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Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to fix an electric fan

I can feel that my electric fan has been struggling these past few weeks but kept on ignoring it.Then, just a couple of days ago, I woke up and found out that it already had enough. It won't turn and was just stressing its "engine" :) Fortunately, I have been tinkering and fixing electric fans at home since I was 13 so dealing with this one wouldn't be a problem.



Please watch the video to see exactly what's happening. (Apologies for the poor video quality and my horrible voice :))


As I've mentioned - as long as the motor still humms or you can still feel that it's still trying to turn the blade, then there's still hope! The problem with the fan lies on  two parts - the shaft (where the blade is attached) and the bushings. Dirt and dust accumulate on these moving parts over time leading to rust which gives your motor an extra load. Sometimes strands of hair also accumulate in the bushing and shaft (as in the case of my sisters' fan) and they have same effect as rust. If your fan's motor is stressed out long enough - it burns out and worst case is that you also burn your house :(

TIP: If the motor has already given up on you (no more humming or no more movement - NR na siya) then its already up to the professionals to fix this. Sure you can buy a new motor for around 200 to 300 pesos but wiring it and having to worry about the motor's alignment is just too much for first timers ( believe me - I've been there). As my mom usually says - its not worth the hassle.

To get access to the motor - we have to remove the blade and all the covers. (MAKE SURE THE FAN IS NOT PLUGGED IN)


Removed the blade cover - see how much dirt is in my blade - so that's why I've been having asthma attacks often.

Remove the screws here..

And here to remove the motor's cover..

This is why my motor's having such a hard time - there's dust everywhere! TIP: Don't be like me - clean your fan at least once a month by washing the blade and everything that you can remove with soap and water. Every two month, it is advisable to remove the motor's cover - and brush out the dust there. Remember - an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure!
Remove the screw which holds the oscillator (normally at the bottom) - some models have clips instead of screws.

 Remove the clip near the end of the shaft - this serves as a guide/stopper for your fan's blade.


Remove the  screws that secure your motor.


Pull it out carefully - be mindful of the wires connected to the motor as pulling out one of these wire will damage it.


The fan has one bushing in the front

and one at the back... both of these would have to be replaced.

In this model -you just pry it out with a flat head screw driver or a long nose pliers. Some models have clips that you need to pull out.

Here's what inside - the bushing, the foam pad and the lock/cover (you will buy a new set for around 25 pesos)


This is the fan's motor shaft - you need to have just the shaft replaced - the shop where you'll buy your parts will put in the new one - make sure you bring this with you. Save the spacers since you will need it when you put it back in. you could also replace this with new ones - just make sure you have the same height.

The new set and the old one.

Putting back the bushings may be a bit tricky and need's patience. I broke the cover the first time I did this - its a good thing they are cheap. Place the foam and the bushing where it belongs and place the cover on top. Push in the cover carefully using your screwdriver - you will end up with one side in and the other side still out - lightly tap it in using a small hammer (its a tight fit) and once it locks - your done!  (the same for the bushing at the back)

 See that the old shaft is already damaged and rusted.


Put it back together - make sure you check if the shaft is rotating freely before you put back the cover. What I do is to attach the blade and see if the fan works at all. If the blade is not turning freely - your alignment is off - you need to move the bushing a bit to align the shaft properly.

After everything checks out - put the fan back together.

Everythings now clean and it looks great!


YES! YOU CAN FIX YOUR FAN! :)

63 comments:

  1. great guide. very helpful. do you have info on where i can buy replacement bushings? tia

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  2. hi xtian! Thanks for appreciating this post. You could usually buy replacement bushings at stores which sell electric fan blades and parts. If you are located near San Pedro Laguna, you could try out Ohms in front of Watsons. You could post where you live and some of the other readers might know a shop near you.

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  3. hey dude... i acccidentally pushed the button together for some time,,,
    and my fan died..

    it can be fixed right?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Arlevin, I'm not quite sure what happened to your fan and how it died.. but there might be a possibility that something might have tripped in the buttons or worse, the motor might have died on you completely... I will write about how motors are replaced soon :) We have several fans that need new motors and I'm thinking of doing it myself (I hope I get the time to do it hehe)

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    2. Did you ever make a video or post about replacing a fan motor?

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  4. Thanks for make this guide!, I find it very helpfull.

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    1. I'm glad it helped you Prosopis! :) Thanks also for taking the time to leave a comment. Please feel free to check out my other projects :) I would also appreciate it if you could like and subscribe to the site's facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/yesyoucanarchie. Thanks!

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  5. hi thanks for the guide its very clear and DIY guide! i would like to ask if you can help me with my electric fan,what happen is the fan grills lock broke and it prevent the plastic fan(elesi) from running for hours. when i now replace the plastic lock and turn back it on, the fan wont work anymore, the i tried to open the plastic covering the motor and i notice that the its hard to manually push plastic fan (elesi)and i manually push until plastic fan will turn around easily, but the fan didnt work when i plug-in to the outlet.its a 3d sporty delux wall fan. please advice, thanks!

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    1. Also i voltmetered the speed switch, when i switch to 1 speed position, all (1,2 and 3) position has 230v reading, is this normal or the capacitor is busted? same when i switch to speed 2 and 3.

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  6. Hi tipidshop - I think you've burned out your motor - does it still hum when you turn it on? What you can do to test if your motor is still okay is to set your tester to continuity and check if the wires for 1,2,and 3 are still to the power lines (kind of hard to explain without pictures - I'll write an entry for it soon) - you could also bring it to a shop which sells fan motors and have them test it before you buy a new one. If you had a hard time turning the fan's blade - there's a good chance your bushings and shafting will also have to be replaced. It is normal for the switch to carry 230v reading - that the current running through it. Be careful when working on your fan while it is plugged in okay - you might electrocute yourself. Don't worry - fixing your fan won't cost you that much - the last time I checked a new motor costs around 150-250 pesos while bushings, shafting and other small parts will cost you another 50 pesos. The capacitor (though it is rarely the culprit) costs around 30 pesos. Thank you and hope I have somehow helped you.

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  7. Hi, i am trying to fix our electric fan in house. It stop working due to overheating, what must be the cause of the overheating?
    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Haneef - oftentimes - overheating is caused by worn out shafts and bushing - the shaft gets stuck and the motor can't turn it. You can check this by trying to turn the blade - if it doesn't turn or rotate freely, you need to replace your shafts and bushings. Motors usually have a small thermal fuse - try replacing that too instead of replacing the whole motor.

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  8. hi, i'm trying to fix my fan and had it cleaned blowing all the dust inside the motor enclosure, the problem is it needs to manually rotate the blade to work, speed adjustment is ok. what seems to be the problem?

    thanks,

    max

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    Replies
    1. Hi Max! It seems that you need to replace your shaft and bushings - follow my instructions in this post :) I suggest you do it as soon as possible since you might burn out your motor eventually

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  9. hi, thank you for posting this article. because of this, i got an idea on how to fix my fan (though i don't need to replace any electric fan parts for now).
    :)

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    1. hi vain! thank you for your kind words. What happened to your fan and how were you able to fix it? :) If you need help with fixing stuff - please feel free to leave me a message :)

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  10. Hi Archie! Thank you for the very informative article. I wonder if you have any tips on how to troubleshoot the swivel of the fan. Thanks in advance.

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    1. Hi Alex! Thank you for leaving a comment. When you say the swivel - is it the mechanism that allows it to oscillate (pane left and right) ?

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  11. Hey Archie, thanks a lot for your instruction on how to fix an electric fan, I enjoyed it a lot.

    What is this you say "NR na siya" and about pesos, you are one Pinoy, here in the Philippines or where?

    This thing of being wanting to help others, that is indeed a proof that man is good, but atheists you know them, I seem to find them to be a very nasty lot when it comes to God and the things God made for us humans.

    Well, that is another story; I wished I could just avoid altogether discussing issues with them in web forums because they don't reason, they just keep dodging the issue and instead throw up foul language against God and Christians and anyone trying to reason with them about how they think -- they don't, they just emote and regurgitate stale slogans they read from their deceitful masters, like "If everything has a cause, what caused God (the real statement is "Everything with a beginning has a cause...)."

    Hope you are not a nasty atheist, some Filipinos here take to them US atheists also, imitating US atheists and behave like they are so smart, but it is all insults with them and dodging the issue and regurgitating (i.e. throwing up) rancid sour bad-smelling slogans from their deceitful masters.

    Okay, coming again to this contribution from you on how to fix an electric fan, it is really well-done, and as I said, that you took the time and trouble to put it in the web for everyone to read and benefit from it, that is the proof that man is good, and one of man's goodness is the desire to share useful knowledge, and information of facts and truths with other humans.

    Yesterday I went in the late afternoon to SM North Edsa to buy another floor fan because the one I am using is seemingly "NR na siya" (what is NR? Is it Near RIP?), and found out that the prices of electric fans are today some 6 times more costly than when I bought the one which is now what you call "NR na siya," so I said to myself better come back on July 19, 20, 21, 2013, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, big sale days with discount as much as 70%.

    Then suddenly I recall that I used to fix electric fans also, and the trouble could be the capacitor, because the rotating assembly is moving freely.

    To make a long story short, I decided to dismantle it this morning today, but first look up the web for people like you, who love to share useful information freely with other people.

    By the way, are you here in the Philippines or where are you living?

    And please, don't act stupid like atheists do, replying like "I live in a house," they usually resort to making out that they are so stupid in order to not know at all how mankind has reasoned to the existence of God from the facts of the universe existing and you and I exist and operate and yes produce babies whom we love to bring up to be also useful members of mankind.




    Thanks a lot.


    Susmariosep
    mdejess(@)gmail.com

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  12. This is really a great attempt to make small repairs at our own end. But as suggested in your post, when the things are not supposed to be fixed by you, its highly recommended to hire any professionals rather than putting yourself in danger of electrical short circuits or blasts. Sometimes a little unprofessional touch may cause to tampering in the whole wiring system of the building.

    In India, for the same services there is Marammatwala.com where people can hire technicians as per their requirement,

    Marammatwala.com 24X7 Electricians Carpenters Plumbers
    B-II/169, Madangir, Ambedkar Nagar
    New Delhi

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  13. Wow great information. I wish I had looked for it a few days ago. I have a fan that sounds very similar to the one in your video. It would hum when I turned it on but i'd have to spin it to get it going. Last night I turned it on and it came right on and I was happy and surprised, but this morning I went to turn it back on and nothing. No hum at all. I had originally got this fan to use as a Halloween prop at a thrift store because it oscillates but now its not doing that any more either. Since it doesn't seem to have any juice left in it should I give up on it or do you think there is anything that can be done? Also even if I can't get the blades turning again is there a way I can at least get it to turn back and forth or is it all tied in together? Thank you so much for all the info.

    Buddy

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  14. Thanks for sharing.

    I need to fix my stand fan. It doesn't swivel evenly and sometimes it gets stuck on one side as it tries to still turn but it can't anymore (there's a knocking sound). I feel there is problem in the oscillator. Any ideas?

    Thanks.
    AJ

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  15. Nice thought with this blog I enjoy studying and I conceive this website got some truly utilitarian stuff on it!

    Die Grinding Machine

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  16. Do you have an idea where the problem lies where the motor-housing heats up when the fan is switched off? I ran a screwdriver-tester on it and appears the housing has current on it when its switched off, thus the heating.

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  17. Hi Miguel,

    The motor may be grounded hence the current and heating. I would suggest you replace the motor or closely inspect everything as there may be exposed wires in contact with the housing.

    Most motors in fans nowadays are fairly easy to replace unlike the ones in older models which requires a lot of aligning and adjusting just to get right.

    Thanks for your question. I remembered it has been ages since I last posted my projects in this site. Better get back to writing soon! hehe

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  18. Hi Archie,
    Thanks a lot for the very informative post you got there. I got some ideas and hints on what to do with our Ceiling fan. Pls check also if you can help me with our Fan. Our fan is just small ceiling fan and it recently is having problem like re-starting after 3 to 4 hrs work/running. Its like a clog motor trying to run smoothly and just last night we wake up (with my wife) that said fan is just humming but not rotating anymore. What could be the problem of said fan. Fan still works this morning after I turn it off for 1 hr. but again trying to re-start and stops for a while. I just cleaned its outer surface using baby wipes to remove accumulated dirts but can not check on the inside which I might try after I read your post above. Pls help me if we can still do anything with said fan. Pls reply on my new mail darwin25275@icloud.com for I am not sure how can I come back on this site where I found your blog on electric fans. Said ceiling fan is very much helpful to us and it is just newly replaced. Hoping for you help and reply. Thanks a million in advance . . . . . God bless us more.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Clark,

      Seems that your bushings and shaft are about to give up. The motor seizes once it heats up I think. Best if you can open up the fan and clean the motor,etc - there might be a lot of dust inside the casing/housing. It will be tricky though as it is a ceiling fan - not sure what type you have. If its a big one, you need to have someone help you. :)

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  19. Hi archie i hope you can help me too.
    I found some old fan in my neighbor garage and when i look at it the wiring is disconnected from the switch.i try to re attach it.but when i turn it on the blade doesnt spin,then i rotate the blade by my hand and it spin.but after several time of trying it get some small amount of smoked..so i immediately turn it off and full the plug..what seems to be the reason?doesn't because of wiring?

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    Replies
    1. Hey ronald, it might be because of the wiring. But I think the shaft and bushing is seized up so the motor has a hard time turning it over. Does it still hum when you turn it on? Do you feel some kind of resistance when you try to turn the blade hand? Difficult to diagnose the problem since it could be a wiring issue or a mechanical issue with the fan :)

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  20. Hi Archie. Kindly help me. My fan stopped working today. No motor humm whatsoever. The motor housing is hot and i smelled burnt plastic. I haven't turned my fan again coz im afraid it might make it worse. Do u think my motor now needs replacement? Will appreciate ur input on this. Thanks :)

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    1. u need to buy a new motor for around 200 pesos ..

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    2. Hi Babayingmagayon, sorry for the late reply. Completely agree with Ariel here. Replace your motor :)

      Thanks for helping out Ariel :)

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  21. wow.. so helpful!
    keep it up amigo

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    Replies
    1. had a fan which stop working
      searching the net and got here
      thanks po

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    2. Hi wimaloz, hope you were able to fix the fan.. Glad to have helped out.

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  22. Hi. My ceiling turns very slowly. Number 3 speed (highest) is now like number 1 speed. The blades turn freely by hand. I have cleaned & oiled the fan but it still turns slowly. Any thoughts on what could be the problem?

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  23. hi boholano ko. thanks for the tip. I actually have a fan with the same problem. Will try to replace the capacitor and will let you know if that fixes the problem. Quick question though, what will happen if i replace it with a capacitor with higher (or lower) rating?

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    Replies
    1. UPDATE: I followed boholano's tip and out of the three fans that I have in the house which have the same problem, one got fixed. I replaced it with a capacitor with a higher rating and it worked. Its turning much faster now. It did not work for the others though (maybe their motors really need to be replaced. The shop where I got the capacitors told me to be careful, he said if the capacitor rating is too high, you risk burning the motor in the long run. Can anyone confirm if this is true?

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  24. gud day, meron po kau website link o paraan kung paano kinakalas ung bushing at shafting ng step by step. maraming salamt po

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    Replies
    1. Hi martin,

      When you buy shafts, they usually install them for free. Better leave that to them as they measure the length on both sides. For replacing the bushing, you just pry it out if its the same one as the one above. If yours is different, send me a pic and will show you how to do it.

      Thanks

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  25. gud day po ulit, nilinis ko po at nagpalit din ako ng capacitor ng elec fan umandar naman cya pero humina ang takbo nya hanggang sa tuluyang tumigil, sinubukan ko po sya i restart pero hindi na umandar, may humming po s motor nya. ano po kaya magandang gawin. salamat

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    Replies
    1. start by replacing the shafts and bushing bro.. :)

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Where can we get the spare parts you mentioned here? Does Ace Hardware have the bushings and shaft?

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    1. Hi. unfortunately, Ace doesn't carry them. You usually buy these at shops which sell electric fan parts (blades, housing, etc). We have a couple here at our town, I'm sure there's bound to be one over at your place too.

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  29. Hi yung electric fan ko ayaw umandar kapag isang button lang ang naka press. Pero pag button 2 and 3 ang nakapress umaandar sya. pahelp naman. thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joe, one of the culprits may be your shafts and bushings. Try to turn the blade when the fan is off (and unplugged to be safe). If it is not free wheeling, follow the steps in this post. If it is, let me know.

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  30. Hi sir Archie! ask ko lang po which is the best ilagay sa shaft and bushing for lubrication. Singer oil po ba o grease?

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    Replies
    1. I would recommend high temp grease as singer oil (and other low quality oils) tend to burn when subjected to heat and friction hence causing more damage to your shafts and bushing.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  32. I've a ten year old "Wind Machine" fan on a trunion that had never been cleaned and was blowing chunks of stuff around my bedroom. Took it outside, hosed it down with water jet nozzle, shook off the water, plugged it into a GFI outlet to warm the motor up and drive out the moisture. I've done this several dozen times, even with identical fans with no issues.

    This time I heard a click at the fan and at the GFI at the same time. Reset the GFI; no joy. Apparently this fan has a sensor inside that works like a GFI, but I can't understand how it operates with no ground wire (it has a two prong polarized plug which was actually wired backwards @factory.) Took fan apart, removed the internal protection device, twisted, soldered and shrink tubed the wire stubs.

    Thought that since I had it apart it might be a good time to lubricate it (it _was_ running perfectly well.) Since there is no oil port @rear bearing, I took the motor apart, cleaned the journal bearings with brake cleaner and such till it sparkled, lubricated both bearings with ATF. The shaft and bearings looked to be as new. Put it back together, and the shaft is binding! How can this be? The journal bearings are self-aligning and the fan rear cover, the windings module, and the front cover have interlocking pieces so that it only goes together one way. I had something similar happen with an exhaust fan motor recently, too.

    I have nothing to align, and remain, confounded. Any thoughts?

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    1. Ahh... geeze. I had one of field poles sticking out a bit (put some red lipstick on the armature, carefully placed it into the rear bearing (marking the location so it won't be a false positive), put the motor back together, plugged in and turned the shaft to start it. Found one other pole with red lipstick on it. Put the field assembly on the bench, found a large 1/2" diameter brass rod, thwacked the piece of iron sticking out, and, VOILA! No more rubbing.

      And still, the motor won't start by itself.

      Was there a capacitor in the GFI protection unit?

      I'd wager on it.

      --> So Now The Question Is, "what kind and what spec of capacitor should I put in series with the motor where the epoxied protection module was located" ???

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  33. Hi. Can anyone help me pls. I don't know where to connect the other end of the capacitor, accidentally the other end was removed and I was not able to see where it was connected originally. There are 4 wires . REd, black, blue and white. The red one was connected to the other end of the capacitor. Thanks!

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  34. hello my ELECTRICFAN DOESnt work..

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