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Posted: 9/18/2009 3:49:10 PM EST
I have 3 outdoor ceiling fans (Hampton Bay - Industrial 3 blade - 4 speed) and would like to be able to control fan speed from one switch.

None of the standard control switches for fans will handle the amp load as they are all rated at 1.5A and the three fans together pull close to 3A on max and 2A on high.

I installed a Lutron 5 button dimmer switch designed for lights (25%,50%,75%,100% and off) but the instructions say not to use to control motors. Should I be concerned about this?

When turning the fan on using the 25% or 50% they all drag won't hardly turn. Also, there is a HUGE difference (more than 25%) between max and high.

Would I be able to find and appropriate switch at an electrical supply house? The fans each came with a controller but only rated to control 1 fan each.

Also, on max, there is a very loud resonating drone that is actually quite loud in the house. Is there a fix for that noise?

Thanks,
Wes
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 3:54:15 PM EST
DO NOT USE THE DIMMER ON THE MOTOR

You will fry the switch and possibly the motor.

You need to understand how modern dimmers work... they are a PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) dimmer, not a resistive rheostat like the old ones.

What you need is an industrial motor controller.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:06:46 PM EST
Get a Variable Fan Speed Control Switch (made for fans not a light dimmer switch)

Most big box hardware stores will have them.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:10:13 PM EST
I was thinking that they were a rheostsat. I didn't get one of the slide or dial dimmers, this one is a pushbutton. I guess I will go back to the single pole switch until I can get the motor contoller.

Any ideas on the noise and how to fix that?

Wes
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:10:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 4:11:26 PM EST by SETXshooter]
Originally Posted By Seabee_Mech:
Get a Variable Fan Speed Control Switch (made for fans not a light dimmer switch)

Most big box hardware stores will have them.


They are only rated for 1.5 amps or basically one fan.

Wes

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:12:32 PM EST
Just used one of these on a job. Rated for multiple fans up to 5 amps. About $13 IIRC.

Model # 6005VK by Cooper Wiring Devices
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:17:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By SETXshooter:
Any ideas on the noise and how to fix that?

Wes


I do have an idea...

It may sound whacky... but, I have seen it before.

You have three fans, each has 3 blades on it. The electricity that runs the fans has a 60Hz switching frequency (the voltage changes polarity 60 times a second).

I have seen 3 and 6 bladed fans do this wierd synchronizing deal where they all spin at the exact same speed, and the fan blades align with each other.

This can cause a wierd 'pressure pulse' which creates a 'standing wave' in the room. Basically, the blades sync with each other and create sympathetic pressure waves that build on each other, causing strange acoustical patterns in the room.

Does it sound the same everywhere in the room, or are there locations where it is more pronounced (pressurized) and less pronounced (rarefied)?

Try running the fans on different speed settings (one on med, one on high, one on max) and see if it happens then. Also try 2 on max, and 1 on high... see if it changes at all.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:20:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By shortround:
Just used one of these on a job. Rated for multiple fans up to 5 amps. About $13 IIRC.

Model # 6005VK by Cooper Wiring Devices


Did you get it at a box store (lowes HD) or a supply house?


Wes
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:26:01 PM EST

I have never hooked one up to a fan but they do have units that are hardwired in. You may have to get an X10 unit for each fan and one controller set to all of them. Or you can have them work independently even if they are all wired together. I have my whole house set up like this I can turn any light on and off from any room even if I’m in my car. Solves a lot of wiring problems if you want to add a switch all you have to do is plug in another unit.

http://www.x10.com/homepage.htm
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 4:34:06 PM EST
Originally Posted By Triptech:

Originally Posted By SETXshooter:
Any ideas on the noise and how to fix that?

Wes


I do have an idea...

It may sound whacky... but, I have seen it before.

You have three fans, each has 3 blades on it. The electricity that runs the fans has a 60Hz switching frequency (the voltage changes polarity 60 times a second).

I have seen 3 and 6 bladed fans do this wierd synchronizing deal where they all spin at the exact same speed, and the fan blades align with each other.

This can cause a wierd 'pressure pulse' which creates a 'standing wave' in the room. Basically, the blades sync with each other and create sympathetic pressure waves that build on each other, causing strange acoustical patterns in the room.

Does it sound the same everywhere in the room, or are there locations where it is more pronounced (pressurized) and less pronounced (rarefied)?

Try running the fans on different speed settings (one on med, one on high, one on max) and see if it happens then. Also try 2 on max, and 1 on high... see if it changes at all.


These are outdoors under a porch and currently on on switch. I guess I could see if I could reverse the middle one and see if it helps. Otherwise I would have to wire the 3 switches up.

The noise actually sounds louder in the house than it does on the porch and since they are all on MAX it is loud. If I could set them on a lower setting I am sure the noise would be less also, they do not have pull chains.

Yes, there are areas where it seems louder under the porch. In the house, the closer you are to the porch, the louder it sounds.

Wes

Link Posted: 9/19/2009 8:21:06 PM EST
Took the dimmer out today and noticed that the loud hum I hear outside is motor hum. They all start as soon as power is applied. The noise I hear indoors is not the same, it sounds like it is caused by the fan blades moving air. Also noticed that there is no reverse switch on the fans.

Any more suggestions?

Wes
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