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 Posted: Fri May 5th, 2017 06:21 pm
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David Berlind
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Hello everyone... I just acquired a GE F17S125 that is in stunning condition for a device that I believe to be older than me. It is very clean and has very few scratches and no rust. Just a beautiful piece and it's operational. I've just joined this forum at the recommendation of someone else in hopes of getting a few questions about it answered:
1. Does anyone know what year it's from?
2. I would like to apply an external speed control to the fan but have read elsewhere that it's not as simple as putting a dimmer in line or reducing the voltage with a variac. I'm looking for fine grained control if that's possible.. everything from a very light breeze to full speed. Can someone recommend a solution for me or explain the criteria I must be aware of?
3. This appears to be a 2 speed fan and the twist-switch appears to have 3 positions.. (off, speed1, speed2). Sadly though, the switch shaft is broken in such a way that I cannot grab it with my fingers.  As you can see in the photo, I've drilled a tiny hole into it and inserted a very small screwdriver. There's enough friction that I can switch between the 3 positions and I can probably add super glue to firm it up. But that's hardly a long term solution. Does anyone know if the switch-shaft screws off and I can screw another one on? And if so, how best to do it and where to get the part? Or, do I just have to bite the bullet and replace the switch (which upon first glance, appears to require disassembly of the entire fan). One current wrinkle (not a showstopper): speed1 doesn't work. I suspect it's the switch but maybe it's the motor. Speed2 works like a charm. 

OK, thanks in advance for any help you can offer!




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 Posted: Sun May 7th, 2017 11:04 am
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Lane Shirey
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I don't believe those switches come apart-you'll have to replace the switch. Try Vintage Wire &Supply. Tim's a good guy and an AFCA member. 


And yes that fan has to come apart and yes they're a PIA to take apart. If you're only trying to get it to work, you could always use your tool to click it into the one speed that works and then install an inline switch on the cord. Not an authentic fix, but at least you'd be able to turn it on and off for about $2. Your local hardware store or Home Depot should have those in the lighting department. 

Best of success! 

Last edited on Sun May 7th, 2017 11:08 am by Lane Shirey

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 Posted: Sun May 7th, 2017 09:21 pm
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Levi Mevis
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I have that same exact fan, its a 12" fan and its from about 1955 or so. It is a 2 speed fan and the switch (unless it was replaced at some point in time in its history) should be a pushbutton switch, and those pushbutton switches are available at your local Ace Hardware or TrueValue Hardware or even your Big Box stores like Lowe's, Menards or Home Depot for about 2 or 3 dollars. That fan does need to come apart to get to that switch, but I must warn you that you need to be careful of the oscillator knob because it breaks really easily if not removed properly (it just pulls right off because its friction fitted into place). 
This fan is part of GE's "Standard" line up of Fans (they also had a "Quiet Blade" and "Vortalex" line up of fans as well).
I hope you get that fan going because its a wonderful fan and moves quite a bit of air for what it is, and I use mine on a regular basis in my bedroom.  :D   :up:

Last edited on Sun May 7th, 2017 09:22 pm by Levi Mevis

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 Posted: Mon May 8th, 2017 11:10 pm
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David Berlind
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Good advice Lane. I've got it in the position that it runs and therefore, and just have to do as you say (put an inline switch in the cord). But boy, I'd be ruining a vintage cord that's also in perfect condition.  What can you tell me about the gotchas of pulling it apart? I see the other person who replied (Levi) said that it's really easy to break the oscillator knob which I definitely don't want to do. 

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 Posted: Mon May 8th, 2017 11:15 pm
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David Berlind
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Thanks Levi. Great to know that it's 1955 or thereabouts!  Actually, mine is a twist knob. I've managed to twist it between its 3 positions (off, speed1, speed2). I'll bet the replacement button doesn't matter much (twist or push button) so long as it fits and has 3 electrical positions. Is that correct?  But your point about the oscillator knob has me worried. What would you suggest to minimize any chance of me breaking it when removing the knob?  What do you know about disassembling the whole thing? Does the motor slide right out pretty easily (and then back in)? Or will a clump of wires fall out in a way that ends up being impossible to arrange so that it all goes back together neatly?
thanks for your help?

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 Posted: Tue May 9th, 2017 12:52 am
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Levi Mevis
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I've not taken mine apart yet (the screws were stuck in place) but there are 3 standard blade screws up front behind the blade assembly one at the 6 o'clock position, one at the 2 o'clock position and one at the 10 o'clock position those screws remove and then the blade assembly just pops right off the shaft with a little persuasion and then the motor just slides right out without any problems the wires will be in the back of the housing, you'll have to remove the switch from the housing first in order to be able to pull the motor out as the power switch is wired directly to the motor. I believe (at least with my fan anyways) the switch is just a standard on/off switch and that the motor is got the different speeds wound into the motor windings and the switch activates the different speeds and then shuts it off. As for getting the oscillator knob off without breaking it, you should just be able to gently pull it up and out with your hand.I hope this helps.

Last edited on Thu May 11th, 2017 01:56 am by Levi Mevis

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 Posted: Wed May 10th, 2017 12:58 pm
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Lane Shirey
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There a few snags with those fans, one is the brittle oscillator knobs and the other is that the blade is held on by the rubber grommet like Levi describes. They sometimes get destroyed upon removal and aren't available as replacements. Also sometimes when you remove them from the rotor shaft, they no longer grip since they've hardened with age. Best of luck with it. 

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 01:57 am
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Levi Mevis
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Lane Shirey wrote: There a few snags with those fans, one is the brittle oscillator knobs and the other is that the blade is held on by the rubber grommet like Levi describes. They sometimes get destroyed upon removal and aren't available as replacements. Also sometimes when you remove them from the rotor shaft, they no longer grip since they've hardened with age. Best of luck with it. 
Basically what I said in my post. 

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 Posted: Thu May 11th, 2017 02:15 pm
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David Berlind
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Thanks Lane and Levi, I now have a heightened concern regarding the rubber grommet. The fan works right now. If the rubber grommet disintegrates upon removal and I can't find a replacement, I will have turned a functioning fan into a paperweight until the time at which I can find a replacement grommet (which apparently could be difficult to do).

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