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Technological Terror For the discussion of items of technology such as motors, controllers, motion sensors, audio boards etc. Also to discuss how to hack commercial electronic props.



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  #1  
Old 06-18-2011
Daddy-O Daddy-O is offline
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Default How do I slow down a fan motor?

First off let me appologize if this question has been posted before...

I have done a search and only could come up with ceiling fan motors. I have a small motor out of a small plug-in fan. It's one of the tall standing ones. It oscilates and rotates, but obviously rotates very fast. How can I slow this down? Any help would be appreciated, or a link to a past thread would help if there is one.

I'm new this whole haunting thing and electronics, so talk slow.

Thanks for your help...
Daddy-O
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Old 06-19-2011
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I spent a whole lotta time and money trying to slow down a ceiling fan without success. I tried dimmer switches, fan speed controls, etc, and only managed a very slight reduction. I'm not an electronics guru but I think the ability is either in the motor or it isn't. I finall gave up.
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Old 06-19-2011
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Most of those type fans use shaded pole single-phase induction motors.

You need to look for a speed control that uses a Triac to control the speed on them. Also you might want to run some tests and see how much heat is generated by the motor. Oscillating fans beat the heat by blowing air over the motor core as they work. If left uncooled, they can easily over-heat and burn up.

Something like this:




Cieling fan motors are usually modified 3-phase induction motors that have a capacitor start.
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Old 06-19-2011
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A better way of approaching this might be if you give us an idea of what kind of prop you want to make.
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Old 06-19-2011
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Some good info posted. Doc pretty much summed it up - the ability for speed control is basically built into the motor. Ceiling fans and some other small fans sometimes use a capacitor to vary speed. You might be able to vary the value of the capacitor to change speed a little. But the downside of fan motors is they have practically zero start-up torque and very little running torque. Then you usually loose some of that torque if you attempt to run at a lower speed.

So overall, using a fan motor to run anything mechanical usually doesn't work out too well. For a small prop, a small motor with a gearbox can get you down to a slow speed and boost the torque. DC permanent magnet motor (ie windshield wiper motor) with a PWM speed control driver can give you nearly full torque across a speed range of ~5 to 95% (and be completely variable speed as needed)
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Old 06-19-2011
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Thank you for your replies. I was going to use the spinning motor for a grave jumper or something along those lines and the oscillating motor, I'll probably stick a foam head on it and attach it to a torso and let it look back and forth on my porch. This isn't a ceiling fan motor, just a small stand-alone fan.
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Old 06-20-2011
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I'd be careful of using an oscillating fan as a prop. The motors are designed to be cooled by the fan.

Better to find a deer motor or windscreen wiper motor and knock up a suitable link system.
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Old 06-20-2011
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Thanks Fritz, that's good info I didn't know. I've been looking at Monsterguts at their wiper motor and controler, however they are currently out of stock on the Pacemaker. I guess I'll wait patiently
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Old 06-21-2011
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Lots of motors here...

http://www.sciplus.com/category.cfm/subsection/18
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Old 06-21-2011
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I have always found American Science and Surplus to be too expensive for things like motors. Surplus Center has much better deals.
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