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Old 06-08-2012, 03:24 PM   #1
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


Hey folks,
Hopefully I will provide you with lots of details, so please read on and see if you have any ides what the problem could be...

I have a brand new ceiling fan wired up to a single switch in the wall. It is a 3 speed fan with lights.

The switch in the wall works and is receiving power.
The fan is receiving power.
The switches also work (I think) and here's why: I can hold a voltage tester up to the ground and the white wire, and pulling the chain switches for the fan, the tester will light up for the three speeds, but will not light up for the fourth pull, aka OFF. The same thing happens with the light's chain switch: voltage tester lights up every other chain pull.

I doubt that the fan motor or speed relay is the problem, because the lights are also not turning on. What is the common problem here? Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Brandon

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Old 06-08-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


There should be no voltage between the ground and white wire. Sounds like the neutral(white) wire has an open somewhere. Look for a loose wire nut on the white wires in the back of the switch box.

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Old 06-08-2012, 04:20 PM   #3
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


There should be voltage on ground-white when the fan switch is turned on, just like any normal light switch or direct connection. Current in via black and out via white.

And there aren't any loose wires or nuts in the fan wiring or wall switch.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:37 PM   #4
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


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Originally Posted by bsulli4 View Post
There should be voltage on ground-white when the fan switch is turned on, just like any normal light switch or direct connection. Current in via black and out via white.

And there aren't any loose wires or nuts in the fan wiring or wall switch.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:52 PM   #5
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


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Help me out SirSparks!
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:43 PM   #6
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


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Help me out SirSparks!
I can't. Joed has been doing this a helluva lot longer than I, and you dismiss his suggestions.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:04 PM   #7
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


The white wire is normally the neutral, not always. If it is the hot wire, as sometimes happens wiring three way switches, it should be painted black on the end. Assuming your white wire is actually supposed to be the neutral, the voltage on the neutral wire when the switch is on should be very close to zero, since the neutral is directly connected to the neutral bus at the panel, and the neutral bus is bonded to the ground at the panel. Therefore there should be very close to zero voltage difference between the neutral and the independent equipment ground wire. The fact that you are measuring voltage between the white wire and the ground wire when the switch is closed suggests you have a neutral problem, as has already been suggested.

There should be 120 volts between the black wire (the hot) and the neutral, and 120 volts between the black wire and the ground wire, whether or not the switch is in the open or closed position. Try measuring that voltage, perhaps it will help to locate the fault.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #8
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


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Originally Posted by bsulli4 View Post
There should be voltage on ground-white when the fan switch is turned on, just like any normal light switch or direct connection. Current in via black and out via white.

And there aren't any loose wires or nuts in the fan wiring or wall switch.
If this is a switch loop then the white should be the constant power wire. The black should be the switched wire.
If this is a miswired switch loop then the problem is at the fan. Does the white switch on and off at the fan?
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:34 AM   #9
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


Switch loop
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:32 PM   #10
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
The white wire is normally the neutral, not always. If it is the hot wire, as sometimes happens wiring three way switches, it should be painted black on the end. Assuming your white wire is actually supposed to be the neutral, the voltage on the neutral wire when the switch is on should be very close to zero, since the neutral is directly connected to the neutral bus at the panel, and the neutral bus is bonded to the ground at the panel. Therefore there should be very close to zero voltage difference between the neutral and the independent equipment ground wire. The fact that you are measuring voltage between the white wire and the ground wire when the switch is closed suggests you have a neutral problem, as has already been suggested.

There should be 120 volts between the black wire (the hot) and the neutral, and 120 volts between the black wire and the ground wire, whether or not the switch is in the open or closed position. Try measuring that voltage, perhaps it will help to locate the fault.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
If this is a switch loop then the white should be the constant power wire. The black should be the switched wire.
If this is a miswired switch loop then the problem is at the fan. Does the white switch on and off at the fan?
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Originally Posted by hammerlane View Post
Switch loop
Sorry, I didn't update sooner, I stopped getting the email alerts.
I decided to draw up a diagram in hopes that this would be more helpful. Thanks for the idea hammerlane.

So this is the current situation...any thoughts?

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Old 06-11-2012, 08:53 PM   #11
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Ceiling fan won't turn on - but is receiving power?!?


Looks to me like you possible tapped into a switch loop.We need to know the connection at the other end of the cable feeding the switch.
White should not be hot except when it is a switch loop. Also never seen a NM cable with brown wire.

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