enter image description hereI removed a light fixture in ceiling and trying to install ceiling fan. When I removed fixture I see 4 sets of wires in box and trying to figure out how to connect fan.

Three of the black wires are pigtailed to one of the white wires. All the grounds are connected together. This leaves 3 white wires that were together and a single black wire.

I did not take a picture but thought old fixture had white wire connected to 3 other white wires and black wire connected to single black wire, leaving the set of 3 black and single white pigtailed as was.

When I connect my blue and black fan wire to single black and white fan wire to 3 white wires (and ground to ground) fan does not work and circuit trips in breaker box.

Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong or need to test (if I need to go and get a meter to do some testing).

Any help is much appreciated.

  • You need to get a voltage tester. Easiest to use is the non-contact type. I am afraid I did not read your question fully before answering. something is not right. Or you may be able to look at the switch box and figure out what you need to do. Open switch box and send picture. Jul 14, 2018 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


You don't say otherwise so we assume the light fixture worked, and it was wired correctly. The 3 whites joined together are neutrals and the white neutral lead on the fan is to be connected to them.

Presumably the lone black was connected to the light and must be the switched hot coming from a wall switch. Connect this to the black lead of the fan.

Does the fan have a light kit? If so, and if there is not a separate switch for the light, then connect the (probab) blue light lead to the lone black as well. You would have to control the light with the pull chain.

Connect the ground lead of the fan (which may be green or green w/ yellow stripe) to the set of bare copper wires.

FYI the white wire in the nut with the three blacks is the line hot (always hot) going to the wall switch that will control the fan. The lone black wire will be in the same cable as this white and is the switched hot referred to above. This cable (W, B, gnd) forms what is called a switch loop. The other black wires are taking the line hot to other fixtures on this circuit.

  • Thanks for your quick response, much appreciated. Yep, the old fixture did work. I did connect the fan as you have outlined (including the blue and black from fan as it has light fixture to single black in junction box) but it did not work and tripped the circuit. I will try again in case something was not connected right.
    – Alastair
    Jul 14, 2018 at 19:29
  • Just edited my answer to add things. Let us know if this worked, things can be sometimes other than the most likely. Do you have a non-contact or contact voltage tester? Jul 14, 2018 at 19:33
  • Great, thanks again. I do not have a voltage tester but will try one more time in a couple of hours when I am home again. If it still trips the breaker then I will get a tester as probably not a bad thing to have anyways. Will let you know if it works when I try again as I will likely need advice on what and how to test with voltage meter if trying again still trips the breaker.
    – Alastair
    Jul 14, 2018 at 19:50
  • I assumed that the connections of the wires that are shown in the pic are as they were when connected to the light. If they were disconnected and then reconnected, wires might have been switched. if that is the case, you must do some testing. Jul 14, 2018 at 20:39

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