How to Replace a Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor

This project explains how to replace a ceiling fan that won’t turn by replacing a blown motor capacitor. Total cost of the repair was $12 for a new motor capacitor ($8 for the capacitor plus $4 shipping).

The problem was the Hampton Bay Colby Model # EF200DA-52 ceiling fan stopped running. The ceiling fan lights worked fine, but the blades wouldn’t turn. The lights and fan are controlled by a single wall switch. I pulled the fan chain several times to cycle through the Off-Low-Medium-High fan speeds but the blades would not turn. However, the blades turned easily when I pushed them by hand so the motor bearings weren’t frozen.

Hampton Bay Colby Ceiling Fan Model EF200DA-52: Fan Blades Won’t Turn

I suspected the fan switch might be bad, so I got a step ladder to get a closer look. The room was quiet and I noticed a very faint humming noise when fan switch was set to the Low, Medium or High fan speed. This indicated the fan switch was working, but something was wrong with the ceiling fan motor.

Electrical Safety

Turn off the power to the ceiling fan at the circuit breaker panel before proceeding to avoid electrical shock, injury and/or death. Verify the electricity is off by operating the light switch and verifying with a voltage tester. A non-contact voltage tester is very convenient.

Blown Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor

I disassembled the light kit by removing the bulbs, glass shades and three small screws that attach the light fixture to the fan housing. Please refer to the Owner’s Manual for your fan for the dis-assembly procedure.

After removing the light kit, the problem was obvious: The ceiling fan motor capacitor was blown. The capacitor case was ruptured with gobs of hard gray plastic swelled out. What caused the motor capacitor to fail? It probably wore out with age because I’ve not had problems with other ceiling fans and appliances on the same electrical circuit.

Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan Model EF200DA-52: Blown Motor Capacitor

My ceiling fan was manufactured July 2005 and only has the single start/run motor capacitor. Ceiling fans manufactured after January 1, 2007 may have two black boxes that resemble a capacitor: 1) start/run motor capacitor and 2) light kit power limiter to restrict the total light bulb wattage to not more than 190 watts.

Aside: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires that all ceiling fan lamps have not more than 190 total watts. To comply with the law, fan manufacturers install a current limiting device such as a power limiter or fuse to limit the total light wattage. Now you know why new ceiling fans have candelabra sockets packaged with dim incandescent bulbs and warning label not to exceed the maximum wattage or the lights won’t work. If you exceed 190 watts total for all light bulbs, the lamp power limiter cuts off the electricity to the lights. This basically forces you to replace the dim incandescent bulbs with lower wattage, but overall brighter, compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.

If you fan has a power limiter, both the lamp power limiter and motor capacitor look like small black boxes with several wires attached. The motor capacitor will be connected to the pull chain fan switch and the lamp power limiter is attached to the light switch.

In this next photo, I’ve unscrewed the metal cap that attaches the orange fan switch to the fan housing to better expose the capacitor wires. Notice that the motor capacitor is wired directly to the fan switch and other capacitor wires are permanently crimped inside the clear plastic caps.

Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan EF200DA-52: Fan Switch & Blown Motor Capacitor

Given the permanent wiring situation, the only way to replace the ceiling fan motor capacitor is to cut the capacitor wires. Use a pair of wire cutters to cut the capacitor wires off close to the capacitor such that you have sufficiently long wire leads to wire in the new motor capacitor.

Order a Replacement Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor

You will need the ceiling fan Model Number or UPC # to order replacement parts from Home Depot / Hampton Bay Customer Support as listed on the label affixed to the top of the fan motor:

Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan: Model Number and UPC # Label

I called the Home Depot / Hampton Bay Customer Support toll free line at 877-527-0313 which is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am – 6pm EST. I explained the blown capacitor problem and provided the UPC # to the pleasant customer service representative (CSR). The CSR looked up the part, quoted the price ($12 which includes shipping), took my credit card payment information, and gave me her name and extension to contact her if I had any questions or issues. I really like it when a customer service rep. takes personal responsibility for customer satisfaction!

In a couple of days the replacement capacitor arrived via 1st class mail from King of Fans in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. King of Fans is the USA distributor for Chien Luen Industries, the Chinese manufacturer of Hampton Bay ceiling fans for Home Depot. Who would know the replacement parts better than the original equipment manufacturer?

How to Replace a Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor

The replacement start/run motor capacitor type CBB61 was identical to the blown capacitor in every way (except the case wasn’t ruptured) with the same color wires in identical positions and electrical specifications printed on face:

Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor CBB61: Blown Capacitor and New Unit

Ceiling fan motor capacitors can have two (2) to five (5) wires in different arrangements, so don’t worry if your ceiling fan capacitor looks different than mine. The procedure for wiring in a new fan motor capacitor is the same as shown in the following steps; just match identical wire colors and fasten the wires together.

I stripped about 5/8 inch of insulation from the new capacitor wires, then right-hand (clockwise) twisted the stranded wire ends to form a tight lead (“righty tighty, lefty loosey”). A right-hand twist is essential because wire nuts tighten with a right-hand twist. It’s much more convenient to strip the wires now before getting on the ladder.

Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor CBB61: Strip the Wires

Next, I stripped the insulation from the corresponding wires on the ceiling fan that were previously cut to remove the blown capacitor:

Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor Replacement: Strip the Leads on the Fan Wires

The new ceiling fan motor capacitor is wired to the fan by:

  • Twist the matching color fan and motor capacitor wires together.
  • Secure the wires with a small wire nut.

Ceiling Fan: Wiring the New Motor Capacitor

The first pair of wires are secured with a small wire nut as shown in the following photo. It’s important to use the correct size wire nut for light gauge wires so the wires don’t come loose. I used small orange wire nuts left over from prior ceiling fan installations. If you need to buy wire nuts, get the Ideal 72B Blue wire nuts or equivalent size at the home improvement store.

Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor Replacement: Wire Nut

Wire in the remaining capacitor wires using the same method:

  • match the wires by color
  • twist the wire leads together
  • secure the wires by twisting on a wire nut

Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor Testing

Before closing up the ceiling fan wiring, I let the new motor capacitor dangle from the wires, turned on the electricity at the circuit breaker panel and flipped on the wall switch to verify the wiring was correct and the fan motor worked.

I shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker panel before closing up the wiring and reinstalling the light kit.

Reinstall the Ceiling Fan Light Kit

Having wired-in the new ceiling fan capacitor, the switch cap is screwed onto the fan switch, then the motor capacitor and wires are tucked into the bottom of the fan – it was a tight fit! The new capacitor can just be seen as the black box on the right inside the fan. The blue and white light power wires are hanging out for plugging into the light kit.

Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor Replacement: Reinstall the Light Kit

The light kit is reattached to the ceiling fan with the three small screws that were previously removed. Then the glass shades and light bulbs are installed last. Remember to turn on the power at the circuit breaker.

Ceiling Fan Light Kit Re-Installed

$12 dollars for a new motor capacitor and 45 minutes of work was much less effort and expense compared to buying and installing a new ceiling fan!

Thanks for reading,

Bob Jackson

Copyright © 2016   Reproduction strictly prohibited.

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89 Responses to How to Replace a Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor

  1. Aisha Johnson June 5, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Bob, thank you so much for this post. My ceiling fan just stopped spinning last summer, and my challenge has been reaching Hampton Bay/Home Depot by phone because their work hours are the same as mine. However, after reading your post and I was able to call them and confirm the motor capacitor needs replacing. I ordered my $12 part today and am eagerly waiting for its arrival. Thanks so much for demonstrating how simple this repair can be.

  2. Charles Pritchard October 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I had the same problem with my Hampton Bay fan not running and the capacitor having the burned out bubble appearance. Following your lead, I ordered a new capacitor through Home Depot’s 800 number and received a new one through the mail, shipped from King of Fans in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Fla. I installed the new capacitor the same way the old one was wired but still couldn’t get the fan to work. I replaced the 3 speed switch which I got at the local Home Depot, but still without success. After trying everything else that I could glean off the internet, I thought the fan motor was the problem. My model had a wire harness to connect the light kit housing (which included the capacitor, speed switch, and reversible switch) to the fan. I hooked up a light kit from a Harbor Breeze fan I had which had the same harness connection, and saw that the troubled fan worked fine- so I knew the problem had to be within the light kit housing. I bypassed the speed switch and hooked the hot wire directly (one at a time) to each of the 3 wires coming from the 3 way switch to the capacitor and saw that there was no power coming out of the capacitor (Gray wire) to the housing connecting it to the fan motor. I’m just a do-it-yourselfer and not an expert, but that would seem to me to mean that the new capacitor is bad. Someone told me that the capacitor only gives a quick jolt to the fan to start it and power gets to it from another route, but I would think that, here, the only way power gets to the motor is through the capacitor. I believe the new capacitor may also be bad, but don’t know how to test it. I emailed King of Fans for some technical advice, but they didn’t respond. The only other possibilities that I can think of is a broken connection within the wiring harness, or the reversible switch in the light kit which I would replace if I knew the capacitor was good. Would you have any advice?
    Thanks, Charlie Pritchard

    • BobJackson October 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

      Based on your troubleshooting steps, it appears the light kit has a bad wiring connection. Remove the light kit and check for corroded / loose connections or pinched/kinked wires that could be an internal break. A multimeter set on the Ohm (resistance) or Continuity (audible beep) setting is useful for checking the light kit wires and switches.

      AC motor capacitors can be tested with a multimeter, but given the low item cost and shock hazard of a charged capacitor – when it says 250 or 350 volts it means it! – I wouldn’t bother. Suppose the capacitor test indicates the unit is good? Replace the light kit. If the capacitor test indicates a faulty unit, but another capacitor.

      Personally, I’d skip the above steps and replace the light kit unit which includes the capacitor if I understand the description of your model correctly. Since most ceiling fans cost around $100 it’s usually not worth the time and effort for anything except simple and obvious repairs.

  3. Charles Pritchard October 24, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Thanks Bob for the quick reply. As you say, ceiling fans are cheap so I’ll probably just replace it. I do have one nagging question on the capacitor. After it gives the 250 or 350 volt jolt to the fan motor to get it started, does the power that keeps the fan running continue to come through the capacitor? If so, I would think just checking to see if the line out from the capacitor is hot would be a final test.

    • BobJackson October 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      > does the power that keeps the fan running continue to come through the capacitor?
      A ceiling fan capacitor with multiple wires (taps) for different capacitance values has two purposes:
      * Motor Start/Run: The capacitor energizes the second phase windings of the single phase AC motor coils to create a rotating magnetic field to make the fan turn. The 120VAC power in your home is single phase power, hence the capacitor for the second phase. The capacitor is always energized in motor circuit.

      * Speed Control: The fan speed switch selects a capacitor tap to control the amount of power going to the motor.

      This ceiling fan motor schematic from is representative for the speed switch and capacitor wiring.

  4. Charles Pritchard November 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Hello Bob; Before giving up on my Hampton Bay fan, I checked to see if I could buy an entire light housing replacement kit at a reasonable price. I went through the Home Depot number you gave above and they hooked me in with a King of Fans technician. They’re shipping me an entire light housing kit at a reduced price ($18 down from the normal $30)which should solve my problem. It includes the 3 way switch, capacitor, reversible switch, and wire harness. I think I got the reduced price because I went through Home Depot, they’re main outlet for their fans. Thanks for you input.

    • BobJackson November 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      Great tip for buying the part through the Home Depot customer service referral. I like the idea of replacing the entire light kit assembly versus troubleshooting capacitors and wiring. Thanks for the update!

  5. Frank W December 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    Does the problem with a bad capacitor cause the fan to hum but not run? My bedroom fan does this and one of the same make just failed sometime in the past day–it turned on yesterday OK, but when I walked in the room today, it had stopped and was just humming, Blades will turn–no light kit. My problem is they were installed when the house was built and I have no idea who the manufactuer is.

    Also, the fan in the main room of the house is always on, but runs at what I consider a medium to slow speed, but it’s actually on high. Could that also be a capacitor problem?


    • BobJackson December 29, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      A bad capacitor will cause the ceiling fan motor hum and not run. There may be a manufacturer’s label on top of the the ceiling fan motor housing. If not, shutoff the electricity at the circuit breaker and remove the bottom cover plate to get a look at the ceiling fan motor capacitor. Note the number of wires, colors and most importantly the capacitor values. Replacement capacitors are available from many resellers (Google search) and eBay.

      > the fan in the main room of the house is always on, but runs at what I consider a medium
      > to slow speed, but it’s actually on high. Could that also be a capacitor problem?
      Maybe. Have you tried selecting different speeds via the fan speed pull chain? What appears to be Medium speed may be actual High speed without knowing the ceiling fan make and model #. Check the wall switch – is it a dimming wall switch? Certain dimming wall switches have a very small slider that’s easy to miss.

  6. greg January 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    I have a Harbour Freight with a 5 wire Capacitor. I put in some LED bulbs to replace the blown bulbs and they “disco light” flash. I was looking on different web sights and they say that if you remove the Watt Limiter it would take care of the problem. I do not have a separate box for that. Any ideas on what I can do?

    • Bob Jackson January 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      Standard LED lights (and CFLs) won’t work in a ceiling fan if:
      a) The ceiling fan has a light dimmer. If so, you must use dimmable LED lights.
      b) The total wattage of all lights exceeds the 190 total watts as mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

      I’d try dimmable LED lights first, if that doesn’t solve the flickering you can always return them.

      Try these videos for bypassing the wattage limiter, a.k.a. current limiter or power limiter:

      The basic idea is to examine how the wattage limiter is wired in series between the fan power and light kit, remove the limiter to make a straight through connection.

      Examples of ceiling fan wattage limiters to help identify the unit:

      • Abe February 5, 2015 at 4:25 pm #


        I have the same problem that Greg has except for I have started out with dimmable lights, and just recently put in LED lights. I too did the research on the Flashing lights. Here is my question because I have the same set up as you do. Is the limiter and capacitor the same thing? Could it that they are but use different names? I also was wonder what each color means? Meaning, which is neutral, which is ground…etc. I also checked for loose wiring, believe me when I say I a basically reinstalled the darn again and got the same results.

        In the videos you posted and the ones found on youtube all mention the “limitor” but the only thing I found was the capacitor. Need your help on this one.


        • Bob Jackson February 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

          The problem with flickering LED lights in your ceiling fan is probably caused by the dimmer. See this article or Google “flickering led lights ceiling fans” for details. A dimmable LED bulb may solve the problem.

  7. Agiver February 1, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    Hi Bob,

    I have two old white standard fans. I don’t recall what brand they are. They are running but they move so slow. I had heard that when this happens one can replace the fan capacitor and that should turn the fan at a faster speed. I have never done this. I am not even near those two fans as they are in another home so I cannot look at its models, brands and that UPC numbers. Is it any problem if I just buy any fan capacitor like the one you replaced for your Hampton Bay fan and see if that works or is there some specifications that must be followed in matching the capacitors so it works?

    I mean all fans seem to be around the normal 42″ to 52″ size and Ithink 10amp motor and almost all can adopt a light kit. Mine have the light kits on them.

    Any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated. I can follow directions to install the fan. I have changed broken speed or light control switches on my fans before, fyi.

  8. david albizu March 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Ceiling fan motor capacitors that have five (5) wires,whats to be done with the fifth wire (next to the orange wire) ,do i just cap it?cause I’ve been able to find a 5wire 4.8uf+6uf+6uf 5% 250v. under 7 bucks,so yes I’m tryn to keep this project under budget .& reading all the above responses, your the one to go to guy..thank you for your time

    • Bob Jackson March 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

      My recommendation is to buy a direct replacement capacitor since there’s no guarantee the wire colors and capacitor ratings are the same between the 4 and 5 wire capacitors. You would need a capacitor tester to verify the capacitance of each wire to be certain.

      The General Tools CAP1500 user manual is here.

      I’m guessing your ceiling fan originally had a 4 wire capacitor and you want to replace the bad 4 wire capacitor with a similarly rated 5 wire capacitor? If so, you can try connecting the matching colored wires and cap the 5th non-matching wire. Test the ceiling fan function and speeds with the new capacitor before reattaching the light unit to ensure it’s working correctly. Always shutoff the circuit breaker before touching the wiring to avoid shock. And remember a capacitor stores electrical energy after the main power is shutoff and 250 volts will shock you! A good capacitor tester can safely discharge the capacitor.

  9. Jim M. June 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    I am trying to determine what capacitor to buy for me ceiling fan . I have matched up most of the numbers that are on the capacitor that came out of the fan. CBB61/4.5Uf +-5% 280V AC 50/60hz-25C +-70degC06.3. I have found a capacitor that has all the matching numbers except the 280V (closest I found was 250V), and the E number. Mine is /e215893, and I cannot fine anything even close. How important is the Volt No. and what is the E Number, and do they have to match?

    • Bob Jackson June 29, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      The ceiling fan motor capacitor replacement rules or guidelines are:
      * Always try to replace a capacitor with a new part having the same microfarad (uF), same or better values for the % tolerance, voltage and temperature.
      * If an exact microfarad value can’t be matched, use a replacement capacitor rated within 10% of the original value.
      Example: Replace a 4.5uF capacitor (4.5 * 10% = .45uF) with a 5uF rated part because 4.95uF is not a common value.
      * The voltage rating of the replacement capacitor must be equal to or greater than the original capacitor.
      That said, you’ll be fine using the 250V rated replacement capacitor for your original 280V part because the ceiling fan runs on 120V AC power.

      CBB61 is the capacitor part number that must be matched with the replacement part.

      The “E215893” and similar “E*” numbers like E163532, E183963, E213054, etc. printed next to the backward “UR” logo is Underwriters Laboratories File Number for the authorization letter UL sent to the capacitor manufacturer after it’s been tested. The UL file numbers have no bearing on matching a replacement capacitor.

      • tom May 2, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

        hello sir what happens if the fan is not turning and motor doesnt humm and the capacitor is not faulty or how to determine if the capacitor is good

        • Bob Jackson May 4, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

          Have you verified the fan has power? Do the lights work? If not, check the wall switch and the fan On/Off pull chain switch. Also look closely at the wall switch because it may have a small dimmer slide control next to the switch.

          • richard May 9, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

            Replaced chain switches , capacitor, lites work but not fan

            • Bob Jackson May 10, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

              Call the fan manufacturer for advice or consider having the fan repaired by one of the service companies mentioned in the comments.

  10. Jim M. June 29, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    Bob, thank you for your clear concise answer to my question. I now have confidence that I have selected the right replacement part, and have it on order, and am confident that I can replace the old one safely.

  11. Janice July 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Thanks for the “how to” demo!! I ordered the capacitor from Amazon & it arrived two days later. I fixed my ceiling fan today with your help :) Works good as new ~ thanks a ton!!

  12. Satappa S July 14, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    Dear Bob,

    I have Majestic Deluxe Ceiling fan i repaired the fan the repairer said that your fan Capacitor was broken so you can change fan Capacitor.

    but i try it to getting Capacitor but i don’t get it anywhere in India i send to the snap shot of my fan and Capacitor

    can you help me Replace a Ceiling Fan Motor Capacitor

    • Bob Jackson July 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

      Have you tried contacting the manufacturer for a replacement capacitor? Per the e-mailed photo you need a CBB61 3-wire ceiling capacitor having:
      * Gray input wire
      * Yellow output wire 0.6uF
      * Blue output wire 1.2uF
      * Tolerance +-5% uF
      * Rated 400 Volts AC

      (Aside the wire colors don’t matter only the number of inputs/outputs, capacitance and voltage ratings.)

      The problem is a 0.6uF ceiling fan capacitor is very uncommon in the replacement parts market. The closest part match is a CBB61 1.2uF + 2.3uF 3-wire capacitor. The 1.2uF output is a match but not the way higher 2.3uF second wire. If you buy that capacitor, connect only the 1.2uF wire as before and cap the 2.3uF wire with a wire nut for a no-connection. Your ceiling fan will only have one speed.

      If you buy the CBB61 1.2uF + 2.3uF capacitor and were to connect the badly mismatched 2.3uF output wire it could damage your motor.

  13. Tom Busler July 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    I blew a capacitor years ago, and a guy at the fan store where I got the replacement told me to always start the fan on HIGH. (So if you have it on low or medium, turn it to high before shutting off.)
    I have done this and never blown another capacitor.

    • Bob Jackson July 21, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

      Hi Tom,
      Thanks for the tip. The high speed switch fan setting may bypass the capacitor (i.e. no connection) reducing the operating cycles, hence the validity of the fan store guy’s advice. One would have to examine the capacitor wiring to really know for certain.

      The capacitor life expectancy is mainly determined by:

      * Correctly sized capacitor for the operating voltage and motor:.
      The article Understanding and Selecting Capacitors explains that an improperly sized capacitor or over-voltage stressed and greatly reduces the lifespan. See the Graph 1 illustrating that operating a capacitor at 90% of it’s rated voltage can increase the life expectancy by over 450%.

      * Capacitor “Class” rating for operating life:
      Class A = 30,000 hours
      Class B = 10,000 hours
      Class C = 3,000 hours
      Class D = 1,000 hours

      The Class rating is not typically marked on the capacitors that I’ve seen. Since most capacitors are made overseas the manufacturer’s specification sheets typically list the Class rating (Google “IEC-60252-1 ceiling fan capacitor CBB61 life“) to survey the specs. It seems most consumer ceiling fan capacitors are Class B rated for 10,000 hours. 1 year equals 8765.81 hours but this isn’t to state a Class B CBB61 capacitor will only last roughly 14 months (equal to ~10,000 hours) since they often last for many years. A key point is the Class B rating in this example is extrapolated from the testing hours, e.g. 2,000 test time hours for a 10,000 hour life simulation. The capacitor might last much much longer but that’s all it was tested for.

      The basic issue people shop based on price with no easy way to assess the quality of the electronics. Reminds me of The Bitterness of Poor Quality remains Long after the Sweetness of Low Price is Forgotten.

      The Tower Electric (TEMCo) Motor Capacitor FAQ: Why did my run capacitor fail? is about the larger and more expensive air conditioner capacitors but the same principles apply to inexpensive ceiling fan capacitors. Worn out motor causes higher currents, heat degradation, age, etc.


  14. Dottie August 6, 2014 at 2:21 am #

    I have Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan Model 200P(D)-44. In the last week or so I have noticed that on the highest speed it runs rather slow. I’m not sure what the issue could be and don’t want to order a part that is not the issue. The light’s work fine. Any suggestions?

    • Bob Jackson August 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      It could be a bad capacitor but it depends on how the fan speed control switch and capacitor is wired. Hampton Bay doesn’t publish their wiring schematics.

      The high speed fan setting may be wired in several ways:
      * High speed setting bypasses the capacitor. In this case it’s not a capacitor problem.
      * High speed setting combines two capacitors; perhaps one side of the capacitor has failed?
      * High speed setting uses a single capacitor output. Indicates a capacitor problem.

      Is the fan running slow on the high speed switch setting a recent problem? Or is this a problem with a brand new fan? Is the fan wired to an On/Off toggle wall switch or to a wall dimmer switch?

      Your best option is to call Hampton Bay Customer Support – see the article for the link and toll free number.

    • mike malia December 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Ceiling fan not working. Fifteen years old fan and runs almost 24/7 here in Florida. Blades turn so motor not frozen. Capacitor looks ok, but no power to fan or light. Breaker did not pop. A veritable enigma wrapped in……. Oh well I said the heck with it and my wife came in the back room and said the fan was now working. Re-traced my steps and the wall plate that runs my garage door also works the fan and back bedroom lights. I turned it off because a spring broke and I’m waiting on the garage door guy to come. Oh the travails of a handyman.

  15. Catherine September 17, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    A recent power surge (tree fell on the line across the street) knocked out all of our GFI’s some light dimmers and our ceiling fan remote receivers. I’ve replaced everything now and fixed the fans with the exception of one, which is a beautiful fan once sold by Mica Lamp Co. They no longer sell fans and thus provide no support for it. Presently the wall switch control does not seem to work with the fan at all, with the exception of the overall power on/off slider button. Otherwise, if there is power to the fan it runs at slow power only – the fan control buttons and light control button on the wall switch do nothing. The wall switch is a UC9051T and the control unit in the fan is a UC 7085R ver F. I thought I would open up the fan and find a blown capacitor, but both capacitors look fine. Also, I was hoping I could replace a simple receiver like our other fans have, but this control unit is a circuit board assembled on an aluminum bracket attached to the side of the fan motor. I can’t seem to find a replacement for the latter, though I’ve found some of the wall switches on the internet. How do I find a replacement for the control panel, in case that is the problem?

    • Bob Jackson September 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

      Take a look at the ceiling fan remote controls listed at gulffans ceiling fan parts. Hopefully your UC 7085R part is listed. If not, call them and maybe they can repair the electronics.


      • John T Scroggs October 29, 2015 at 10:32 am #

        I tried to turn my fan on and when I pulled the chain, I heard a snapping sound and the fan would not run but the light worked. I checked the switch and it is OK. So, I think the capacitor may be blown. Am I right?
        John T

        • Bob Jackson October 29, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

          You’ll need to open up the fan to see if it’s obviously blown. If you’re lucky that was the “snapping sound” although a capacitor can fail with no external signs.

  16. Gary September 26, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    Hello Bob,
    Thanks for the time and effort you are putting into trying to solve people’s problems with their fans. It is much appreciated. I have 2 Honeywell model #10209, tri-mount, 4 speed ceiling fans. These fans are extremely noisy when the light is off. When the light kit is on, the noise is bearable and sounds like a cheap noisy fan. When the lights are off, it sounds like a cheap but somewhat quiet lawnmower! I have even tried unscrewing the bulbs and when the last bulb is unscrewed, the sound immediately starts as soon as the bulb loses electrical contact. Changing speeds changes the pitch of the sound but doesn’t reduce it. While grabbing the light sconce with the lights on I can only feel a very slight vibration. But when lights are off, the vibration is immediately ten fold or more and coming from the motor itself. Any thoughts or suggestions as to the possible culprit of this noise? I don’t know how I was lucky enough to purchase 2 fans, months apart, and get 2 lemons. Honeywell customer service says they are not receiving similar complaints about this model. I didn’t install immediately so unfortunately, the return option has run out on 1 of them. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Bob Jackson September 28, 2014 at 9:02 am #

      Hi Gary,
      I think it’s an installation issue and not a problem with the fan itself. Are the fans connected to a dimmer switch? The fan motor will hum and buzz loudly when the voltage input is less than 120VAC. Most fans have separate wiring connections for the motor and lights. Only the lights should be controlled by a dimmer switch.

      If there’s not a dimmer switch, verify the wiring connections and the fan is receiving 120VAC with a digital voltage meter.


  17. jamie October 19, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    Hey…do you have the part number for the capacitor you installed in the picture…that’s the one I need and Home Depot can’t find it to order it.


    • Bob Jackson October 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Sorry, I didn’t keep the King of Fans invoice. Home Depot Customer Support should be able to look it up via the UPC # from the fan label. Try calling again and maybe a different representative can find the part number.

      • joe smith June 21, 2015 at 1:43 am #

        did anyone check your warranty. most have lifetime on motor and the capacitor is really a part of the motor.

  18. Chad November 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Hi Bob, thanks for your post. I was wondering if you might be able to help. My fan stopped running recently after almost a year of flawless service. Lights still work fine and it isn’t locked up or anything. I recently replaced the capacitor as well as the receiver and still no luck. I get a click noise when i hit the remote but no fan. Is there anything I could be missing that could cause this or should I be concerned about the wiring of the home?

    • Bob Jackson November 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      “after almost a year of flawless service”… have you tried filing a warranty claim? Most fans have at least a 1 year warranty. You could check the motor wiring hookup if the lights are working. Is there a manual motor switch in case the problem with the remote control unit?

  19. Natalie November 5, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    I have a harbor breeze fan and looking for a replacement capacitor. Every one I find states all the same numbers except the top one. The one I have says 4.5uf/350v and all the replacements ones have 4.5uf/280v. Will it still match

    • Bob Jackson November 5, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      Have you called Harbor Breeze customer service to locate the replacement part?

      The 4.5uF capacitance matches on your proposed replacement capacitor, but the voltage rating is very different: 350 volts original part vs 280 volts on the proposed replacement. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend it. The replacement capacitor should have an equal or higher voltage rating compared to the original unit.

      You didn’t state the capacitor model # or the number of wires your original capacitor has, but if it’s a CBB61 with two wires then this 4.5uF capacitor rated for 450 volts would work:


      • Natalie November 5, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

        It has 5 wires. And I do not see a model number.
        This fan was installed when we built the house 10 years ago, from Lowes.

        • Bob Jackson November 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

          Try calling Lowes Customer Care at 1-800-445-6937 with the information on the manufacturer label. You can also email photos of the capacitor to me bob[at] and I’ll try to locate a suitable replacement part. The capacitor markings must be readable.

  20. Rod Kennedy November 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    I have a 3 speed ceiling fan, the pull chain broke. My son took it apart and did not mark the wiring. The capacitor has 5 wires, 2 Orange on one side, 1 red, 1 purple,1 yellow on the other side. The yellow and purple were hooked to the switch, because the wires are tinned. Can you please advise the correct wiring? The capacitor is CBB6-1, E162459, 250 VAC, 50/60 hz max temp 70 c.

    • Bob Jackson November 10, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      You might get lucky and find a wiring diagram by Googling the fan model # or calling the manufacturer. Maybe one of the fan repair shops mentioned in the other comments may know?

  21. Jeanne November 17, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    Have a hunter fan and noticed that the middle and low speed were the same, both low. This is a 3 speed fan so I took off light housing and had a blown capacitor. I ordered one exactly like it on line being sure all numbers and wattages matched up. I replaced yesterday but it did not fix the problem the middle speed still runs the same as low. Do you think I got a bad capacitor or what else could it be?

    • Bob Jackson November 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Maybe the new capacitor isn’t wired exactly as the original? It would be easy to mistakenly switch the low and medium capacitor outputs wires. Otherwise, capacitors are inexpensive and you could try a new one.

  22. James May 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

    Hi Bob. We had some bad storms recently and the power went off and on about 8 times. At the end my ceiling fan would not work at all. I have checked the power supply and it is working at the switch and in the fan canopy. It is hooked up to a remote and the remote itself is working (light on it lights up when pushed). Do you think the capacitors are the problem? They are not visibly damaged. The fan is only 1 year old. Thanks!

    • Bob Jackson May 10, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

      The power surges may have damaged the capacitor or something in the motor circuitry. Will the fan run if you push the blades to get it going? If so, that’s a solid indication the start capacitor is bad. The capacitor is inexpensive so replacing it is worth a try.

  23. Steve Reisiger May 9, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    A lot of great info. However, it blows my mind how we can even have such problems these days. Haven’t ceiling fans been made for 100 years now? You’d think these issues would have been figured out and eliminated by now. Have we not gone to the moon? Jeez.

    • Bob Jackson May 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

      Ceiling fans made 100 or even 50 years ago were robust and simple. There’s no comparison to the inexpensive overseas models made today with 12 month warranties that are intended to be replaced instead of repaired.

  24. Aaron Wong June 1, 2015 at 10:37 pm #

    My capacitor have the following parameters:


    I’ve look at:

    and found the following capacitor:


    5 wire

    4 uf + 4.5 uf + 6 uf

    It may be silly but does it matter is not in the same order of my faulty capacitor?

    Also, can I exchange my 300v with a 250V (on one wire) being my ceiling fan working at 120V?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Bob Jackson June 2, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

      Hi Arron,
      The capacitor output tap wire order isn’t important, connect the new capacitor tap wires so it matches the capacitance values as your original part: 4uF to 4uF, 4.5uF to 4.5uF and 6uF to 6uF.

      You can substitute a 250V rated capacitor for the old 300V rating on a 120VAC fan circuit, however the 250V capacitor may not last as long the 300V rated unit… you probably won’t notice the difference since it’ll be years down the road. However, you can always substitute a higher voltage capacitor for a lower voltage rated original part.


      • Aaron Wong June 7, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

        Hi Bob,

        I changed the capacitor and the fan still hums, if I help the blades a little they turn and gain a little speed, but they eventually stop… I really didn’t try to give the blades a little push with the old capacitor and when replacing it I cut the wires to close to the old one so I’m afraid I’ll not be able to test with the old one…

        Any other advise on this situation?

        Thank you!!

        • Bob Jackson June 7, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

          I’d buy a new fan or send it to a repair shop mentioned in the earlier comments. It’s hard to know what the water leak did to the fan. It may require a rebuild.

  25. Roger June 2, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Bob, I have a 12 year old Harbor Breeze ceiling fan which recently lost medium speed. High and low speed work fine. I replaced the 3-way switch with no help. Everything I’ve read states if the capacitor is bad it will show (ruptured case, bulges on case, burnt wires, etc) but this capacitor looks new. Can a 12 year old capacitor be bad and not show it? Or is there another reason for medium to have left the building?

    • Bob Jackson June 2, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

      The 3-way speed switch would have been my first guess too. The capacitor is probably wearing out / weakening with the medium speed tap having failed. Is the fan most often used on the medium speed setting?

      See “Why did my run capacitor fail?” for more info. on motor run capacitor lifespan factors.

      • Roger June 3, 2015 at 10:30 am #

        Thanks for the input Bob. And yes, medium speed was the preferred speed before it stopped working. I believe I’ll replace the capacitor then and hope that medium returns.

  26. David Lichtenstein June 7, 2015 at 4:23 am #

    Ceiling Fan, manufacture Hong Kong, 20 years old, 220 volt, 80-watt, three speeds. It rotates freely, but during the work is heated to 70-75 ° C .. The capacitor – two wires 1.0 mF. Maybe increase capacity?

    • Bob Jackson June 7, 2015 at 6:33 pm #

      75° C (167° F) is getting way hot. Try replacing the capacitor with an identical rated unit. After 20 years it may be failing.

      > Maybe increase capacity?
      A replacement part with a greater capacitance rating will cause the motor winding current to be too high and possibly overheat. The motor is running hot already, so that wouldn’t be a good idea.

  27. David Lichtenstein June 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Thank you, Bob. Motor shroud of my fan – closed, without ventilation holes or crevices. This increases the temperature further.

  28. Sara H. June 11, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    Hello and, as others have said, thank you for being our ceiling fan guru!

    We had a ceiling light and our landlord sent a handyman to instal a small ceiling fan. It was a cheap model, about 6 years old but never used. It worked fine but had a loud humming. We traded it our with another used fan of a much higher quality that a freind gave us that we knew was quite. Once installed it worked perfectly but almost immediately stated humming on all setting, with the lights on or off. The humming is loud and get more intense and then less intense rhythmically. (So we are only using it now as a light, no humming then.) The wall switch was originally a dimmer but the handyman changed it to a switch. There are a lot of things on the same circuit, including most of the kitchen.
    I am worried it’s a power issue possibly, though the fan runs at good speed and the lights (flourescents) are fully bight.
    The house is older (1950). If it is a power issue how do we test that?
    THANK YOU so much for your time and knowledge.

    • Bob Jackson June 11, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

      Ceiling fan motors can hum when the line voltage is low. I have a ceiling fan with lights on a dimmer switch. If the lights are dimmed with the fan running, it will hum and get really loud as the voltage drops. I explained to the family that if you dim the lights, pull the chain to turn off the fan motor.

      Given the older house and probable highly loaded branch circuit, the ceiling fan is receiving less than 110/120 volts. Back in the 1950’s there wasn’t the huge variety of electronics as today. Incandescent lights can tolerate lower voltage but not the motor.

      Simple test: Unplug and/or turn Off everything on the ceiling fan branch circuit – lights, TVs, stereo, computers, refrigerator, etc. You may need to check the fuse box or circuit breaker panel to figure out everything on the fan branch circuit by switching the circuit breaker Off to see what else loses power including the ceiling fan. Turn the circuit breaker On (or replace the fuse). If the ceiling fan motor doesn’t hum with all other loads turned Off you’ve confirmed the former humming noised is the result of low voltage caused by too many loads on the circuit.

      You could also borrow or buy a voltage meter, remove the dimmer switch wall plate and press the test leads against the dimmer switch output terminals connected to the fan power wires. Read the voltage when the fan motor is humming. If the voltage is less than 110 volts you’ve confirmed the problem. The only way to fix the low voltage problem is to either reduce (e.g. change-out incandescent/CFL light bulbs for low wattage but bright LEDs), remove some of the loads plugged into the circuit or install a new circuit breaker & branch circuit wiring to better carry the loads.

  29. Sara H. June 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    Thank you! Wonderful advice and very logical! We will try unplugging all and seeing if we get the hum. My feeling is it’s the draw of the refrigerator on the same circuit that is the main culprit but 4 of our 5 rooms are on the same circuit! Ugg!

    The wall switch was a dimmer but the handy-man switched it out for a regular switch. Could this still be a problem?

    We will show all of this to our landlord so that he can promptly do nothing about it.
    (I am kidding!)
    We will see about changing the refrigerator to a new circuit after the test and report back on the issue for you and anyone in who might read this post.

    Again, thank you for your help, very kind!
    Sara H

  30. David Lichtenstein June 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Hello and,thank you for help!

    I bought a universal remote control for ceiling fans with a lamp. How to make a lamp can be activated not only remote, but from a wall switch?

    • Bob Jackson June 24, 2015 at 10:29 am #

      I don’t believe that’s available because the fan remote control module is wired inline between the wall switch and fan motor/light:
      Wall Switch — [Fan Remote Control Module — Fan Motor & Light]

      Most handheld remotes include a holster or bracket for mounting on the wall beside the switch for convenience.

  31. Joe Calarrudo July 8, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    I have a Harbor Breeze Hive Series Ceiling Fan Model LP8255LWH. The problem I am having is that the fan when it runs for awhile will speed up to a very high speed. This happens in all three speeds low, med and high. If you select the high speed button on the remote the fan will slow to normal high speed. It will run for awhile and then repeat the change in speed. There is no chain switch on this model all speed selections are done on the remote. Any idea what it could be? For your info there in one capacitor ( Two wire 4 microfarads).

    • Bob Jackson July 9, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

      Because the fan actually slows down when selecting the “high speed” button on the remote, the fan speed control circuit board is probably failing. A more basic fan speed control circuit would have a multi-tap capacitor (3 or 4 wires) whereas your 2 wire capacitor clearly isn’t for speed control. Is the fan still in warranty?

  32. Reg July 10, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Hi Bob:

    I have a Hampton Bay fan that needs a ceiling fan capacitor replaced. I can’t find the exact replacement capacitor i need (C61, 4.5uf, 300VAC, 2 wire). I was told by a Hampton Bay customer service I can use a capacitor with the lower VAC (ie. 250VAC) but don’t use one with a higher VAC (i.e. 450VAC) as the motor might implode. Was this advice correct?

    • Bob Jackson July 10, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      The Hampton Bay customer service advice is incorrect. To quote from the article “Understanding and Selecting Capacitors” by Anthony Colone, Capacitors Product Manager at Genteq:

      “There have also been questions about what voltage to use when replacing capacitors. The rule of thumb is to always use greater than or equal to the voltage rating that is required by the motor. The voltage required is always stated on the motor name plate. NEVER use a lower voltage than required because it lowers the life of the capacitor exponentially. Using a lower voltage rated capacitor will not damage the system, but it will accelerate the capacitor’s end of life.”

      A residential ceiling fan runs on 120VAC power. Ceiling fan capacitors are typically rated for 250V to 450V. All things being equal, the higher voltage rated capacitor will last longer than a capacitor with a lower voltage rating.

      The reason for choosing a capacitor with a higher voltage rating than the working circuit voltage is:
      An analogy can be made between a capacitor and a water tank. A capacitor stores electrical charge (measured in farads) and the tank a volume of water (gallons). Both the capacitor and water tank have a maximum pressure rating. Voltage can be thought of as electrical pressure. The capacitor pressure rating is measured in Volts and the water tank in PSI (pounds per square inch). Exceeding the maximum pressure rating for the capacitor or water tank can cause it to fail.

      Replacing a failed capacitor rated for 250VAC with a new one rated for 300 or 450VAC means it can hold more electrical pressure, will be less stressed and have a longer working life. Because the supply voltage is 120VAC the capacitor will only be charged to 120VAC, not the rated 300VAC or 450VAC. Similar to buying a tank rated for 100 PSI but is connected to a water supply line having only 50 PSI.

      Also see this reply for more about capacitor replacement guidelines.

  33. Kasin September 8, 2015 at 3:59 am #

    My 7 speed ceiling fan not run at 4th and 5th speed , what is the problem to the circuit board ? I has replace the capacitor, but I found two of the varistor very hot. Remote used.

    • Bob Jackson September 8, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

      Troubleshooting circuit board issues is beyond my expertise. Contact Gulf Coast Fan for a repair estimate.

  34. Armando Rodriguez September 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi Bob!! The blown capacitor show in your site shows a destroyed capacitor,” the question” capacitors can have “open” situations or it be blown situations only…… on my fun the capacitor looks in good shaped…thanks.

    • Bob Jackson September 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

      A capacitor can fail without showing signs of external damage. I was fortunate my capacitor was obviously blown and needed to be replaced.

  35. Steven Rosenblatt October 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    Bob Jackson–
    I have a 13 year old Regency ceiling fan. Always worked well until today when it only works in one spin one direction, UP. Suddenly cannot get it to work in DOWN direction. It has a fan base mounted reverse slide switch. Otherwise the UP direction works fine at all 3 speeds on the pull chain switch. Is it the reverse slide switch that is out?

    • Bob Jackson October 15, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      The fan reversing switch might be defective. Replacement switches are inexpensive.

  36. Tim Douglas November 25, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    Saturday I installed an Emerson Northwind 29″ ceiling new in the box plus a new Emerson light kit. The light works fine, fan just hums on “high”. Pulled it all down and checked wiring, all good. Could the capacitor be bad right out of the box?

    • Bob Jackson November 26, 2015 at 10:16 am #

      The ceiling fan motor humming noise could be the capacitor but on a new fan it’s more likely caused by issues with the house electrical supply. The motor draws the most current on the high speed setting which is when it hums.

      Is fan controlled by a simple On/Off wall switch or dimmer switch? Dimmer switches can cause (really loud) humming noises because ceiling fan motors require the full 110/120 volts AC but the dimmer switch throttles the voltage to something less 110/120 VAC.

      If the fan isn’t on a dimmer switch then other loads on the same branch circuit could be causing a voltage drop at the fan. Try turning off lights, TVs, portable heaters and appliances that are on the branch circuit as the ceiling fan.

      If the above troubleshooting steps doesn’t solve it, you can exchange the new fan or call Emerson Technical Service for warranty service.

  37. Martin Hazlett January 25, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    My Hampton Bay Altura 68″ fan will not start, but once it is turned, it runs fine, I have replaced the Reversing/Voltage Limiting Component and Capacitor ($25) supplied by King of Fans with no change. I have bypassed the receiver of the Altura receiver with same result. King of Fans wants me to return Fan Motor and Remote/Receiver and pay shipping both ways (about $80). Is it possible to open the motor and see if there is some other problem or is this a situation where replacing ($219) is only alternative. Is it possible that there is something (Dust, Animal hair) that is causing some extra resistance to the starting process.
    Lifetime motor guarantee seems to almost meaningless when it costs more than a third of the cost of the fan
    Thank you for any thoughts or assistance you can offer.

    • Bob Jackson January 25, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

      The customer reviews are divided with 50% 4 & 5 star ratings versus 44% 1 and 2 star ratings. A common theme are complaints about failed remote controls and dead fans.

      I’d call King of Fans and kindly but firmly request that they pay for shipping the repaired or replacement unit back to you. Ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. In my experience with similar product warranty issues the customer pays for return shipping, while the manufacturer pays to send the unit back to you. If no luck convincing King of Fans then contact the business where you purchased it for help.

  38. GB June 3, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    Bob – Awesome instructions, worked like a charm on the ceiling fan in my son’s room. The only additional thing I’d say is the capacitor doesn’t necessarily need to be in a melted and/or bulged state for it to be bad. In my case, it looked like new from the outside, but the fan speed had gradually reduced over time. After some basic troubleshooting, I narrowed it down to the capacitor. So, I bought one with the correct microFarad/voltage rating from Amazon and it worked well. Thanks again for taking the time to document this procedure, really helped me (and a whole lot of others I’m sure). This is true “community service”!

  39. Dean sodos August 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    I have three of the exact same Hunter Douglas fans in my family room living room and master bedroom. All of these fans work by remote control and have 3 settings high medium low. When the family room fan is on high power it does not have as many revolutions is not as powerful as the high power on the other two rooms. All of the fans are probably 8 to 10 years old. Can you tell me if this is something I might be able to fix myself and if so how. Thanks in advance.

    • Bob Jackson August 24, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

      It could be a partially failed capacitor given the fan is around 10 years old or possibly a worn out speed switch. The fan manufacturers don’t publish the wiring schematics because it’s not intended to be user serviceable, so detailed is difficult to provide. If replacing the capacitor and/or switch doesn’t fix it try one of the ceiling fan repair shops mentioned in the comments.

  40. paul September 11, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    I have a ceiling fan that is verrrry slow to start (from the time the switch is turned on, it takes approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to come fully up to speed – but it does get up to speed very gradually.)

    The blades are balanced and there is no light kit.. There is no ‘hummimg’ sound. With the power off the blades rotate easily. When power is first applied and the blades are moving slowly, I can accelerate the blades by hand but as soon as I stop the fan reverts to the previous slow rate of rotation and acceleration. The problem has developed gradually over a period of months.

    2 or 3 years ago it had a similar problem which I addressed by oiling. I will try that again but wonder whether something else may be going on (a different underlying problem?

    • Bob Jackson September 11, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      Your slow running fan issue is similar to Dottie’s. Is the fan controlled by a dimmer switch versus a standard On/Off toggle switch? Verify the fan is receiving 115/120 volts AC with a voltage tester at the ceiling junction box. Does the fan run slow for all speed settings or only certain speeds (e.g. medium and low)?

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