The lights on my harbor breeze fan stopped working this morning. When I came home from work, I got the ladder and took down the lights. I don't have a multimeter but I saw that there is this Watt Regulator (pic below) in the fan. I traced the wires and it seems that this may have been the culprit. I snipped the wires, got some wire nuts, and wired directly into the 120V circuit. Ta-da! Lights are back and fan is working normal.

Question is : What is the purpose of this watt regulator? Why do some fans include it?

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  • 2
    Can you post a pic of this where the label is legible? Aug 27, 2010 at 15:12
  • @Mike: I'll have to try. It says "120V 300W MAX" by Hunter. Part Number 98480-02 Hunter. UL certification here: google.com/… Aug 27, 2010 at 19:11
  • 4
    I should add that a year later, this fan is still working great w/o the regulator. Aug 28, 2011 at 23:48
  • 4
    nearly 3 years later and no fires or problems. Fan works great Apr 1, 2013 at 12:02
  • 3
    And... it's still going! Feb 10, 2014 at 12:48

3 Answers 3


Here's the real story:


As required by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established test procedures and energy conservation standards for ceiling fans and for ceiling fan light kits.

Ceiling fan light kits with any other socket type including but not limited to candelabra screw base sockets, intermediate screw-base sockets, 2-pin halogen sockets, and bayonet sockets manufactured on or after January 1, 2009, shall not be capable of operating with lamps that total more than 190 watts and must be packaged with lamps that together total 190 watts or less. DOE indicated in a January 11, 2007, final rule that it recognizes that manufacturers may choose to follow one of several possible design pathways to ensure that the light kit is not capable of operating with lamps that total more than 190 watts.


DOE is interpreting the 190-watt limit on power consumption for certain ceiling fan light kits as a design requirement. This approach will require that manufacturers incorporate some measure such as a fuse, circuit breaker or current-limiting device to ensure the light kit is not capable of operating with a lamp or lamps totaling more than 190 watts.

  • 2
    +1 for referencing the (somewhat silly) regulation. I'm a little confused as to why the device in question would be labeled MAX 300W if the regs require less than 190W of lighting
    – mac
    Nov 29, 2012 at 15:21
  • 1
    @mac , The other 110 watts would likely account for the fan motor.
    – Zv_oDD
    Nov 1, 2016 at 1:38
  • I stumbled across this question, while replacing a light fixture and wondering what this widget was for. I kind of understand the watt-limiting. Thing is, the light fixture says it's limited to 14 watts (no ventilated at all). So you could still put 20X that rating in, and the watt-limiter wouldn't kick in, but you'd probably still have a fire. And it's HIGHLY unlikely someone will manage to put in more than 300 watts, since there are only two sockets. Apr 14, 2023 at 19:23
  • Is this a light fixture with a ballast? Apr 18, 2023 at 0:34

The Wattage regulator has nothing to do with speed of fan or brightness of bulbs or for a remote. It is a safety feature that prevents the fan from overheating. If you install bulbs that exceed the specified wattage, the wattage regulator either shuts off the bulbs or limits the wattage they receive to prevent overheating. Contact the manufacturer and they should send you a new light kit.

  • 1
    still doesn't make sense because I use CFLs which are low wattage. Aug 6, 2012 at 17:44

A regulator would normally be used either to change the speed of the fan or the brightness of the lights. If this regulator didn't have any external controls like a pull chain, is there a chance this fan at one time had a remote control?

  • brand new fan.. did not come with a remote control. I just installed it about a month ago Aug 27, 2010 at 11:06
  • 1
    It's possible that this model and a more pricey model are both manufactured at the same time. The only difference being the more expensive fan gets an RF receiver to control the regulator and this one does not. This is common practice in manufacturing, and possibly the reason the fan has "extra" parts. It's even possible that this model is ready for a remote, they just did not include one and charged less because of it. This might also explain why the lights stopped working, if something was on the same frequency it could have turned them off.
    – Tester101
    Oct 5, 2010 at 16:31

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