O Boy Ceiling Fans Project (Fail so Far)

(BnM) #1

Hi all,

This “little project” has been going on for a while and I am quite frustrated by it. I could certainly use some help for those of you that have done this type of integration before. I didn’t start the project until I had read SEVERAL of the ceiling fan discussions on here, and though I had it licked.

Here’s the layout - note that all 4 end devices are outside on a covered porch

I had a set of 3-way switches that were controlling 4 recessed lights on my outdoor porch.

Eliminated one of the 3-way switches and installed 3 fans and now have this setup:

2-way switch–>recessed light (analog)–>ceiling fan with light kit–>ceiling fan with light kit–>ceiling fan with light kit…end of the line (no more devices). There IS neutral in the box.

The fans are Hampton Bay indoor/outdoor 48" Havana fans. Fan (on high) is .5 Amps/60.3 watts.

I think I need a fresh look at how to do this - because I’ve had ALL kinds of problems (even with an electrician out here).

I want to put 3 GE-3-speed ceiling fan control switch (model 12730) in the ceiling by the fans and an Aeon Labs Micro-controller dimmer switch in each canopy - that way I can control the fan and the lights separately.

What has been done:

Start of the series: GE In-Wall Smart Switch (Model ZW-4005)
Mounted the fan controller switches in boxes by each fan.

First, I wired the relay (ZW4005) into the switch box directly and wired the load and neutral to a work bench with a series of lamps to verify switch operation exactly the way I wanted them - worked perfectly.

Then, got an electrician…

The way it is wired is: Switch–>recessed light–>14/4 into the first fan box to allow 2 hots in (for the dimmer and for the fan - same way I did it on the bench). For this installation - the black is the fan hot and the red is the light hot.

Get power to the first fan switch - and for some reason the switch won’t kill power to the black hot. The way it’s wired is: 14/3 into the box. 14/4 connects to the hot and neutral (and ground) - black of the 14/4 goes into the line of the fan switch and red of the 14/4 goes into the dimmer switch. Neutrals are all jumpered together inside the canopy.

Switch also won’t power anything else down the line (yes, I’m using the 2nd line on the GE switch to run to the next box).

What HAS (kinda) worked is eliminating the ceiling fan switches and just connecting up the wiring in the boxes. Problem with that is that the recessed light is always on when I’m running the fans (can still control the Aeon dimmers just fine for the lights).

From fresh eyes, how would you do this? I thought I had learned all the lessons from this group, but guess I haven’t.

Right now, I’m failing the WAT (Wife Acceptance Test) and need help.

(Ray) #2

I am a little confused. Why would you go with this route unless you have no access to the wire but it does sound like you are running new wires. Why not just have one Fan control switch for the fans and one dimmer for the lights? With 14/4 Romex bundle. Neutral for fan/light. Red for light load, black for Fan load.
How do you mount the switch by the fan? Not just hanging by it I hope. Not bashing your electrician but if that’s true then he needs a hand slap :wink: It would be cheaper to redo the whole wiring with one Fan switch and one light dimmer switch.

(BnM) #3

Hey Ray,

Thanks for reading. The switches are mounted in boxes attached to the
joists in the ceiling.

The primary reason that I didn’t just put a single switch in the wall is
that we want to control each fan separately (is a BIG porch, no need to run
all 3 every time you turn them on).


(Ray) #4

Here is how I would wire them. Have a master switch at the normal height position that will turn everything off. This switch will cut off the line hot to all the switches. On your first fan/light box. Line hot (Load from the master switch) and neutral connect to your Fan and light smart switches line/neutral. From the light and Fan wiring. Connect Fan/light neutrals to the neutral of the master switch wiring neutral and the load wires of your fan/light to your light/Fan smart switches loads. Also connect the two line/neutral wires from the master switch box to the next box. These 2 wires are your main line hot/neutral to all your switch boxes. You will really only need 14/2 from box to box only. Do the same for all your boxes. By doing g this way. You will have the ability to control each lights and Fans I separately from the rest and the only time you won’t be able to control them is when your master switch is off. You need this master because of the unreliable ST cloud/system. The master is only for emergency. The rest of the time. You can use virtual switches and smart lighting smartapp to tie them together for group Control. Hope I make things a little more clear and not making it worst.


Is this how it’s currently wired?

(BnM) #6

Not exactly. More like this:

(Ray) #7

With that drawing, there is no recess light switch. That’s why you need it on to contol the rest of the circuit. You can put an Aeon micro in the recess light fixture to control the light.