Ceiling fan short?

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Old 03-23-10, 02:27 PM
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Ceiling fan short?

Well recently my ceiling fan stopped working. The lights work but whenever I flip the switch for the fan, it just makes a buzzing noise. I installed the fan a year or two ago but it's worked fine up until now. I think it may be a short because the lights seem alot brighter. I took down the fan and looked at all the connections and they all seemed fine. Although I'm not an electrician. Here's how it looks: The room this is in has two light switches. Out of the ceiling there is a black wire, a white wire, a red wire, an exposed copper wire, and another black wire. I think the last two are some kind of ground wires? Out of the fan, there is a black wire, a white wire, and a blue wire. Attached to the ceiling fan mount is a green wire which I suppose is some kind of ground wire as well. The way I wired it was black to black, white to white, and blue to red. I left the ground wires as-is. The only thing I could think of was that maybe I should do something with the grounds?
 
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Old 03-23-10, 03:05 PM
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I think it may be a short because the lights seem alot brighter
The term short refers to an accidental connection between the conductors of a circuit or conductor(s) and ground with minimal or no resistance. This results in a breaker tripping or a fire. Since neither has occurred it is unlikely you have a short.
The lights work but whenever I flip the switch for the fan, it just makes a buzzing noise.
That could be because of a poor connection, bad capacitor, or bad motor winding. First you need to redo all the connections. If that doesn't help try replacing the capacitor. It is a small black box inside the fan with wires coming out. Usually you see it when you drop the light from the bottom of the fan.
The only thing I could think of was that maybe I should do something with the grounds?
Absence of grounds do not affect function but for safety they should be connected together and if the box is metal pigtailed to the box.
exposed copper wire, and another black wire. I think the last two are some kind of ground wires?
A black wire should never be a ground. In this case it may be feeding power to a receptacle or another light.
I think it may be a short because the lights seem alot brighter.
Do you have a meter so you can measure the voltage to the bulbs with the fan on and fan off?

Switch (round) and capacitor (square).

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Old 03-23-10, 04:34 PM
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Thanks for your reply. I re-did all of the wiring and when I flipped the switch to the fan it made the buzzing noise and started to turn slightly but looked like it didn't have enough juice. The lights also still seemed incredibly bright and painful to look at. When all three wires are hooked up, there is the green wire from the fan mount, the completely exposed copper wire from the ceiling, and the other black wire that is exposed on the end. The main three wires from the ceiling are coming from one bunch and those other two from the ceiling are in a smaller bunch.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 04:52 PM
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When all three wires are hooked up, there is the green wire from the fan mount, the completely exposed copper wire from the ceiling, and the other black wire that is exposed on the end.
Where is this other black wire from? The Fan? A cable?

Tell us how many 2-conductor cables and how many 3-conductor cables come into the fan box. All cables even if you think they are unrelated. A 2-conductor cable is two insulated wires and a bare ground wire. A 3-conductor cable is 3 insulated wires and one bare ground wire.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 06:12 PM
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Out of the ceiling there are two sets of wires coming through. One set has a red, white, and black wire coming from it and they are heavier wires. The other set of wires coming from the ceiling is a bare copper wire and a black wire with just the end exposed. I tried to get a picture but it wasn't coming out very clearly.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 07:02 PM
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is a bare copper wire and a black wire with just the end exposed.
Now that is a puzzle. A cable would have a minimum of a black and white. I really though don't think the problem is in the wiring. Unless you are using a speed control on the fan switch the problem is probably either in the fan itself or the capacitor. Try spinning the blades by hand after turning it on. Check the capacitor for signs of melting. Be sure to try starting it on the highest speed.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 07:33 PM
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Well this is a relatively inexpensive fan and wouldn't be too bad just to replace. The last thing I will try though is just to hook up the fan and the lights to the black wire so they both operate on the same switch just to be sure. If it is the capacitor though, why would the lights still be working? Also if I just wanted to replace the capacitor, how much is it, and what's stopping it from breaking again?
 
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Old 03-23-10, 09:04 PM
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Capacitor has nothing to do with the lights.
 
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Old 03-23-10, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Capacitor has nothing to do with the lights.
I guess I didn't think that the fan has a motor and the lights are just lights. Anyways wiring them both to the same switch gave the same result. I'll probably just end up buying a new fan. Thanks for all the help and info.
 
 

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