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    Modified ceiling fan

    I have a customer who would like to modify a ceiling fan light fixture in the kitchen to give more output - even if the fan is no longer operational. I have 4-12 watt LED candelabra bulbs (85-100W equivalent) that give all the light she would like, but of course, they do not play well with the watt limiter in the fan light (unless you like disco lighting). Also, this exceeds the limit of 190W regulation for a ceiling fan light kit.

    I am considering converting the fixture to a light-only fixture and removing the fan motor, capacitor and blades. I would also remove the watt limiter for the lights. In my opinion, the fixture becomes a light only fixture at that point. I would be wiring directly from the junction box to the 4 light sockets at that point.

    Is this legal?
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    #2
    I wasn't aware ceiling fans have a "watt limiter".

    A 12 watt LED only uses about 12 watts, so there isn't any reason to use its "equivalent" rating when comparing it to a fixture or a light kit rating. (4) 12 watt LED lamps equals 48 watts.

    I don't know why just changing the lamps to LED wouldn't work. I know sometimes the LED's don't work with electronic controls, (they don't work in my garage door opener, and I've seen motion sensors that just strobe the LED's on and off) but I'm surprised if a ceiling fan has any thing like that.

    In fact, I think I have that exact same fan in my house. I was planning on changing it to LED.

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      #3
      I've been doing a lot of research. DOE released a requirement (I believe in 2009) for fan light kits to limit wattage consumed to 190 watts due to overheating and fires. I called Harbor Breeze and they said the limiting circuitry is not compatible with LEDs. The LED lights strobe at a fairly fast rate. I temporarily removed the watt limiter and installed the new LED bulbs. Great lighting improvement, but I can't leave it that way due to the regulation.

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        #4
        I would not modify the fan. Once you do that you have lost the UL listing. Have the owners buy a new light fixture.
        They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
        She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
        I can't help it if I'm lucky

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          #5
          Originally posted by flywright52 View Post
          I have a customer who would like to modify a ceiling fan light fixture in the kitchen to give more output - even if the fan is no longer operational. I have 4-12 watt LED candelabra bulbs (85-100W equivalent) that give all the light she would like, but of course, they do not play well with the watt limiter in the fan light (unless you like disco lighting). Also, this exceeds the limit of 190W regulation for a ceiling fan light kit.

          I am considering converting the fixture to a light-only fixture and removing the fan motor, capacitor and blades. I would also remove the watt limiter for the lights. In my opinion, the fixture becomes a light only fixture at that point. I would be wiring directly from the junction box to the 4 light sockets at that point.

          Is this legal?
          Wow. What a great question.

          I was not aware of the impact of EPACT on the manufacture of paddlefans and their light kits, before this question. Spent a bit of time over at www.energy.gov and specifically at this Final Rules document and a thought occurred to me.

          These rules are for the manufacturer to comply with in order to mass produce-for-sale-to-others a line of paddlefan and light kit.

          Checking your profile gave me another thought.

          Here in Minnesota, State statute provides for the making of one-of-a-kind piece of equipment that is made directly for a specific end-user. If the local Authority Having Jurisdiction has any question about this piece of equipment, the AHJ may request that the equipment be submitted to a NRTL for listing, OR a letter from a PE may suffice in lieu of the listing.

          The classic use of this happens usually when a singular machine, say for a specific industrial process, is developed by an OEM and transported to and installed in the industrial location.

          I have used it for custom, sculpted, one-of-a-kind, metal light fixtures, here in Minnesota, in the past.

          Perhaps Missouri has a similar statute? Your PE and additional license has, it appears to me, you in the position of being able to modify an existing mass manufactured unit into a one of a kind piece of equipment for your client.
          Another Al in Minnesota

          Comment


            #6
            The thing that struck me, immediately, upon reading the OP, was that a watt-limiter with outdated circuitry incompatible with modern LED current drivers does not allow the use of a bright low wattage LED thereby forcing the end-user to use dim high wattage incandescent bulbs.

            Absolutely nuts.
            Another Al in Minnesota

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by flywright52 View Post
              I've been doing a lot of research. DOE released a requirement (I believe in 2009) for fan light kits to limit wattage consumed to 190 watts due to overheating and fires. I called Harbor Breeze and they said the limiting circuitry is not compatible with LEDs. The LED lights strobe at a fairly fast rate. I temporarily removed the watt limiter and installed the new LED bulbs. Great lighting improvement, but I can't leave it that way due to the regulation.
              After doing an internet search, I see what you mean. Probably what is happening is that the LED lamps don't draw enough current to keep the wattage limiter turned on (I'm assuming its some kind of solid state switch, otherwise you wouldn't have a problem.)

              This may not help, but I can almost guarantee that it will work fine with 3 LED's and one incandescent lamp. The problem would be they won't all look the same, and every time the incandescent one burns out, the strobe lights will come back on.

              You could try different LED's and see if that makes a difference. I saw a couple of posts that say to use dimmable LED's, but I don't know if that will work.

              Otherwise, I would just replace the fan and get one you know will work with the lamps you have.

              I'm not sure what that means for my house - my fans may old enough to not have the limiter.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by al hildenbrand View Post
                The thing that struck me, immediately, upon reading the OP, was that a watt-limiter with outdated circuitry incompatible with modern LED current drivers does not allow the use of a bright low wattage LED thereby forcing the end-user to use dim high wattage incandescent bulbs.

                Absolutely nuts.
                Yes, a mandate by the DOE no less!! The same entity that keeps pushing for all the energy conservation rules and regulations!! And the same dept. that outlawed most incandescent lamps!!!

                Go figure.

                Comment


                  #9
                  From a practical standpoint alone, I dont see how modifying the mess out of the existing fan would save much money over buying a custom light. Taking it down, removing the motor, etc etc. I thought candelabra based bulbs went to 60W incandescent? Personally I would cut the wire to the motor, relamp it and use a suitable dimmer, unless the HO wants the blades and what not removed... which would be about the dumbest looking light ever. but to each their own.

                  The ceiling fan is already listed as a luminaire regardless of if the fan is on, working, or even present. I wouldnt modify the fan wiring tho, mostly because they have 9 pin connectors to the lights and would be more than what I'd what to get into for something that can be converted easier another way.
                  Electricians do it until it Hertz!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I don't condone removing any feature intended to avoid dangerous conditions created by user actions.

                    Some cars use the light bulb as part of the blinker control and missing bulbs cause stuck-on or fast flashing on the remaining bulbs. They sell a dummy load kit to consume power in place of the regular light bulb for this situation.

                    Try a low wattage regular light bulb along with LEDs and see if that fix the issue. Lutron has a dummy load that does the same thing as a small light bulb trapped inside a black box. I am not sure if you can get a dummy resistor that is UL listed to add inside a fixture. Another possible work around is adding a 0.5A time delay fuse in-line to tolerate LED ballast inrush, but cut out power if converted back to incandescent. You're still on your own as far as risk assumption.

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                      #11
                      I thought I would pass along an update. I put the light kit back together with the original limiting circuitry. I then tried the suggestion by Al and Steve66 of installing 3 LED bulbs and 1 incandescent bulb (40W). Two days of operation now and no blinking or strobing! I have my fingers crossed

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                        #12
                        Time for a new fan 😕

                        Sent from my LGMS330 using Tapatalk

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