I am troubleshooting some electrical issues on three different ceiling fans in my upstairs bedrooms. All three are wireless Harbor Breeze ceiling fans. They all have the same issues but at varying levels. issues include:

fan run slower than it should

I measured the house power and I get 118-120v on all three boxes. So I then measured the voltage from the light output(blue wire) on each unit. the readings are as follows:

1st light: 90v - dimness, flickering
2nd light: 103v - slight dimness, flickering
3rd light: 50v - This guy just barely works

All of the wire nuts are tight and they are wired correctly. I have the same ceiling fan in my living room and it doesnt have any issues. I measure the light output on it and it reads 110v which I would expect to be normal.

What would cause this issue with three or four different voltage readings? I cant imagine that I would have three defective ceiling fans. With the house voltage reading normal could there still be an issue else where in the circuit? The last two fans are on the same breaker, but the first one is on its own.

Here is an example of the ceiling fan wiring:

enter image description here

  • Can you measure the voltage on the black wire coming out of each fan module? Nov 9, 2015 at 4:27
  • Also, were these fans installed at the same time, or at different times? Nov 9, 2015 at 5:07
  • Yes, I will measure it tomorrow when it's light out. The fans were installed at the same time as far as I can tell. We bought a "flipped" home(mistake number 1) and all of the ceiling fans and light fixtures are new. Nov 9, 2015 at 7:02
  • Hello. I measured the voltage coming out the black wire. The voltage reads zero when the fan is switched off. When I turn the fan on I get a voltage reading. There is a voltage reading with the fan on but of course I cant get a good reading because the fan starts to spin. Nov 11, 2015 at 16:31
  • try disconnecting the black wire from the fan, then turning it on and taking a voltage reading :) Nov 11, 2015 at 23:18

1 Answer 1


Your problems could be with the remote control receiver unit. These have power control circuitry inside that allows for on/off control of the fan and light and possibly speed control for the fan and dimming for the light. As with any electronic circuitry connected to the power line these can be damaged by a surge or serious spike on the power line.

One common cause of spikes and surges in some areas is thunder storms with accompanying lightening. You may want to look into swapping out one of these receiver units with a new one to see if it corrects the problem.

Note that this type of unit is permanently connected to the AC mains exposing it to storm surges all the time. In some instances the fan/light fixture may be wired up through a switch to shut it off. In cases where the switch is off during a storm it could account why some units escaped damage whilst others have failed.

  • Thanks Michael. I think I will try swapping the receivers and see if the issue continues. Nov 11, 2015 at 16:33

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