Ceiling fan light quit working in jam room!

Rockinrob86

Silver Supporting Member
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3,694
I realize this isn't an amp, but it seems like this is as good a place as any for advice since I can't see my amps until I get this fixed!

My light went out on my ceiling fan. It isn't a bulb(all 4 are new and none is working). I pulled off the bottom portion with the lights attached, and measured continuity with my meter between the hot wire and the hot contact for each bulb. I measured the neutral the same way. The switch cuts the hot.

I then plugged my meter into the two wires coming from the fan, flipped the breaker, and it reads 120.

I put the light fixture back and it still doesn't work! It appears that the two connectors are making a connection. Should I just strip them and hardwire them together?
 

TweeDLX

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3,756
Did you measure the hot contact of each socket for voltage? That will be a huge clue.
 

Scott L

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2,282
Not a lot to go on - but sure sounds like the light circuit is ground out some where.

At the fan, is there an on/off switch or pull chain? If so - check continuity there.
 

Kyle B

Silver Supporting Member
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5,035
You should be looking for voltage, not continuity.

Consider this - if you were taking continuity measurements with one or more bulbs still screwed in, your results are misleading. A bulb that is not operating is basically a short-circuit. That means your hot and neutral are, in effect, shorted together. Moreover, if your light switch is 'on' and the fan switch is 'on', then you will also have an effective short-circuit through the motor windings. That means you could have a break in either wire, but you'd still be finding continuity where you're measuring. Additionally, meters determine 'continuity' as having resistance below some value. I've seen some that will beep with anything less than 300 ohms.

As TweeDLX said - you should first check for 120VAC inside the socket. Super carefully, use your probes to check for that before assuming anything is 'broken'.

It is possible the tabs inside the sockets are bent too far in to make a contact with the bulbs. (In which case you just gotta bend 'em out a little bit). Did all the bulbs fail at the same time??? Did it happen while you were in the room???
 

Rockinrob86

Silver Supporting Member
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3,694
thanks guys!

Other notes - there is no light switch.

I did the continuity testing with the light bulb portion disconnected from the fan portion.

There are no lights on - so if 1 contact wasn't connecting, the other 3 would light, right?

If I recall correctly...I am bad about changing light bulbs. I usually wait until all 4 die, and then replace them all. I think the last one died and then when I changed them all nothing worked.
 

Rockinrob86

Silver Supporting Member
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3,694
I've repaired/built/troubleshot 50+ Tube amps, read schematics, etc. I have no experience with household electrical, which is why I was asking.

This doesn't use wire nuts, it is a male and female connector that looks kind of like a tube pin and a tube socket in a plastic locking insulator case. My meter connects into the case.

I meant to buy wire nuts by saying hardwire, not sure why I chose to Say hardwire.

I was planning on attaching my meter with clips to neutral, and checking a hot pin one handed with the probe for 120 as a next step.

the reason I want to get this done is my boss's boss asked me to record his daughter singing sunday, and it will be a little awkward.

Although I might could try for a raise out of this!
 
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guitarwrench

Silver Supporting Member
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442
Scott L has sound advice. Check the other outlets in your house. I had an outlet in my garage of all places that was tied to an outlet inside the house that burned out. I don't know the electrical theory / application behind it but I paid an electrician $100+ to figure it out. Save the $ and buy more effects pedals!
 

TweeDLX

Member
Messages
3,756
Good point here. I have old outlets in my garage linked to the new outlets with the built in breaker. I rarely trip my breaker box, but if something goes wonky, I have to check all the outlets with breakers to find the problem.
 

Rockinrob86

Silver Supporting Member
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3,694
I think i'm going to buy that book! I have nightmares about bad house wiring, it would be nice to pick up sone theory and at least be able to visually check that things are alright.

On another note, I've found the issue...

I have a saying with tube amps: "it almost definitely isnt the transformer". This came about because basically every person who has ever brought me an amp to look at has said "pretty sure the transformer is blown." I've replaced maybe 5 transformers!

Turns out, my wife bought the wrong bulbs, twice!

These use a candelabra base, but it is an extra long version. Does anyone know what the name of this base is, so I can buy the right ones? It is about 1/8th or so longer than a candelabra base (this is a guess). The tabs wont touch even after bending them out a bit. European?
 

Kyle B

Silver Supporting Member
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5,035
I'm gonna guess there is no 'correct' socket,,and that what you need isn't going to be orderable....that this is just a 'made in china' tolerance issue... i'd suggest just try different brand bulbs till you find some that fit.
 

Kyle B

Silver Supporting Member
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5,035
You might also try modifying the bulbs you have. Maybe you can add 1/8" to their length by adding more solder to the base tip ?
 

Kyle B

Silver Supporting Member
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5,035
That doesn't stack up right. Clearly the OP or his wife were previously able to buy bulbs that fit; so were all those bulbs "made in China" to fit a "made in China" fixture, both bulbs and fixture being out-of-tolerance to exactly the same degree?
Clearly you have never been in a Chinese factory, nor had dealings with the Chinese engineering/manufacturing mindset. :) I've done both those things many times in the last 15 years. I wouldn't hesitate for one second to believe somebody thought removing 1/8" from the base of their bulbs would be a great cost savings. Heck, you would think batteries (AA, C. etc) would have the most 'standard' physical dimensions of just about any consumer item....far from it. Check out a few duracells, and compare to the garbage cells that come stock with your TV remote. You'll see what I mean....
 

Rockinrob86

Silver Supporting Member
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3,694
Thanks guys. I'll take a picture of the offending bulb.

We rent, and the lights have never been replaced in this room. It is in a converted garage and not used a lot before I came along.

It is a cheap fan/light kit, probably chinese.

E12 fits and feels good, but the bulbs in the fan have an additional thread. All E12's I've seen have three threads.

It looks exactly like the E17 base, but is the width of the E12!

I actually went to a specialty fan store with the bulb, and the guy there shrugged his shoulders. Also dropped by Batteries plus Bulbs and they had a similar response!
 

Kyle B

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,035
You could possibly take a dremel and cut off 1/8" from the socket. A bit barbaric. but it would work
 

PushedGlass

Member
Messages
604
Just as an aside - I've got a ceiling fan with a four-light cluster and it's got a dimmer circuit inside it that's controlled by a wireless remote. The remote controls the light dimming and on/off and selects three speeds and off for the fan.

Some time ago I replaced the incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. The CFLs aren't meant for dimmers so I just have the dimmer set to as close to maxxed out as I can eyeball it. More recently, I replaced a blown CFL in the cluster and the replacement kept feebly blinking every few seconds when the light was supposed to be "off" as controlled by the remote (uncool when you're trying to sleep underneath it). I realized that the drive circuit in the new CFL was passing through some residual current being passed through by the dimmer circuit in a way the other CFLs weren't subject to. My quick fix was to replace one of the older (and therefore due to fail sooner) CFLs with an incandescent, which harmlessly (and more importantly, lightlessly) shunted the residual "off" current to ground.
 




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