Ceiling Fan Works, But Light Doesn't - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 09-21-2009, 09:49 PM   #1
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ceiling fan works, but light doesn't

I have a ceiling fan that is wired through a wall switch and it has a pull chain for the fan and another for the lights. The other day I turned on the wall switch and got a blue flash and the lights would not work, but the fan does work. I changed the bulb but the light still does not work. I removed the light fixture and I don't get any voltage across the blue and white wire that hook to the light fixture. I looked at the wall switch and if the switch is off the voltage reads 110 volts across the wires going to the switch, but if I turn on the wall switch, the fan runs but I get no voltage across the wires on the wall switch. How can I get the lights to work again?



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Old 09-21-2009, 10:47 PM   #2
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Pull chain switch suspect

From what you descibed the wall switch and the pull switch are in series and would both have to be on for the light fixture to operate. First double check that the pull chain switch is in the right position. That said, the pull chain switches are often poorly made and the contacts can become oxidized or corroded. This can cause arcing (blue flash you described) and heating due to the higher contact resistance and cause the switch to fail.

One side of the pull chain switch should connect to the blue wire you described on the light fixture. Check the voltage on the other side of the pull chain switch which is fed from the wall switch. This is a measurement to the neutral (white wire) and not across the switch. 120V here and not at the light fixture (wall switch on) would indicate a failed pull chain switch. You could replace it or simply bypass it and use the wall switch to control the light. The light would have to be on when the fan is on if you bypass the switch.

Your measurements acrosss the wall switch indicates it is not the problem. A switch will measure 0 volts across the contacts when the switch is closed. The 120V reading with the switch open is basically a measurement from the hot wire to the neutral through the load, in this case the fan. Take you measurements from hot to neutral for most troubleshooting.


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Old 09-22-2009, 11:20 AM   #3
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If the fan works you have power and the wall switch is good. Sounds like the light pull chain switch is bad. Or maybe a wire came loose somewhere inside the fan housing. The blue flash could have been the demise of the switch or the wire that came loose and touched something it should not have touched.
If it worked before you worked on it. You did something wrong.
J. V. is offline   Reply With Quote

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