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I have a 4-speed Hampton Bay ceiling fan. I want to use a wireless remote control. I can only find wireless remote control kits that offer 3-speed settings. If I use a 3-speed wireless remote control kit, will I lose one of the speed settings? Which setting would I lose? Can I make any adjustments?

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2 Answers 2

Your 4-speed fan only has four speeds simply because of the remote that it comes with. The fan by itself can work with any controller, as long as the controller is rated to work with ceiling fans.

If you're able to connect your new wireless remote to the existing fan (with no electrical snafus), your fan will happily work with the 3 speeds your remote comes with. It's harder to determine which setting you'll lose, though your highest speed will probably be the same. Individual settings are determined by a controller, and these can vary.

I don't believe you can make adjustments, unless you're willing to open the controller up and experiment with it (not the wireless remote, but the actual controller that sits in your fan's housing).

Do keep in mind, however, that you don't want to use a stepless dimmer with a ceiling fan. That can bring about a whole lot of humming (and more importantly, reduced life for your fan motor).

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Although the speed of an induction motor can be continuously varied a bit with an SCR phase control circuit, such as used in a light dimmer, most multi-speed fan motors use tapped windings to provide different speeds in discrete steps. The 4-speed motor will have four tap wires coming out of it, plus a common wire; the 3-speed control will have three tap wires, plus a common. The three speeds you can achieve with the 4-speed fan will depend on which three of the four available taps you choose to connect to the controller. Make sure you cap the unused motor tap or cover it with electrical tape to prevent it from shorting to any metal in the fan housing, as that wire will be energized when the motor is running.

Beware that some multi-speed induction motors may use combinations of taps to achieve intermediate speeds, instead of one tap per speed, in which case selecting the correct taps to wire to the controller may be a bit trickier.

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