I would like to install a ceiling fan control switch that uses two
separate switches for control of fan speed and light kit.
The current installation has the fan and light kit on a single on/off
wall switch and uses manual chain controls.
The wall box has 3 wires: black (hot), neutral and a ground (a bare
In the instructions for the new wall switch it appears that an
additional (hot) wire is required for the separate control of the fan
Is there a way to perform the install using current 3-wire (black,
white, ground) installation?
Thank you All,
I recently installed a fan for a customer that had all fan/light functions
from a wall switch controller. It wasn't a remote control and it only
required two wires (Plus ground) to the fan from the switch. I was
surprised to see that the fan itself only had two wires (Plus ground) on it.
The fan would not operate without the controller. The controller did
require a neutral to operate though. I forget the name; it was something
like intellifan. I don't recall where she bought the fan.
You can also buy remote control kits at Home Depot that work with most fans.
You would just install the module between the electrical box and the fan
brace (Usually a tight squeeze) and put batteries in the remote control.
I recently learned in another thread here that these do exist in some
fans. They have an intelligent controller in the fan, so that
commands for speed, direction, light, etc can be sent down one
hot/neutral pair. Of course that requires a new fan. But, depending
on how hard it is to run another wire, that may still be a good option.
Or, there are universal wireless remotes that can be added. I think
they have a wall bracket too, so you can keep the remote at a spot on
the wall if you want.
Thank you all for comments.
It sounds like I have a few options.
1. Get a remote control for my current fan.
2. Buy a new fan and a corresponding wall controller that uses a
2-wire, i.e. black (hot), white (neutral), ground.
3. Rewire the wall to fixture with a 3-wire, i.e. black (hot), red
(hot), white (neutral), ground.
Some follow up questions:
1. How difficult is it to rewire the wall box to ceiling fixture
connection? Since I have not done it before my first thought is to buy
a 3-wire attach it VERY securely to one end of the currently installed
wire and pull on the other end :) Is this a very insane idea? For
example if the two wires get stuck somewhere in the wall I will have a
2. Just out of curiosity. Can I use the black(hot) and white(neutral)
wires as both hot and use the ground as a neutral (return)? This way I
guess I could have a "poor man's" 3-wire connection to my fan fixture.
Again, it seems that it should work, but I guess it could be dangerous.
Use regular romax and run it along side the exisiting wire. This
should not be too difficult if you have attic access and the walls do
not contain insulation. If necessary you can use a stiff wire or a
fish tape. Both wires inside the romax are "hot" and are wired
though the wall switch. Use a magic marker and color the white wire
black in both the ceiling and wall boxes. Do not bother the existing
wiring. It is probably (should be) stapled secure to the 2x4s anyway.
The (bare) ground should never be used as the neutral. The ground
wire inside romax should only be used for grounding purposes. As I
stated above, you can use a white wire as a hot wire if it is colored
black or taped. Some electricians don't even mark a white wire as
hot, and that doesn't follow the NEC.
Your most practical solution is probably to buy a retrofit
transmitter-receiver set up. Keep in mind what John said about shoe horning
the things into the canopy. They are often a wicked tight fit
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