We replaced an existing ceiling fan and light with another ceiling fan and light. Neither the new nor the old fan and light have a remote. The old fan and light could be controlled by 2 wall switches - one for the fan and one for the light; and also could be controlled by the pull chains on the fan.

Wires from the ceiling are black, white, green, and bare copper. The new fan has black, white, green/yellow, and blue. We connected black and blue to black, white to white, green/yellow to green and bare copper. However, with this connection nothing works at all.

We tried connecting the blue to the bare copper. The fan and light works but not at the same time.

What do we need to do to fix this?

  • 1
    What country are you in - Based on UK colourings, I would expect green/yellow to be earth, as I would the bare conductor, but depending on local conventions, this could be different where you are. Jan 4, 2015 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


Look at the switches that control the fan/light... What color wires are connected to them? How was the previous fixture connected? Why didn't you simply connect the new device in the exact same manner?

If the fan and light used to be controlled independently by separate switches, I'd assume the previous wiring used the green wire as an ungrounded (hot) conductor. This would be confirmed by seeing the black wire connected to one of the switches, and the green connected to the other. This is an uncommon use of the green wire, and as you've found can be confusing. If this is the case, you should mark the wire in some way to indicate that it is not a grounding conductor.

If you've confirmed that the green wire is indeed used as an ungrounded (hot) conductor, then the wiring will be as follows.

  • Black from ceiling to black from fixture.
  • White from ceiling to white from fixture.
  • Bare copper from the ceiling to green/yellow from fixture.
  • Green from ceiling to blue from fixture.

If the green wire is not used as an ungrounded (hot) conductor, contact a local licensed Electrician and have them install the fixture.

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