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How to wire 3-speed fan switch
Just buy another fan
How to replace fan switch

3 speed fan switch
3-wire switch illustration.
4-wire switch is not illustrated, read instructions to right.
There are different types of 3-speed/four wire switches.

ALWAYS photograph switch wiring before removing old switch, so mapping to new switch is easier.
Don't disconnect old switch before you are certain about the wiring.

Switch similarities:
each switch has same 2 similarities:
1) Each 3-speed fan switch has same pull-chain sequence: off-high-medium-low.
2) Each 3-speed fan switch has only one wire that connects to Hot wire. So one-and-only-one wire is Hot.
3-speed fan switch with 3 wires
Some 3-speed fan switches have 4 wires. 4-wire not shown.
Replacing 3-way pull-chain switch is not always simple.
Old and new switch should be tested to see if they are compatible match.

Old switch and new switch should be compared using multi-meter or continuity tester.  See image of multimeter

Switch differences:
3) Here's where different 3-way fan switches can vary:
Some switches are 3-wire, and some are 4-wire.
Each has 1 hot wire, but the other two or three wires on the switch are not necessarily the same from switch to switch.
4) For example connect power to Hot wire. Let's say switch is in off position. Pull chain once for high speed and power might flow from Hot wire and go to just one wire, -or- power might flow to two wires, depending on the switch.
5) Pull chain again for medium speed, and power might flow to just one wire, -or- power might flow to two different wires.
6) Pull chain again for low speed, and power usually flows from Hot wire to just one wire.
How to test:
7) Easiest place to start is to find which wire is Hot.
When testing, only one wire shows continuity to all other wires as you cycle through pulling the chain.
8) Once hot wire is determined.
Then use multimeter or continuity tester to test which sequence of wires receives power each time chain is pulled.
9) Repeat same test on old switch. Or use deduction to limit number of possibilities.
10) Note how old switch was connected. And then map the change-over to new switch. If old and new switches are not the same, then they will not work.
Fan pull chain switches
3-speed fan wiring diagrams
For testing, you need multimeter. Get one with alligator ends. Set dial to read ohms. Install battery and turn on device.
They make cheap and expensive, analog and digital.
Illustration shows analog type with pointed testing leads.

Sperry instruments
Test 3-speed fan switch with continuity tester Test old switch and new switch with continuity tester or multimeter to match up wires.
Use this technique to identify Hot wire.
Use this technique to identify which wire, or combination of wires corresponds to each pull of chain.
Set multimeter to read ohms
Continuity testers at Amazon
Typical wire connections might be:
L - Black, 1 - Grey, 2 - Brown, 3 - Purple
L - Orange, 1 - Black, 2 - Yellow, 3 - Purple
L - Black, 1 - Grey, 2 - Brown, 3 - Green
L - Grey, 1 - Yellow, 2 - Purple, 3 - Black
L - White, 1- Black, 2 - Blue, 3 - Yellow
Don't disconnect old switch before you are certain about the wiring.... and then don't be too certain without writing down the colors.

Larger image
Basic 3-speed motor
Fan motor receives voltage from Black Hot and White Neutral.
Inside all motors are coils of wire call windings.
Start winding and main winding are two separate thing.
Start winding plus capacitor get the motor rotating.
Main winding accelerates motor to selected speed.
With 3-speed motor, Hot voltage connects to main winding at 3 different points.
Only 1 point at a time receives power. That's what the fan switch does.
When voltage is applied to each point, the main winding is energized as voltage from Black Hot wire completes circuit with White neutral wire.
When less of the Main winding is energized, the motor slows down.

How to test which wire is which speed?
In basic diagram, there are four wires that connect to the motor: Neutral and 3 Hots.
Note which wires old fan switch connects to before starting.
White Neutral wire will connect to fan motor but will not be connected to switch.
Test each Hot wire to White neutral wire using multimeter set to Ohms.
High speed shows lowest Ohms.
Low speed shows highest Ohms.

Motor wiring

Larger image
If old switch cannot be tested, make note what speed the fan is on before disconnecting old switch. For example the fan is stuck on medium speed. If possible, make note which color wire connects to Hot. Take photo of wires. Then remove old switch, and leave old switch stuck in medium. Test old switch to see which wire(s) has continuity to Hot wire. That wire(s) will be the medium speed. Then test new switch for which wire(s) is medium speed. This will narrow down the number of guesses needed to connect new switch.
If old switch cannot be tested and it is already removed from fan
Ohm out the wires...
You need multimeter. Set dial to read ohms. Install battery and turn on device.
3-speed motor will essentially have 3 different coils, 1 for each speed.

The ohm meter has a range from 0 to 1000s ohms to infinity.
Next, test each wire on the fan coil to the Neutral wire.
If the coil is broken, you get a reading of infinity. If the coil is shorted to ground, you get a reading of zero. Touch the two tester ends together and you get reading of zero.
If the coil is functioning correctly, the high speed coil would have lowest ohm reading, and low speed the highest reading.

Next test the new switch: Ohm test pairs of wires to determine which two wires have zero ohms with each pull. Again zero ohms means the two wires have continuity and conduct electricity.
How to wire double rocker switch Fan speed controls are different than ordinary on-off switch
Double switches, triple switches, and 3 way switches can control multiple lights, or control a fan-light. They can turn power on-off to the fan, and turn power on-off to the light, but cannot toggle fan speeds.
Illustration shows switch box with hot and neutral wires.
Sometimes the hot wire drops down to the switch from fan-light ceiling box

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