dcsimg
Find Local Contractor Call: 844-251-6308
No Obligation, Free Quotes
Home > Switches & Outlets > Fan/Light Combo > 3-Way Switches, Power at Fixture, 3-Wire plus Ground Cable Routed thru a Ceiling Box

Fan Always Hot, Light Switched - 3-Way Switches, Power at Fixture, 3-Wire plus Ground Cable Routed thru a Ceiling Box

By Donald Kerr
Fan Always Hot, Light Switched - 3-Way Switches, Power at Fixture, 3-Wire plus Ground Cable Routed thru a Ceiling Box

Fan /Light Combo

3 way switches, power at fixture, 3 wire (plus ground) cable being routed thru the ceiling box between switches

At the ceiling box - the ungrounded conductor {aka hot} from the fan connects to the black wire from the circuit power supply cable. The ungrounded conductor {aka hot} for the light connects to the black wire coming from the switch 2. The white wire from the circuit power supply cable is the grounded leg conductor {aka neutral} for both the fan and light. This will provide an unswitched ungrounded conductor {aka hot} for the fan and a switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot} for the light.

Bare wires are together and grounded to box (if metallic) and if the fixture has a green wire or a grounding screw , it gets grounded also. Bares and green wires are equipment grounding conductors.

Wrap a piece of black electrical tape around both ends of the white wire going between switch 1 and 2 (and the portion looped thru the ceiling box), as this wire is also being used as a ungrounded conductor {aka hot}.

Be sure to read all documentation that comes with your fan / light combo fixture.

If you need onward power from the fixture

If only switched power required onward then at existing fixture...

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from switch 2
  • connect white from onward cable to white wire coming from the circuit power supply cable
  • connect bare from onward cable to the other bares and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination the black is the switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor.

If only unswitch power required onward then at existing fixture

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from the circuit power supply cable
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from the circuit power supply cable.
  • connect bare from onward cable to other bares and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black is the ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor.

If switched and unswitched power required onward then at existing fixture

  • onward cable - black/red/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from the circuit power supply cable
  • connect red from onward cable to black wire coming from switch 2
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from the circuit power supply cable
  • connect bare from onward cable to other bares and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black is the unswitched ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, red is the switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral} and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor

If you need onward power from the switch then

Onward power from the switch is not possible with this configuration as there is no grounded leg {aka neutral} available at either of switch locations.


The common screw on a 3 way switch is the odd color screw

If wiring multiple fixtures be sure to check the following guidelines concerning how to do it and what not to do: Wiring Multiple Fixtures.

If you are new at understanding the "politically correct" electrical terminology and need clarification of the terms used, we strongly urge you to read the Clarification of Definitions and Terminology guide. This will explain the terminology used in this article.

Find a Pre-Screened Electrician
Enter Your Zip Code:


THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.