Ceiling fan lights - Completely baffled

Old 12-16-16, 04:28 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ceiling fan lights - Completely baffled

So, I will start by saying I have an intermediate homeowner's skill level with electrical and I am completely baffled by the lights in my ceiling fan. The post may be a bit lengthy but only because I want to give a complete picture of what I am experiencing and what I have done so far.

Problem I am trying to solve: Replace the mini candelabra (E11 socket) halogen lights in my ceiling fans with LED equivalents.

FYI: Ceiling fans have no wall controls and no wiring to install wall controls. They are exclusively controlled by remotes. I am second owner and have no idea why this was done. House is about 15 years old (Southern CA) and I believe the fans are original from construction. There are 4 of them in the upstairs bedrooms, all completely identical and acting the same way. Each fan has two sockets covered with a glass dome.

First attempt: removed one halogen bulb from the fan and installed an LED, everything seemed normal. As I began to unscrew the second halogen bulb, the first LED came on. It seemed odd to me so I screwed the halogen back in and the LED went off. Thinking it had something to do with needing a bulb fully seated in both sockets (I realize now that it made no sense at all, but I was just replacing bulbs right?), I completed the replacement of the second halogen with a non-dimmable LED; both LEDs lit up. I used the remote and despite the non-dimmable designation, both LED's had no issue dimming from low light to full light however, when trying to turn off, they would just go to a low light level but never power off (the halogens did not put out any light when they were turned off). I removed one of the LEDs and put back a halogen and in that setup I could get the fixture functioning properly with full dimming capability and on/off settings. Thinking there must me something wrong with the fixture, I repeated the process in another room with the same fan and achieved the same result. Because I could come to no other conclusion, I decided it must be the non-dimmable designation and decided to order dimmable LEDs to hopefully solve the problem.

Second attempt: After receiving the dimmable LEDs, I attempted my replacement again and had the same result. Completely baffled I decided to see what happens to the remote receiver when I power on and off the lights, maybe it is allowing power through that is not strong enough to turn on the halogen but enough to have the LED in a low light. Using a basic current tester I could hold up to the wires I found that there has to be at least one halogen bulb installed for the system to operate as expected (or at least as I expected). If no bulbs are installed, whether the lights are on or off, there is power leaving the remote receiver and entering the light sockets. The moment at least one halogen bulb is installed, power stops leaving the receiver (in the off position) and does not enter the sockets.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what installing a halogen bulb has to do with power leaving the remote receiver in the off mode. It's not a defective fan because I have at least two acting the exact same way. I contemplated replacing the remote setup with a new receiver but can't wrap my head around why that would make a difference.

All I really want to do is replace my halogens with LEDs but I have to admit solving the puzzle has become equally as important to me. Anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks in advance,
Old 12-16-16, 05:01 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
The installed dimer requires a minimum load to work correctly. The LEDs alone do not provide enough load.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: