It's Dead Jim; Blown GE Fan Controller

I should know better; I was installing a new fan and rather than kill the power at the breaker, I made sure the fan controller was off then used my non-contact probe to confirm there was no power at the box. Voltage probe indicated no juice but there’s apparently some leakage in the fan controller and while mounting the new fan mount bracket on the ceiling box I knocked of the wire nut I had twisted on the hot wire. No zap but a small arc and the fan controller STB.

Dumb move, why didn’t you use the are gap switch, and dubious safety practices comments aside, does anyone know if these things are fused internally? They’re put together with odd triangular broach screws so pulling it apart is going to require a little custom tool work.

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you’re an optimist, that’s tragic-cool.

I think you energized the primary fuse element safety function. The replacement fuse element looks exactly like a whole controller.

yeah I don’t know either

Good news is z-wave you can use the replace function so you don’t have to re-do all your rules.

I did the same thing installing a new GE switch in my shed a couple weeks back. You are not alone. Lesson learned.

That’s pretty funny and kind of what I was thinking. I might crack the dead unit open anyway to see if there’s a 50 cent fuse in there instead of a $45 one.


What pisses me off the most is how avoidable the whole thing was. Second to that is why in the hell is there leakage when the device is in an off state.


After blowing up a $45 piece of gear I’ll take any good news.

I don’t know the technical answer to why there is leakage, but dimmers have been like that for a long time. That’s why there is an air gap switch. In fact, older dumb dimmers are usually not compatible with LED bulbs because they leak quite a bit.

So, to answer my own question; yes, they are fused internally. The switch is a bit of a bugger to pull apart but on the end of the switch that has the air gap switch contacts, there’s an axial fuse covered with heat shrink tubing. I cut open the heat shrink with an xacto knife and yeah, it’s blown. Unsoldering the visible lead should be easy enough. However, the unsoldering the one on the bottom of the top board isn’t. The two PCBs are mated together with soldered 6 pin headers on each end of the assembly and unsoldering and separating the boards without damaging them seems unlikely. As an aside, build quality looks very good.


cool - thanks for followup especially picture -

I think you could cut it out and solder in your own fuse holder or pigtails. Nice way to save $30

Maybe you can use a soldering heat gun, but I suppose you don’t have one so cutting is the best idea, thanks for sharing the picture.

Heating the fuse’s lower end cap with a high wattage soldering iron might be allow me to melt the solder and pull out the lead. If worst comes to worst I can cut the end cap as low/flush to the board and try to unsolder it from there.