26 August, 2013

Then There's the Emergency Repair

Yesterday evening I was sitting on the couch in the living room, channel checking. All of a sudden, I noticed sweat dripping down my back. Not that that's unusual here, It is unusual in the living room as you're normally underneath or at least close by to a ceiling fan, which keeps a good amount of air circulating around you to prevent just such an occurrence.

I also noticed that it had become uncommonly hot. Wondering what had happened to cause all this meteorological change, I glanced around looking to see what could have caused the problem, and looking up, I observed the living room ceiling fan only running at about a quarter of the RPMs that it should have been. No wonder I was getting hot and developing a waterfall down my back.

Well, I knew right then what my morning project was going to be. It was a good thing I recently had ordered (and received) a goodly supply of ceiling fan capacitors. I was soon to find out if they were actually going to work.

I keep them handy down in  the sanctum sanctorum, the holy of holies, my workshop, in an old peanut butter jar. Just waiting for such an occasion as this.
New Ceiling Fan Capacitors
This will be the first time I've used one of these beauties. I hope they work. It's dang near impossible to find exactly the capacitors called for.
Here's the Cryptic Info
The ceiling fans call for a 5µF capacitor. The best I can find is 4.5µF. In case you're wondering the 'µF' means micro Farad, so named in honor of Michael Faraday.

Faraday, a Fellow of the Royal Society, was an English scientist whose main discoveries included those of electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and electrolysis. It was largely due to his efforts that electricity became practical for use in technology. Albert Einstein kept a picture of Faraday on his study wall.

It was shortly after breakfast this morning that I fetched the step ladder from the basement and climbed up to work on the fan. First thing was to remove the light package, a simple procedure involving removal of four screws.

Conveniently, the capacitor is one of the links between that and the main body of the fan motor. So it was easy to undo the wire nuts and remove the old capacitor. As young Nelson can attest, the old capacitor had reached the end of its lifespan and had failed in fairly dramatic fashion, blossoming several blisters on various parts of its body as it apparently overheated last evening.
Nelson Examining the Failed Capacitor
It was then a simple matter to hook up the new capacitor in its place, using the same wire nuts. You don't even have to worry about getting the wiring wrong with a two-wire capacitor. It makes no difference on the operation of the capacitor.

After that, I climbed down from the ladder and flipped the wall switch to turn the fan on. As you can see, it works perfectly once again. Then, it just becomes a matter of putting tools away and cleaning up.
A Successful Repair
That reminded me, I did have a couple other chores to do this morning before pool-time. First up, my workshop fan, which mounts on a wall of the shop, suddenly quit working some weeks ago. Since the ceiling fan repair went so speedily, I decided to tackle this. I dismantled the wall fan and wrote down the capacitor information for it. Hopefully, I can find a capacitor for it here in Corozal (always a crap-shoot).
Workshop Fan Awaiting Repair
My third morning project, I finally repaired our bamboo wind chime, which has been waiting about a year-and-a-half for repair (things have to age properly). I used stainless steel leader line and crimp fittings to redo the whole thing, getting rid of all the corded bits of the chime. It now is hanging back on the front porch.


JRinSC said...

You know, it is amazing how different our paths have taken during retirement. While you have all this neat, complicated repairs that necessitate the use of more and more neat tools -- I am going in the other direction. We downsized and I sold, threw away, gave away all kinds of tools and neat stuff. I couldn't find places to keep it all.

Now I am faced with a repair and I have to go to Lowe's and buy the repair part (usually in a pack of three or more instead of the one I need.

Right now I have a fan light that doesn't work -- the little two-ended cap that joins two pieces of beaded chain is missing. Have NO IDEA where the old got to! I just bet you can't buy just one.
And, of course, getting up on a ladder at 66 is becoming more of a challenge every year.

Have fun!


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

We downsized a lot before we moved down here. We got rid of about half my tools, a library full of books, all sorts of household stuff, tropical furniture - thinking it would be easy to replace it down in the tropics... Uh huh.

So, we're slowly buying more stuff to replace what we left up there.

Light chain we can buy here and it's by the foot and comes in brass or chrome. Probably because there's so many ceiling fans down this way.

I know what you mean about age. Hiring some young buck seems to make more and more sense for a lot of things.


Mr. Pancho said...

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!! I usually throw away my peanut butter jar of capacitors and switches (because I have never needed them in the last 10 years) THE DAY BEFORE I need one!! You're teaching me Dave, you're teaching me! Please keep up the wonderful postings!
Amy and I will be doing a downsizing here in a year or so and she will not understand why I need to keep my peanut butter jars of dohickies...I hope you got my back on this one!
Hopefully we will be be back in country in Feburary 2014. If there is anything you need be sure to let us know...if it's a jar of widgets I'd be happy to explain those to the customs folks...seriously, let us know and we can save you some freight maybe.