What are ceiling fan remote dip switches?

Ceiling fan dip switches basically allow the fan and the remote to be set to the same frequency. Ceiling fan remotes communicate to the fan on an IR frequency (Infrared). In order for the remote and the fan to talk to each other, they need to be set to the same frequency. Whoa, this sounds complicated! It’s not though. There is a dip switch inside of the fan canopy, on the receiver. There is another one inside of the remote. To find the one inside of the remote, you would typically look where the batteries go.

When you purchase your fan, the dip switches will be set to a “default” setting. This means that every fan with a similar model (or sometimes even similar brand) will have that same dip switch setting. While that means that the remote and the fan will automatically have the same setting from the factory, it also means at time you can experience interference from other nearby fans. Range of remotes differ, but it’s generally about 40 feet. So, interference does become more of a challenge when you’re living in a shared space like an apartment building. You can have tenants above you or below you that may potentially have the same fan. This becomes much more likely when the building owners purchased the same make and model of fan for every suite (this is actually very common to help control costs).

How to set the dip switches on a ceiling fan

In order to avoid some of the interference issues that we just mentioned, you need to “set” the dip switches on the receiver of the fan. They need to match the same positions that the ceiling fan remote has. You just need a screw driver and some basic items to make this work.

  1. Assuming you’ve already set the dip switches on the remote, you will need to position a ladder under the ceiling fan. You’ll need to look for the dip switches, which is on the receiver inside of the ceiling fan.
  2. You need to open the fan canopy by pulling it down and look inside for the receiver. You generally don’t need to disconnect the fan power for this
  3. Be careful not to pull the entire fan down
  4. Look for the receiver inside of the fan. On the receiver, you’ll find the dip switches. You just need to set the dip switches on the receiver. You can also disconnect the receiver and remove it if this makes things easier. Look for the lug nuts holding the wires together if this is what you would like to do.
Hampton Bay Receiver Dip Switches
Here’s what the dip switches look like on a receiver.

Once you have set the dip switches on the receiver, remember – the dip switches have to be set the same way on your remote. If the dip switches are not set the same way on both devices, the remote won’t talk to the fan because they won’t be communicating on the same frequency. Once the receiver and remote are set with the same dip switch combos, you should be good to go. Changing the dip switches so they’re not set to the default is a good way to avoid issues with potential interference, especially if you live in shared accommodations or close accommodations like an apartment building.

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