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Fan Light Switched Separately - Power Source at Light

By Donald Kerr
Fan Light Switched Separately - Power Source at Light

At the ceiling box--the black and red wires coming from the switches are both ungrounded switch legs (a.k.a. hot). You will have 2 ungrounded fixture conductors (a.k.a. hot), one for the fan and one for the lights. One ungrounded fixture conductor (a.k.a. hot) will connect to the black wire from the switch and the other ungrounded fixture conductor (a.k.a. hot) will connect to the red wire coming from the switch. The white wire from the circuit power source cable serves as a grounded leg (a.k.a. neutral) for both the fan and the lights. This arrangement allows you to switch separately the fan and lights.

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 both the fixture and switch ends of the cable going between the fixture and switch , wrap a piece of black electrical tape around the white wire 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

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 you want the onward switched power to be controlled from}
  • connect white from onward cable to white wire of the 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 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 circuit power source cable
  • 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 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 circuit power supply cable
  • connect red from onward cable to the black wire OR Red wire coming from switch {depending on which switch you want the onward switched power controlled from}
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from circuit power supply cable
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from circuit power source cable 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 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 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.

If you need onward power from the switch

This is not possible with this configuration as no grounded leg {aka neutral} exists at the switch location.


Fan / Light switched separately - power source at light

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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