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I installed a Harbor Breeze ceiling fan/light with a remote control unit earlier this evening. I've installed several fans and never had a problem. This one sort of has me perplexed.

There was an existing fan/light in place. There are 4 wires inside the box (Red, Bare, Black, and White) It was wired as such:

Box                Fan
----------------------------------
Black              Blue & Black
Bare               Green
White              White
Red (capped off)   ---

The new fan has a remote unit that connects to the fan first with only a white and black wire exiting the unit. It is wired as such:

Box                Fan
----------------------------------
Black              Black
Bare               Green
White              White
Red (capped off)   ---

The previous unit used a wall switch to power the unit. Once the switch was on, you could pull the chains for the light and the fan to adjust speed. If you turned the switch off, it cut power to the unit altogether. The new fan/light does not respond to the switch at all. The only thing that controls the fan/light is the remote. Even if the wall switch is off you can still control the fan/light. I would've expected the switch to operate the fan/light the same way, meaning instead of chains, you would control the fan/light functions with the remote but if you turned the wall switch off the fan/light would turn off completely until the switch was turned back on. Am I wrong about this? Is there something I overlooked?

Thanks.

  • Look in the wall switch box and tell us what you see. How many wires are there and what color. Is this switch a 3-way switch and part of a pair that controlled the old fan and light? – Jim Stewart Jan 1 '18 at 10:41
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 1 '18 at 12:09
  • you made no mention of the receiver – jsotola Jan 1 '18 at 19:39
  • did you turn off the breaker and then forgot to turn it back on? – jsotola Jan 1 '18 at 23:30
  • The breaker is on and everything is functioning. I can control the fan/light functions with the remote and they all work whether the mechanical wall switch is on or off. – Matthew Lamb Jan 1 '18 at 23:36
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Taking the information you have given us, what you are describing doesn't make sense. The only way you could connect the fan without it operating on the switch is to bypass the switch, if it is a mechanical switch (not a controller from the previous fan). Meaning you have somehow tapped the line side to the switch and disconnected the switch leg returning to the fan.

You need to take a voltage tester and check which wire is the switch leg and which wire is the line side hot to the switch by turning the switch on and off and seeing which one is permanently hot and which one is the switch leg and reconnect them to reinstall a mechanical switch.

If the switch was a controller installed for the previous fan, you need to replace it with a standard mechanical switch.

Happy new year and good luck.

  • I can elaborate a little further. It appears as though the unit before the unit I removed was controlled with 2 switches, hence the red wire in the box. The second switch on the wall never worked because the unit I removed was in place when we moved in. The red wire was capped off inside the box. There were only 4 wires inside the box. Black, white, bare, and red. I recapped and retaped the red one, and connected the only other wires inside the box to the available wires from the fan. There are no additional wires in the box, and I never removed the cover on the switches. – Matthew Lamb Jan 1 '18 at 15:42
  • @MatthewLamb -- can you get us photos of the wiring in the switch box in particular? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 1 '18 at 17:10
  • the two switches on the wall would be for separate control of the light and the fan motor – jsotola Jan 1 '18 at 23:31
  • I understand that the two switches on the wall would separately control the fan and light functions of the older unit. The first unit that the home was built with is no longer in place, and the red wire is capped off in the ceiling box. That switch has never been operative. The unit I removed was functioning with the working switch. It would power the unit, and then you could control the lights or fan with the chains. Since installing the new unit in place of that one with one that utilize a remote system, the switch that once powered the old unit no longer does that. – Matthew Lamb Jan 1 '18 at 23:41
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I have the capped red wire, only one switch and my fan/light stays on with the switch on. Controls fine with the remote.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. It's not clear what you're saying here; is this a potential answer? Do you have a similar problem? (Edit your answer to make it clearer; thanks!) – Daniel Griscom Jun 23 '18 at 1:07
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Connect the black wire from the fan to the red wire from the wall. Cap off the black wire from the wall. The red wire is from your switch..... If it is connected you use the switch.

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