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I will try to give as much information as I can. I have no experience with wiring so I imagine some of the things I did were incorrect and probably stupid.

I purchased a Hampton Bay ceiling fan, and after numerous attempts at installation, the fan itself spins, however the lights do not light up.

From my ceiling we only have 2 cloth-wrapped wires, a black and a white one (no ground). I connected the blue and black wires from the fan to the black wire from the ceiling, and the white wire from the fan to the white wire from the ceiling. The green wire from the fan was simply capped off.

I also tested the light kit alone, attaching the ceiling wires directly to the light kit, and the lights came on, and the pull cord could be used to switch them on and off.

The only wires for the light kit installation protruding from the bottom of the ceiling fan are a white and a blue one, so I connected the wires to their corresponding colors (white to white, blue to blue). When I do this, the lights do not come on, the ceiling fan still works.

I grabbed a multimeter, and "tested"... something, however I think that my tests were done completely incorrectly so disregard this information if it is not useful.

I set the multimeter to the 200VAC setting, placed the black lead in the "COM" port and the red in the red port. Then I took the leads, and with the power on at the wall switch, I placed the red lead onto the (blue and then after that white) wires, and the black lead onto a piece of metal (specifically the grooves where you screw in the light bulb, as per youtube instructions). Both wire tests returned non zero results (around 2.2).

I then plugged in the wires into the light kit, and tested, once again with the power on, the brass contacts for the light bulbs (with the red lead, and the black lead touching a piece of metal). This returned a zero result.

Once again, I don't know if the multimeter results are in any way significant as I had no idea what I was actually measuring :).

Right now I am stuck with a spinning ceiling fan and no lights. Any help or insight into how I should actually test with the multimeter would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you!

  • Does that fan come with a remote? – donjuedo Jun 23 '15 at 16:43
  • For that matter, did the fan and light kit come together, in the same box? – donjuedo Jun 23 '15 at 16:43
  • @donjuedo no remote, and yes everything was from the same box – mrybak834 Jun 23 '15 at 16:44
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Since there's no grounding conductor in the box (i.e. the box is not grounded), touching a meter lead to metal is basically useless.Your COM probe should go to the grounded (neutral) (white wire in your case), then you can use the other probe to test for voltage.

It sounds to me like there might be a problem with the wiring inside the fixture, since you said the light kit on its own worked. It sounds like for some reason either the blue or the white wires are not continuous through the fixture to the light kit. Maybe a loose or bad connection inside the unit, or a loose or bad connection where the light kit clips into the fan.

If your multi-meter has a continuity setting, you could use that to test the continuity through to the light kit. If not, you can use the resistance feature to do the testing.

The continuity setting will look something like this...

Continuity setting

While the resistance setting will be represented by the omega symbol (Ω). If you're using the resistance settings, you'll want to use the lowest setting (usually 200, 400, or similar).

Testing continuity

  • Turn the power off to the fixture using the circuit breaker, and verify power is off.
  • Disconnect the white and blue wires from the building wiring.
  • With the light kit disconnected from the fan.
    • touch one probe to the white wire at the top of the fan, and the other to the white wire where the light kit should connect. Note the reading.
    • touch one probe to the blue wire at the top of the fan, and the other to the blue wire where the light kit should connect. Note the reading.
    • touch one probe to the white wire of the light kit, and the other to the threaded bit in the light socket. Note the reading.
    • touch one probe to the blue wire of the light kit, and the other to the contact at the bottom of the light socket. Note the reading.
  • With the light kit connected to the fan.
    • touch one probe to the white wire at the top of the fan, and the other to the threaded bit in the light socket. Note the reading.
    • touch one probe to the blue wire at the top of the fan, and the other to the contact at the bottom of the light socket. Note the reading.

When testing continuity, a beep or low resistance reading means there's electrical continuity between the two test points (i.e. electricity can flow between the points). If there's no beep, or an open or infinite reading, it means there's no electrical continuity (i.e. electricity cannot flow between the two points). If there's a high resistance reading, it means that there's a bad connection between the two points (i.e. electricity cannot flow easily between the two points).


If the continuity tests all pass (i.e. there's continuity from the top of the fan through to the socket), then you'll want to check the bulbs to make sure they're good, and check the contacts within the sockets to make sure they are making solid contact with the bulb.

If it still doesn't work, you'll want to think about exchanging the fixture.

  • Thank you very much! I will be testing everything as you said, just one question. "Disconnect the white and blue wires from the building wiring." The fan wires, correct? So I would disconnect the two fan wires from the white building wire, and leave the black one from the fan connected to the black building wire, right? Unless I am understanding incorrectly. Thank you for the extensive breakdown and explanation. Very much! – mrybak834 Jun 23 '15 at 17:59
  • You can completely disconnect all the fan wires from the ceiling, that way there no danger of electrocution. – Tester101 Jun 23 '15 at 18:20

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