Replacing a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I Replaced the Pull Chain Switch in my Ceiling Fan with a new switch and now the Motor Does Not Work Right: How to Replace and Wire a Pull Chain Switch for a Ceiling Fan.

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Pull Chain Switch for a Ceiling Fan

Electrical Question: I replaced the Pull Chain Switch in my Ceiling Fan with a new switch and now the motor does not work right.

I replaced the pull chain ceiling fan switch with a new switch. The ceiling fan has 3 speeds, so this is a 3-speed ceiling fan switch. When I turn on the fan it is on high speed all the time and won’t turn off with the pull chain switch.

  • I connected¬† the electrical wiring as follows:
    • The black wire on the L (Line)
    • The gray wire on #1,
    • The brown wire on #2
    • The purple wire on #3

I even changed wires around on the switch but it still won’t change speeds properly. What is causing this to happen?
Thank you for your time in this matter.

This electrical question came from: Roger, a Handyman from Houston, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Roger.

Wiring a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch

Application: Replacing a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Materials: Make sure the replacement pull chain switch has the same as the original switch, and is fully compatible with the ceiling fan you have.

Replacing a Pull Chain Switch for a Ceiling Fan

  • Before replacing the existing ceiling fan pull chain switch with the new switch it is best to examine the wiring connections of all of the wires to the existing pull chain switch.
  • Compare the existing pull chain switch with the new pull chain switch that has been purchased.
  • Mark the wires or make a drawing with the wiring connections is very helpful as well.
  • If the original wiring configuration is unknown, then locate the make and model number of the ceiling fan which will help locate a new replacement switch.
  • IMPORTANT: Not all pull chain switches are alike, therefore the wire colors may be different from the wires in the ceiling fan.
  • Wire Connections: When wiring the new switch the power wire will need to be identified, then each wire for the three speeds for the motor.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

8 Responses to “Replacing a Ceiling Fan Pull Chain Switch”
  1. Jarret says:

    This is great info but I did not record the wiring diagram properly and now my fan has 2 settings (slow or off). How do I adjust the wiring

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Jarret
      The replacement pull chain switch should have come with a wiring diagram. In order for me to assist you I would need to know more about your pull chain switch wiring diagram and the wires that are found on your ceiling fan, the make and model of the ceiling fan would be helpful as well.

  2. danilo says:

    Hi Dave,
    Good morning to you. Please send me the diagram of the ceiling fan pull chain switch by using 3 wire asap!
    2 wire for 220 volts the remaining one for ground.
    Thanks and Regards

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Danilo
      The pull chain switch that you have purchased will have a wiring diagram.
      I cannot assist you without specific information about the pull chain switch and the ceiling fan that you have.

  3. linda says:

    We replaced the pull chain 3 speed switch twice, but it wont turn off. We don’t know if wires are connected right. How can we be sure? Please help I and an old woman. Its a hunter fan. Is it possible that they don’t use a universal 3 speed gadget for the pull chain switch? The fan has 3 speeds plus off. Isn’t that 3 speed or is that 4 speed?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Linda,
      The hunter ceiling fan should have a standard 3 speed pull chain switch that is typical, the key is to get the wiring connections right and reconnected the way the original wires were connected to the old pull chain 3 speed switch. Typically the black wire from the pull chain switch is connected to the power source. The 3 speed switch should have a wiring diagram on the back side of the packaging which will be helpful as well. I will see about placing more info about this, but I hope this helps for now.

  4. jessica says:

    My pull chain light switch on my ceiling fan broke so I replaced it. After I hooked it up and flip the switch to turn it on it flips the breaker. The only way I can use my light is to screw the light bulb in and out for on and off. Please help me. It would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Jessica,
      Double check the wiring to the new pull chain switch. Wire connections should be well insulated to prevent stands of wire from being exposed outside of the connectors. Make sure wires have not been pinched or damaged when the housing has been reassembled.
      I hope this helps,


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