balancing a ceiling fan

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I don't know why, but there have been a rash of ceiling fans introduced into my universe, and every one is way out of balance.
What is the way to balance them?
Is there a variable strobe that one can get, mark the blades, and find out which one is the one that makes the biggest circle?
I've sat here till I'm dizzy pondering the bests approach to this.
Steve
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Buy a blade balancing kit. Read the directions.
(basically, you put a weight on a blade and see if things get better or worse. Then you go to the next blade, and so forth until you find the one that helps the most. Then you move the weight in and out on the blade. The kit has both a weight that you can clip on and move around, and one that glues to the blade).
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"SteveB" wrote: (clip)What is the way to balance them? (clip) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ This is a method I used to balance a plain fan, and it ought to work on a ceiling fan as well. With the fan not running, I held a vibrating engraving tool against it. The vibration overcame the "sticktion" in the fan bearings, so the heavy side slowly drifted to the bottom. I removed a little weight from that side and repeated until it stopped finding a heavy side.
With a ceiling fan you would have to hold it sideways, but I don't see any problem with that.
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On Thu, 12 Jul 2007 01:46:50 GMT, "Leo Lichtman"

FIRST thing to do on most ceiling fans is make sure all blades are pitched the same, and that they track true. Sinse the VAST majority of ceiling fans in North America are made in China, you need to treat them as semi-assembled kits.
--
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    [ ... ]

    Well ... the older Hunter fans, with the inverted rotor (around the stator) design have a cup surrounding the shaft which is filled with a light oil. Turn it on its side, and you pour the oil out -- both making a nice magnet for dust, and leaving you having to find an appropriate oil to replace what you poured out. :-)
    This describes the fans which I added to the house back around 1978 or so, and I don't think that the current ones have the same design.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On 12 Jul 2007 04:53:43 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

These are REAL fans. I have five that have been in three houses.
Don, how is the speed change effected. Is it simple resistance or cutting out some of the windings or ?
They never groan on high speed and usually only with a single globe schoolhouse light. Placing a large rubber band around the globe where the retaining screws contact will help some.
--Andy Asberry-- ------Texas-----
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- I've sat here till I'm dizzy pondering the bests approach to this.
Ponder this:
Google balancing ceiling fans
You'll get hits to sell you kits, tips on using washers and tape, etc, etc.
Here's a video that shows how to use a kit, but you could adapt the process to use pennies, washers, etc.
http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/ceilingfaninstallation.asp?Step &emt=leftnav
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I have a ceiling fan goes Groan Groan Groan. As soon as turn the power off the noise quits which is telling me that the problem has a strong electrical components rather than simply a mechanical problem.
Any idea on what to look for when I take it down and open it up.
Thanks
Mauro
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Well, even the mechanical situation is different when the electricity is on and the parts are being forced to move. The force is in the center and probably can't be duplicated by pushing on a blade.

All I can think of is that it might need oil, but I don't even know if ceilign fans are designed to be oiled. If it needs oil, you shouldn't need to open it up.

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    Does it have a lamp fixture mounted below it? If so, look for vibration between the socket and the mounting shell.
    The one in our bedroom does that -- but not as loud as it used to do, so I can live with it the few nights when it is hot enough (even with the air conditioning) to need it.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Usually this is windings that can vibrate, or motor laminations. Don't know why they groan at a certain spot in the rotation, instead of the 'same' all the way around.
Dave
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IF the fan is suspended on a rod, check for swinging of the rod resulting in a slight rotation of the rod suspension bearing and a bit of stiction (breakaway friction) in the dried out suspension bearing. If so, cure it with a bit of wax or white grease applied to the suspension bearing. Be sure the fan is turned off when you attempt to do this :-)
David Merrill

off
electrical
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I have never messes with one but one of my customers is a lighting store and he was mentioning that the usual cause of grief on these is that people do not read the instructions when installing them and attach the blades before mounting the fan body.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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Most likely the issue isn't always balance, the blades each have a different twist, or the attach brackets are slightly crooked compared to each other. I pulled the blades and brackets off of mine, matched the bend twist of each bracket and put it all back together. It was beautiful. You can't balance them very well if the blades are out of kilter anyway, as there are forces other than balance that make it look like it's out of balance.
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Next question: I have a good Pelouze scale. I wonder what would happen if I took off every blade and weighed it separately. I've got about ten fans, and little time, so this is something that likely won't be tried until some long boring winter's night.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

I weigh mine.
Got fed up with the warping, drooping fiberboard blades so made my own from 1/4" marine ply. To weigh, I just made a crude balance beam scale...found the heaviest blade and added lead slugs (in the hollow portion of the bracket) to the light ones so they all balanced the same. Still had to use balancing kits on two of the fans.
--

dadiOH
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two things - there usually marked for best balance, sorta like the alignment on a 3 jaw chuck. Its in the instructions, which most of us dont read. (and have thrown out with the rest of the packaging...)
Second thing - take it off the ceiling, set it up vertically in a vise - then balance like you would a lathe chuck with an eccentric object in it.....
It wont be helped by plain bearings with lotsa slop - don't expect tooo much. (and, whatya expect for $30 anyway...)
But I agree, it can drive you NUTS - you will be seeing a machine not working correctly, everyone else will be seeing a ceiling fan.....
Andrew VK3BFA.
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I helped a friend install a decent quality Hunter fan a couple of weeks ago. Before attaching the blades, I spun the motor and was dismayed to see at least 0.060" runout in the blade mounting ring. Split the motor shell, loosened the ring and was able to get it down to very little runout. With no further adjustments, the fan wobbles only 1/16" on a 4 foot long pole. I can't imagine what it would have done if I hadn't checked the ring first......Paul
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I had one acting up recently. I removed all the blades and weighed them. Then I added washers as needed so they were all within a half gram of each other. Three were fine initially, one was 2 grams light and one was 4 grams light.
It didn't make it perfect, but it helped an awful lot. I could probably fine tune it with a more accurate scale.
SteveB wrote:

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Making all the blades the same weight only works if the center of mass of each blade is equi-distant from the axis of rotation. You can do this by making each blade balance at the same point on it's length. Just lay each blade on it's side on a level knife edge to find the balance point. All balance points should be the same distance from the brackets and all blades should weigh the same when you are finished.
Randy

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