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Oiling GE Box fan  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 06:57 am
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Justin Walker
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Alright this is another fan I got off ebay a few months back.  When it arrived the first thing I did was check to see if the blades turned freely and they did so I plugged it.  It worked great.  even ran it one day for about an hour.

Well,  since then it's been sitting in my room unused.  So, I go to plug it in one day.  Press the button. On low I get a hum. On fast I get hum with blades turning slowly.  I immediately turn it off.  I take the front grill off and the blades are hard to turn.

So I'm hoping it just needs oiled which I'm not sure how.  I read a few post on here it involves taking that pretty cap off the back of the motor and/or drilling a hole in (the middle of?) it.  I'm not sure which I should do or if I have the tools for the job.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 06:58 am
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Justin Walker
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I've been getting my own tools but, I haven't got any drill bits yet.  So I went down in the basement to check the "family/household" tools.  Which is a basket of random unorganized tools from incomplete tool sets.  I found two drill bits the smaller one is unmarked so I don't know the size, but the other on is marked as 13/64.  The drill is something my grandpa left over here years go.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 12:53 pm
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Greg Miller
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Is that an aluminum cast housing or is it plastic? I wouldn't drill into it either way, especially into the endcaps. You'd probably be better off taking it apart and cleaning/oiling it manually. Or you could try an oiler with a long spout and apply lube directly to the shaft and let it work in. Drilling into the bearing by accident would ruin it for sure. If that is a plastic motor, I don't advise even running it too much as they've been known to catch fire regardless of condition. How 'bout a pic of the whole fan? Someone might recognize it and have a better idea than me.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 01:05 pm
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Keith Cordt
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I've only seen pix of fans like your's, but there's what LOOKS LIKE an oil hole next to the top left mounting screw.

There are a FEW GE box fans that have an oil hole-but it's usually the older ones.  I think your's is one of the later ones.

Can you tell if that's a hole that leads to an oil tube by chance?  It's unlikely, but it would be interesting if it did.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:21 pm
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Justin Walker
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Catch fire :shock:

I guess that shouldn't be too surprising.  I sometimes forget how old these fans really are but, I didn't expect older fans to have flaws like that.

Anyway from what I can tell the motor housing isn't plastic.

I'm not sure how I take it apart.  I thought behind that cap is a clip that would allow the shaft to be removed from the front or oil it.

id sticker

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Last edited on Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:41 pm by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:26 pm
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Justin Walker
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There isn't a tube going to that hole unless it's missing.  I thought it was to allow the cord to be ran through if it was for a different model fan or application that didn't have speed control.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:29 pm
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Justin Walker
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front of motor

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:31 pm
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Justin Walker
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front of whole fan

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:35 pm
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Justin Walker
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The front cage and blade.

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Last edited on Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 03:36 pm by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 05:59 pm
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Greg Miller
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That may be your problem right there- if the rotor doesn't come out, it's probably stuck in the bearing, which would explain why it doesn't turn. There is no "clip" that I'm aware of on any fan motor holding the shaft in. What pupose would it serve? The rotor is contaned in the housing and shimmed into position with fiber washers. It simply would amount to a waste of money during manufacturing to add a redundant system to hold the shaft in the motor. It probably never had oil ports and yes, the other hole looks like it was likely meant to be an outlet hole for the headwire in another application. Try shooting a little PB Blaster or WD-40 on to the back bearing and try to work to rotor out. It'll probably put up a bit of a fight, but it should come right out. If it doesn't, you may have to find another way to force some oil down into the bearing. I still don't advise drilling any holes in the carriers...

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 06:43 pm
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Justin Walker
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I have a message from Cole Day

Hi Justin. This is in reference to your GE box fan. I am a guest, so cannot reply. If you would like to post this message to the thread, feel free. You have a two speed GE box fan in blue spruce, made from 1960-1964. Your motor is different than that of most GE box fans and was used on the window mount fan as well. Usually the box fans have the motor mounted to the frame of the box and the rear cap is much smaller and hidden behind the support frame. As far as I can tell, your motor indeed has a clip to hold the rotor in place, or else it would slide out. I believe you are going to have to remove the rear plate to remove the clip. Hopefully someone else can advise as to how to do this without damaging the cap. I agree that the best way to oil it would be to remove the rotor, then clean and lubricate the bearing. Hope this helps you...

Last edited on Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 06:46 pm by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 08:30 pm
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Luke Skelnik
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I heard that catching fire thing is BS but I don't know and Iam afraid of them catching fire too.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 09:00 pm
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Justin Walker
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I forgot that I watched a few videos on youtube from Myles Gifford that had a Dominion boxfan with a GE motor.  The first video it seemed fine. The next it was dead.

I'm not sure if the motor thing is true either but, I'm new to this fan collecting thing so what do I know.  What could have gone wrong with these motors?  As long as they can turn freely and the wiring is good what could cause them to catch fire?  Of coarse I'm not looking to burn the house down so I guess I'll just use in the kitchen where there is no carpet and when someone is around.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 09:52 pm
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Luke Skelnik
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Copper and aluminum in the coils...... don't mix.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 09:54 pm
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Justin Walker
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So the windings aren't conductive enough, heat up and catch fire?

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 10:35 pm
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Luke Skelnik
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Don't know that one, just telling you what I heard.

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 Posted: Sat Jan 22nd, 2011 11:59 pm
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Raymond Lowry
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BEHIND THAT GOLD CAP IS WHERE EVERYTHING IS, THERE IS FELT ROLLED UP IN THERE THAT COMES FROM THE FACTORY ALREADY OILED. I HAVE A FEW THAT I DID, DRILLED A SMALL HOLE IN THE TOP TO GET OIL IN, AND SOME THE CAP WILL COME OFF AND I RESOAKED THE FELT WITH OIL, TRICKY TO GET THE CAP OFF . IT WAS A BAD DESIGN.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 01:58 am
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Justin Walker
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I have a message from Cole Day

As to the problem with GE motors catching on fire, this only happened to my knowledge with the GE motors that were used in other brands of fans. The reason for this was as Luke said, there were combined copper and aluminum windings used that caused oxidation over time. As far as I know, these GE "export" motors were the only ones that mixed copper and aluminum. The single bearing motors GE used in their own fans like yours, have only copper windings as far as I know. Your GE fan probably has a single bearing like that in an Emerson fan, as well as most GEs in the 1950s-70s.
Thanks for the information, could I get a small list of the brands those bad motors are commonly found in?  I wouldn't mind getting some more box fan but, I want to stay away from those unless I plan to have one rewound.
-

Raymond Lowry wrote: BEHIND THAT GOLD CAP IS WHERE EVERYTHING IS, THERE IS FELT ROLLED UP IN THERE THAT COMES FROM THE FACTORY ALREADY OILED. I HAVE A FEW THAT I DID, DRILLED A SMALL HOLE IN THE TOP TO GET OIL IN, AND SOME THE CAP WILL COME OFF AND I RESOAKED THE FELT WITH OIL, TRICKY TO GET THE CAP OFF . IT WAS A BAD DESIGN.
Could you recommend a bit size and type to use?  Do you think one of the two bits I mentioned above would work or should I wait until I have a set of them.  Also did you use a punch or something to make a small dent to prevent the bit from wandering?

How does this spot look?  I'm pretty sure I don't want to be too far out or I'll hit the motor housing.  And too far in I may hit the bearing and/or shaft.

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Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 02:12 am by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 02:08 am
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Luke Skelnik
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Yah... I want a list of brands too....:up:

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 02:28 am
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Raymond Lowry
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THAT LOOKS GOOD, A BIT THE SIZE OF THE RED DOT. DO IT VERY SLOW, AS SOON AS THE BIT GOES THROUGH STOP. ALSO I HAVE A LOT OF THESE FANS AND ALSO THE EARILER GRAY ONES AND WHEN THEY ARE RIGHT THEY ARE GREAT RUNNING FANS AND I HAVE NOT HAD ONE CATCH ON FIRE.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 02:52 am
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Justin Walker
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I may have to get another drill, this old one I have only seems to have one speed. fast.

I'm not sure which bit size that would be, as the hole size may appear different on screens running at different resolutions. But, I think I'm going with the 13/64.

edit
also when I get the hole made, how should the fan be positioned for oiling?

Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 03:49 am by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 04:54 am
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Nicholas Denney
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Justin, I am the man of fame responsible for the motor stories... I had the original fireball motor that literally turned into a ball of flame. The motor in question is not yours, but a later style of much different design.

Before drilling, try this: a suction cup rimmed with Vaseline or other lube with a string tied around the "knob". Firmly pressing the cup against the motor cap and then immediately yanking could pull the cap right off.

Greg, the motor needs the clip because it is a single bearing AND it DOES NOT have a way to hold in the rotor other than the clip. These motors are completely open on the blade side and the large flat blade hub serves as a motor cover. With a broken or removed clip, the motor is not affected, but then there is the immediate danger of the blade and rotor simply sliding off while the blade is spinning down. :violin::badidea 

At least the fan is safer when 'on' and the mag field is holding it together.

Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 05:02 am by Nicholas Denney

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 04:12 pm
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Greg Miller
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Well, I stand corrected. Never seen one of those with the single bearing on the rear of the shaft and no front housing. Seems a little front heavy on the bearing. Hey Nick, I like that move with the suction cup and the goo- I'm gonna have to hijack that one for my own arsenal.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 09:46 pm
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Justin Walker
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Nicholas Denney wrote: Justin, I am the man of fame responsible for the motor stories... I had the original fireball motor that literally turned into a ball of flame. The motor in question is not yours, but a later style of much different design.

Hey I think I saw that video when I use to only browse the forums.   That was crazy.

Before drilling, try this: a suction cup rimmed with Vaseline or other lube with a string tied around the "knob". Firmly pressing the cup against the motor cap and then immediately yanking could pull the cap right off.
That worked good. it came right up. but..

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 09:50 pm
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Justin Walker
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now what am I looking at?  I feel like I busted down one door then ran directly face first into another lol.


edit:

anyway, so it's an inner cap?  I'm guessing I need to break the the seal?  like with a razor blade?

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Last edited on Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 10:01 pm by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2011 10:24 pm
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Raymond Lowry
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still have to drill the hole.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 01:12 am
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Stan Adams
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Like Ray said, drill the hole. What you were looking at was the beauty cap. Now what you are looking at is the real bearing cap. Drill a small hole in it & squirt some non-detergent oil in there. The wick will soak it up & oil the bearing.

Good luck, BTW, good looking GE.

Last edited on Mon Jan 24th, 2011 01:14 am by Stan Adams

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 02:46 am
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Nicholas Denney
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Greg Miller wrote: Well, I stand corrected. Never seen one of those with the single bearing on the rear of the shaft and no front housing. Seems a little front heavy on the bearing. Hey Nick, I like that move with the suction cup and the goo- I'm gonna have to hijack that one for my own arsenal.
Mechanically, I loathe these fans. The blade is attached by a rubber washer which is then attached (all glued) to the hub. I had to rework one of these after I burnt off the washer and so I had to use 3 little screws and nuts to reattach the hub...

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 02:49 am
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Nicholas Denney
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Stan Adams wrote: Like Ray said, drill the hole. What you were looking at was the beauty cap. Now what you are looking at is the real bearing cap.
Stan's right. You saved the decorative cover from getting drilled and that's what you wanted to do. :up:

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 02:54 am
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Nicholas Denney
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Greg Miller wrote: Hey Nick, I like that move with the suction cup and the goo- I'm gonna have to hijack that one for my own arsenal.
Never ever done it... just rendered the idea in my head. :P This is why I don't bother telling people everything I think of... it's just too good. :tease

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 03:19 am
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Mark Allen
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I have oiled these before without drilling. The shaft should have a little in and out play, if you pull it out look behind the cooling fins and you will have room to slowly drip oil on to the shaft, if you tip the fan slightly to the back the oil will soak in to the felt pads that will take oil to the back pad also. The shaft has a spiral grove cut in it to move the oil like a ceiling fan motor (that uses an oil bath). Don't put a lot in at one time, put some in and give it a little time to soak in before you put more in. When you sit the fan back up put some paper towel between the fins and the windings on the bottom side to catch any extra that may run out.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 03:20 am
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Justin Walker
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I drilled the hole and gave it a lot of drops of oil.  The motor can turn the shaft again on its own, but maybe its  just  me (and I hope it is) but it seems to still be fighting itself a bit.  The shaft doesn't turn as easily by hand as I thought it would.  Now, if I put the blade back on and turn that. I'd say it's fine.  It seems to hum/buzz  a little which makes me think it's having a little trouble.  When I think about I can't remember what it sounded like before :P

On high this thing is a monster.

I'm working on uploading a video so I can try to show what I mean.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 03:22 am
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Justin Walker
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Don't put a lot in at one time, put some in and give it a little time to soak in before you put more in.

oh boy... guess I messed up on the oil part.

Last edited on Mon Jan 24th, 2011 03:33 am by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 06:49 am
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Justin Walker
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Alright here is the video.  http://img809.imageshack.us/i/1xz.mp4/

Starts out power on low, fast , then spin down time.

It still makes that hum/sometimes buzz sound on  high but, I don't think you can hear it anymore in the video after being transcoded on that site.  the buzz could be just vibration I'm not sure.

I may upload another with the blades removed.

edit:

I found the vibration/buzzing.  I left a screw at the bottom of the box.


I still think it's spin up is a bit slow on cold start low.  again could just be me.  I'm not looking for more trouble.

I've been running it on high to see if works itself out with the oil.  Sounds and looks pretty good on high.

Last edited on Mon Jan 24th, 2011 04:50 pm by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Mon Jan 24th, 2011 09:26 pm
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Matthew Albach
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Justin,

Those GE box fans have a slow RPM on low mine does the same thing the 3wing metal and the 5 wing varies from slow to fast slow but anyhow When I looked at your motor I didn't see any shade pole coils? unless its a different motor I will upload a picture of mine a W13 3 wing and see but anyhow you have a great fan there.

 

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 12:24 am
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Luke Skelnik
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It just starts slow because the motor has a hard time bringing those heavy metal blades to speed. My grandma and grandmpas friends'  GE box fan does the same thing.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 06:07 am
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Justin Walker
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Well thats good to hear.  Thanks everyone for helping me get this fan going again.  I appreciate it.  I plan on becoming a member soon.  I like it here and it's the only way I can think of to give back to the AFCA.

Alright now to reattach the beauty cap.

I have some Duco Cement  multi-purpose household glue.  Would that work?  I only want to tack it in two places and not all around so I can have some hope of removing it again for oiling.

or I have some sticky back velcro strips. maybe I could make the cap removable with that?

oh should I put some tape over the drilled hole?

Stan Adams wrote: Good luck, BTW, good looking GE.

Matthew Albach wrote: anyhow you have a great fan there.

Thanks this is the nicest box fan I've ever seen in person and I'm glad to have it.  When I think about it, this is the first box fan we've had.  I don't recall having any. 

The closest thing where those round fans I think made by Lasko which say like Cyclone on the front.  There's still two of those around here somewhere.

Last edited on Tue Jan 25th, 2011 06:40 am by Justin Walker

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 01:13 pm
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Tom Zapf
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i am reading the trhead below and some of the advice is good, My GE expert Al Shaeffer uses two methods to oil these fans. The only fan with an oil hole is the 1954 early version of the F11 W1 box fan. Mid year 1954 they discontinued the oil hole. #1 method. lay the fan on its back with the blade off. If the rotor is moveable, try to lift it so the "play" moves the finned rotor as far to the front/up  as possible. You need an oil can that shoots/squirts a stream not drips. you will see thru the small slots in between the base of the fins to where the shaft goes in the bearing and that is what you want to hit with the oil. leave the fan on its back over night. Marvel Mystery Oil can loosen things a little, but you also need real oil. The shaft has a series of squiggly grooves to draw oil the length of the long bearing. turning the finned unit by finger back and forth will draw oil back . This can be succesful to free up the motor. OR #2 stand the fan up. the cap cover in the center back CAN be drilled in to, but very carefully. Start at the 12 oclock position (top center) and drill down at an angle. You can eventually pop that cap off if you arent carefull and they are murder to try to get back on. once the hole is drilled use a flashlight to make sure you got in to the chamber. The housing is very fragile so be gentle in this process. NOTE the shaft is held on by a "C" clip inside the chamber under that rear cap. If you can avoid ever taking that off it is adviseable to do so. i have had good luck with both these methods. tom

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 02:52 pm
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Keith Cordt
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Thanks Tom-I must have an early '54 Box fan.  It's got an oil hole. 

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 Posted: Tue Jan 25th, 2011 04:03 pm
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Tom Zapf
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the way to tell is the model # f11w1 the first year box fans. the controls are on top in the silver housing, 3 speeds one way with thermo. there are welded on grille clips under the  top of the housing instead of the holes that you slid the "hooks" into from the 1955 and later years. Also the grille wont have the hooks on top and wont say "Automatic" in the attached aluminum badge, or have the welded on pattern spot the badge mounts to. the oil hole is thru the top portion of the 4th top tab holding the motor and says "oil here". this was onyl for the first portion of the 1954 production and was elminiated mid year. you have a rare fan. The 1955 F12W1 was almost the same but had the commong grille hooks and autmomatic badging. You have a rare fan!.

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