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mjlocat 05-23-2010 12:56 PM

fan/light switch buzzing
 
Hi All,

My house came pre-wired for ceiling fans in two rooms. I just purchased two Hunter fans from the local home improvement store. I also got two Hunter switches that control both fan speed and the light (27183 wish I had read the reviews on that before I bought it). The existing wall controls are just a pair of paddle switches, one for the light and one for the fan. I installed the fan in one room and verified that it is working properly with the existing controls, then proceeded to replace the fan switch.

I'm more of a DC person than an AC person, but the instructions seemed clear enough. I connected the hot (black) from the fan switch to hot (black) on the new one, the wire to the fan from the fan switch (also black) to the new switch's fan lead (blue), ground from the fan switch (green) to ground on the new switch (green), and the wire to the fan's light on the second switch (red) to the new switch's light lead (red).I left the source and ground wires connected to the old light switch.

The installation works, however I'm observing some strange behavior. With the light off, everything is fine. With the light on, however, here's what's happening:

1) Fan set to HI, master off: light functions normally, including dimmer. No buzzing
2) Fan set to MD, master off: low volume, low frequency buzz emits from the switch with light at highest setting. Light intensity is almost non-existent. Lowering dimmer switch increases volume of the buzz and also increases (!) the light level
3) Fan set to L2, master off: same low volume, low frequency buzz emits from the switch. The light is now unable to be seen. Lowering dimmer switch increases volume of the buzz (more than the above) and also increases the light level, just not quite as high as number 2
4) Fan set to L1, master off: louder and higher frequency buzz emits from the switch. Light is not visible. Lowering dimmer switch increases volume of the buzz, light is barely visible in the reflection from the fan motor housing
5) Fan off, master off: no response to the light control.
6) Fan set to HI: master on: normal functioning.
7) Fan set to MD, master on: low volume, low frequency buzz emits from the switch with light at highest setting. Light is unresponsive to control, but buzz volume decreases with the dimmer. Fan speed is very slow but increases to normal speed when dimmer is turned down or off.
8) Fan set to L2, master on: same buzz as before. same light and fan behavior as before
9) Fan set to L1, master on: no buzz at any light level. Light unresponsive. Fan speed seems normal
10) Fan off, master on: No buzz, but no light control either.

I checked at the circuit breaker, a very faint buzz can be heard there if you listen really closely when the wall switch is buzzing. As I've been writing this, one big question springs to mind. Should I have connected the hot from the old light switch to the hot on the new switch as well as the hot from the old fan switch? Maybe it's not getting enough current.

A few more details, the house wiring is solid core, appears to be 14 AWG. Wiring on the new switch is stranded, appears to be 16 or 14 AWG. Wiring on the fan is the same. I'm in the US, so we're working with 110 VAC. 15A circuit to this room. There's no abnormal sound coming from the fan or the lights in any configuration.

So, with that big mouthful said, any ideas about what I can do about this? Is the sound indicative of something that could potentially be a fire hazard (I'm leaving it all turned off until I know that)? Or is it just a case of I should have spent more than $25 on this switch? :)

Thanks

Yoyizit 05-23-2010 01:17 PM

Is the buzz 60 Hz? Any wall transformer will have a hum at this freq if you put your ear to it. Fluorescents have a 120 Hz tone.

mjlocat 05-23-2010 02:06 PM

I'm not quite sure what frequency the sound is. I'm not putting my ear up to it in order to hear it though. I can hear it a good 12 feet away. I wouldn't expect to be able to hear it at that range. The other thing that puzzles me is that the buzzing only occur when the light is on. When the light is off, there is no sound heard. I'd expect that the transformer is attached to the fan speed side of the switch where the light is some sort of rheostat or something.

Thanks

Yoyizit 05-23-2010 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mjlocat (Post 445946)
the buzzing only occur when the light is on.

Yes, when current is being drawn.

They put choke coils in these things to cut down on them interfering with other electronics in the house.

If not all of the coil turns were covered with varnish at the factory a loose winding might be buzzing. It might be just a single turn of wire.

That loud, you might be able to return it, under a 'hidden warranty.' The manuf. is as disappointed about this as you are.

The other option is that you open it up, locate the sound and try to damp it out. But, be careful because all exposed wiring is live.

mjlocat 05-23-2010 02:44 PM

Thanks, Yoyizit. I think I'll try the second one i got for the other fan. If that one works, I'll return the first as defective. Otherwise, I'll return both and try a different one.


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