Troubleshooting Ceiling Fan

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Verdeboy, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    I'm working on a ceiling fan with light. The light works, but the fan doesn't. I removed the fan pull chain switch and disconnected all the wires. I used my volt meter, and there is definitely power going to the switch.

    There are 4 wires: black, brown, white, and green that were connected to the switch. Which 2 wires do I touch together in order to bypass the switch? And if the fan still doesn't work, do I just assume that the fan motor is shot or is there another way to test the fan motor?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    2,563
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Just replace the fan
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    That is a 3 speed motor. You have to follow the wires from the source. You have probably a black ( hot) and a white (neutral). The neutral will go direct to one motor lead. The black will go to the switch, and will come out on one of the three leads depending on which speed is selected.
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    2,051
    All of the wires were connected to the switch. Should I just touch the black wire to any of the other 3 wires to bypass the switch?
  5. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    2,051
    This is a very large and very expensive fan. If it only needs a fan switch, why should we replace the whole thing?
  6. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    If it has multiple speeds, I'd worry about trying the wrong two, and burning out the motor or something... so don't go randomly trying any two.

    Why not just swap out the switch? Seems like the safest, most foolproof way to check it. If, in fact, the switch isn't the problem, you'll only be out the price of a switch, which I can't imagine are very expensive...

    Another approach: google the make & model number, see if you can find or get a copy of the installation instructions. There's often clear directions on bypassing the pullcord switch, for when people want to control it at the wall switch instead.
  7. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

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    If you have a multi-meter using the ohm scale you can check the motor leads to each other (you should obtain a resistance reading varying depending on which leads you test to the neutral/white conductor. Next test each conductor to the frame of the motor, this should read open.
  8. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Location:
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    I would never try to repair a ceiling fan. Just replace the fan
  9. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

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    Location:
    New York
    This may be obvious, but are there pull chains / place for pull chains? Perhaps the internal speed switch is in the off position. Add a chain...yank once. :p
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Location:
    San Diego
    Not having a wiring diagram for that fan, I cannot recommend touching wires together. But you could check the switch with an ohm-meter. Do this with all power off, and the swicth removed from the circuit.

    My GUESS would be that the black is the incoming. As you cycle through the pull settings, in the OFF postion, there would be no continuity from the black to any other wire. In the low/med/high positions, there would be continuity from the black to one of the other wires. You could buy a new switch and compare the reading. Switches are readily available, usually easy to install, and are a fairly high failure rate item on ceiling fans, so it is worth checking it out,.
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    2,563
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If this fan has a capacitor and I would all but guarantee that it does you should be careful that you don’t get false readings while testing.

    If you should cross some to the wiring on the fan the capacitor could explode causing damage to the fan or even you.

    My advice is to replace the fan. If the fan has been used to the point that things are starting to fail it will continue to pose problems.
    The bearings in the motor are just as old and worn as the rest to the appliance.

    Again, my advice is to replace the fan.
  12. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    2,051
    Normally, in this situation, I clearly mark all the wires and just replace the fan pull cord switch. I thought there would be a simple way to bypass the switch to check the fan motor. But it seems like there is no reliable way to do this, especially since it's an old fan and there are no wiring diagrams.

    Thanks to all.
  13. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Which color is the power?

    The switch simply connects the power to the other 3 wires, one at a time, for the 3 speeds.

    You were ALMOST there.
  14. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    The black is the hot wire. That's why I asked if I could simply touch the black wire to any of the other 3 wires to bypass the fan switch. I've gotten mixed answers, so I was just going to replace the switch and see what happens.
  15. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689

    The answer is yes. That's all the switch does.
  16. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

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    2,051
    Well, the new switch didn't work. I hear a definite hum from the fan motor, but it won't turn the blades, even with my help. So, I'll be replacing the fan.

    Question: Do you always hear a hum when a fan motor is dead and current is going to it, or can it be silent as well? What exactly is causing the hum?
  17. jams001

    jams001 New Member

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    7
  18. blue07

    blue07 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    There should be a receiver wired from the fan to the ceiling. Take this out and wire the fan direct,






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