Two switch ceiling fan problem

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Old 07-31-16, 08:12 AM
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Two switch ceiling fan problem

I'm trying to replace a bedroom ceiling fan in a room with two switches: one each for the light and fan. When I wire up the fan and turn on the light switch, the light comes on. When I turn on the fan switch, the fan spins AND the light comes on dimly! The extra power was enough to burn out the light that came with the fan. The old fan worked correctly.

Four wires come the ceiling electrical box: a bare copper wire, and white, black and red. The fan has white, black, and blue, with a green from the downrod. I connect bare with green, box white with fan white, box black (fan switch) with black, and box red (light switch) with blue.

I've tested with a multimeter that box black to ground is 120VAC (with fan switch on), that box red to ground is 120VAC (with light switch on), and box white to ground is 0VAC.

If it matters, I'm installing a Harbor Breeze Caratuk River 52' fan. I've installed another one in another room with no problem. That made me think that the problem was in the fan, so I exchanged it, but have the same problem with the new one.

Anyone have any idea what's wrong and how I can fix it?
 
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Old 07-31-16, 09:43 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

There shouldn't be any mismatch of wiring at that point that can cause the light to fail.... so the light failure was likely a coincidence.

Kind of a strange problem. It appears to be a problem with the neutral.
There's only one way to check the neutral and that's with a load on it. The voltage testers we use have a load built in. You could use any bulb and socket or even the light kit on the light.

Once the light is connected and on.... check from white to ground. Should be 0v.
 
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Old 08-01-16, 08:33 PM
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I reconnected the fan and tested the neutral to ground with the light on, and then with the fan on. I measured 0VAC in both cases.

Anything else I can check?
 
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Old 08-11-16, 12:45 PM
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I moved the fan to another room that had the same two switch fan/light wiring, and experienced the same problem there. I returned it, and bought another brand and model (Harbor Breeze Rockport). The Rockport didn't show the same problem, so it looks like I got two Harbor Breeze Caratuk River fans with the same bad internal wiring problem.

As a bonus, the Rockport has much less of a cheap construction feel to it, and takes standard socket light bulbs instead of candelabra base.

Thanks to PJmax for help debugging the problem.
 
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Old 08-11-16, 01:38 PM
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Good job. Thanks for letting us know how you made out.

Hmmmmm... Harbor Breeze.... no comment.
 
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Old 08-11-16, 01:54 PM
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Oops, I mistyped, I replaced it with a Hampton Bay Rockport. Still not an expensive fan, but it seems a lot more solid.

The Harbor Breeze was selected by SWMBO on the basis of how it looked. When I went to replace it, I said "let me do some research and give you a couple of options".
 
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