My home came with a nice ceiling fan but no remote. The wall switch would turn the fan on/off, but it would only run at it’s slowest setting. I needed to replace the control or the fan so I could make use of it. Since I recently stated dabbling with home automation I decided to find a fan controller which I could control via SmartThings. I found the Hampton Bay Universal Wink Enabled device and it looked like it would work SmartThings and my fan. This fan control is also known as “King of Fans Wink Enabled White Universal Ceiling Fan Premier Remote Control“.
My plan was to replace whatever was in my lower canopy with the wink device. Reading the wink instructions, it says it’s designed to sit above the fan. Upon taking my fan apart, the cabling only supports having the receiver in the lower section of the fan.
Inside my canopy, I found an MR77A puck.
Before throwing the puck away, I needed to remove the cabling harness connector and also the capacitors. The puck works by using relays to control the capacitance on the starting/running loop. The greater the capacitance the faster the fan spins.
First, I wanted to get the fan going full speed with the puck removed. I took the three large capacitors and connected them in parallel to form a single one.
I tested the capacitance:
Then I soldered the leads along with two wires to my new capacitor:
My harness contained the following wires:
White (neutral to wall switch)
Black (hot to wall switch)
Thin black (antenna wire, absent from the fan connector)
Thin white (coil 1+)
Thin gray (coil 1-)
Thin brown (coil 2+)
Thin blue (coil 2-)
To run the fan without the wink module, I connected the black wire to the gray and brown wires and the white wire to the the thin white and to one side of the capacitor. The other side of the capacitor I connected to the blue wire. This mean when the circuit was powered, the white/gray circuit would get energized and the blue/brown would get power 90º shifted. With this setup, the fan operated on fast speed in a clockwise (summer) direction.
Once I proved the fan could work without the MR77A puck, I could then go on to getting the wink module connected. At this point I also wrapped my capacitors in electrical tape.
The wink module contained five labeled wires:
Black (fan hot)
Blue (light hot)
White (fan neutral)
I disconnected the thick white and black wired and attached the red and white wires to those. I then connected what had been connected to the thick black and white to the black and white wires on the left side of the wink module.
I plugged this into the fan and tested the included remote. This worked fine, though the lower two speeds hardly move the fan at all. The MR77A was a bit more clever in how it controlled the speed by adjusting the capacitance of the second coil.
When I first found the device in SmartThings it simply showed “Thing”. When I added it, it was stuck in “Please Wait”.
I found I needed to install the community written drivers for these fans. Fortunately, I had done this once before with Konnected, so I knew the process of how to add the Smart App and the Device Driver. The github repo is https://github.com/dcoffing/KOF-CeilingFan, so one add “dcoffing” for the GitHub user and “KOF-CeilingFan” for the project. After adding and publishing these I removed and added the fan again (going through the five 3-second on/off steps to reset the device). With this setup, I was soon able to control my fan:
With this working, I then replaced the metal canopy cover on the fan. The wink radio work fine however the remote control stopped working when the canopy was on. Unfortunately, the ‘antenna’ wire on the harness doesn’t go up the rod, so couldn’t route the antenna to the ceiling. Instead I drilled a 4mm hole in the metal canopy and pulled the antenna through. I found it had to be several inches outside the canopy on order for the remote to work from across the room.
I setup a virtual thermostat, using my Ecobee remote for both presence and temperature. My fan does not contain a light. If I’m ambitious, this winter I’ll open the fan up, and connect a polarity reversing relay to the light, that way I can reverse the fan using the ‘light’ switch. I’ll then customize my driver so instead of a light switch, it’ll present itself as a forward / reverse switch.
With that, my project was complete. Since it was non-trivial replacing the MR77A puck with the Hampton Bay device, I thought I’d share in case someone want to try the same.