Monday, February 20, 2006

Twin Northwinds

Here are a couple of fans that I just love and I want to tell you why. First they were given to me by a good friend that I really appreciate. Second when I got them neither worked at all, so I had to spend some time with them to remedy that. I tackled the one on the right first. It is a Northwind Type 450. I removed the bottom plate and began to inspect the situation. Based on my uneducated opinion, I thought well everything seems okay then I notice that one of the power wires had come loose from the switch. I quickly reattached it. Next the plugged the beast in and oh the fireworks... There was a flash of fire from underneath followed by a loud pop when the headwire blew. It could have been the other way around, in the excitement I may have forgotten. Anyway, I now had a severed headwire and a blown speed coil. So I set about taking the monster apart. To condense this story down. I replaced the headwire from the field coil out. The wires in the field coil were pretty bad so I used so good ole heatshrink to reinsulate them. I put a whole new power cord on and salvaged the old plug. I hooked it up and it ran great on high only because as I told you before the speed coil was busted. At this time I knew nothing about speed coils so I thought that was it.

After some searching for information on the subject of speed coils, I learned from a respected electrical expert that speed coils are made of nichrome (resistance) wire. It is wrapped about a ceramic plate and it reduces the voltage to create distinctively different speeds. After discussing this with some other friends at work I mustered up the courage to try to rewind it on my own. Instead of trying it on the fan I knew worked okay, I drug up to the workbench my other Northwind another model 450J(the one on the left above). This one looked like it was in much worse condition. It did not have a power cord at all. The cage was bent so that the blade would touch. Anyway, for some odd reason, I started tearing this thing down Friday night and my work continued on until the early afternoon on Saturday (yes I slept, I do have priorities). I just thought the wiring was bad on the 450, this one looked like it had been on fire. I told some friends Saturday evening that it was like open heart bypass surgery. The wires to the brush caps had to be replaced also. So after repairing the main wiring I started the speed coil. I removed the old wiring from the ceramic plate (being careful not to break it as it does measure a whopping .0063" in dia.) I need two fairly long strands, one from high to med, the other from med to low. I carefully rewrapped the old nichrome (nickel chromium). I reattached the plate to the switch plate and soldered the leads to the contacts. Put the switch back in the fan and plugged it in. I went through the speeds holding my breath, low success - med success - high success. Yeah!! (I rule in my own weird way.)

Today I stayed home from work to be with the fam on presidents day. I decided to rewind that other one. It worked just as well. I guess you could say I am full of myself right now. You'd be right. Thanks for reading this.