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1914 Menominee Staghorn Oscillator Issues  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 02:34 am
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Levi Mevis
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Hello Everyone, This is a continuation of my thread titled "Antique Fan I missed out on yesterday".
Anyways My Menominee Staghorn Oscillator I received from a Friend from church about a month ago now which wasn't working when I first got it, is now working again, it turned out to be a loose wire connection. 
Anyways  now I have a new problem with this fan, and that is the fan is having a hard time running at the proper speeds and the amp draw which I'm not sure what it is supposed to be doesn't stay consistent either.
 
On low the fan doesn't want to run but you can hear it trying to run, on Medium it will run but just barely, and on high it will run but not full speed, and the amp draw on high that I measured with my Kill-A-Watt meter was between .70 and .85 amps as the amps fluctuates, it starts out at .85 amps and then slowly drops over time (along with the motor speed) to .70 amps, and sometimes the motor will smoke as well when it does that. 

When I first turned it on after I  wired the fan and reassembled it after repairing it the fan worked fine but then it started to do this erratic running thing after when I first turned on the fan it wasn't starting up right away until I gave the shaft a turn by hand and then it ran fine but not before the brush sparked a bit, would that have anything to do with why the fan is doing what its doing? it only sparked once and after that it never did it again.

What do you guys think? What could be causing my fan's new ailment?

Any help would be appreciated in this matter.

Thanks,

Levi

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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 10:03 am
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Lane Shirey
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Hi Levi, 
By chance did you mix up the brushes or put them in upside down? Sounds to me that they're not making good commutator contact. 


Also does the commutator have a lot of burned carbon on it? 

Last edited on Sat Oct 7th, 2017 10:04 am by Lane Shirey

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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 03:56 pm
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Levi Mevis
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Well Lane that's the thing, the brushes on this fan don't have any sort of wear marks on them that can allow one to tell which way the brushes went in one way or the other and I tried to put them in every which way to no avail (it didn't change the way the fan ran.) Also the commutator does have some carbon build up on it which I tried to clean off with some rubbing alcohol and some q-tips but to no avail (it wouldn't come off). Any suggestions?

Perhaps a new set of brushes would help or maybe something stronger than rubbing alcohol and q-tips to help clean the commutator?

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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 05:52 pm
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George Durbin
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Brushed motors problems are in the brush system from the beginning and at the end... check the springs to make sure they have good contact with the brushes... The brush end that contacts the rotor will do better if you add a radius with a round file or grinder to match the radius of the rotor contact segments... Make sure the brush has free travel up and down in the channel so the brushes will have even pressure and contact... "Nothing restricting the free movement of the spring and brush together"... Clean the segments of the rotor with alcohal and a q-tip... A hard erasor works pretty good... I will use 800 grit good quality emery cloth for a badly carboned up rotor... Clean and shiny... A rotor with a lot of carbon on and in the grooves will make for a rough running hotter motor... Blow out all dust in the grooves... DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL OR ANY THING METALLIC... Unless you really like that ozone smell... These few tips, and I am sure there are others should help you...

Geo... 

Last edited on Sat Oct 7th, 2017 05:57 pm by George Durbin

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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 07:39 pm
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Levi Mevis
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Thanks George, I did have the commutator cleaned up and the fan running perfectly for a while but then my brush holder and brush came loose on one side because apparently I didn't tighten down the holders after taking them out to clean them up and polish them and now the fan is back to what it was doing early which is barely running. 
Any ideas as to what I could do to try and fix this issue? 
Also the commutator isn't too badly carboned up right now since I did clean it up earlier and did have the fan working before the brush holder poped loose. Would getting new brushes help with my issue? Because my current brushes are kind of bunged up because of the fact that they did slip out of position while the fan was running.

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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 07:47 pm
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George Durbin
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Hi Levi!

Sounds like you answered your own question that the brush holder needs your attention... brushes as far as failing only fail if they are too short... what too short is i dunno how you measure that... 

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 Posted: Sat Oct 7th, 2017 07:53 pm
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Levi Mevis
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Well George that's the thing, I did tighten up the brush holders and I'm still having problems...
The Brush holders have some sort of cardboard tube that they go into that the setscrew tightens down into and that cardboard tube seems to have a carbon build up on it which I cleaned off for the most part but anyways that's what I have right now.

Last edited on Sat Oct 7th, 2017 07:56 pm by Levi Mevis

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 Posted: Sun Oct 8th, 2017 03:42 am
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Levi Mevis
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Good news, I finally got my Menominee Staghorn Oscillator going again, turns out it was the Brush holders causing the problem, apparently I had them in too far and so they were rubbing up against the commutator and causing the armature to drag to the point that the fan would barely run, so I pulled the brush holders out a 1/16" of an inch just enough so that they weren't rubbing the commutator anymore and then put everything back together and voila! The fan is running again! 
I have posted a video of the fan working that I took with my phone and you'll see what it looks like running, a most fascinating thing about this fan is that it only draws half an amp when running on high, which is a quarter amp less than my Westinghouse PowerAire pulls on high, which was made 34 years later. 

Thanks for all of the help you guys have provided me through out the restoration process of this fan.

Levi

 

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 Posted: Sun Oct 8th, 2017 04:53 am
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Charlie Forster
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You could have been causing a slight short with the brush holder in to far .
The brush is too short when it wears to the point there is not much tension  on the commutator.
FYI there are some motors the the brushes are not on the same center as the
commutator, this is why the say to mark the brushes  how they are before you take them out.
Glad you got it going  now set it up  where it wont get hurt and enjoy it.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 8th, 2017 04:56 am
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Levi Mevis
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That's what I'm planning on doing. I definitely won't be running this fan overnight as I don't think this fan can withstand that, but I might just run it during the day when I'm taking a nap for an hour or two.
Would a fan like this even be safe to run for more than a couple of hours at a time like say for overnight use?

Last edited on Sun Oct 8th, 2017 05:14 am by Levi Mevis

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 Posted: Sun Oct 8th, 2017 01:12 pm
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George Durbin
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Good job Levi!

You can run any fan properly put together 24/7... It is electrical and 100 years old... You have checked the electrical, watts and current draw... check it out every so often... I never leave my old fans running if I am not at home to monitor them... 


Geo...

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 Posted: Sun Oct 8th, 2017 01:44 pm
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Charlie Forster
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I would trust the old fans more to run over night than the new stuff ,That MOMNEMEE  I would only run it once in a while. KEEP IT NICE FOR ANOTHER 100 YRS

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 Posted: Mon Oct 9th, 2017 01:09 pm
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Lane Shirey
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I'm not sure if it's tha absolute best way to clean the commutator , but I use scotchbrite pads because they're nonmetallic and leave no metallic dust like some sandpapers that use metal oxide abrasives. Then I blow it out gently with compressed air, then use a toothpick to clean the slots between the commutator bars. While I've never had to do it, if the commutator is deeply grooved, preventing good brush contact, a "commutator stone" can be used to level the commutator. 
Then a last blow out and then clean all debris and fingerprints off with alcohol.  Brushes are marked to note position of them, then cleaned with alcohol. I take a q tip with alcohol and clean the brush tubes until they come out clean. 

Be sure to blow out all carbon dust from the motor and around the brush holders as that dust is conductive and can cause 'carbon tracking' which can short out the brushes or cause a short to the motor chassis. After blowing out the dust, I clean the area with solvent, 

As far as brush positioning, obviously the curve worn into the brushes must match the commutator curve, but also, generally one tip of the curve on the brush will protrude more than the other. That determines how they should be reinstalled . The protruding tip is caused by the directional wear from the commutator. My drawing (I'm no artist) shows the tip location vs rotation. ( I think I have it correct- someone please correct me if I'm wrong) 

Hopefully that helps someone. 




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 Posted: Mon Oct 9th, 2017 03:19 pm
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Levi Mevis
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Well Lane like I said this fan's brushes didn't have any clear wear marks on them so I had more freedom to put them in whichever way I wanted because there was no definite wear pattern like in your illustration, ity was still pretty much flat on the end in contact with the commutator, with very mild wear that was barely noticable (like I said it wasn't enough wear to make any difference in how the fan ran when installed different ways).
As for cleaning the commutator, I followed George's advice and used an old rubber eraser to clean the carbon build up off so that it wouldn't have anything metallic built up in the motor to cause a malfunction in the motor. as for the "grooves" in between the commutator bars there wasn't any wear in them they're still flush with the copper commutator contacts so nothing wrong there.

This fan definitely is a lot more noisy than an AC Only Fan Motor because of the commutator, it sounds almost like an electric drill running.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 9th, 2017 04:09 pm
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Charlie Forster
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I have a rough sketch  of a commentator the  area between the copper bars should  lower than the copper bars. .03 -.062 deeper. this will stop contaminants going from one bar to the next . and your motor will ruin a lot happier.
I use a  hacksaw blade  with most of the teeth ground off  to clean the groves.
 I do have a  armature lathe that has a little cutter for recutting the under cut.

Attached Image (viewed 102 times):

DSCN0682.JPG

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 Posted: Tue Oct 10th, 2017 04:23 am
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Charlie Forster
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Here is a picture of a under cutter in service!

Attached Image (viewed 63 times):

8811173740574.jpg

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 Posted: Tue Oct 10th, 2017 09:07 am
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Levi Mevis
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Alright cool. Although I think my commutator is fine right now as the fan is running fine (although its a lot noisier than a regular AC Only Motor because of the commutator and brushes making their whining noises.

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 Posted: Tue Oct 10th, 2017 01:48 pm
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Charlie Forster
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Doing the undercut  will help with the noise and also help the motor run cooler.
After the brushes run and mate to the commutator they may quiet down.

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