The LED lights bulbs in my ceiling fan all went dim this week. The lights themselves are OK because they work fine in other lamps. When I turn on the fan, though, the lights go back to original brightness. Aside from the pull cord, the lights can be controlled by a dimmer switch on wall, although the bulbs I'm using don't have adjustable dimming.

Why is this happening? I've seen issues of ceiling fan lights going dim when the fan is turned on, but not the opposite.

Upon Ack's suggestion, I did some experiments:

Initial state: ceiling fan has 3 fixtures and 2/3 fixtures have bulbs. Both bulbs are 9W. Both bulbs are dim

Experiment 1: both bulbs work at full brightness in other lamp fixtures

Experiment 2: put new 13.5W bulb in ceiling fan fixture. 1 fixture has 9W and other has 13.5W bulb. Both bulbs turn on at full brightness without turning ceiling fan on

Experiment 3: put new 9W bulb in ceiling fan fixture. Both fixtures have 9W bulb. Light dim in both

Experiment 4: put new 9W bulb in 3rd fixture. All three fixtures have 9W bulb. All bulbs dim

Experiment 5: 1 fixture has 13.5W bulb, and rest have old 9W bulbs. All bulbs bright

Not sure what's going on here.

  • Did these LED bulbs previously work OK in the ceiling fan fixture, or is this the first time you replaced incandescents with LEDs here? If they used to be ok, then most likely a wire came loose somewhere and you're not getting full voltage to the bulbs except when the feed to the fan motor is live. Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 14:07
  • is there a separate wall switch for the fan or are they both on the dimmer?
    – Jon
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 15:13
  • Yes, the bulbs previously worked fine in the fixture. The fan and lights are controlled by the same dimmer. Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 15:29
  • 2
    Sounds like the LED controller is going bad. The quality control on those types of items is atrocious and it is hit or miss if they will go bad quickly, especially for lesser known brands (most of Amazon's sellers for example)
    – Ack
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 15:50
  • 1
    @user2233706 -- post that as an answer and you'll get a +1 from me Commented May 3, 2021 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


We don't have this problem anymore because we got rid of the ceiling fan and got a new dimmer.

  • Generally speaking, "We got rid of the device" isn't an acceptable answer at Home Improvement.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 14:10
  • 1
    @FreeMan It isn't a proper answer. But it happens to be really nice of OP to actually return and tell us what happened rather than leaving an unknown where people might try to answer in the future but nobody would ever know if any future answers fixed the problem because OP would not be able to test it. Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 14:15
  • 1
    Fair point, @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact, and I later read TPE's comment asking the OP to post it. I debated deleting my comment, but left it for future reference. I did not DV or flag...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 14:17
  • 1
    I sometimes flag depending on the situation (didn't here). But I would certainly not DV someone like this new to the system (yes, 2 years, but clearly not much activity) who is acting in good faith on a system where it is truly not clear how to post information such as this. Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 14:19

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