View Full Version : 3 speed, 4 wire ceiling fan pull chain switch replacement

Jun 20, 2007, 01:00 PM
I recently changed the 3 speed 4 wire switch on a ceiling fan as the old one had a broken collar. I purchased a replacement at Lowe's. The replacement worked at high speed only. I was careful in noting which color wires went into slots 1,2, 3 & L. Thinking that the new switch was defective, I purchased another at a local hardware store with the same results. I re-installed the old switch with the broken collar, and the fan operates on all 3 speeds. However, I still need to replace the switch. I read something on your site about " normally open " and " normally closed" switches. How does one tell a normally open switch from a normally closed one? and where would I purchase the switch that I need?

Jun 20, 2007, 03:03 PM
Sounds like you do have a different type of switch. THere are really only three ways to figure out which type of switch you have:

1. Take it apart
2. Trial and error
3. Ask the fan manufacturer

CeilingFanParts.com Home (http://www.ceilingfanparts.com) has a good selection.

Ceiling fan pull chain replacement and repair - Ceiling Fans N More (http://www.ceiling-fans-n-more.com/ceiling-fan-pullchain-replacement-and-repair.php)

Jun 20, 2007, 03:54 PM
You would have to do continuity checks with Meter. Or battery and buzzer or light.
Position 1, No connections Off
Position 2 L+1+3, is for low, and so on
Position 3
Position 4
Test both switches, in the 4 conditions, Can probably change wires around if it make sense to you. Switches may not have same switch connections.
Good Luck

Jun 9, 2008, 04:55 AM
Inside each of these four wire three speed switches there are four wire inputs. The switch at Lowe's has one line in and three possible lines out. It uses one rotating post and one always hot post. As you pull the chain, the one rotating post moves from post to post. This means that to complete the circuit, you only have two lines hot until the rotating post is the same as the hot post and this is the off position.

In the fan switch that I had there were three posts that are always connected with only one of them not connected at any point in time. As you pull the chain on this switch, it leaves only one post out of the connection. In other words, this switch takes three wires to complete the circuit and the off switch is when there is no power on the line in to complete the circuit.

My switch is characterized as a "off on on on" switch and here's an example on line:

IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - Push-Button and Chain Switches (http://www.idealindustries.com/products/electrical_supplies/push-button_switches.jsp)

Since I could not locate one of these fan switches locally, I needed a temporary solution until the right switch arrived. I connected three of the four wires (with the fuse breaker off when messing with the wires) at a time to get a single fan speed my wife could live with. I then utilized a standard "on off" chain light switch to break the connection on one of the three wires and this gives her the ability to turn the fan on or off at the fan itself or she can use the light switch on the wall.

Jun 9, 2008, 11:32 AM
There are many different 3 speed four wire switches, that use many different contact combinations.

Jun 9, 2008, 12:25 PM
bridgeranger, what colors are on the switch? ceilingfanrepair has a link that may help.

Jun 9, 2008, 01:36 PM
Ceilingfanrepair responded to my earlier posting and correctly pointed out that there are numerous 3 speed/four wire fan switches on the market. The one I thought was the correct one, was probably not the right one. Here's the ceiling fan site that shows the various options:

CeilingFanParts.com - Switchco Products - Pull Chain Switches (http://www.ceilingfanparts.com/images/pullchainsw.htm)

Looking at their website, they identify a number of different switches that could all be classified as "off on on on" style switches - like the one I ordered. The numbers below correspond to the wires on my switch: L, 1, 2, 3

off = 1 + 2 + 3
High Speed - L + 2 + 3
Medium Speed Speed - L + 1 + 3
Low Speed - L + 1 + 2

The wire colors are two black (one at the bottom of the capacitor and one at the top). A second blue wire at the top of the capacitor and a red wire that plugs into the fan direction switch on the side of the fan.

Aug 4, 2010, 12:36 PM
I can't find a 4 wire replacement pull chain switch. My fan has 4 wires coming out of the pull chain for the fan, not the light kit. What do I do? All that I can find are 3 wire pull chain switches.

Aug 4, 2010, 02:33 PM
Didn't you go to the above link:
CeilingFanParts.com - Switchco Products - Pull Chain Switches (http://www.ceilingfanparts.com/images/pullchainsw.htm)

Aug 13, 2010, 06:39 PM
Also, what make is your fan?

Sep 15, 2010, 07:32 PM
My Hunter ceiling fan is about a year 2000 model. The middle speed ran the same as slow.
On this help site, I learned enough pieces of information to understand the fan better.
1. Since it starts, the start coil and starting 5mfd single capacitor work.
2. Since it runs on high, the run coil works.
3. There is a dual capacitor 5mfd 5mfd. On this site I learned that switches have different internal connections.
I removed the fan switch and removed its wires. I half opened four steel paper clips and stuck in the switch.
Off, hi, med, low: For each, with my meter, I looked for continuity. I learned that
L is the 120V into the switch.
HI connects L to 1, direct connect of 120V to the run coil, for highest speed.
Med connects L to 2 and 3; 120V through BOTH 5mfd capacitors in parallel, totaling 10mfd , for medium speed.
Lo connects L to 3 only; 20V to one 5mfd capacitor, for low speed.

Problem: The switch became intermittent and sparked; I heard it hissing. So it connected only ONE capacitor.
I guess when I removed it and messed with it, poking paper clips in it, it worked well enough for me to measure continuity and find out how it worked.

My solution: Lowe's had a 4 wire 3 speed switch, that connected to 1,2, or 3, NOT like the original.
Our local lighting store had a 3-capacitor block: 4.5mfd, 5mfd, 6mfd.
I used these two items.
1: again, direct connect.
2: combo of 4.5 and 5mfd in parallel
3: 6mfd.

It worked.
Signed, Henry

Oct 11, 2011, 10:23 AM
My 3 way switch went bad on my Harbor Breeze ceiling fan and I replaced it with a Home Depot 3 way switch. The speeds were incorrect. I traced the wires in the old switch #E218558 and found the following: 1st position was off, L=0, next position was L to 1, next position was L to 2 & 3, and last position was L to 3. Home Depot switch was straight L-1, L-2, L-3.
My wiring color code to switch was Black to L, Grey to #1, Brown to #2, Purple to #3.
My Capacitor # E189914 is Red wire to 4.5 uF, Purple wire to 6 uF, and Brown to 6 uF.
Hope this helps.
I am now searching for a correct replacement switch.

Jan 28, 2012, 12:05 PM
When one doesn't know the model no. of the fan it is hard to find a switch on CeilingFanParts. You have to guess at which switch configuration you have and then place an order for $25 minimum plus $10 S&H.
Someone suggested Ideal. I found they have a 4 pos 4 wire SPTT Switch that is Off On On On P/N 774034. I then found this switch available at Newark.com and AlliedElectronics.com for about $13 ea plus shipping. This only leaves determining which wire to connect to each switch wire.

May 13, 2012, 11:49 AM
Please help I have a 4 wire replacement switch. Don't know which wires go where. The switch has a L 1 2 3. For the wires the wires are black purple yellow and orange. Black comes from fan. Purple and yellow off a box that divides power and orange off forward and reverse switch.

Jul 2, 2012, 04:27 PM

Where did you get your switch? I need one with the same color combination...

Jul 7, 2012, 09:51 AM
Smc ceiling fan model #f-52 - replaced the 4 wire switch after I broke the chain. Now it does not operate at all. I was careful and replaced all the wires exactly in the same #'ed position as the original. Help please. Really don't want to replace the fan

Jul 7, 2012, 12:18 PM
There are several styles(switching combinations) of the 4 wire switch.
Does it have a number?

Jul 7, 2012, 12:57 PM
Item #493?? Hopefully that is it

Jul 14, 2012, 04:02 PM
I seen an old post of yours about repairing ceiling fans. My fan has me completely puzzled. Would you be interested in hearing and maybe helping me with this? A simple switch replacement has turned into a big headache.

Jul 29, 2013, 07:23 AM
I have a ceiling fan with black, red, yellow and blue wires and I have a switch with L, 1, 2 and 3. I didn't write down where each wire goes and need to reconnect the switch. How do I know which color wire goes to which corresponding switch number.

Jul 30, 2013, 06:41 AM
Do you have another Fan in the house like this one.

Soupy, did you get yours going?