atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4310: That was a good fan. Wish I knew how to repair AC motors.

The fan that sat next to my bed for several years has died.

I use a fan, year-round, to help me sleep. I'm such a light sleeper that without some source of white noise I am awakened by the slightest sound, and I've found that a fan (even set on low) is what works best for me. It provides a noise floor for my ears to latch onto.

Yesterday I went to bed, turned the fan on, and...nothing. I tried the plug in a different outlet; still nothing.

The common single-phase AC induction motor is simple enough in its construction that I can't puzzle out how the damned thing works. I understand all the principles of the thing's operation, but when I try to noodle out what is connected where all I ever discover is, "Yep, the motor's open, all right." ("Open" being the opposite of "short". Meaning, there's no circuit, hence current won't flow.)

Because the typical single-phase AC induction motor is so simple, there's nothing to burn out, really. There are no brushes to replace; the only possibility I can see is that one of the windings has failed open, and because of how these things are built it's impossible to rewind the motor or, indeed, even trace where the failure is.

A 20" box fan typically sells for about $20 most of the time, though this year I did finally see some on sale for $15. (I guess I should have bought one of those when I saw it. *sigh*) The thing is, to get them to that price point, they make the motors as cheaply as possible. They use bronze bearings and the simplest possible motor construction, and the result is that even if you want to repair the thing, you can't, and it's cheaper to throw it away (recycle it) and buy a new one than it is to have someone else repair it for you.

I've observed three failure modes for box fans.

1) Motor gets wet, emits a cracking noise, and ceases to function. Usually accompanied by the hellacious stink of burning electronics. (Take fan out of window when it starts raining, even if the wind's from another direction. Really.) Fix: recycle old fan and buy new one.

2) Fan begins squealing when turned on. This is those bronze bearings in the motor, having worn oversize. You can oil them and get a few more hours of use out of the fan, but I've never figured out how to replace the bearing inserts, which is the only way to fix this. Otherwise, recycle old fan and buy new one.

3) Fan simply stops working. Something fails open and the motor stops converting current into angular momentum. Fix: recycle old fan and buy new one.

Are there others? Probably, but they aren't very common. When I say the motors are dead simple I mean it, and there's hardly anything in them to break...which is why you can get years of use out of such a simple and cheap motor in the first place. Every time I've had a failure like #3, and have double-checked the cord and wiring and switch, I have traced the problem to the motor. Which makes sense, if you think about it, because the only component in the fan that gets less wear and tear in normal operation than the motor is the wiring. Cripes.

* * *

After my last post, I noodled around on WoW a little bit, and then went back to bed. When I woke up it was 9 PM. Well, when you've got a sinister illness sapping your will to live, what else can you do? I'd feel better about it if I could identify what was wrong with me, but because the only symptoms are general fatigue, general pain, and general malaise, it's hard to figure out what it is. The only other thing I have is that the gut continues to be blooty, but I believe (hope) that's because of IBD and stress, not something more dire. (And Mrs. Fungus is experiencing the same symptoms, minus the blooty gut, so that has to be my IBD talking.)

Only other thing we can think of is some kind of mosquito-borne illness, but we lack most of the symptoms of the common ones. They're almost all viral (and it would be obvious it if it were something like encephalitis) and that explains the aching fatigue, but lacking fevers or other symptoms it--again--is difficult to identify what illness we have.

So I've postponed the grass cutting until Tuesday. *sigh*

* * *

But now I have the energy for dealing with this.

In terms of inflation-adjusted real wealth, everyone in the US is poorer than he was in 2007, typically by 25% of baseline or more. The median dropped by about 75% of baseline in the last seven years.
That's why the infrastructure is crumbling. That's why fewer people are working. That's why you feel stressed. American median wealth has substantially declined even as the amount of debt has skyrocketed. The Samuelsonians claim this doesn't matter, because Peter still owes Paul. But both common sense as well as the wealth statistics demonstrate otherwise.
And notice that everybody is poorer, not just the poor. Everybody.

Until the economy is allowed to correct itself, though, this kind of crap will continue. The shenanigans of the government-banking axis are preventing the economic correction that is required to fix what's wrong, but because very rich and important and powerful people will lose their sinecures and posh lifestyles (and maybe their fortunes) they are doing everything they can to prevent the correction even though it is merely kicking the can down the road, and making the problems worse.

And keeping the economy so stagnant that no one can make a freakin' living.


* * *

Mrs. Fungus made these pumpkin cookies the other day, and they're almost gone already. They're that good. *sigh*

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