ceiling fan control

I live in a house built in '65 timeframe. I've been in it approx 7 yrs now.
In the master bedroom, there is a large, ornate ceiling fan. It 's a very typical type --- several lights under the blades. There are pull chains which give me 3 fan speeds and several light levels.
The wall power controller is unusual, and I don't know what the heck it is, or why they didn't put in a conventional switch. But, what's there in a standard wall outlet box, is some kind of gizmo that has a horizontal rocker switch on top, a horizontal slider switch in the middle, and a horizontal rocker switch on the bottom. I have no idea how it's supposed to work. I just fiddle with it until the fan and/or lights come on.
Anyway, where this discussion is going, is that the other day the fan was running on high, and I just happened to notice that the faceplate on the wall power control was very hot. Obviously, this isn't good.
The question I've got is: is there any reason why I shouldn't pull thegizmo that's there, and replace it with a conventional toggle switch???
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How hot is very hot. Fan controls often get warm to the touch.

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Well, not hot enough to burn, unless you left your hand flat on it for awhile. Definitely uncomfortable, though.
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<< The question I've got is: is there any reason why I shouldn't pull thegizmo that's there, and replace it with a conventional toggle switch??? >>
Since the switch and fan assembly were designed to work together it would be prudent to keep things original or else replace both fan and controls with modern units. Might be the heat you're sensing is from an early type of SCR dimmer or speed control in the center section. Whatever, proceed carefully and use well rated components. Good luck.
Joe
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Never had occasion to feel it after it's been on awhile, before this. Normally we turn it off with the pull chain. This just happened to be the first time I've turned it off at the wall prior to a cool down period for the control.
The question is/was: can I put a conventional switch in place of the controller. Seems the answer is no.
So, the answer is a new fan and control.
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For 7 years you haven't cared....why start now? Just "fiddle with it" until it gets cool.

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On Sun, 29 Aug 2004 11:41:21 -0700, RB wrote

Ceiling fans typically use capacative speed controls. If there is a pull-chain on the fan for speed control, then there shouldn't be a speed control in the wall switch assembly as well. The instructions with a ceiling fan that has an internal speed control warn against this as a fire hazard. (Unless the fan is made to take an external speed control, in which case there's a way of removing or permanently bypassing the internal one.)
From your description, it's likely that someone installed a speed control in the wall switchbox with the intention that the control on the fan would always be left on high (no capacitors in the circuit) and the wall control would be used instead. The problem is that using two speed controls in series can result in overheating of one or both sets of capacitors.
I think you would be wise to replace the wall control.
Have you opened up the wall box to see how the device is wired? There are possibly two switched wires and a neutral running from the device to the fan. One would control the lights, the other one the fan motor. If that is the case, you should replace the wall speed control with a pair of switches. Alternatively, you may put a dimmer on the light circuit, but NOT on the fan motor circuit.
If there is only one switched wire and a neutral going to the fan, then just replace the controller with a regular switch.
Good luck.
- Kenneth
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RB:
R > Never had occasion to feel it after it's been on awhile, before this. R > Normally we turn it off with the pull chain. This just happened to be the R > first time I've turned it off at the wall prior to a cool down period for R > the control. R > R > The question is/was: can I put a conventional switch in place of the R > controller. Seems the answer is no. R > R > So, the answer is a new fan and control.
From here I'd say you would be able to replace the controller with a conventional switch. The controller is nothing but a fancy switch. A switch does nothing more than on and off; the controller also does on and off plus varies the degree of 'on'.
Personally I'd go with two switches: one for the light and one for the fan. They are available in a duplex outlet configuration. ...Actually I'd go with the a new controller should that be the problem.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* Why does a Mummy make a bad birthday gift? Because too hard to unwrap!
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