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hscottm 07-16-2012 08:22 PM

Problems with remote only ceiling fan wiring

I have been trying to debug this myself for weeks, finally time to bring in the big guns!

We replaced an old ceiling/fan light combo in a bedroom in June that was running on a Lutron Ariadni switch/double slide dimmer. New ceiling fan is a Hampton Bay unit that only has a wireless remote (no pull chains/etc). The whole bedroom circuit is on a GFCI breaker.

An electrician installed the double dimmer a few years ago, and when we swapped fans a handyman did it. I say that because I DID NOT SEE the wiring beforehand. The switch box on the wall is a really old black metal unit. Has ground-white-black coming in and g-w-r-b going up to the ceiling. But now the ground-ground and white-white are wire nutted, the incoming black and output red are nutted, and the output black is nutted off. THe grounds are NOT connected to the old black metal box. There is no switch currently - everything all direct connected from supply to the 4-wire.

Problem is the remote only works for the fan. It does not turn on the CFL lamp. The lamp does work - if I connect it to the hot wire in the ceiling, it turns on. Likewise if I connect it to the black (normally for fan) output wire on the receiver (and put it on HIGH) it turns on the light. It just will not turn on from the remote via the receiver. Using a simple circuit test screwdriver, I can see power on the input side of the receiver, and the black and blue output wires of the receiver. It just doesn't seem to be enough to light the lamp. So what is the expected output (if I used a multimeter) of a blue receiver output wire?

Other notes:

* The original receiver on the problem fan has a melted corner - thought that was the initial problem when asking for a replacement receiver. The other 2 receivers show no melt. But maybe something else is broken as a result?

* We actually had the handyman install another identical ceiling fan at the same time in a different bedroom. Other one works fine (but there was no fan in that room before, and it only has ground-white-black in the box and ceiling - and the wall switch is not used now).

* The identical Remotes when DIP changed both work fine on the other fan. But neither can control lamp on the problem one.

* I have had the receiver unit replaced twice thinking the previous ones were faulty. But I can't imagine a third one is bad too.

* CFLs have integrated ballasts, but is there some other kind of ballast inside the fan that might not be getting enough kick-in power from the blue wire?

Big questions:

What am I missing here? The handyman and I are both stumped, and I can't afford to keep paying him to debug!

Is it safe to just wire nut the black as a second hot in the box, pigtail to a switch, and then connect that black in ceiling directly to the lamp (bypassing the remote)? Worried it is defeating something - and I don't know if there is other circuitry in the fan/motor assembly to burn up.

andrew79 07-16-2012 10:40 PM

Lesson learned. Hire an electrician :p. I have no idea how to fix the problem. But someone will be along shortly with an answer I would think.

thadsaab 07-17-2012 11:31 AM

You could try:
1. Swaping lamps between the two identical fans, in case one is somehow not compatible with the circutry in the receiver.
2. Swapping receivers between the two identical fans.

jbfan 07-17-2012 01:08 PM

Some remotes are not compatible with cfl lights.
Others that are will turn them on/ off only.

hscottm 07-17-2012 03:21 PM

The fan came with a cfl bulb and says '14w cfl only'

Also the identical fan installed with cfl works fine.

Pretty sure i already swapped rcvrs but will do again tonight with the latest one.

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