Trying to install a Minka ceiling fan/light (in buddy's condo). The ceiling box has three-wire circuit (white, black, red) and there are two wall switches connected. But the fan has no reverse switch, so apparently they require you to use it with the remote. But the receiver for the remote will not fit into the ceiling box (it is a condo building, framed with metal studs, and the box is smaller than fan boxes I'm used to seeing in wood-frame houses). Does anyone know of a fan wall switch that includes a reverse function ? I've searched Minka's accessories and I don't believe they sell one.

To clarify: there are 3 wires (plus ground) coming into the fan ceiling box: white, black, red; two wall switches activate the black and red wires. I need to connect those 3 wires directly to the wires from the fan itself: white (neutral), black (fan power), blue (light power). But this provides no way to reverse the fan.

Only other options I see are: put remote receiver in the wall switch box (where the two switches are located), which seems dumb; return the fans for ones with reverse switch; only operate the fans in blow-downwards mode; replace the ceiling box (not even sure how that'd be done in a metal-framed building).

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    I don't understand how the remote can reverse the fan: There's just the neutral wire (at ground potential), and the black wire (with a 120vac sine wave). Does it swap those (coming out of the remote receiver), is that even legal to have the white wire not be at ground potential ? And then the blue wire (to the light) would have to be changed too. Jun 23, 2018 at 18:10
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    Can you post photos of the fan wiring please? I'm confused, too... Jun 23, 2018 at 18:12
  • Sorry, not at his place now. I will try to summarize in OP. Jun 23, 2018 at 18:13
  • are you sure that you can reverse the fan with a remote switch? .... it may have a reversing switch on the motor that you have to flip
    – jsotola
    Jun 24, 2018 at 3:23
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    @Harper The documentation actually says you MUST use the enclosed receiver/transmitter remote system. In other fans, I've simply discarded those (and wired as I describe two comments previous to this one). As far as bench testing, I'm sure it WOULD work if I wired up the remote rx/tx, but the receiver will not fit in the ceiling box. Besides, buddy doesn't want remote control, made that clear when he bought the fans, and I'm urging him to simply exchange them (for ones that have a reverse switch and can be connected directly to a 3-wire circuit, like some Minka fans in my house). Jun 25, 2018 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


Most receivers are built so they fit inside the fan box in between the fan hanger. I am assuming you have already tried that and it doesn't fit in there or in the junction box the bracket is attached to. I have never tried to put it in a switch box so I don't know the outcome of that.

What I have done is carefully cut the ceiling drywall around the hanger box and slipped the receiver up beside the junction box. If you feel you have to put a the receiver in a box you can do that also. If the hole is too big to cover it with the fan box cover you can use a medallion to cover the hole (get it) mess. enter image description here

This is a fairly simple one but you could they come in various shapes and sizes. Also remember if you use something like this you might want to use some sort of extension ring or shield and it wouldn't hurt to have a 6-32 and a 8-32 screw kit for longer screws when needed.

FYI - I know it's a feature but I have never been much of a supporter of the reverse switch idea. Think about it, trying to take a fan and circulate heat down from the ceiling doesn't really make sense especially if you figure in the chill factor it creates. Also most modern ac systems will get enough of an air mix to correctly heat the air in an area, and what they can't solve with that they can aim the air with the registar. Most of the time, in my area people play with it once or twice and then forget about it. I have had more call backs on getting the air to blow down after the owner couldn't figure out that they had left the fan in a reverse mode than the other way around.

Hope this helps and good luck.

  • I don't know why the fan box is so small, but no, the receiver will not fit. Seems like it's a significant code violation to put the receiver outside the fan box. Could add a junction box like you say. Jun 24, 2018 at 5:18
  • But the main thing is, he doesn't want the fan remote-controlled, period. There is a transmitter wall switch that communicates with the receiver - if I can fit the receiver in somehow, or put the receiver in the same switchbox. But the right solution is some sort of wall switch than can handle the reversal function, directly through the wiring to the fan box, Jun 24, 2018 at 5:22
  • Apparently he made it very clear to the online fan retailer that he did not want remote control. (It never occurred to me it could be a problem - I have Minka fans, and I simply wired the thing directly to a 3-wire circuit, using Minka speed control and the fan's reverse switch). Given that, I think he should simply inform the dealer that he wants to exchange the fans for something that can be direct-wired, and he expects to incur no shipping expenses. Jun 24, 2018 at 5:25
  • I agree with you about the usefulness of the "winter blow-upward" mode, for my friend's 9ft ceilings. For my 16ft ones, maybe not so much, the air gets pretty stratified. Jun 24, 2018 at 5:27
  • @RustyShackleford - Since I saw it was someone who has experience I only "suggested" the quick cure. I know it kind of walks the line of the intent of the code. but sometimes one has to do what one can. That's why it I said maybe a separate box. But the new information kind of changes things. Anyway good luck. Jun 24, 2018 at 13:33

You could hardwire the fan and also provide a reverse switch on the wall, this would probably require a multi conductor cable, it could be done but the wire pull sounds like it would be a pain in the back side if you can't install a box for the remote.

  • There's already a white/black/red cable going from the switchbox to the fan. It's been awhile. We ended up putting the remote receiver unit (that's normally meant to go in or near the fan ceiling box for a situation with only white/black there) into the switchbox. Plenty of room there, after we removed the two switches which were intended for remote-less operation. Then he controls using the handheld remote transmitter. Not what he originally wanted, but he was lame for not immediately insisting on returning the fans when we realized they weren't suitable for remote-less operation. Dec 14, 2018 at 23:36

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