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fangarang_10 08-18-2013 07:53 PM

No voltage between black & white
Hi, I'm hoping that you guys can help me with this ...

I'm in the process of replacing my ceiling fan (which I thought was going to be a nice simple project), which is wired to a single switch. However after setting the thing up like 4 times, I still can't get it working. I decided to go back to the beginning and test everything from the start. Doing this, I was finding something which I thought was weird. Using my voltage tester, I found the following:

With switch on:
Black & ground = voltage
White & ground = voltage
Black & white = no voltage

With switch off:
Black & ground = no voltage
White & ground = voltage
Black & white = no voltage

I thought normally I should find some voltage between the black and white. Before I call in a professional, I just wanted to double check that this isn't a simple fix. Let me know if there is something simple I can do, or just wait for an electrician to come in.

Thanks in advance.

CallMeVilla 08-18-2013 08:10 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Lets make this easy and step-by-step ...
First, make sure you have the proper switch. It should be a single pole switch.
Second, your white (neutral) wires should be connected with wires nuts.
Third, one black (hot) wire should be connected to one pole of the switch. The other black wire should be connected to the remaining pole of the switch.
Fourth, make sure you attach the green (ground) to the swicth and the other two greens.
Fifth, make sure you match wire colors in the ceiling fan.

Here is a picture that shows how to connect a light ... which functions just like a fan.
Go through this process then report back ... I think you will be happier by then.

nealtw 08-18-2013 11:04 PM

If power enters at the light box, or if the power enters the switch box the answers may be different.
Did you hook up to the same two wire that the light was hooked to or have removed other wire nuts in either box?
Does the fan have a pull chain for speed and reverse and possibly on off, perhaps pulling the cghain would help.
Hook up the light again and see if it still works.:rolleyes:

fangarang_10 08-19-2013 12:13 PM

thanks for the suggestions. it was an old ceiling fan that was hooked up previously. I'm starting to wonder if maybe the wires weren't previously hooked up black-to-black and white-to-white ... however, I didn't notice when I dismantled, I just assumed that it would have been.

I'll open up the switch box and check tonight. I think the light switch also controls one outlet in the room, so I will check things at that box as well.

bud16415 08-19-2013 12:52 PM

What you had wired was not to code.

Both the white and the black had power to them I’m assuming the black went to the light as it was switched and the fan had power at all times and was controlled by the pull chain. The problem is they are using the ground wire to complete the circuit in place of a white insulated wire.

The best method is to have two switches and two cables (or a 3 conductor and ground cable) each controlling fan or light. The other method is with one switch and one cable and have it supply power to both and you use the pull chains to turn on whatever you want and then when you use the switch it kills it all when you open the switch.

It is not proper to have the bare copper wire being used to carry current as in your setup.

fangarang_10 08-19-2013 03:37 PM

There wasn't always power to the fan. The light switch would both turn the fan on/off, and similarly would turn power on/off to the outlet.

fangarang_10 08-20-2013 06:43 AM

I opened everything up last night, and here is what I found (sorry the pictures are kind of dark):

Light Switch:
There is one white and one black white wire going into the back of the switch. There is a ground wire in the box.

Outlet (top socket connected to switch, bottom socket always on):
On the left side there are two white wires, both connected through the back of the outlet.

On the right side there are 3 black wires, one connected to the screw on top, two connected to the screw on the bottom.

Ceiling box:
There is one black and one white wire with a ground wire connected to the box.

JoeD 08-21-2013 06:23 AM

Where is the third white wire in the receptacle box?

bud16415 08-21-2013 08:45 AM

From what I can figure out is your power enters at the outlet box. The outlet box is split and the bottom is powered directly (on all the time). The power then runs to the switch and back to the box to control the upper outlet. It also runs up to the fan to power that on and off. Not sure why they wanted and outlet switched to come on with a fan but that’s what they did. You never mentioned if the fan has a light or not and if that came on with the fan.

What you have is ok IMO if this is how it works but it doesn’t relate to what you said in the first post as to what has power when. I’m assuming you checked these for voltage when the fan was removed and you just had wires sticking out. Keep in mind that when you checked and saw no voltage between black and white and saw no voltage that would be the case when both the black and white were hot. If they both have voltage then between them would show no voltage. So in the first example with switch on black and ground voltage and white and ground voltage and black and white no voltage would work or could be possible. The problem would be if you have two wires that are hot the only return path would have to be the ground wire for anything to be powered up. In your second example black and ground no voltage tells us the switch is cutting power to the black wire, but with white and ground having voltage means it is feed by something other than the switch and black and white no voltage doesn’t mean white isn’t hot just that the switch on the black wire isn’t allowing any path to ground for the power to be measured.

Maybe check that again or tell us what you used to measure the voltage. To me something isn’t correct.

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