Ceiling fan control switch

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  #1  
Old 05-04-13, 06:43 AM
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Ceiling fan control switch

I purchase an Aloha 56" 'Industrial' ceiling fan from Northern and the 5 speed wall control switch is total junk. The switch contains a transformer and the instructions, what little are provided, state not to use a rheostat type controller on the fan.

So, I'm looking for a replacement switch and the discussions I've read are a little confusing. From what I can surmise, a capacitance type switch is generally a suitable replacement for a transformer type switch. Is that a true statement?

Now the real problem is locating a switch that is capacitance versus rheostat type. Am I correct in thinking that any total variable speed switch is probably a rheostat type while the 3 and 4 speed switches are capacitance? Most of the switches I see don't specify their type.

The amp draw of the fan is .88 and there is no light so the load is small.
 

Last edited by ednu99; 05-04-13 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 05-04-13, 08:24 AM
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How many wires are coming from the fan? I appears that the fan is a five speed motor which would make me think there should be 5 wires. If there is only 2 wires I would suspect you can use any speed control you want, as long as it is rated for a motor load.
 
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Old 05-04-13, 09:00 AM
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It's only two wires, the speed controller works as the on/off and the transformer within the wall switch I mentioned in the first post is how the speed is varied. There is no pull chain or speed control on the fan itself.

I'm looking at one of these which state's that it's a fan controller:

Amazon.com: Pass & Seymour White Rotary Ceiling Fan Speed Control De-Hummer 1.5 Amp 94003-W: Home Improvement

I'd still like to know the difference between the variable speed controllers versus the 3 and 4 speed models. The fan instructions state not to use a rheostat controller, but will any switch that states its for a fan work, regardless if its fully variable or only a couple speeds?

I'm now wondering if the statement about not using a rheostat to control the fan is just a precaution not to use a rheostat type light switch and therefore any switch rated for a fan would work.
 

Last edited by ednu99; 05-04-13 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 05-04-13, 09:20 AM
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I'm now wondering if the statement about not using a rheostat to control the fan is just a precaution not to use a rheostat type light switch
Rheostats are used on DC circuits not AC circuits. None of the commonly available speed controls use a rheostat so not much chance of buying one. Who ever wrote that flunked Electric 101 so who knows if any of it is true. They probably just want to scare you so you will buy their fan controls.

Mod note: Possibly questionable information deleted.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-04-13 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 05-04-13, 09:40 AM
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You will have a hard time finding a strictly capacitive fan controller.

The de-hummer model you listed has a capacitive type snubber circuit so it's probably as close to a capacitive dimmer you'll find.

The original type fan speed controllers were called autoformers. They had a multitap transformer mounted to a wall plate with a four position switch. Nutone was a popular supplier and I still have one or two here.
 
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Old 05-04-13, 09:42 AM
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Ray, Thanks for the post, but I read this and in my limited experience with electronics I think this writeup is rather vague on facts and has a couple of mis-statements and/or inaccuracies.

Where it talks about the 2 types of speed controls it references dimmer switches. From everything I've read dimmers are not rated for motors and therefore should not be used as fan motor control devices.

Then in the discussion about capacitor controlled switches it states: "For instance, if you set a wall switch to 33 percent power, the capacitor supplies the motor an appropriate amount of electricity. This allows you to set the fan speed at any level between off and maximum. Because of this, capacitors appear in fans with a full range of speed settings, from 0 percent power to 100".

Everything I've read about capacitance controlled switches talk about the use of several different capacitors, each with a different rating factor, thus allowing different motor speeds based on the setting of a dial selector. The use of several different uF rated capacitors, not a single capacitor is how these switches work. Again from my limited experience it almost appears to me that the write-ups for the solid state controls versus the capacitor control is switched.

I normally don't look at the Ehow or ask.yahoo sites as imo the answers are usually suspect.

PJ, Thanks for the followup. I may be making this too complicated so if you think the switch I referenced will work, I'll probably go with that. The Autoformer that you mentioned is exactly what came with the fan. Only problem is it's a cheaply made China switch that is total junk.
 

Last edited by ednu99; 05-04-13 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 05-04-13, 10:24 AM
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You are correct. That article was not entirely correct. A capacitor type speed switch selects a particular size cap for speed control. There would be 3 caps. attached to the speed control.

I would try the P & S De-hummer model.
 
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Old 05-04-13, 12:20 PM
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the instructions, what little are provided, state not to use a rheostat type controller on the fan.
Since we can't be clear about what they intended (since they aren't), one guess is that they're saying not to use a light dimmer switch. That's because light dimmers click on either at the lowest power or somewhere in the power range, while motor controls always come on at full power. That's what a motor needs to start up. If so, then any fan motor controller, including, for example, a Hunter Fan Company 22394 Multiple Speed Fan Wall Mount Control, should work.

If they actually want a control with separate capacitors, I would research the ones with click-stops for the different speeds, such as the Leviton RTF01-10W Decora Illumatech Quiet Fan Speed Control, White or the Emerson SW95 1.5 Amp 4 Speed Rotary Fan Knob Wall Control. But good luck, as PJ said, with finding one of those.
 
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