# How can I replace a ceiling fan light pull chain?

I have removed the light assembly from beneath the fan. In doing so, the lights (three with pull chain ) fell and I failed to catch it before it pulled out some wires.

The wires coming from the ceiling to the fan are still intact. The fan still works from my wall switch, but I am having problems connecting the new pull chain for the light.

Out of the fan there are two wires: white and blue. I know that I have three white wires from the lights and the one white wire from the ceiling fan that need to be connected so I did it. I then connected the three black wires from the lights and the blue wire coming down from the ceiling fan.

The lights work on and off with the fan.

My problem is I am not sure how to connect the new pull chain. Both wires out of the pull chain are black. I am smart enough to know that if the connect them to the white and blue respectively, it will blow the circuit breaker when I pull the chain.

I do not have a wire diagram and cannot find the correct connection on the internet.

What wires do I need to connect the pull switch to at this time?

• So the pull chain assembly itself - where the chain connects to the wiring - that's what broke? Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 14:25
• Is the old switch (pull chain) still connected? Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 14:38
• Can you post a photo of what you're working with. See the faq for how to do so before you have the rep. Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 14:42

Since you didn't provide a picture, or a very helpful description of what you're looking at. I'll try answering your question by explaining how the switch itself works, which will hopefully help you understand the problem better.

# Single Pole Single Throw (SPST) Pull Chain Switch

The pull chain switch that controls the light(s), is a single pole single throw (SPST) switch. It has two positions ON (Closed), and OFF (Open). Drawn simply, it would look something like this.

Switch shown in ON (Closed) position.

When the switch is in the ON (Closed) position, current is allowed to flow through the switch, through the light(s), and back to the the source (via neutral).

When the chain is pulled and released, the internal contact rotates 90° (1/4 turn) into the OFF (Open) position.

When the switch is in this position, current is not allowed to flow through the switch, and the light is not lit.

This is why the pull chain switch that controls the light(s) only has two leads.

# Single Pole Multiple Throw (SPnT) Pull Chain Switch

The pull chain switch that controls the fan, is a single pole multiple throw switch. It has multiple positions, which allows it to control the speed of the fan. Draw simply, it would look something like this.

Switch shown in OFF (Open) position.

When the chain is pulled and released on this switch, the internal contact rotates 45° (1/8 turn) to the next position.

Another pull, another turn.

Pull again, turn some more.

One final pull brings the switch 180° around, and again to the OFF (Open) position.

By manipulating the output of this switch, the fan is able to whirl around at various speeds depending on the switches position. The number of output leads, will depend on the switch. How those leads are connected to the fan motor, will depend on the fan manufacturer. This simply illustrates the basic principle of how the switch works.

As always electrical work can be dangerous, never be afraid to contact a qualified Electrician

• Where do I upload the pictures of what I am talking about? Can't find it anyware. :-( Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 19:09
• @LonnieEWeck You don't have enough reputation to upload the images directly. If you upload them to imgur and post a link to them in a comment, a higher rep user can edit them into the question. Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 19:36
• Not sure what you mean by "enough reputation", but here is the link: imgur.com/455ez&SWSjU This show two pictures: 1st fan wiring and 2nd light wiring. If you look at the pics and reread my description I think you will be able to see what I want. There is no pic of the pull chain cause I do not know what wires to hook it too. Thanks. Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 20:08
• @LonnieEWeck After looking at your pictures, it appears there is already a pull chain connected to the light. Are you trying to replace the existing pull chain, or install a second pull chain? Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 13:11
• The pull chain you see is the one for the fan. The pic with only wires is the light fixture. Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 13:48

BTW, fixed it myself. Apparently I did not clearly state the problem. I fixed it by connecting the light switch to pos and neg and then running an additional ground up to the fan section. When you pull the switch the light goes off via the ground in the light switch and when you pull it again it lights via the ground routed to the fan.

• Wait... "pos and neg", "ground"!? Are you working with direct current (DC)? First off, there is no positive and negative in alternating current. Secondly the switch should have nothing to do with ground, it should only interrupt the ungrounded (hot) conductor. Commented Dec 28, 2012 at 17:23
• The first picture is the light housing.The pull chain in the picture goes to the fan housing.In th first pic white is hot, black is not. This is where the old light switch was connected. If I hooked it direct between the two, the circuit breaker blows. When I attach one end of the switch to the white wire then the other side of the switch goes up to the fan assembly for connection. At tis time it works. Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 16:46