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sweepthedog 24th Jun 2022 5:05 pm

American fan in the UK.

I recently got an old Robbin and myers 10 inch fan from the states, It is art deco and is model number : D10A6-0. It works fine in the UK on a step down transformer at 120V. (UK is 230V and 50Hz)

It turns on and oscillates but makes an almost continous rattling sound and vibrations. So I assume it could be normal or just a unbalanced blade?

Also I understand the US is on 60Hz, Would me operating this fan without any frequency conversion lead to motor damage/overheating or can it be long periods with no issue

I tried to attach a vid of the noise but it won't let me. It sounds like a scraping rattle.

broadgage 24th Jun 2022 6:33 pm

Re: American fan in the UK.
If the fan motor is a commutator type then the frequency is not important.

If however the motor is an induction type, then frequency DOES matter. At a lower frequency than intended the motor will draw a greater magnetising current and run hotter.

A lower frequency is generally acceptable if the voltage is reduced in about the same proportion.

110 volts at 50 cycles is better than 120 volts at 50 cycles, though still a bit high. The reduced voltage PARTIALY compensates for the lower frequency.

The noise sounds like worn oscillating mechanism rather than being directly related to voltage or frequency. Or it might simply need lubricating.

Make certain that your voltage converter is a true transformer and not an electronic unit.

Maarten 24th Jun 2022 7:09 pm

Re: American fan in the UK.
110V at 50 cycles may be okay, but the run capacitor also needs to be increased in value.

sweepthedog 25th Jun 2022 7:16 am

Re: American fan in the UK.
Thanks guys.
The fan makes the noise even when not oscillating so it could be the motor or gearbox or just unbalanced blades or cage. I have linked a YouTube video which displays the noise. Any further thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

It terms of voltage and frequency I was considering getting a UK to Japanese transformer which would create an output voltage of 100V 50HZ.

McMurdo 25th Jun 2022 9:49 am

Re: American fan in the UK.
that sounds like what I call 'drumming', one of my desk fans does that (and it's a modern one). I suspect end-play in the main shaft bearings casuing the rotor to float about a bit. It sounds like your casing is resonating and adding to it.

Maybe a strip down and lube would help, or try reducing the mains voltage with a variac to see if it stops the floating

sweepthedog 25th Jun 2022 11:01 am

Re: American fan in the UK.
4 Attachment(s)
Thank you.
I have opened the back up and it looks like this: I have no idea what I'm looking at but it seems well greased. The blades also have a small hole which looks like it could be a screw that has since gone missing?
I'll attach some pics

Also the noise has become more jittery and frequent like its hitting something I've uploaded another video

I'll try and reduce the voltage on a 100v transformer too

FrankB 26th Jun 2022 5:19 am

Re: American fan in the UK.
Boy that is an oldie!

Check gearbox for grease. Maybe even wash it out and re-lube, looking through the old grease for any possible broken metal bits. (That age they used a gearbox, based on the one similar to that that I have. Likely hi temp dish brake grease would be fine.

Look for worn bearings or a shim gone bad.
Check to see if it has an oscillating function. I had one that rattled like that because it was not fully disengaged.

Bearing wear would be next. I did have one similar and it did have bad bearings. Being unable to find any, and not having a metal lathe at the time, I used shim stock (brass?) at the time, but made sure to lube it every month.

A really out of balance blade would cause a lot of continual vibration. I do not think blade balance is an issue, but you can remove the blade assy. and balance it on the end of a large needle to see if one side is heavier than another, or a blade is bent.

Make sure the blade guard is tightly attached. They can cause some really odd rattles.

Also check the fan to base joint for play.

Collecting old brass fans has become quite a specialized hobby here in the States.

joebog1 26th Jun 2022 5:32 am

Re: American fan in the UK.
The missing screw looks to me like an allen key.


sweepthedog 26th Jun 2022 1:41 pm

Re: American fan in the UK.
Thanks guys

Unfortunately I lack experience when it comes to electronics and taking off the back was as far as Ive ever gone with antique fans. Interestingly, the person in the states I bought it from said it ran whisper quiet prior to shipping which makes me think it isnt anything mechanical that's wrong with it, maybe something can come loose during shipping, or the cage is causing these problems?
But again the idea of the electricity differences in the UK comes up if it ran fine in the US and then rattles in the UK.
Does anyone know anyone local to me who could give it a quick once over and see if anything is wrong?
If not, I may have to accept it as a lovely albeit noisy ornament.
I will try the lower voltage idea first though

snowman_al 26th Jun 2022 2:03 pm

Re: American fan in the UK.
Dumb idea of the day.
Do you have an electric drill? Could you use a rubber sucker on the centre of the fan to drive the fan, and motor, round at a similar speed?
If it is quiet then the mechanicals are very likely okay and the mains frequency is the problem. If it still rattles then there is a mechanical problem.
Just thinking ...

sweepthedog 26th Jun 2022 4:17 pm

Re: American fan in the UK.
I could try that if I knew how to get the blades off.
I tried meddling with it today and now the blades start turning then stopped after half a second and jam and the motor still makes a noise. Crap. But then I gently bent the blade center and it started turning again. But still makes the noise and vibrates like crazy. I'd say the blades are really unbalanced.

Attached is a video of when it wasn't turning. I don't feel safe running it longer than a minute. It sounds like it's struggling and will eventually slow down.

ex 2 Base 26th Jun 2022 4:50 pm

Re: American fan in the UK.
sweepthe dog, I've sent you a PM. Ted

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