Ceiling fan

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Tom Lehtonen, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Tom Lehtonen

    Tom Lehtonen New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Hi,
    I disconnected the wiring on my Westinghouse fan in order to buy a new globe; wanted to get correct size. Put everything back together (pull chain operation) and now the light won't shut off. Bought a new pull switch and still no luck. Tried every wire connection combination I can think of.
    Help!
    Tom
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Every homeowner who works with electricity should own and know hot to use a Multimeter. It measure Volts and Ohms. Do you have one?

    There are different kinds of hookups for installing ceiling fans.

    Are there separate wall switches for the light and van, or one switch for all?

    How many cables come into the box?

    Case A: One cable coming into the ceiling box and no wall switch for control

    Case B: One cable coming into the box from a wall switch that controls the fan and light.

    Case C: One cable coming into the ceiling box and another going to a wall switch for turning the fan/light on and off. One or two switches for fan and light. Are there any red wires in the box?

    Case D: Two cables in the box but no separate wall switch. Fan and light controlled only from the string-switch.

    Case E: Three cables in the box, one that goes to a wall switch to control the fan and light, and the other that goes to parts unknown.

    There are different ways to mess up (and fix) the wiring depending on the configuration of the cables coming into the ceiling box.

    What is your configuration? Come back after you have the meter and know the wiring to the box.
  3. Tom Lehtonen

    Tom Lehtonen New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Hi
    I would say I'm case D.
  4. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Location:
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    Looks like your mystery wiring is wholly contained in the fan. The 2 cables coming into the fan outlet box will each have a black, white, and (usually bare) ground wire. The two blacks, two whites, and two grounds should be connected to each other. One of these cables is the source of power to the fan -- the 2nd cable continues power on to the next fixture in the circuit.

    Also connected to these pairs will be three wires leading down into the fan -- also usually black, white, and green (or bare).

    From here on, it depends on the fan. I'm kind of puzzled at this point. With only one pull switch and no wall switch (Case D) you can switch one function -- fan or light -- unless it's a really exotic pull switch. Can you provide us with some details about what wires you've got in the fan itself -- colors, where they go, etc.? Was the light ever switchable, that you know of?
  5. Tom Lehtonen

    Tom Lehtonen New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks for your help.

    I have a black wire and a white wire coming from the lite unit. From the ceiling (fan) I have 3 white wires, one black wire, one blue wire and the wires coming from the pull switch for the lite. Since I can't get the lite to turn off; I'm thinking that my problem is in the pull switch wiring. The fan installation book says the blue wire should be connected to the black wires. Do both wires from the pull switch get spliced to something or only one?
    thanks
  6. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,716
    Location:
    Central Florida
    If the pull switch is for the light, how is the fan controlled?

    It looks like, absent a wall switch somewhere, the fan will be on all the time, and the light switched by the pull switch. If that's the case, it's likely that the white wire from the light kit will be connected to the other white wires (these are the "neutrals"), and the blue wire to the blacks (the "hots"). If there are separate wires from the pull switch, one of these should be connected to the black from the light, the other to the hots. Is there another pull switch for the fan, by any chance?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2008
  7. Tom Lehtonen

    Tom Lehtonen New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Yes, there is a seperate pull switch for the fan, which controls off, on and speeds. The fan is working perfect.
  8. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

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    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    All of the instructions here assume that the house wiring is properly installed. Use the multimeter to check before you connect anything.

    With the breaker on, the voltage between a black on one cable and the white on that cable shoud be 120. The voltage on all other wires should be zero when measured relative to the green wire on the cable that is powered.

    After you have checked that, turn off the power and proceed.

    All white wires get connected to the white wires in the box, so you will have two white wires from the box and 3 white wires from the fixture, all connected.

    All green wires from fixture and cables get connected together.

    All of the white wires should remain connected for the following tests.

    There should be two wires from the switch. One wire of the switch gets connected to the light (maybe it already is). The other gets connected to a source of power but I can't tell from the description if that is the blue wire, or what the blue wire does. It could be that it should be connected to the black wires in the box.

    This is where you use that multimeter again.

    With the black wire from the fan connected to the black wires in the box, turn on the power. Then see if the fan works on all speeds. If the light stays on then there is an internal connection to the light from the black wire.

    Then measure the voltage between the blue wire and the white wires. If the blue wire is hot for all positions of the switch then it is probably the place to connect the other wire from the light switch. If it is on and off with the fan switch then it has something to do with the fan speed control and you need to read the instructions.

    If the blue wire is never hot then it probably gets connected to black bundle in the box. That is what I suspect is the place to connect it, so that it could be used with a wall switch to power the light OR the fan.

    The instructions should have a diagram showing how to connect, or some very clear instructions. If neither is available then you may have to figure out what the blue wire is connected to.
  9. Tom Lehtonen

    Tom Lehtonen New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks. I'll try these tips.
  10. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,716
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Bob's directions are spot on.

    The light is often sold as a "light kit" to be added on to the fan body, and the manufacturer has thoughtfully provided a means to add the light kit without dropping the fan off the outlet box. The directions are usually in the light kit installation book, and not always in the basic fan book.

    Sometimes fan and light are controlled by separate wall switches. In that case, the blue wire, or something like it, carries power from the outlet box's "light" power wire down through the fan body to the light. In your case, the blue wire is likely connected to the blacks, and is a constant source of power to the light. You need to interrupt this power with the chain switch in the light kit.
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