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Author Topic: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans  (Read 50738 times)

Krzykid

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2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« on: February 19, 2008, 10:06:48 PM »

Many older homes have only a two wire connection from the wall switch to a ceiling fan. This switch might be used for the light or the fan motor, or both together. In order to have separate wall controls for both the light and the fan motor, you need to have a 3-4 wire circuit.

X-10 can control a lamp dimming circuit and a fan motor control over a simple 2-wire circuit. An excellent device to use in a 2-wire circuit when upgrading your old ceiling fan.

X-10 can make this multi-module that could fit into the fan and simply be cotriled by a dual control in a single gang switch box, connected with a 2-wire circuit to the ceiling fan.

This would be a great product to build and market.
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dave w

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 02:25:55 PM »

There have been many suggestions for a "X10 fan control" but they seem to fall on deaf ears.

My work around is to hide X10 wire in modules up in the fan shroud.
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Noam

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 08:01:26 PM »

I would rather see a "double" X10 switch. My house is wired with "3-wire", and I have a double switch for the fan and the light.
However, without replacing the single-gang box with a double-gang one, and installing two switches, I can't control the light via X10.
A double switch (in a single-gang box) would be a good solution.
A few versions (dimmer/dimmer; dimmer/relay; relay/relay) would give a lot of flexibility for those who want to control various devices or lights.
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Boiler

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 05:50:57 PM »

Noam,

A "double" x10 switch (that would fit a single gang box) would be extremely difficult due to size constraints.  Assuming you could package two Triac outputs, a double dimmer would be handicapped since it would have only one heat sink (severely de-rated).  A double relay would be huge due to physical size of the relays.  Add in the requirement for 5 wires ( 1 hot, 2 controlled output, 1 neutral, ground) and I just can't see this happening.

Workaround 1 would be to use inline dimmer/relay modules at the fan (may be a tight fit) with a multi unitcode transmitter in the switch box.  X10Pro, and leviton make transmitters that are capable of communicating with remote modules (no load control).

Workaround 2 would be to use a Smarthome Keypadlinc in the switch box with a inline relay unit at the fan.  The Keypadlinc can directly control the lamp (incandescent) and virtually control (X10 or Insteon) the inline relay for the fan.  This is the closest device that I can think of that meets your requirements.  Downside is - it ain't exactly inexpensive.

Boiler
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steven r

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 08:16:25 PM »

...Workaround 2 would be to use a Smarthome Keypadlinc in the switch box with a inline relay unit at the fan....
...it ain't exactly inexpensive....
I used option 2 for my fan. Keep in mind the Smarthome Keypadlinc does  require a neutral wire. My fan and light already had separate switches and I already had an X10 switch for the light. What I did was replace the regular fan switch with the Smarthome Keypadlinc. I then installed the inline switch for the fan in a box just above the switch and neatly covered it with a blank plate. In my case, I did it on the back side of the wall to be less noticeable but it really wouldn't of looked bad even if it had been on the same side of the wall. Advantage of this approach is no wiring in the attic and the inline switch is easily accessible should it need to be replaced.

The Smarthome Keypadlinc is an incredibly versatile switch! Each of the 8 buttons on mine are individually programmable! Buttons can programmed for toggle mode or non-toggle mode. Toggle mode lets you turn a device on and off. Non-toggle mode is just an on signal. (great for a macro trigger). Buttons can also be programmed to allow dimming. To top it all off you can use multiple HCs! I can turn off all the bedroom lights from it.
It is expensive if you pay full price for it. They put it on auction from time to time.* That's how I bought mine for a fraction of the full price. It is such a versatile switch I've even considered buying another one even if I had to pay full price.

*Smarthome discontinued auctions in 2008.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 02:52:13 PM by steven r »
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Dan Lawrence

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 09:08:33 PM »

There have been many suggestions for a "X10 fan control" but they seem to fall on deaf ears.

I'd love a non dimmable wall switch module that would allow both fan motor control and fan lamp control.  It would have 2 different unit codes (same housecode) one for the lights and one for the fan and appear in AHP as two modules so timers and macros could be assigned.

Given X10 USA's general attitude, pigs will fly first.
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nklght

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2008, 02:36:28 AM »

Many older homes have only a two wire connection from the wall switch to a ceiling fan. This switch might be used for the light or the fan motor, or both together. In order to have separate wall controls for both the light and the fan motor, you need to have a 3-4 wire circuit.

X-10 can control a lamp dimming circuit and a fan motor control over a simple 2-wire circuit. An excellent device to use in a 2-wire circuit when upgrading your old ceiling fan.

X-10 can make this multi-module that could fit into the fan and simply be cotriled by a dual control in a single gang switch box, connected with a 2-wire circuit to the ceiling fan.

This would be a great product to build and market.


Most homes currently built have 2-wire setups from the switch to the ceiling fixture, unless a ceiling fan is specified 3-wire/double gang boxes are used, some even use 4-wire setups for (three-way light control and fan control.) 

Two-Wire
1-Ground
1-Neutral
1-Hot

Three-Wire
1-Ground
1-Neutal
2-Hots

Since a hot is required seperately for the fan and light, it is not possible to operate both items seperately at the switch, unless a seperate hot is located in the box; then you can run an in-line module, and a switch module, but I would call an electician, because that setup is not safe and violates many codes. 

If you have two wire entering a box and two wires leaving then I would suggesst running 3-Wire from the switch to the fan, this will allow you to install a double gang re-mod and seperate switches for both the fan and light. 

You could always use in-line modules at the fan, but I don't think they would work in the box and you would always have to leave the switch on. 

Honestly, I would like to be able to manage the fan and light from a double switch in single gang box, but due to the heat requriments and communication circuits, I don't think they could get the package to fit in a single gang package even if they tried.
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Ken73

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2008, 02:43:10 PM »

I'd be happy if they'd come out with a wire-in that fits up in the ceiling mount of the fan with two addresses; one for the fan, and one for the light. Then you could just connect the two wires in the gang box and put a stick-it switch over the open box!
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nklght

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2008, 01:38:24 AM »

The XPDF allows for that, the only problem is that a person would be required to use 2 of them at the fan/light box in which they would not fit in the box, and still seperate switches would need to be installed at the switch level.  If you can fit two of them in your box, then you could leave the main switch to the fan on all the time and install a stick-a-switch next to it.

The difference between what cielling fan manufacturers offer and what is availble with X-10 remote modules, is that the manufacturer remote requires the switch to be constant on, and they usually offer the light at 100% or 0% and 3 speeds for the fan, in an easy to fit module.

 X-10 offers 0-100% lighting and 0-100% fan speed,  That is why they cannot create an all-in-one module, because it could possibly fry under the heat loads of lower fan speed and dimmed lighting.

If you have access to your attic or basement it is not that hard to upgrade to a 3-wire setup,  all you need to do is locate the wire that goes from the switch to cieling box, and replace it with a 3-wire Romex.  After that cut a hole for a double gang re-model box, split the black wire coming into the box between each switch by pig-tailing, connect the white wires, and grounds. finally connect a black wire to one switch and the red wire to the other switch.

One switch operates the light, the other operates the fan, they both can be controlled by X-10.   

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newtoolguy

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2008, 01:28:30 PM »

I have a standard 2 wire setup going to my fan/light combo  -  for years I pulled chains to go from fan to light.

I recently put in a Lutron system that replaced the switches (I had 2 - 3 way switches) and it works great.

I bought a kit (MA-LFQ3-xx)  xx is the color, I bought IV for ivory.   It came with two switches  and one controller.  The controller goes up in the light fan assembly.

You can also buy a (MA-LFQM-xx) that has one switch and one controller if you have a single pole switch.

It was not cheap, but it beats running and extra wire and putting in double boxes.  Total install time was 1 hour.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 01:34:06 PM by newtoolguy »
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steven r

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2008, 02:35:44 PM »

...I bought a kit (MA-LFQ3-xx)...
...It was not cheap, but it beats running and extra wire and putting in double boxes.  Total install time was 1 hour.
This link for the MA-LFQM-WH is pretty informative. (No idea if it's the best price.)
Even spending $82 is cheap compared paying an electrician more than twice that to run more wires. I've seen similar approaches that give you remote control, also.
It, at least in part, boils down to how attached are you to having everything under X10 control.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 02:43:55 PM by steven r »
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angel.reign07

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2009, 05:46:28 AM »

I've seen similar approaches that give you remote control, also. It, at least in part, boils down to how attached, or maybe search on all online business like ceiling fans industry like that...


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WildBill47

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Re: 2-Wire AC control for Ceiling Fans
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2009, 11:50:16 PM »

Not to rain on your parade but many ceiling fan companies make an additional module that is designed specifically to work with the mounding layer between the fan and lights, the one I have allows your classic chain operation but also came with a remote, it also allows 3 level dimming via the chain switch and 3 fan speeds bia the other fan switch or variable dimming/slowing via the remote.

I would suspect since these units are available in all but the most low end models the market would be thin for such a device, there are also remote only third party products that mount in a code approved gang box to the electical box the fan is wired to in the ceiling.

However in the third party option there are two drawbacks, you have to have access to the ceiling and if you have that you could just as soon you 2 X-10 inlines, but the other drawback is that you have to pull the fan down and find the hat wire leading to the lights and fan motor, cut them and then wire with separtly to the fan.

Given that a ceiling fans that come with the split operation option already in them can be found for under 100 bucks and only require that you replace the fan with no need for ceiling access, it would seem that the market would even be smaller.

I would also guess that in a fan without this feature there would be a serious space issue, it would be hard if not illeagel for X-10 to make something that fit in the decrative cover plate offering no protection against setting your ceiling on fire if the device fails, in my fans they are in a module that is about 2 inches deep and the dia of the fan control section and whild the parts would clearly fit in the space under the decrative mount I am guessing they are not there for safety reasons.

It is a great idea, which is why so many fan makers offer it at least as a add-on module but I think it would be a very hard retrofit for X-10 to come up with a product that was safe and would fit in that space under the decrative cover, many of them are pretty thin.

My suggestion -- replace your fan, you can do it for under 100 bucks, chance of getting a "hum" from the control is about zero, you can do it without ceiling access, and the chances of burning your house down is reduced to about zero. Besides that you will probably end up with a much nicer fan and for a cost not much more that 2 inlines, a crawl through the ceiling and in an install that requires you to take down the existing fan to rewire it.

Just a thought.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100630845&N=10000003+502796+10202007+4294965594

The 44 In. Midili Fan in a Brushed Nickel finish comes with 5 Reversible Blades in a Black and a Rosewood finish. It also comes with a Single Frosted Opal Glass Light Kit that uses 2 Candelabra E12 Base Bulbs, at 40 Watt Max.

5 Reversible Blades (Black / Rosewood)
Single Frosted Opal Glass Light Kit
Brushed Nickel Finish
Uses 2 Candelabra E12 Base Bulbs, 40 Watt Max. (Included)
MFG Brand Name : Hampton Bay
Fan Width : 44 In.
Indoor or Outdoor : Indoor
Remote Control : Yes
Reverse : Yes



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