Pullcord to bathroom extractor fan.......

31 Jul 2011
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United Kingdom
Hey all

Checked all over and can't find the answer to my problem so here is my thread.

This morning I noticed that my old pullcord had broken and wouldnt turn into the on position. I bought another pullcord (Almost exactly the same one) and wired it up. Problem is it wont turn the fan on? The light on the switch lights up when in the on position and goes off when on the off position. The switch has locations for earth, positive and negative for "feed" and "switch". I have tried the cables in every combination possible just in the event that it woul work.

Strange thing is that when I turn the light on in the loft and leave the pullcord in the on position the fan turns on so I can deduct that it is working.

The way the circuit appears to be is:

-Power cable running to a plug socket
-Power cable from plug socket to switch for fan/pullcord circuit (this has power as the light is lit)
-Power cable from plug socket also going to a switch for loft lighting. If I flip this with the pullcord in the on position the fan sometimes works :S:S:S
-Power cable from plug socket for fan/cord to a circular box.
-From circular box it connects to the fan and the pullcord.
-The wires to the pull cord are simply a pos, neu and earth.
-In circular box there are 2 of each wire (cant remember exactly)

I can get pictures in the morning if that helps? This thing is driving me fooo king crazy
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Hmmmmm my setup is seperate from the light and it did work prior to the switch breaking and having to change it. I cant work out why it no longer works and seems to be turning on when a switch for the light in the loft is turned on???

I have pics now to explain my setup better.


As you can see on pic 1 the grey cable on the right is taking power into the socket in the loft. You can also see the wires between the small gap between the socket and light switch. This is the source of power to the light switch in the loft which causes the fan to work when the pullcord downstairs is in the on position. This is the only place this light is connected to the circuit. Grey cable outta the socket takes power to the brown box and feeds into the fan circuit


Close up of the brown box taking power to the fan circuit. Power to the fan circuit comes off the top grey cable. The other grey cable takes power to another thing in the loft. Not sure what for.


Cable then passes through this box. The light is on and it is getting power.


The cable then travels to this box (top grey cable on right). The cable on the left travels to the fan. The bottom grey cable on the right goes to the pullcord switch.


This is the pullcord switch. I have wired it in every possible combo to get it to work lol. This is just how I left it last night when I got fed up messing. When in the on position the light is on so it is getting power.

Why the feck would the light switch in the loft affect this? Why wont it work? HELPPP!!!
Please note: The fan pullcord is completely seperate to the bathroom light. There is a seperate cord connected somewhere else for the light which works fine.;
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Looking at the pictures you have posted, i would advise you to get an electrician to rip the whole lot out and design you a new circuit and install it properly or at least put right the faults that are there.
hmmmmm what is the issue mate?

Dont understand how it was working fine before and now just gone all funny??
As I said the wikki tells you how it SHOULD be done. Firstly you need to sleeve all those bare earth wires, they are potentially dangerous. Presuming the fan has a timer in then it has not appear to have been connected properly & not seeing all the connections makes it difficult to understand how it has been working or why the loft light switch affects it or replacing the switch(the red should go across to opposite the black) should make any difference. Probably safer to have it done properly by a qualfied electrician. Looks like it's a not very good diy job.
Ill get the earths sleeved. If all else fails im just going to by pass the socket in the loft and remove the light from the equation and see what that does.

Really reluctant to get a sparky in. I need to learn how to do this stuff myself. The circuit cant be that complicated?
hmmmmm what is the issue mate?

CPC's not sleeved
Live conductor used as a CPC
Cable twisted and not supported properly

I could go on.

It looks like it was not wired up properly in the first place and now you will need to correct it. The best way to achive this would be to start again.
I would agree with everything everbody has said - who ever the idiot electrician is who wired this up needs taking out and shooting. :eek:
It looks like the circuit is running spurs from spurs - (problems if it is a ring final circuit).
The socket to the switch has probably caused damage to the switch - the socket is rated at 20+Amps the switch (unless it is a 20Amp double pole switch - which it doesn't look like) is rated for 6 or 10 Amps.
There are probably a few under sized cables there as well.
Those round boxes are junction boxes by the way.
Please get an electrician in.

Looking at the white junction box and following your description of the cables and their purpose - the top right grey (red) cable appears to be be bringing the power in - one assumes the neutral and cpc as well.
The second grey cable lower right takes the power out via the red cable to the pull switch and brings the power back (switch live) via the black cable - (this cable should have a red sleeve on it - is that one near the terminal screw?).
The switch live then goes to the brown to the fan and back via the neutral black.
If everything is as you say it is then your problem lies at the pull cord end.
It looks as if you have a 2 way pull cord - a one way would have been easier to wire.
Check the instructions that came with it but you should have Common, L1 and L2. The red goes in Common and the black (with red sleeve) goes in L1.
Took it all apart and started from scratch. Sheathed my earths and its all sorted now. Thank foo hook for that.
CPC's not sleeved
Live conductor used as a CPC
Cable twisted and not supported properly

I could go on.

It looks like it was not wired up properly in the first place and now you will need to correct it. The best way to achive this would be to start again.

Have you corrected all these issues, especially the CPC being used a live conductor??????
No 2, left of JB. I think although a bit fuzzy.

Maybe it's just sleeved wrongly.

AH! original complaint was live conductor used as cpc.

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