Two light fixtures stopped working at different times

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Old 07-15-13, 11:51 PM
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Two light fixtures stopped working at different times

We have an accent light above our fireplace that has not worked since we moved in last year. Now, in the same room, our ceiling fan (both the fan and light on the fan) will not turn on. The accent light and fan stopped working at two separate times.

To add to the problem, the ceiling fan never functioned properly when it was "working." The fan was previously before we moved in and we installed the light on the fan afterward. The fan has a remote control. If we turn on the light or fan with the remote control, then turn off the light or fan using the wall switch, it will not come back on if we again use the wall switch to turn the light or fan back on. We again need to use the remote. I have had other fans with a remote in the past and the ceiling fan would always come back on when using the switch.

I would think that the electrical problem would be with the ceiling fan itself if the accent light above the fireplace worked. We've installed ceiling fans before without any issues, so I don't think that is the problem...and yes we've checked the bulbs. Any thoughts?
 
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Old 07-16-13, 12:02 AM
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The fan has a remote control. If we turn on the light or fan with the remote control, then turn off the light or fan using the wall switch, it will not come back on if we again use the wall switch to turn the light or fan back on. We again need to use the remote. I have had other fans with a remote in the past and the ceiling fan would always come back on when using the switch.
Different brands or models of remote controls may have different operating characteristics. The observed actions for this control may be entirely normal.


Is the "accent light" on the same circuit as the fan? It could be a poorly made splice or wire-nut connection somewhere in the circuit prior to the fan or even in the fan junction box.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 08:22 AM
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The fan is a Hunter. If that's the case, I wish I had replaced it before buying a light fixture for it.

The switches for everything are located in one spot behind a four toggle face plate. I was thinking about replacing the switches. Are you saying that I should check the connections behind the switches first? I honestly know nothing about electrical wiring or the terminology, so don't be afraid to explain this stuff as if you were talking to an eight-year-old.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 09:21 AM
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Connections are more likely to be bad than the switches. If any of the wires are backstabbed* they need to be moved to the screws. If any of the terminals on the switch have a wire on both the backstab and screw they need to be changed to a pigtail**. See also: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ther-info.html

*Backstab: A hole in the back of the device into which the wire is inserted and held only by a spring clip. It sometimes is unreliable.

**Pigtail: To wire nut two or more wires to a short length (~8") of wire (the pigtail) using a fastener such as a wire nut. The pigtail is then connected to the device. The wire for the pigtail must be the same size and color as the other wires.
 
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Old 07-16-13, 04:11 PM
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I honestly know nothing about electrical wiring or the terminology,
Then the absolute first thing you need to do is to educate yourself in electrical basics. Electricity is an equal opportunity killer and it doesn't care how good of a person you may be, it will kill you just as dead.

First thing to do is to go to your local public library and check out several DIY-type books on electrical repairs for homeowners. You can read these fairly quickly to get some background. Then BUY the book Wiring Simplified and read it cover to cover. Wiring Simplified is the "bible" for people doing their own electrical work. It not only tells how, but why things are done in a particular manner. Wiring Simplified has been in continuous print for more than fifty years, updated every three years to incorporate changes made in the National Electrical Code (NEC). The cost is usually less than ten dollars and it is available at most on-line book sellers as well as many big box mega-mart homecenters and better hardware stores. In the stores it is usually found in the electrical aisle and not in the books and magazines section.

One thing that you can do right away is to make up a "panel schedule". This is a list of every single fixed lamp and receptacle in the house. Draw several sketches, one of each room, and indicate where every single electrical device is mounted on the sketch. Then using a lamp, radio or test light find out which circuit breaker controls each and every light and receptacle. Write the number of the circuit breaker down on the sketch next to the device. When you are through with the entire house you can then make a list of the circuit breakers and what they control. You may also want to redo the sketches and then make a few copies. Keep one copy next to the circuit breaker cabinet and a copy in your toolbox. A third copy in your important papers is a good idea as well. If you make any changes in the electrical be certain to not the changes and update the panel schedule as needed. I use a combination of Excel spreadsheets and Word docs for my panel schedules.
 
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