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jimnyc
08-31-2014, 04:34 PM
I know this happened because you guys laughed at me the other day! I'm pulling my hair out right now.

My wife hits the bottom of the stairwell and turns of the light switch. When she does, the fan and light back at the top of the stairs turn off. This is normal, as they are 3 way switches and you can turn them on/off from either side.

What isn't normal, is that it never turned back on again. I'm not saying that her hitting the switch did it, that's just when I went to turn it back on, and it wouldn't. I figured I was going to get a new fan anyway, as this one is 15 years old and ugly. I fugured I would take it apart before I leave, all except for the wiring which I would do when I got back. I took the old fan all the way off - but when I got to the motor housing and lowered it, the light suddenly came back on. I know, you're thinking like I am, that a wire must have been shorted in the housing. I hit the breaker and the light turned off. I used a cheapie meter a bought where you can detect electricity without even touching it. I touched the wires in the housing that went to the ceiling and they were still live according to the meter. I tested sockets and other switches, and the meter was fine. I turned off power to entire house, tested housing again and all was dead. If the breaker took the light out on the fan, shouldn't the HOT wire above went with it too? There are only 2 wires coming out of ceiling - white and black. Only 3 wires attach from fan, white for neautral and blue and black for the fan.

So I went and got a new fan with LED lighting. Long story short, no light and no fan. But the meter says I have power - although it beeps sporadically, as if it's not a good connection. I hang new fan from hook and connect only neutral on one side, and then black/blue to the black hot wire on the other.

I think maybe the switches, so I replace both of them, problem persists.

Now I have fan hanging from ceiling again, but on an angle to wire it. I have just the hot and neautral attached (black/blue to hot) and no matter what I do I can't get the light or fan to turn on - and that's on 2 fans now. Never had power issues to the fan prior to today.

My arms have been over my head for like 4 hours now and I'm not happy. I need an electrician here!!

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:02 PM
So I just used my new meter for more testing. The whole house is live and the ceiling wires exposed. I hold the meter next to power cord for computer and she beeps endlessly. I bring into other room and hold up against power cord for lamp, and it beeps endlessly. Mind you, both of these are going through all the sheathing. I then hold it up against the thick copper on the HOT wire from ceiling, it beeps 2x and stops. I have to literally fight to get it to beep again, then it stops. Certainly nothing consistent up there, For awhile there, I held it on the wire for like 10 seconds and no noise, then it started to beep a few times.

Does the hot wire come from the switch, likely at the top of the stairs? Is it possible that wire went bad somewhere, perhaps shorted out where I can't see it?

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:09 PM
A few oversized pictures, so click to open in new window for better viewing. You can see the black/blue from the fan, and the white from the fan. You see the ground up top that comes from the new bracket. The 2 "black wires" are actually the white and black wires coming from the ceiling. I placed electrical tape around each as far up as I could, but trust me, if up close you can see the black/white (before you bastards tell me I had them backwards!)

http://i.imgur.com/wL2MRCj.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/ZElzCIs.jpg

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:10 PM
And the wires from the fan only look frayed like that from screwing the damn plastic thing on there like 90,000x already. :(

aboutime
08-31-2014, 05:10 PM
What would be more expensive for you Jim? Burning the house down, or getting a professional electrician to find the answer?

Not trying to sound like a smart-ass, but...unless You are a licensed Electrician. Sometimes it's better to get one who IS.

fj1200
08-31-2014, 05:19 PM
So I went and got a new fan with LED lighting. Long story short, no light and no fan. But the meter says I have power - although it beeps sporadically, as if it's not a good connection. I hang new fan from hook and connect only neutral on one side, and then black/blue to the black hot wire on the other.

Are the fan and the light on the ceiling fan switched separately or is it controlled by one wall switch? That could be adding one extra level of complexity to a 3-way switch.

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:20 PM
What would be more expensive for you Jim? Burning the house down, or getting a professional electrician to find the answer?

Not trying to sound like a smart-ass, but...unless You are a licensed Electrician. Sometimes it's better to get one who IS.

Oh, I know, I have no intention of going beyond what a normal consumer would touch when installing. We actually have an electrician here for a half day this upcoming Wednesday to run a connection from our box to the new generator, so I'll likely call him on Tuesday and see if he can perhaps add this to his list.

But based on the symptoms, I was hoping that others may see/read what I'm writing and have a hunch, one that doesn't include electrocution.

But you are correct. The woman is upset that I keep fiddling with it and wants me to wait too. I suppose a couple of days won't kill me, but I hate seeing the damn thing hanging there from the ceiling with no power, knowing the power was there just a few hours ago.

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:21 PM
Are the fan and the light on the ceiling fan switched separately or is it controlled by one wall switch? That could be adding one extra level of complexity to a 3-way switch.

It's (2) 3 way switches controlling the unit. In other words, I can turn on the light/fan as I go down my stairs, and then turn it back off when I get to the bottom.

aboutime
08-31-2014, 05:27 PM
Oh, I know, I have no intention of going beyond what a normal consumer would touch when installing. We actually have an electrician here for a half day this upcoming Wednesday to run a connection from our box to the new generator, so I'll likely call him on Tuesday and see if he can perhaps add this to his list.

But based on the symptoms, I was hoping that others may see/read what I'm writing and have a hunch, one that doesn't include electrocution.

But you are correct. The woman is upset that I keep fiddling with it and wants me to wait too. I suppose a couple of days won't kill me, but I hate seeing the damn thing hanging there from the ceiling with no power, knowing the power was there just a few hours ago.


Jim. Did you ever watch HOME IMPROVEMENT with Tim Allen?:laugh:

Good luck with the problem. It actually sounds like a faulty switch to me. But...I'm not an electrician. My most technical training was in repairing TELETYPE machines. Before they also became OBSOLETE....Like me.

fj1200
08-31-2014, 05:29 PM
It's (2) 3 way switches controlling the unit. In other words, I can turn on the light/fan as I go down my stairs, and then turn it back off when I get to the bottom.

I know that. Some (all?) ceiling fans are able to control the light and fan separately.

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:32 PM
Jim. Did you ever watch HOME IMPROVEMENT with Tim Allen?:laugh:

Good luck with the problem. It actually sounds like a faulty switch to me. But...I'm not an electrician. My most technical training was in repairing TELETYPE machines. Before they also became OBSOLETE....Like me.

It sounds like a bad switch, or wiring from a switch to the unit. I replaced both switches, so that should at least exclude the physical switches themselves. I dunno.

Oh yeah, saw every episode of Home Improvement, that show was awesome!

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 05:34 PM
I know that. Some (all?) ceiling fans are able to control the light and fan separately.

Yes, 2 separate cables to turn each on. I believe that the light, on the bottom, will ultimately receive it's power from the fan/motor, which has no power. I'm more concerned with why the meter isn't giving me full reading at that point, and it is everywhere else. At that juncture, the fan hasn't even come into play yet. I wish I had my old meter that would read the actual voltages and not just effing beep!

PixieStix
08-31-2014, 05:39 PM
http://www.funnypictures24.com/funny1/funnycat58.jpg

Gunny
08-31-2014, 05:54 PM
I hate to say this, as a professional electrician, but I would have to see it. Something doesn't sound right. AT is correct. You need to get someone that knows what they're doing. There are just too many variables; especially, with a 3-way.

First, you should NOT have a constant hot where the fan hooks up. You should have a switch leg that is controlled at the switch. The hot goes to one switch. That's all. It does NOT go to the fixture.

What it sounds like to me is hitting the switch may have jacked the switch up if you can't get the switch leg to turn off. If you turn it off at the breaker and it doesn't turn off, you're on the wrong breaker. You could have other circuits in that box.

If the wiring is romex, lord only knows how it's wired. The colors could mean nothing. Romex rockets are usually high as kites and under pressure to slap that crap together as fast as they can.

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 06:01 PM
I hate to say this, as a professional electrician, but I would have to see it. Something doesn't sound right. AT is correct. You need to get someone that knows what they're doing. There are just too many variables; especially, with a 3-way.

First, you should NOT have a constant hot where the fan hooks up. You should have a switch leg that is controlled at the switch. The hot goes to one switch. That's all. It does NOT go to the fixture.

What it sounds like to me is hitting the switch may have jacked the switch up if you can't get the switch leg to turn off. If you turn it off at the breaker and it doesn't turn off, you're on the wrong breaker. You could have other circuits in that box.

If the wiring is romex, lord only knows how it's wired. The colors could mean nothing. Romex rockets are usually high as kites and under pressure to slap that crap together as fast as they can.

That's why I need an electrician for sure then... I just "assumed" that the black wire out of the ceiling was always hot unless the breaker was off. Plus I replaced both switches. It was working this morning, and now it's not, and hitting that switch was the last time any action occurred. At least an electrician will have proper meters and can at least properly test all connections, and not rely on some 10 dollar beeping thing! Still pisses me off, as this shouldn't have been so damn hard.

Waiting a couple of days is the answer. A good coincidence that I have a pro coming already, I just hope he has a little time to set aside for this.

fj1200
08-31-2014, 06:08 PM
It was working this morning, and now it's not...

Then you didn't rewire properly my guess. But there's a gazillion different ways that a 3-way can go... okay, maybe 9.

http://www.easy-do-it-yourself-home-improvements.com/3-way-switch-wiring-diagram.html

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 06:20 PM
Then you didn't rewire properly my guess. But there's a gazillion different ways that a 3-way can go... okay, maybe 9.

http://www.easy-do-it-yourself-home-improvements.com/3-way-switch-wiring-diagram.html

Keep in mind, the issue started before I wired anything. And actually, other than those 2 connections up top, I still haven't really wired anything. It's hard to go wrong by connecting black/blue to black, and white to white. Other than reconnecting the neutral and hot/black, no other wiring took place. These 3 way switches were always here and working up until this morning, when my wife hit the one switch to turn it off, and apparently it all self destructed!

Gunny
08-31-2014, 06:25 PM
That's why I need an electrician for sure then... I just "assumed" that the black wire out of the ceiling was always hot unless the breaker was off. Plus I replaced both switches. It was working this morning, and now it's not, and hitting that switch was the last time any action occurred. At least an electrician will have proper meters and can at least properly test all connections, and not rely on some 10 dollar beeping thing! Still pisses me off, as this shouldn't have been so damn hard.

Waiting a couple of days is the answer. A good coincidence that I have a pro coming already, I just hope he has a little time to set aside for this.

You replaced both switches? Yeah, get an electrician. You didn't do something right, and like I said, it's something I would have to see. I wouldn't know where to begin telling someone how to wire a three-way on a message board. Installing one from scratch is easier.

fj1200
08-31-2014, 06:26 PM
... it all self destructed!

Unpossible. Of course even the "experts" get it wrong sometimes. I have a 3-way in the upstairs hall and the switch on the end has the light on when it's both "on" and "off." The only time the switch worked to turn the light actually off was when it was stuck in the middle. The electrician was upset with whoever ran the wire that particular day. I just know it wasn't me, the stuff I ran works. :cool:

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 06:33 PM
You replaced both switches? Yeah, get an electrician. You didn't do something right, and like I said, it's something I would have to see. I wouldn't know where to begin telling someone how to wire a three-way on a message board. Installing one from scratch is easier.

But it wasn't working prior to me swapping the switches either. I moved the 3 wires, one at a time, from prong to prong, to make sure they went back identically as it was before. This entire problem existed BEFORE I touched anything, no light and no fan - I got a new one thinking that was the issue - but the problem existed before I even unscrewed a single thing today. :(

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 06:35 PM
Unpossible. Of course even the "experts" get it wrong sometimes. I have a 3-way in the upstairs hall and the switch on the end has the light on when it's both "on" and "off." The only time the switch worked to turn the light actually off was when it was stuck in the middle. The electrician was upset with whoever ran the wire that particular day. I just know it wasn't me, the stuff I ran works. :cool:

I get obsessed with stuff like this, worse when I'm working on computers. I don't know when to stop. This time I'm giving in though, this shit gave me a headache. :laugh:

Gunny
08-31-2014, 06:40 PM
I get obsessed with stuff like this, worse when I'm working on computers. I don't know when to stop. This time I'm giving in though, this shit gave me a headache. :laugh:

It's "when to stop" time. ;)

fj1200
08-31-2014, 06:42 PM
I get obsessed with stuff like this, worse when I'm working on computers. I don't know when to stop. This time I'm giving in though, this shit gave me a headache. :laugh:

Dude, it's just a puzzle.....










THAT CAN KILL!!!!!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sir Evil
08-31-2014, 06:55 PM
That's why I need an electrician for sure then... I just "assumed" that the black wire out of the ceiling was always hot unless the breaker was off. Plus I replaced both switches. It was working this morning, and now it's not, and hitting that switch was the last time any action occurred. At least an electrician will have proper meters and can at least properly test all connections, and not rely on some 10 dollar beeping thing! Still pisses me off, as this shouldn't have been so damn hard.

Waiting a couple of days is the answer. A good coincidence that I have a pro coming already, I just hope he has a little time to set aside for this.

If what you told me is correct that when unhooking the ceiling fan the light popped on when lowering the unit you are going to find that you have an exposed wire within the box or possibly somewhere between the ceiling fax and the switch. And Gunny is dead on when stating color means nothing of any certainty with older romex. Bet you find that there is a short, likely exposed wire where wires enter the ceiling box.

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 06:55 PM
It's "when to stop" time. ;)

Yeah, my wife just put a halt to all operations. I know I'm bipolar, I just "feel" like I've got some OCD in me too. I think I had a few more ideas too! :) But I get all worked up, angry, sweaty and shaky if I push it, and then feel sick. Sometimes just stopping is easier said than done, sometimes not even an option. I don't like "failure", and that's what it feels like.

But then I think of the time I got zapped by the cap inside a monitor, and became a human light bulb, and figured this battle ain't worth fighting. :laugh:

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 07:00 PM
If what you told me is correct that when unhooking the ceiling fan the light popped on when lowering the unit you are going to find that you have an exposed wire within the box or possibly somewhere between the ceiling fax and the switch. And Gunny is dead on when stating color means nothing of any certainty with older romex. Bet you find that there is a short, likely exposed wire where wires enter the ceiling box.

Yeah, not sure if the others read that part, that the light on the other fan magically turned back on as I lowered the motor housing from the ceiling bracket.

But I wave the white flag. Damn wires all look the same right now (that's right, I'm racist against them little fuckers right now). Not to mention, the unit came awfully close to going out the 2nd floor window a few times.

Time to gear up and get ready for some good 'ol fashioned Nascar now! 7:46pm EST - boogit boogity boogity, let's go racing boys! <--- Do I get redneck points? :laugh2:

Sir Evil
08-31-2014, 07:01 PM
Yeah, my wife just put a halt to all operations. I know I'm bipolar, I just "feel" like I've got some OCD in me too. I think I had a few more ideas too! :) But I get all worked up, angry, sweaty and shaky if I push it, and then feel sick. Sometimes just stopping is easier said than done, sometimes not even an option. I don't like "failure", and that's what it feels like.

But then I think of the time I got zapped by the cap inside a monitor, and became a human light bulb, and figured this battle ain't worth fighting. :laugh:

Best to walk away once you have tried all that you are capable of before you start second guessing things and really screw something up.

Gunny
08-31-2014, 07:03 PM
Yeah, not sure if the others read that part, that the light on the other fan magically turned back on as I lowered the motor housing from the ceiling bracket.

But I wave the white flag. Damn wires all look the same right now (that's right, I'm racist against them little fuckers right now). Not to mention, the unit came awfully close to going out the 2nd floor window a few times.

Time to gear up and get ready for some good 'ol fashioned Nascar now! 7:46pm EST - boogit boogity boogity, let's go racing boys! <--- Do I get redneck points? :laugh2:

Dude, I do it for a living and know what I'm doing and it STILL drives me nuts.:laugh:

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 07:10 PM
Best to walk away once you have tried all that you are capable of before you start second guessing things and really screw something up.

I hear ya, and that's why I'm in here now, staying away from it. Besides, I'm tired of going up and down to the basement and hitting that damn breaker box. I feel like Mr. Miyago - "power on, power off, power on, power off..."


Dude, I do it for a living and know what I'm doing and it STILL drives me nuts.:laugh:

Yeah, and I should know better, as that's how I am with computers. 20+ years after my schooling and such and I still get stumped, need to do research, call someone. There were a few teams when I worked in NYC, where if they had windows in that building, a computer or 2 would have landed on 5th avenue or Madison Ave. I need to take a breather when I get stumped, otherwise I get angry, at people AND physical objects! LOL

Gunny
08-31-2014, 07:13 PM
I hear ya, and that's why I'm in here now, staying away from it. Besides, I'm tired of going up and down to the basement and hitting that damn breaker box. I feel like Mr. Miyago - "power on, power off, power on, power off..."



Yeah, and I should know better, as that's how I am with computers. 20+ years after my schooling and such and I still get stumped, need to do research, call someone. There were a few teams when I worked in NYC, where if they had windows in that building, a computer or 2 would have landed on 5th avenue or Madison Ave. I need to take a breather when I get stumped, otherwise I get angry, at people AND physical objects! LOL

I hear ya. If I'm troubleshooting wiring, EVERYONE stays away from me. :laugh:

jimnyc
08-31-2014, 07:18 PM
I hear ya. If I'm troubleshooting wiring, EVERYONE stays away from me. :laugh:

So it's not just me? You should have seen me when I used to have to build our own Cat-5 cables. Yes, they were that cheap back in the day and I had to make lengths of cable, and then crimp on the heads. Granted I wasn't getting electrocuted, but there were a few times, trying to line up 8 fucking colors in that little tiny head, where an innocent person walking by almost got choked out with my cable. And then we would run old shit cable and make our own RS-232 connections, the old dumb monitor connections, where there were pins on the cable like on a VGA cable. We would have to crimp on all of those little gold heads... Nevermind, I'm getting nightmares thinking of it. It was just tedious shit, and one little screwup and that was the end of the cable. I hate all wiring/cabling - but at least I never had to fiddle much with live crap and fall off ladders! :lol:

Gunny
08-31-2014, 07:32 PM
So it's not just me? You should have seen me when I used to have to build our own Cat-5 cables. Yes, they were that cheap back in the day and I had to make lengths of cable, and then crimp on the heads. Granted I wasn't getting electrocuted, but there were a few times, trying to line up 8 fucking colors in that little tiny head, where an innocent person walking by almost got choked out with my cable. And then we would run old shit cable and make our own RS-232 connections, the old dumb monitor connections, where there were pins on the cable like on a VGA cable. We would have to crimp on all of those little gold heads... Nevermind, I'm getting nightmares thinking of it. It was just tedious shit, and one little screwup and that was the end of the cable. I hate all wiring/cabling - but at least I never had to fiddle much with live crap and fall off ladders! :lol:

And one little screw-up in a 3 way is the same.

And yes, I've fallen off and/or been knocked the f- off by a 277v neutral more than once. :laugh:

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 03:59 PM
I'm only posting the following so that everyone can see that I own up to my mistakes! :coffee:

I stand by my original assessments though:

1- Wife hit one side of 3 way switch and the fan/light went off and switches wouldn't turn them back on again.
2- The switches worked for 15 years, those weren't my installs
3- As I pulled down the motor housing on the old one, the light came back on (lead me to believe a short)
4- Disconnected rest of fan/light
5- Bought 2 new switches
6- Bought new fan/light

This is where I screwed up somewhere.

1- I replaced switch at bottom of stairwell
2- I replaced switch at top, where the fan/light was
3- Installed new fan/light and left hanging from bracket, can't get either to power on. Give up and wait for electrician

4- Dwell on it at night
5- Dwell on it in morning
6- Got to Home Depot again and get some wire & a new meter
7- Still nothing

8- I notice the one switch has RED wire on top right of switch. RED wire was on bottom of other switch. WTF?
9- I put the RED the same on both switches, and move the other to the red position
10- Yay! Now I have light!!!
11- Waste my time putting everything back together. Light goes and no fan!! WTF??
12- Spend hours troubleshooting
13- After checking with meters 1000x to make sure I'm right, I swap the 2 blacks - one is in upper left, other on lower right.

Voila! Fan and light work. Put everything back together, put switch plates on and put all tools away.

14- Play with both switches 80x to make sure it stays working. And it does.

Ya know, I don't even know if that's the damn order. All I know is that even when I "thought" it was all working another time, both fan and light working, it wasn't. That's when wife went to bottom switch and turned off. When that one was off, the upper wouldn't do anything no matter if the switch was up or down. When the bottom was in UP position, the upper worked fine. Cables were backwards.

I fucked up with the damn wires 6 inches from my face. Thank God I didn't blow out a socket/switch or start a fire. I should have used tape on every single wire, marked them, took a picture - so that it was impossible to get it wrong.

I still have no idea what started the whole issue, that she turned the unit off at the switch and it never came back on again. And of course I compounded the issue by getting the wires on the switch wrong. Basically, picture the 3 wires (upper left, upper right, bottom right) they all went in clockwise position to the next lead. To fix it, they needed to go back counter clockwise to their original positions.

AT and Gunny were right, should have waited and got an electrician. And I highly recommend that to anyone else that isn't 1000000% sure of what they are doing. I was 99% sure and the 1% got me! I figured it out because I couldn't seem to let it go - but I was only lucky I suppose that I didn't harm anything.

Those in the know - could having these wires wrong like that between the 3 way switches cause anything more than a blown switch, or killed fan?

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 04:00 PM
And one little screw-up in a 3 way is the same

This is unfortunately what I just found out the hard way with these switches too! :laugh:

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 07:35 PM
I spoke to soon. :(

All still works, all wiring still fine, nothing like that. But I think crossing wires and such damaged the fan itself. Inside the motors of ceiling fans there is a square capacitor. The sole job of this capacitor is to engage and speed up the fan when you turn it on, that's it, it's only job.

Well, I turn the fan off, wait for it to stop, and turn it back on and it doesn't move. I feel it humming as I pull the cord, all 3 speeds, then off again. I switch it back to high and turn it manually like a propeller and it then speeds up and stays on. I repeated the process with the same results. I found out about this issue online. Another guy told someone about this, and told the guy to simply "lower the fan casing and find the capacitor, not whether it's marked, and then bring it to hardware store and replace it." The guy at the hardware store told him it would be better to just replace.

And I don't care how easy it is to replace this supposed capacitor, my ass ain't ever touching one of those suckers again. I have no idea how much energy is stored in this particular one, and I don't want to find out.

Gonna have the electrician verify the 3 way switches are in good working order. If all is well electrically, then I guess my cost for trying to do this myself will be the cost of another fan! :(

Gunny
09-01-2014, 07:43 PM
I'm only posting the following so that everyone can see that I own up to my mistakes! :coffee:

I stand by my original assessments though:

1- Wife hit one side of 3 way switch and the fan/light went off and switches wouldn't turn them back on again.
2- The switches worked for 15 years, those weren't my installs
3- As I pulled down the motor housing on the old one, the light came back on (lead me to believe a short)
4- Disconnected rest of fan/light
5- Bought 2 new switches
6- Bought new fan/light

This is where I screwed up somewhere.

1- I replaced switch at bottom of stairwell
2- I replaced switch at top, where the fan/light was
3- Installed new fan/light and left hanging from bracket, can't get either to power on. Give up and wait for electrician

4- Dwell on it at night
5- Dwell on it in morning
6- Got to Home Depot again and get some wire & a new meter
7- Still nothing

8- I notice the one switch has RED wire on top right of switch. RED wire was on bottom of other switch. WTF?
9- I put the RED the same on both switches, and move the other to the red position
10- Yay! Now I have light!!!
11- Waste my time putting everything back together. Light goes and no fan!! WTF??
12- Spend hours troubleshooting
13- After checking with meters 1000x to make sure I'm right, I swap the 2 blacks - one is in upper left, other on lower right.

Voila! Fan and light work. Put everything back together, put switch plates on and put all tools away.

14- Play with both switches 80x to make sure it stays working. And it does.

Ya know, I don't even know if that's the damn order. All I know is that even when I "thought" it was all working another time, both fan and light working, it wasn't. That's when wife went to bottom switch and turned off. When that one was off, the upper wouldn't do anything no matter if the switch was up or down. When the bottom was in UP position, the upper worked fine. Cables were backwards.

I fucked up with the damn wires 6 inches from my face. Thank God I didn't blow out a socket/switch or start a fire. I should have used tape on every single wire, marked them, took a picture - so that it was impossible to get it wrong.

I still have no idea what started the whole issue, that she turned the unit off at the switch and it never came back on again. And of course I compounded the issue by getting the wires on the switch wrong. Basically, picture the 3 wires (upper left, upper right, bottom right) they all went in clockwise position to the next lead. To fix it, they needed to go back counter clockwise to their original positions.

AT and Gunny were right, should have waited and got an electrician. And I highly recommend that to anyone else that isn't 1000000% sure of what they are doing. I was 99% sure and the 1% got me! I figured it out because I couldn't seem to let it go - but I was only lucky I suppose that I didn't harm anything.

Those in the know - could having these wires wrong like that between the 3 way switches cause anything more than a blown switch, or killed fan?

You crossed your travellers. That's what I suspected. That's the two wires at the top of each switch. The bottom of of one switch will have your hot, and the bottom of the other switch your switch leg. And yes, you mix those with the hot or switch leg the wrong way and you're pretty much done.

In commercial wiring, we mark all the wires so we know which one goes where at each end. We're also using conduit we can put the number of wires in that we need. Romex drives me insane.

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 07:51 PM
You crossed your travellers. That's what I suspected. That's the two wires at the top of each switch. The bottom of of one switch will have your hot, and the bottom of the other switch your switch leg. And yes, you mix those with the hot or switch leg the wrong way and you're pretty much done.

In commercial wiring, we mark all the wires so we know which one goes where at each end. We're also using conduit we can put the number of wires in that we need. Romex drives me insane.

On my switches, based in the schematic that came with them...

Hey, wait a minute...

Yep, on mine the bottom right is the hot on both (as per schematic that came with switches). The top 2 are the travellers.

Now, I swear when I removed from the old one, it was different. I admit to never looking at the schematic on the new switch, just assumed they were all the same. Is it possible that putting them back in the identical order as before, still screwed it up because these are different manufacture switches?

Gunny
09-01-2014, 07:58 PM
On my switches, based in the schematic that came with them...

Hey, wait a minute...

Yep, on mine the bottom right is the hot on both (as per schematic that came with switches). The top 2 are the travellers.

Now, I swear when I removed from the old one, it was different. I admit to never looking at the schematic on the new switch, just assumed they were all the same. Is it possible that putting them back in the identical order as before, still screwed it up because these are different manufacture switches?

Here's a trick next time you play electrician. You can get a number book in the electrical section at most hardware stores. Or, different color tape. Mark each wire and write down which one was where BEFORE disconnecting. Save you a couple of days of :bang3:

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 08:06 PM
Here's a trick next time you play electrician. You can get a number book in the electrical section at most hardware stores. Or, different color tape. Mark each wire and write down which one was where BEFORE disconnecting. Save you a couple of days of :bang3:

That's what my Dad said, or take a picture. But these damn wires are so old that they all look alike!!! It's some old sheathing, almost hairy like at the frayed edges.

As to the bold - You can get a number of a good electrician.... would be better!! :)

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 08:07 PM
Here's a trick next time you play electrician. You can get a number book in the electrical section at most hardware stores. Or, different color tape. Mark each wire and write down which one was where BEFORE disconnecting. Save you a couple of days of :bang3:

IS it possible though, for the hot to be the bottom right on one manufacturer switch, but say on the top right on another manufacturer?

Gunny
09-01-2014, 08:10 PM
That's what my Dad said, or take a picture. But these damn wires are so old that they all look alike!!! It's some old sheathing, almost hairy like at the frayed edges.

As to the bold - You can get a number of a good electrician.... would be better!! :)

Yeah, forget the picture. Use the numbers or different colored tape. Those don't look the same. I HATE doing service calls on old houses. You'd think the romex rockets paid for it themselves they make it so short in the box. Sounds to me like you've got that REALLY old cotton sheating over lead with wire inside. If I'd have been working on THAT, y'all'd have cleared the house because you'd be learning new words. :laugh:

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 08:14 PM
Yeah, forget the picture. Use the numbers or different colored tape. Those don't look the same. I HATE doing service calls on old houses. You'd think the romex rockets paid for it themselves they make it so short in the box. Sounds to me like you've got that REALLY old cotton sheating over lead with wire inside. If I'd have been working on THAT, y'all'd have cleared the house because you'd be learning new words. :laugh:

Yeah, where it hasn't blackened totally, the "hairy" stuff I refer to looks like it WAS whitey cotton looking at one time. I put electrical tape on everything from where the wires came out of the walls all the way to the stripped end, just left a tad to see the colors. I did the same with the fan connections to the ceiling, and also put electrical tape on the plastic wire screws just in case.

When it gets even more frail, I guess the wiring altogether will have to be replaced? Shit, if it's like that up there, I'm sure it'll be the same throughout the house. I suppose it costs a lot to rewire an entire home? :laugh:

Gunny
09-01-2014, 08:30 PM
Yeah, where it hasn't blackened totally, the "hairy" stuff I refer to looks like it WAS whitey cotton looking at one time. I put electrical tape on everything from where the wires came out of the walls all the way to the stripped end, just left a tad to see the colors. I did the same with the fan connections to the ceiling, and also put electrical tape on the plastic wire screws just in case.

When it gets even more frail, I guess the wiring altogether will have to be replaced? Shit, if it's like that up there, I'm sure it'll be the same throughout the house. I suppose it costs a lot to rewire an entire home? :laugh:

I have no idea what it costs where you live, Y'all's economy is a foreign notion compared to ours down here. It's expensive here. Your housing and stuff is also a different style and a lot older than ours from what I have seen. The type wire you are describing hasn't been used since the 40s. I haven't been around it a lot (thank you, Lord). What I've seen of it though, it's pretty sturdy. The frayed ends on the sheathing is where they cut it, that's all.

jimnyc
09-01-2014, 08:50 PM
I have no idea what it costs where you live, Y'all's economy is a foreign notion compared to ours down here. It's expensive here. Your housing and stuff is also a different style and a lot older than ours from what I have seen. The type wire you are describing hasn't been used since the 40s. I haven't been around it a lot (thank you, Lord). What I've seen of it though, it's pretty sturdy. The frayed ends on the sheathing is where they cut it, that's all.

The house was built in 1941, so it makes sense, probably the original wiring most of the way around. Does wire in itself "go bad"? What I mean is, if everything works, and a dummy like me doesn't fuck with things, how long is such cable rated for?

Gunny
09-01-2014, 09:00 PM
The house was built in 1941, so it makes sense, probably the original wiring most of the way around. Does wire in itself "go bad"? What I mean is, if everything works, and a dummy like me doesn't fuck with things, how long is such cable rated for?

It isn't rated for a specific time that I am aware of. Best I can tell, it outlasts the house. The older stuff I don't know. Current code doesn't cover it. There are houses over a hundred years old still standing though. Faulty electrical is usually due to -- you guessed it --- a dummy like you fucking with it.:laugh:

Actually, almost all electrical fires are caused by misuse of appliances, not the electrical wiring. However, if you overload a circuit and the breaker doesn't trip, that could start a fire. And breakers DO go bad. But will STILL start the fire at the overlaod -- the user's end. There's a reason for the rating on the panel, the wiring, and the device (appliance). Just changing out your switches and fan isn't going to do anything as long as you over-taped everything like you said, and since I know you work with electronics, you're a step up on most. Only difference is the wires and devices are bigger.

namvet
09-03-2014, 10:21 AM
The house was built in 1941, so it makes sense, probably the original wiring most of the way around. Does wire in itself "go bad"? What I mean is, if everything works, and a dummy like me doesn't fuck with things, how long is such cable rated for?

if that's still the original wiring yes it can and will go bad. the wire insulation will get hard and brittle split open exposing bare wire !!! if i had the bucks i would have the entire house upgraded to romex. the wall sockets tell the story. old wiring didn't have a ground. so the socket is just 2 connecters. if you have the 3 pin connector then its probably been upgraded. so which is it??? 2 or 3 ??

namvet
09-03-2014, 10:24 AM
http://i57.tinypic.com/10huag6.jpg

meet MR Simpson. he saved my ass more than once :thumb:

jimnyc
09-03-2014, 10:35 AM
if that's still the original wiring yes it can and will go bad. the wire insulation will get hard and brittle split open exposing bare wire !!! if i had the bucks i would have the entire house upgraded to romex. the wall sockets tell the story. old wiring didn't have a ground. so the socket is just 2 connecters. if you have the 3 pin connector then its probably been upgraded. so which is it??? 2 or 3 ??

Only the 3 pin connectors for the stairwell, so you can turn off the fan/light from upstairs or downstairs. They aren't 3 pins as in ground, but 3 way switches ( hot wire and 2 travellers between the switches). The rest are 2. Trust me, it's original. All the wiring is covered by what seems to be like a nylon or cotton sheath, which has gotten very brittle over the years. One of the wires coming out of the ceiling had about 3 inches literally fall off when I barely pulled on it, hence me taping up everything like a freak. I bought a 12 foot length of romex from home depot the other day, which I no longer need, but I wish the whole house was using that wiring! So much easier to work with, and seems like it would be more durable. But like you've read, I ain't no electrician!

Gunny
09-03-2014, 10:37 AM
if that's still the original wiring yes it can and will go bad. the wire insulation will get hard and brittle split open exposing bare wire !!! if i had the bucks i would have the entire house upgraded to romex. the wall sockets tell the story. old wiring didn't have a ground. so the socket is just 2 connecters. if you have the 3 pin connector then its probably been upgraded. so which is it??? 2 or 3 ??

If it's 40's and hasn't been upgraded, then it's not going to have a ground. Now, by code, everything has to be so grounded it's pathetic. Back then, your neutral (return) was considered the ground because both the neutral and ground are bonded at the service entrance to the facility. They still are. Having a separate ground is much safer.

Not sure I agree on the wire thing though. It's usually the devices that go bad first. I've worked on houses from the late 1800's (oh joy) that were fine but for the devices. But yeah, if you can afford it, having your service upgraded would definitely be the best route.

namvet
09-03-2014, 11:00 AM
Only the 3 pin connectors for the stairwell, so you can turn off the fan/light from upstairs or downstairs. They aren't 3 pins as in ground, but 3 way switches ( hot wire and 2 travellers between the switches). The rest are 2. Trust me, it's original. All the wiring is covered by what seems to be like a nylon or cotton sheath, which has gotten very brittle over the years. One of the wires coming out of the ceiling had about 3 inches literally fall off when I barely pulled on it, hence me taping up everything like a freak. I bought a 12 foot length of romex from home depot the other day, which I no longer need, but I wish the whole house was using that wiring! So much easier to work with, and seems like it would be more durable. But like you've read, I ain't no electrician!

damned. not good.

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/how-to-replace-an-electrical-receptacle-2.jpg

so you have the ungrounded sockets. it really needs to be upgraded bad. im surprised it wasn't some time in the past. to meet code.
you said when lowered the fan the light came on. right?? if it didn't trip a breaker that's a bad connection. or what i call a malfuction at the junction. are the wires taped together?? I never use tape but instead wire nuts.

http://www.pro-handyman.com/Portals/52840/images/wire.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/2d47e9.jpg

their cheap, code approved and fast to install. a good tight connection. so. if these wires are taped remove it and replace with the nuts. you may very well find your problem under the tape.

fj1200
09-03-2014, 11:05 AM
the wall sockets tell the story. old wiring didn't have a ground. so the socket is just 2 connecters. if you have the 3 pin connector then its probably been upgraded. so which is it??? 2 or 3 ??

Or some knucklehead just put in a grounded socket because their wife bought a new appliance that wouldn't plug in to the old socket. Interestingly I did read in the code that you can put in a GFI outlet without a ground.

namvet
09-03-2014, 11:18 AM
Or some knucklehead just put in a grounded socket because their wife bought a new appliance that wouldn't plug in to the old socket. Interestingly I did read in the code that you can put in a GFI outlet without a ground.

knuckleheads can blow the head off your dick. I would think an unground GFI is another disaster waiting to happen. their purpose is to pop with water present.

fj1200
09-03-2014, 11:24 AM
knuckleheads can blow the head off your dick. I would think an unground GFI is another disaster waiting to happen. their purpose is to pop with water present.

That's all that knuckleheads are good for. I was surprised about the GFI thing but it's in there. (crap, don't make me look it up) Here it is:


How Do They Work? A GFCI constantly monitors current
flowing through a circuit. If the current
flowing into the circuit differs by a very
small amount (as little as 0.006 amperes)
from the returning current, the GFCI
interrupts power faster than a blink of an
eye to prevent a lethal dose of electricity.
GFCIs are designed to operate before the
electricity can affect your heartbeat. A
GFCI works even on two-slot receptacles.
http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/118853/099.pdf

Gunny
09-03-2014, 11:25 AM
damned. not good.

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/how-to-replace-an-electrical-receptacle-2.jpg

so you have the ungrounded sockets. it really needs to be upgraded bad. im surprised it wasn't some time in the past. to meet code.
you said when lowered the fan the light came on. right?? if it didn't trip a breaker that's a bad connection. or what i call a malfuction at the junction. are the wires taped together?? I never use tape but instead wire nuts.

http://www.pro-handyman.com/Portals/52840/images/wire.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/2d47e9.jpg

their cheap, code approved and fast to install. a good tight connection. so. if these wires are taped remove it and replace with the nuts. you may very well find your problem under the tape.

Pre-existing structures do not have to be upgraded to meet code. If Americans had to upgrade every 4 years or so when the NEC puts out a new code book, nobody'd have a place to live. Anf they LOVE to make happy to glad changes.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 11:27 AM
Or some knucklehead just put in a grounded socket because their wife bought a new appliance that wouldn't plug in to the old socket. Interestingly I did read in the code that you can put in a GFI outlet without a ground.

What code were YOU reading? You CAN do anything to your own home you wish as far as minor repairs go. But you can't install ANYTHING nowadays that isn't grounded.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 11:31 AM
That's all that knuckleheads are good for. I was surprised about the GFI thing but it's in there. (crap, don't make me look it up) Here it is:


http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/118853/099.pdf

Okay, you're talking home repairs for goobers. That is NOT what the NEC code book says. But I can see where we got our wires crossed (pun intended).

fj1200
09-03-2014, 11:31 AM
What code were YOU reading? You CAN do anything to your own home you wish as far as minor repairs go. But you can't install ANYTHING nowadays that isn't grounded.

The NEC is the only one electrical right? It was in there someplace. When I sold my last house 5 years ago the new owners wanted X done and I said no because it was already OK or I added a GFI to make it OK. I know I found it in there.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 11:42 AM
The NEC is the only one electrical right? It was in there someplace. When I sold my last house 5 years ago the new owners wanted X done and I said no because it was already OK or I added a GFI to make it OK. I know I found it in there.

It's different though. You're talking about home repairs to existing electrical. I'm talking installation from scratch. That is what I do and am most familiar with.

Electrical does not have to be upgraded to sell a home, nor updated to meet current code. Completely different than commercial construction where we start with dirt and build from there.

fj1200
09-03-2014, 11:45 AM
It's different though. You're talking about home repairs to existing electrical. I'm talking installation from scratch. That is what I do and am most familiar with.

Electrical does not have to be upgraded to sell a home, nor updated to meet current code. Completely different than commercial construction where we start with dirt and build from there.

I agree with all that, this was a specific violation, or so they thought, that I wasn't going to spend any more than I had to to make right. I know enough to rewire my house but I had no interest in messing with the new box and upgraded service. I know my limitations. :eek:

I think this was the code section:


Note: When GFCI protection is not provided, Section 250-130(c) allows nongrounding-type receptacle to be replaced with a grounding-type receptacle at an outlet box that does not contain an equipment grounding conductor, if the grounding contacts of the receptacle are bonded to any one of the following locations

Gunny
09-03-2014, 11:48 AM
I agree with all that, this was a specific violation, or so they thought, that I wasn't going to spend any more than I had to to make right. I know enough to rewire my house but I had no interest in messing with the new box and upgraded service. I know my limitations. :eek:

I think this was the code section:

Okay. I understand what you are saying now.

jimnyc
09-03-2014, 12:06 PM
damned. not good.

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/how-to-replace-an-electrical-receptacle-2.jpg

so you have the ungrounded sockets. it really needs to be upgraded bad. im surprised it wasn't some time in the past. to meet code.
you said when lowered the fan the light came on. right?? if it didn't trip a breaker that's a bad connection. or what i call a malfuction at the junction. are the wires taped together?? I never use tape but instead wire nuts.

http://www.pro-handyman.com/Portals/52840/images/wire.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/2d47e9.jpg

their cheap, code approved and fast to install. a good tight connection. so. if these wires are taped remove it and replace with the nuts. you may very well find your problem under the tape.

My bad, the other outlets do have the 3 prongs. I was replying incorrectly. The switches in this project were 3 way switches, one hot and 2 travellers wires. I "assumed" the others were 2 pin connectors, as in black/white, as opposed to the travellers, but they are 3 pronged and grounded.

The connections in the ceiling were in fact made with the wire connectors, but I also put a ton of electrical tape around them as well, in addition to the wiring up to where it met the ceiling.

namvet
09-03-2014, 12:12 PM
My bad, the other outlets do have the 3 prongs. I was replying incorrectly. The switches in this project were 3 way switches, one hot and 2 travellers wires. I "assumed" the others were 2 pin connectors, as in black/white, as opposed to the travellers, but they are 3 pronged and grounded.

The connections in the ceiling were in fact made with the wire connectors, but I also put a ton of electrical tape around them as well, in addition to the wiring up to where it met the ceiling.

Jesus saves. so your up to code. are the wire connectors actually wire nuts?? you may need to just tighten them up. but there is a bad connection up there somewhere. a good eyeball inspection goes a long way here

Gunny
09-03-2014, 12:16 PM
Jesus saves. so your up to code. are the wire connectors actually wire nuts?? you may need to just tighten them up. but there is a bad connection up there somewhere. a good eyeball inspection goes a long way here

Yes, he's talking about wire nuts. Took me a minute to figure that one out back on page one. :laugh:

My grandfather was an electrician and he called them "caps". Terminology is a BIG problem in the electrical trade. It varies from company to company, and person to person. Deciphering WTH the guy your listening to is talking about is half the battle.

namvet
09-03-2014, 12:34 PM
Yes, he's talking about wire nuts. Took me a minute to figure that one out back on page one. :laugh:

My grandfather was an electrician and he called them "caps". Terminology is a BIG problem in the electrical trade. It varies from company to company, and person to person. Deciphering WTH the guy your listening to is talking about is half the battle.

well if his wiring is up to code that's the important thing. im with you. he should just hire a pro electrician to fix this and problem solved. trying to fix tech problems on the net can be a pain.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 12:45 PM
well if his wiring is up to code that's the important thing. im with you. he should just hire a pro electrician to fix this and problem solved. trying to fix tech problems on the net can be a pain.

Sounds like he got it right. He just had his travellers crossed. As far as getting up to code is concerned, you're only up to code for a max of 4-5 years. That's how often they update that $100. NEC code book. A lot of code is overkill and purposefully so. That 1940's house would probably cost him $5K to bring up to code.

As I stated previously, most electrical problems are either the user's appliances, or the devices. Not the wiring. The BIGGEST problem I've seen is the know it all, wannabe's overloading their panels and/or circuitry.

namvet
09-03-2014, 12:59 PM
Sounds like he got it right. He just had his travellers crossed. As far as getting up to code is concerned, you're only up to code for a max of 4-5 years. That's how often they update that $100. NEC code book. A lot of code is overkill and purposefully so. That 1940's house would probably cost him $5K to bring up to code.

As I stated previously, most electrical problems are either the user's appliances, or the devices. Not the wiring. The BIGGEST problem I've seen is the know it all, wannabe's overloading their panels and/or circuitry.

ive owned 2 homes and never had one update required

fj1200
09-03-2014, 02:34 PM
As I stated previously, most electrical problems are either the user's appliances, or the devices. Not the wiring. The BIGGEST problem I've seen is the know it all, wannabe's overloading their panels and/or circuitry.

A friend bought a new house in the neighborhood and I went into one small bedroom, about 10 by 10, and it had no less than 20 outlets packed into that one room. I don't even know what that could be used for but thankfully when they update it'll be ripped out when an actual electrician goes in there.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 02:49 PM
A friend bought a new house in the neighborhood and I went into one small bedroom, about 10 by 10, and it had no less than 20 outlets packed into that one room. I don't even know what that could be used for but thankfully when they update it'll be ripped out when an actual electrician goes in there.

Uh, yeah. You can put 13.3 receptacles on one 20 amp circuit, if they are general purpose outlets (don't carry a continuous load). The math to a 20 amp circuit is 80% of the max load. That's roughly 16 amps per circuit. The panel is configured the same way. 80% of maximum load. Almost all houses have 200 amp panels. That's roughly 160 amps max load. Most houses are wired bare minimum. The developers and contractors want to keep cost to a minimum.

The size of the room doesn't matter. What matters is the above. That room would have to have 2 circuits, minimum, on its own. I somehow doubt that's the case unless that was custom built that way.

fj1200
09-03-2014, 02:52 PM
^I'm sure you would have just walked out shaking your head. :laugh: It was mind boggling.

Baba Booey
09-03-2014, 02:54 PM
Those wiring schematics suck especially if you have multiple on/off switches and fan/light combos also.

Fuck that.

I'll climb down into the septic tank in rubber boots to clean it out with a shovel before I try rewiring something like that.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 03:09 PM
^I'm sure you would have just walked out shaking your head. :laugh: It was mind boggling.

Depends on whether or not I was getting paid.

$25. an hour can buy you a LOT of electrical expertise. But that includes the 3-4 hours it takes for me and a calculator to figure the load on your panel and circuitry before I even start rewiring. :)

Gunny
09-03-2014, 03:11 PM
Those wiring schematics suck especially if you have multiple on/off switches and fan/light combos also.

Fuck that.

I'll climb down into the septic tank in rubber boots to clean it out with a shovel before I try rewiring something like that.

Reading schematics is easy. But I do it all the time. First time I looked at a schematic, I turned it upside down trying to figure it out. :laugh:

Baba Booey
09-03-2014, 03:14 PM
Reading schematics is easy. But I do it all the time. First time I looked at a schematic, I turned it upside down trying to figure it out. :laugh:

I can't do that, I have a certain dyslexia. Seriously, I get my right/left fucked up all the time. East/West - I'm hopeless. My wife points instead of saying left or right anymore.

Plus you already figured out, I'm comfortable around shit, so the septic tank is more user friendly for me.

Gunny
09-03-2014, 03:16 PM
I can't do that, I have a certain dyslexia. Seriously, I get my right/left fucked up all the time. East/West - I'm hopeless. My wife points instead of saying left or right anymore.

Plus you already figured out, I'm comfortable around shit, so the septic tank is more user friendly for me.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

namvet
09-03-2014, 03:59 PM
Reading schematics is easy. But I do it all the time. First time I looked at a schematic, I turned it upside down trying to figure it out. :laugh:

maybe for you

http://i58.tinypic.com/ncytef.jpg

this shit gave me a headache. every day

Gunny
09-04-2014, 06:45 AM
maybe for you

http://i58.tinypic.com/ncytef.jpg

this shit gave me a headache. every day

That's electronics. See that plug there on the left? I do what's on the OTHER side of it. Turning ME loose on THAT schematic is the proverbial bull in the china shop.:laugh: