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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3349
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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Norm. Thanks help. I am trying to rewire a 3 speed ceiling

Customer Question

Customer: Hi Norm. Thanks for your help. I am trying to rewire a 3 speed ceiling fan switch. The chain pulled out of the old one. My problem is I attempted to replace the switch over a year ago and now I cannot remember what wire goes where. I have the new switch labeled L 1 2 3 . Right now 1 has a black wire in it which is pigtailed into a black and a yellow wire from the fan. #2 has a blue wire that is pigtailed to a black wire from the fan and #3 has a red wire. "L" has nothing in it and I don't see any loose or additional wires. All of the "pigtails" were new with the fan. I have not added any additional wires. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: The issue is I'm trying to replace the 3 way speed switch and don't know where to hook the wires.
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) Did you purchase a generic 3 speed fan replacement switch from Home Depot or Lowe's or did you purchase an "identical" replacement switch for your particular fan model? If you purchased a generic switch replacement, there is a good chance that the switch may not work. Even though the switch may look similar on the outside, there are a variety of fan pull chain switches that have different internal switching patterns. Thus the reason why an "identical" replacement switch must be purchased.

2) Most, but not all 3 speed ceiling fan switches require a total of 4 wires for the different speeds and 1 wire for the hot wire (power). Somewhere, you maybe missing 1 wire?

3) Do you have an AC voltmeter to confirm which wire is the hot wire? Usually, it is the black wire for most fans and the black wire normally connects to the "L" (LINE) position on the switch.

4) If you did not label or take a picture of the wire colors on the original switch, it will now be a method of trial & error to connect the wires assuming that the switch will work with your fan model.

For whatever reason, ceiling fan manufacturers never provide a wiring diagram on the internal component wiring and a diagram is never available.

Reply back to me on the switch replacement and if you are able to locate a 4th wire.........Thanks............Kevin:)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes the switch I bought was a generic for Home Depot. I do not have the old switch to look at. Yes I have a voltmeter and I will check the voltage and find the hot tomorrow. I don't have any pictures for reference so I guess trial and error will have to do. I may go buy several different switches and try them until I find one that works. I appreciate our help and will reply back tomorrow with my findings.Thanks,Billy
Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the replies Billy.

1) If you can identify the hot wire (L), that will be necessary. Test the black wire to ground and see if you measure a constant 120 volts on the black to ground.

2) Before you purchase numerous switches, let's 1st try the one you purchased from the Depot. They don't always work, but it's worth a shot at trying.

3) If no luck on the replacement switch, I recommend to contact the company shown in the link below as they carry identical replacement switches for most fan models. Provide them with the manufacturer name and the model number of the fan and they should be able to assist you in obtaining the correct replacement.

I will be logged on here tomorrow, so just reply back to me on what you find............Thanks..........Kevin:)

Expert:  Kevin replied 1 year ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.


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