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Home > Switches & Outlets > Fan/Light Combo > Power Source and Fixture Feed at Same Switch, 2 3-Way Switches Required, 3-Wire plus Ground Cable Routed thru a Ceiling Box

Fan/Light Switched Together - Power Source and Fixture Feed at Same Switch, 2 3-Way Switches Required, 3-Wire plus Ground Cable Routed thru a Ceiling Box

By Donald Kerr
Fan/Light Switched Together - Power Source and Fixture Feed at Same Switch, 2 3-Way Switches Required, 3-Wire plus Ground Cable Routed thru a Ceiling Box

This article covers all the details about the scenario where the power source and fixture feed at same switch 2 3-way switches required 3 wire (plus ground cable being routed thru the ceiling box onward to other switch

At the ceiling box - the ungrounded fixture conductors {aka hot} for the fan and lights connect to the black wire coming from switch 2. The white wire from switch 1 is the grounded leg conductor {aka neutral} for both the fan and light.Connect the white wire from switch 2 to the black wire from switch 1.

Wrap a piece of black electrical tape around both ends of the white wire going between the switch 2 and the fixture box , as this wire is also being used as an ungrounded switch leg {aka hot}.

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.

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 wire coming from switch 2.
  • connect white from onward cable to white wire coming from switch 1.
  • 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 there is no unswitched
ungrounded conductors {aka hot} existing at the fixture location.

If you need onward power from the switch then

In this configuration only unswitched power is available at the switch 1 box. Switched power is not available at either switch 1 box or switch 2 box, as no grounded conductor {aka neutral} is available at switch 2 box, and no switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot} is available at switch 1 box.

If only switched power required onward then at existing switch box...
This is not possible with this configuration.

If only unswitched power required onward then at existing switch box
(only possible at switch 1 box location)

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from circuit power supply 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 source 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.


Power source & fixture feed at same switch - 2 3-way switches required
3 wire (plus ground cable being routed thru the ceiling box onward to other switch)

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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