard-wired wall switch and the remote, and the fan wired hot and controlled by the remote." sounds like your first option? You can Control the Light with the Dimmer hard wired switch and the Fan with the Remote, though you will need two HOT legs going to the Fan from the Switch box.

To go this route you would have your Incoming HOT (Black/line) branch in the Box, one will go up to the Fan, the other will go to the Switch. Then the Load is of the Switch goes up to the Fan. In the Fan you use the Bridged HOT from the Switch Box to connect to the remote unit, Connect Neutral and Ground and connect to FAN lead to the fan wire in the Fan.

The Load line of the Switch then connects Directly to the Light lead in the Fan, not on the remote unit, just put a Cap on the Light Lead coming off the Remote unit so when you accidentally press the Light button it won't short out things in the box.

This will give you local Control of the Light via the Wall Switch and then use the Remote for the Fan.

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Your installation violates the law as-it-is. You may notice that almost every room has a light switch in an expected location - this is so consistent that you can enter a totally new room and reach for where the switch probably is.

This light switch must work. You're not allowed a secret memorized procedure only your family knows. It's for guests, but it's also for First Responders. EMTs need light to save you. Firefighters need light to search for rescues. Cops need to see your son is holding a computer mouse. As such, this is baked into the Building Codes.

The problem is, when you are trying to combine dissimilar control methods, it really makes things hard. That is because these things need to be engineered from the ground up to work together, or they just won't. As such, your best bet is to junk all the random hardware, and select one smart-switch system that has the versatility to do what you need. Obtain a module and compatible switches which have been made to work together.

We can't recommend particular brands, they are changing too fast for a reco to stand the test of time. That is an editorial requirement here.

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There are three possibilities to do what you want:

  • You can get a wall remote control for your existing fan receiver -- it does not look like the Hunter wall remotes support dimming the light from the remote, but your existing remote does not appear to be a dimming model anyway. (This has the advantage that you can upgrade your system to support dimming from the handheld remote.)

  • You can replace your existing remote control system with a remotely controllable wall-switch-type dimmer/fan control: Leviton makes a product in the Vizia RF line that could work, although you'd have to buy a matching Z-Wave remote as well; if you're willing to live with having to point the remote at the dimmer, the Lutron Maestro IR could be used instead. This would also allow you to have full three-way control of the fan and light in the future (i.e. from the new handheld remote and multiple wall locations, including dimming), but you'd have to remove the existing remote system for this to work.

  • If you're willing to live with not being able to ever dim the lights from the handheld remote, it's possible to wire a SPDT relay in conjunction with your three-way dimmer to provide three-way switching control of the lights using the remote and wall dimmer, while still allowing the remote to control the fan speed. This also limits the lights on your fan to 240W -- in this day and age, that's not that big a deal, though.

More details on the relay approach:

You'll need your dimmer, a box (if you don't already have a box), a length of 12/4 cable (to serve as a switch loop -- the NEC now requires neutrals in switch boxes, see 404.2(C) for details), a 4" by 1" round mud ring that is volume marked (you use round mud rings on octagonal and round boxes) to fit your existing ceiling fan box (you need the extra volume for wiring -- the wires in the ceiling fan box take up a minimum of 28.5 cubic inches as per the NEC's calculations), a 1/2" locknut to attach the relay's nipple to the box, cable clamps, and the relay linked above.

wiring diagram for instructions below

Edited picture. Travelers are tagged with purple tape, and lamp dimmed-hot is tagged with blue tape.

  1. Turn the power to the circuit off, of course :)
  2. Gain access to the interior of the ceiling fan box (i.e. take the cover-piece off)
  3. Knock one of the knockouts out of the ceiling fan box (if you have one of those pesky plastic boxes that lacks 1/2" conduit knockouts, please comment and I'll adjust the answer to include an extra box as an adapter)
  4. Attach the mud ring/extension ring to your ceiling fan box
  5. Run the wires on the relay through the knockout hole
  6. Thread the relay's conduit nipple through the hole
  7. Use a locknut to attach the nipple to the box, just like attaching a piece of conduit to the box
  8. Disconnect the receiver's blue wire from the fan, the incoming black wire from the receiver, and the receiver's white wire from the fan -- leave the receiver's other black wire connected to the fan, and the other white wire connected to the feed from the wall
  9. Knock another knockout out of the box
  10. Thread the 12/4 NM through the knockout, and use a cable clamp to attach it to the box.
  11. Run the 12/4 NM to the switch location
  12. Install the box for the switch, if needed; if not, remove a knockout from the existing box
  13. Install the 12/4 NM into the switch box, using a cable clamp if needed
  14. Wire up the dimmer -- the red wires on the dimmer goes to the red and blue wires on the cable, while the black wire on the dimmer goes to the black wire on the cable, and the green wire on the dimmer goes to the bare wire on the cable, and get pigtailed to the box ground, if applicable. Wirenut off the cable's white wire -- it's reserved for future "smart" switches that need a neutral wire.
  15. Wire the relay's contacts -- the yellow wire from the relay goes to the black wire from the incoming power source and the black wire to the receiver, while the orange and blue wires from the relay go to the red and blue wires in the new 12/4 cable.
  16. Wire the relay's coil -- the white/blue wire gets terminated in a wirenut as it isn't needed here, while the white/black wire goes to the blue wire from the receiver, and the white/yellow wire goes to the connection of the neutral wire from the receiver, the neutral wire to the fan, and the neutral wire in the switch loop (12/4 cable).
  17. Connect the black wire from the 12/4 cable to the blue wire on the fan
  18. Put the cover piece back on the ceiling fan box
  19. Turn the power back on :)
  • That diagram was making me dizzy, so I substituted a "clearer" diagram. Rollback if you disagree. – Harper Jun 19 at 19:51
  • @Harper -- nice work! what did you make it in? – ThreePhaseEel Jun 19 at 22:33
  • Illustrator CS5... got my Mac working again... – Harper Jun 19 at 22:35
  • Ah :) no wonder, I've been limping by on GNOME-Dia all this time XD – ThreePhaseEel Jun 19 at 22:36
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I had two light sockets in my fixture. What I did was to separate them, one light hard wired to the wall switch and the other light hooked up through the remote control. Now I have the ability to turn on light from either or both.

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