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Fan Light Switched Separately - Power Source at Light, Light Controlled by 2 3-Way Switches and Fan at 1 Location

By Donald Kerr
Fan Light Switched Separately - Power Source at Light, Light Controlled by 2 3-Way Switches and Fan at 1 Location

At the ceiling box - the black and red wires coming from the switches are both ungrounded switch legs {aka hots}. You will have 2 ungrounded fixture conductors {aka hots}, one for the fan and one for the lights. The ungrounded fixture conductor {aka hot} for the fan connects to the black wire from the switch and the ungrounded fixture conductor {aka hot} for the light connects to the red wire wire coming from the switch. The white wire from the switch cable serves as a grounded leg {aka neutral} for both the fan and the lights. This arrangement allows you to switch separately the fan and lights (fan from one location and lights from 2 locations)

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

On the cable between switch box 1 and 2 , wrap a piece of black electrical tape around the white wire (at both ends) to indicate that this white wire is being redesignated and used as a ungrounded switch leg {aka hot}.

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

If you need onward power from the fixture then

If only switched power required onward then at existing fixture

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to the black OR Red wire coming from switch {depending onwhich switch(s) you want the onward switched power to be controlled from}
  • connect white from onward cable to white wire coming from switch.
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from switch 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
This is not possible with this configuration as no unswitched ungrounded conductors {aka hots} exist at the fixture location.

If 2 separately switched power is required onward then at existing fixture

  • onward cable - black/red//white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from switch.
  • connect red from onward cable to the red wire coming from switch.
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from switch.
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from switch and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black and red wires are separately switched ungrounded conductors {aka hots}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor.

If you need onward power from the switch

NOTE: In regards to the switch box locations - in this configuration onward power is only available at switch box 1. Switch box 2 has no grounded leg {aka neutral} and therefore onward power is not possible at switch box 2. Descriptions bellow are based on switch box 1 location...

If only switched power required onward then at existing switch

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to either of the following wires {but not both}... [aa] pigtailed to the black wire going between switch box and fixture [bb] pigtailed to the red wire The choice will depend on if you want the onward switched power to be controlled by one switch at one location or by the 3 way switches at the 2 locations.
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from 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 switched ungrounded conductor {akahot}, 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 switch

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black from the circuit power supply cable.
  • connect white from onward cable to white 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 switch

  • onward cable - black/red//white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black circuit power supply cable.
  • connect red from onward cable to either of the following wires {but not both}... [aa] pigtailed to the black wire going between switch box and fixture [bb] pigtailed to the red wires. The choice will depend on if you want the onward switched power to be controlled by one switch at one location or by the 3 way switches at the 2 locations.
  • connect white from onward cable to white 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 wire is the unswitched ungrounded conductor {aka hot},red wire is the switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot} , the white wire is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare wire is the equipment grounding conductor.

If 2 separately switched power is required onward then at existing switch

  • onward cable - black/red//white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to the black wire going between switch box and fixture
  • connect red from onward cable to the red wire coming from switch2 or fixture.
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from circuit power supply cable.
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from circuit power supply cable and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black and red wires are separately switched ungrounded conductors {aka hots}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor.{red being controlled by the 3 way switches at 2 locations, and the black being controlled by 1 switch at 1 location}


Fan / Light switched separately power source at switch and light controlled by 2 3way switches and fan at one location only

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.

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