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Old 8th August 2014, 04:27 AM   #1
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Default Antique Fan - Too Hot????

Hello everyone,

I've recently picked up a small Happy Home branded fan, and I believe its from the 50's up to the 70's (I'm no fan expert). The fan's motor is nearly immaculate, no dirt, and (at least on the back of the motor) I can clearly see all of the windings and none of which are charred or damaged that I can see (however I've not checked the front of the motor, as its harder to remove the cover for that). I notice that I can barely operate the fan when using my variac and a 40Watt Light Bulb as the ballast, the bulb glows very brightly and drops the voltage too much. When plugged straight in to mains, it runs at a sensible speed and without oscillation turned on, it takes about 6 seconds to spin down. I can turn the blades pretty freely (again, I'm not an expert), however I see that after just 10 minutes straight on the mains, the housing of the motor is so hot that If I really grab the housing (to move the fan for example) I have a strong urge to let go.

Now for a few details, the fan has a sticker under the base that states it is 115V and 40Watts. My line voltage at my house is usually almost exactly 125V, so perhaps this was a hot running motor in the first place, and now its really unhappy about the extra 10v???

I've heard shaded pole motors get hot, and some, very hot, but I just want to see what everyone wants to say about this, as I'm not really sure about this issue myself. I'd say I think its either too hot or its a really hot running fan.

Any suggestions or comments are welcome, I'd really like to be able to use and restore this fan.
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Last edited by TheTubeAmper; 8th August 2014 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 8th August 2014, 06:05 AM   #2
freax is offline freax  Australia
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You have a few options..

Tear it down and check the bearings to see if they aren't going dry, grease them up if need be.

Check the brushes.

Generally clean out any dust or dirt.

Or get a variac or stepdown transformer and let it run on 115v again.
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Old 8th August 2014, 06:18 AM   #3
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I'm not sure whether the bearings are dry or not, I assume the are fineas the fan seems to spin freely enough in my opinion.

This motor doesn't have brushes, wasn't thinking when I mentioned shaded pole motors previously.

As I said, I do have a variac, but I'm not sure that 10 volts would make such a difference.

Maybe tomorrow I'll measure the amperage it uses at 115 and 125 and see how big of a difference it makes.
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Old 8th August 2014, 09:43 AM   #4
freax is offline freax  Australia
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I'm sure you know this also but you might want to inspect the power cord and replace it with a new one if you are going to be keeping this fan in operational condition. Saying for safety's sake.

Also you could simply get a proper fan speed controller:
Slowing Fans

Not sure how you would go about shedding those extra 10 volts aside from using a triac fan speed controller. Thankfuly they are rather cheap.
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Last edited by freax; 8th August 2014 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 8th August 2014, 02:13 PM   #5
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Yeah the power cord is still in very decent shape, except near the plug. It will be replaced sooner than later, but only if I'm sure that the motor is not damaged, as I dont want to waste money on a cord if the whole fan neeeds to be junked anyway (and yes it will cost some money as I want to do it really nice with an old style reproduction of some cotton covered 2 conductor with a reproduction bakealight plug).

As far as getting rid of the extra 10v, I was thinking that I could rip a nice big power transformer out of a junk stereo, they usually have a huge number of taps on the primary, and I could wire it as an autotransformer, as there is usually a tap for japan, I should be able to get 110v out of it, which is good enough for me.

My main priority at the moment is just to see if the motor is in perfect working condition or not, so I can see whether to continue the restoration or junk it.

I also have another question you might be able to answer, I see there was a small glass envelope strapped to the side of one of the field windings, and inside this glass envelope (which looked alot like an oversized neon bulb, but I know it is not) is what looks like a relay contact, but thats it, no coils or anything. Power goes into this glass device, and then comes out and goes to the field windings, I'd really like to know what this device is, I was thinking it might be some sort of thermal fuse but I cant really see how that would operate.
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Last edited by TheTubeAmper; 8th August 2014 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 8th August 2014, 02:26 PM   #6
freax is offline freax  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTubeAmper View Post
Yeah the power cord is still in very decent shape, except near the plug. It will be replaced sooner than later, but only if I'm sure that the motor is not damaged, as I dont want to waste money on a cord if the whole fan neeeds to be junked anyway (and yes it will cost some money as I want to do it really nice with an old style reproduction of some cotton covered 2 conductor with a reproduction bakealight plug).

As far as getting rid of the extra 10v, I was thinking that I could rip a nice big power transformer out of a junk stereo, they usually have a huge number of taps on the primary, and I could wire it as an autotransformer, as there is usually a tap for japan, I should be able to get 110v out of it, which is good enough for me.

My main priority at the moment is just to see if the motor is in perfect working condition or not, so I can see whether to continue the restoration or junk it.

I also have another question you might be able to answer, I see there was a small glass envelope strapped to the side of one of the field windings, and inside this glass envelope (which looked alot like an oversized neon bulb, but I know it is not) is what looks like a relay contact, but thats it, no coils or anything. Power goes into this glass device, and then comes out and goes to the field windings, I'd really like to know what this device is, I was thinking it might be some sort of thermal fuse but I cant really see how that would operate.

I suspect that that bulb is an automatically resetting thermal fuse OR if it contains mercury inside is a tip-over fuse which turns off the fan if it is tipped over. What happens in the case of the thermal fuse is if the motor draws too much current the metal bends due to the heat and moves away from the other contact, breaking the circuit. When it cools it reconnects the circuit and the fan starts to operate again.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bimetallic_strip

Without a picture of it I cannot be sure but from memory our vintage Sanyo fan has one too.

As for the Bakelite plug I would go over it with a bright light and check it for any cracks before using it again. I also clean the contact terminals with a little 1000 grit wet and dry to make it a bit shiney.

I'm a huge fan myself of vintage fans and lamps (I dont own any vintage fans but I do own one paticular floorstanding lamp which dates back to World War One.) I operate it on a solar power system running from 12 volts (yes I run moderate amounts of current at 12 volts over vintage lamp cord, it works! Just remember to fuse the end closest to the battery The bulb is an LED type of only 10 watts)

My main reasons for moving to 12 volts are:
#1 Save the planet.
#2 Prevent in all forms possible the electrocution of myself. (We have 240v mains here.)
#3 Prepare for blackouts. I'm an alternative lifestyler...

I also am the proud owner of a 12 volt fan from a hippie's van (I didn't steal it, I bartered it off him.). It is my pride and joy and I can run it all day during summer without ever having to pay the power bill!

And a 12 volt soldering iron..
And a 12 volt AC/DC 2-door Fridge, made by Beier.

Using 30 amp or 45 amp Anderson Power Poles (the red/black 30-45A variety with the red on right tounge on top/ham radio wiring method.)

It would be nice to get a vintage AC/DC fan actually, I might have to rewind the motor for it to run on 12 volts though.
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Last edited by freax; 8th August 2014 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 8th August 2014, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTubeAmper View Post
As far as getting rid of the extra 10v, I was thinking that I could rip a nice big power transformer out of a junk stereo, they usually have a huge number of taps on the primary, and I could wire it as an autotransformer, as there is usually a tap for japan, I should be able to get 110v out of it, which is good enough for me.

My main priority at the moment is just to see if the motor is in perfect working condition or not, so I can see whether to continue the restoration or junk it.
Also if you're going to be using the transformer out of an old stereo then at least make sure it will be enclosed inside of a metal box which is then earthed to the chassis of the fan or has an earth wire going to the earth terminal inside of the fan base or motor.

And make sure that any wires going outside of this box is double insulated wire. So at least 2 layers of insulation on it.

And usually motors make a loud hum or whine or creak or squeal sound if there is anything wrong with it.
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Old 8th August 2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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If it's a shaded pole motor (no capacitors, no brushes), running hot is normal. These are not efficient motors. Also, since they run hot new, magnetic aging of the core is also accelerated, which causes increased loss, and accelerated core degradation. Eventually you get a motor that runs hot enough to blow out the bearings, and the fan is done. The glass bulb part could very easily be a thermal fuse, which would decide when it's time for permanent power-down (hopefully) if the operator failed to do so soon enough. Maybe good pictures would help, but it's already obvious you're dealing with an old, well used fan.
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Old 8th August 2014, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freax View Post
You have a few options..

Tear it down and check the bearings to see if they aren't going dry, grease them up if need be.

Check the brushes.

Generally clean out any dust or dirt.

Or get a variac or stepdown transformer and let it run on 115v again.
NEVER use grease on an oilite bearing! Use machine oil, just a drop.
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Old 8th August 2014, 03:17 PM   #10
freax is offline freax  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonSnell Electronic View Post
NEVER use grease on an oilite bearing! Use machine oil, just a drop.
Wish I could remove that post now. Only just remembered that you use machine oil.
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