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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    8

    Default Wacky wiring-please help!

    I recently tried to replace my ceiling fan in the upstairs hallway of my 1919 house. The wiring is old, but encased in flexible conduit, so I'm guessing it was installed in the 1920's or so.
    When I disconnected the wires and the tape holding them together, I turned the circuit back on to see which ones had power and which didn't and only one wire now has power, and all the bedrooms no longer work! There are 3 wires per conduit (black, white and red) and I just don't understand what happened that would suddenly make everything not work except one wire.
    I am installing the fan where a light was previously, and it is on a 3-way switch attached to another light farther down the hall, ending in a 3-way switch.
    Any ideas, aside from ripping down ceilings and rewiring the whole house?!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
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    666

    Default Re: Wacky wiring-please help!

    You say there are three wires per conduit but do not say how many are at the fixture box.

    Please describe the number of conduits, the colors of wires in each conduit and if they have been disconnected from each other or are still tied together.

    Also, what colors originally tied to the fan? is it a combination fan and light? Is there more than one fixture opening that the three way switches controlling this fan operate?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    8

    Default Re: Wacky wiring-please help!

    To DwarfWytch-
    Thanks for your response. I have Fleible armored cable up there, also known as 'Greenfield' cable. Yes, the installer has taped the wires together, as I am finding with much of the old knob and tube throughout my house. Wire nuts had not been invented in the 20's so that's what they did- it may have been soldered at one point, but that's not very apparent at this time. We know today that it is not safe, and as I'm remodeling room by room, I am gradually replacing the K&T wire with Romex (and wirenuts once I connect to the fixtures!) so that when I get my new panel later this year, I can connect the Romex to it and stop using the K&T all together.

    Today, I just wanted to change the light fixture. I am very savy with the electrical work I've done in the past, bringing everything up to code, but this one has me stumped and I really don't want to tear out the old ceilings to replace this wiring just yet.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,620

    Default Re: Wacky wiring-please help!

    My guess is that the hot wire and the paired white wire are the power coming from the main. I would just about guess that the white wires were all wired together including the light. The black hot wire was wired to the other black lead, this took the power to the first switch. The rest of the outlets pick up there power at the first switch. The red wire is the return from the switches to the light. That is making the assumption that you have only 2 BX cables coming into the box and the light was originally wired light white to all whites and light black to Red. If this sounds right I can do a drawing for you that might help.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Wacky wiring-please help!

    Jack-
    Thanks for the response. I actually have two different conduits of 3-wire (black, white, red) and one of just black and white. It's all old wiring, so I'm guessing a 12g. I think the power comes to the light from one of the wires, possibly from one of the bedrooms, then to the switch- to the next light, and then the last switch. When I disconnected the light, two of the black wires were connected together, but didn't attach to any wires that appeared to lead to the switch.

    Is it possible that just by turning the breaker on and off that I could have done damage?

    Thanks for your help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Wacky wiring-please help!

    One possibility may be that if you went on a fishing expidition and then came back the whole matter would be cleared up?

    Just a thought.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,620

    Default Re: Wacky wiring-please help!

    Take a look at these, they may help give you a hint as to what you have . 3-Way Most likely the third drawing down although the colors may not match the way you are wired.
    My guess is that originally you had just the two conductor (W&T) wire coming to the box and a pull chain light fixture a later remodel a new light fixture and wires to the 3-way switches added.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 08-24-2007 at 05:35 PM.
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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