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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 12:58 pm
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David Kilnapp
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I recently acquired this fan from Stefan Osdene. It's a Type UI Form E Pancake, maybe 1900 or 1901 (perhaps Kim Frank could confirm for me). It has a new stator from Sidney Lamb but other than that, it needed very little work. It runs perfectly. My understanding is that this is a two speed fan though I don't notice any perceptible difference between the two speeds unlike my 1903 TYPE AK Form C Pancake which has five very distinct speeds. Would someone care to comment on why that is? This fan operates very very smoothly with no vibration at all. I really have a soft spot for these GE's.




 
Notice the bakelite covers on the insulated terminals that Darryl Hudson provided. 

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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 01:30 pm
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Pat Weeks
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What you have there is a very nice 1900. I know that because the motor housing does not have the vent holes like the 1901 and later models. Also, it has the underfeed wick with oil return, which was new for 1900. 

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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 01:36 pm
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James Henderson
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A lot of early fans including yours have indistinct speed differences. You can have the choke coil rewound to change this or simply enjoy a beautiful fan for what it is.

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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 04:43 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Thank you Pat and Jim. I certainly do enjoy this fan just as it is. It's quite beautiful!

Last edited on Sat Oct 13th, 2018 04:43 pm by David Kilnapp

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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 05:23 pm
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Steve Stephens
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Pat Weeks wrote:  Also, it has the underfeed wick with oil return, which was new for 1900. Actually the underfeed with oil cup was a return to the 1896-98 design,   GE went to a top mounted grease cup for only the 1899 year model.

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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 10:14 pm
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Kim Frank
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A thing to understand too is that some of these fans have spin down times of a minute or more. You don’t always see an immediate change in speed. Best to check the resistance in the coil. Usually a reading of 2 ohms or a bit more is about the norm. Also, if you’re running a 104 volt motor at 120 v, you might not see a big change in speeds.

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 Posted: Sat Oct 13th, 2018 10:50 pm
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Steve Cunningham
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Your fan is as probably made to run on 104V. It’ll be stamped on the tag. At that voltage you will have two speeds. We get 120V today out of our plugs. At 120V there is little difference.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2018 01:01 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Kim and Steve: Yes the motor tag does indeed say 104 volts. Thank you. I keep meaning to get a Variac which I need. Today will be the day I order the one that Steve Stephens suggested.

Last edited on Sun Oct 14th, 2018 01:49 pm by David Kilnapp

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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2018 09:43 pm
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Richard Daugird
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As I’m sure Steve suggested, buy a used made in U. S. A. Variac, not a new Chinese model. There are several on eBay right now wired up with an outlet ready to go for under $100; or if you’re handy get a bare one and make your own enclosure. I would recommend a 5 amp, my 16 pancakes pull 3-4 amps on start up if I remember correctly. 

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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2018 09:46 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Just ordered the Variac that Steve Stephens suggested, made in the good old USA!

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 Posted: Sun Oct 14th, 2018 11:48 pm
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Richard Daugird
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What did you get? I just checked, my 16 tank Vane Oscillator pull nearly 4 amps on startup. 

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 12:40 am
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David Kilnapp
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This one:

Variac Transformer Variable AC Voltage Regulator Metered 500w 0.5KW 5Amp 0-130v

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 06:10 pm
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Pat Weeks
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Last edited on Mon Oct 15th, 2018 06:10 pm by Pat Weeks

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 06:12 pm
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Pat Weeks
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Steve Stephens wrote: Pat Weeks wrote:  Also, it has the underfeed wick with oil return, which was new for 1900. Actually the underfeed with oil cup was a return to the 1896-98 design,   GE went to a top mounted grease cup for only the 1899 year model.

Steve, I phrased that badly. I know that the pre 1899 cakes had the underfeed oilers. What I meant was that the underfeed oiler was reintroduced in 1900 along with a new feature which was the oil return collar. 

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 06:28 pm
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Steve Stephens
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David Kilnapp wrote: This one:

Variac Transformer Variable AC Voltage Regulator Metered 500w 0.5KW 5Amp 0-130v
David, please show us your variac.   No photo or link in your post.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 06:40 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Three of the seventeen fans in my collection have motor tags that say they were designed to run at some voltage less than 110 volts - two pancakes (1900 and 1903 - 104 volts) and one 1910 Emerson with a trojan base (100 volts). The earlier pancake and the Emerson are two speed fans and the 1903 pancake is a five speed fan. The Emerson and the earlier pancake show no difference between the two running speeds so those will be the fans that I test using the above Variac. The theory that has been advanced (above) sounds reasonable but I must confess that I am dubious that a six to ten volt difference will produce the difference in the running speeds. I'll know more in a week when the Variac is delivered.


Last edited on Mon Oct 15th, 2018 06:53 pm by David Kilnapp

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 07:17 pm
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Richard Daugird
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I think I would cancel that order and buy a used U.S.A. made Variac; that is made in China and I wouldn't trust my valuable antique fans with it.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 07:20 pm
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David Kilnapp
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I'd be interested to hear from others who may have some experience with this transformer. These are very uncomplicated machines whose technology is not particularly country dependent.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 07:34 pm
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Steve Stephens
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I would think the one you bought should work well for your purpose.   Do some reading on a google search I just did:
quality of chinese made variacs vs USA made variacs  (link)

I have only used old and used Various and Powerstats that cost me from $0 for one to around $75.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 07:43 pm
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David Kilnapp
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I just scanned through the reading and I conclude that this unit will be just fine for the minimal use that I will have for it. In the meantime, I will keep my eye out for an older (American made) used Variac that might be a little more robustly made.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 10:30 pm
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Richard Daugird
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I ordered a pretty neat one yesterday from eBay, in an enclosure, with outlets and a voltmeter, for $85 shipped.

I have a couple dozen, every once in a while I look on the 'Bay and see what's available. Got them placed all around at home, garage, and at work. I have one I mounted in the wall to control a Vortalex overhead in my garage, and plan to mount more in the walls in other spots. Very handy items.

Last edited on Mon Oct 15th, 2018 10:30 pm by Richard Daugird

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 10:35 pm
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Richard Daugird
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Here's a little project I did a while back, thought I had finished pictures, but you get the idea. Look up David Riddle, he makes some awesome custom Variacs.

http://www.afcaforum.com/forum1/49619.html

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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2018 10:35 pm
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Richard Daugird
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http://www.afcaforum.com/forum1/49619.html

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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2018 10:06 am
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Henry Carrera
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David Kilnapp wrote: Three of the seventeen fans in my collection have motor tags that say they were designed to run at some voltage less than 110 volts - two pancakes (1900 and 1903 - 104 volts) and one 1910 Emerson with a trojan base (100 volts). The earlier pancake and the Emerson are two speed fans and the 1903 pancake is a five speed fan. The Emerson and the earlier pancake show no difference between the two running speeds so those will be the fans that I test using the above Variac. The theory that has been advanced (above) sounds reasonable but I must confess that I am dubious that a six to ten volt difference will produce the difference in the running speeds. I'll know more in a week when the Variac is delivered.
When you run a motor above its designed voltage the windings become saturated, both in the stator and speed control. Meaning the fan gets to a point where it won't run faster but just generates more heat and draws more current. So when you run the fan above the rated voltage and select a lower speed, the voltage and current go down but the windings are still in the saturated range and you see no difference in speed.

It's difficult to reliably slow these induction motors down once the windings are not saturated anymore because the HP drops off drastically. Say a 104 volt fan is receiving 90 volts on the lowest speed. The manufactures are depending on blade pitch and bearing friction to slow it down but not get too slow or come to a complete stop. There is a fine line here like balancing a pencil on its point. A small thing like gunked up bearings or too heavy of an oil will have an effect on the speed. The manufactures knew this, so even when running a fan on the correct voltage they didn't want to slow it down too much for fear of it running too slow to move air or stopping completely.

You will see this when playing around with the voltage below saturation. You may say to yourself, oh, I like this speed but 5 or 10 minutes later something small changes, like motor temperature, bearing friction, incoming line voltage, or whatever, and you will have to give it a little more or less voltage to get it back up to the speed that you liked.

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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2018 12:34 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Interesting Henry. I don't doubt that what you say is true but then I wonder why my 1903 five speed pancake doesn't seem to have any issue with all five distinctly separate speeds with house current when its tag says that it was designed for 104 volts. Curious and curiouser...

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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2018 02:38 pm
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Henry Carrera
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David Kilnapp wrote: Interesting Henry. I don't doubt that what you say is true but then I wonder why my 1903 five speed pancake doesn't seem to have any issue with all five distinctly separate speeds with house current when its tag says that it was designed for 104 volts. Curious and curiouser...
A few thoughts and guesses. I think they had a huge amount of electrical headroom to play with because of the design of these fans. Shaded pole with no start winding to worry about. Amazingly low friction bearing if it's lubed properly. Large diameter stator easier to control the rotor speed through leverage. Large toroidal speed coil. More thought was given to voltage variations because they had the room. They may have even designed the electrics for the highest voltage and shipped the fans with different motor plates for consumer confidence. The rewinding folks would better know the answer to that one.

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 Posted: Tue Oct 16th, 2018 05:03 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Well, like I said, I'll know definitively once I test it with my new Variac next week.

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 Posted: Thu Oct 18th, 2018 01:33 pm
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David Kilnapp
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My new (Chinese made) Variac arrived yesterday. It's an impressive machine, seemingly very well built and quite heavy. I plugged my 1910 centrifugal start Emerson into it. The motor tag says it was designed to run at 100 volts. At that voltage (according to the Variac) there was no perceptible difference in speeds. Ditto the 1900 Pancake. There was a small noticeable difference at 91 volts for the Emerson but none for the Pancake. Interesting results. I might look for a replacement speed coil for the Pancake if I can get one for less than $100 to see if that is where the issue lies though I love the fan for what it is. The two speeds are not all that important to me.

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 Posted: Thu Oct 18th, 2018 04:13 pm
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Steve Stephens
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David, you can do with your fans what they were meant to do; run.   Just put the speed lever in the high or fastest position and use your variac to dial in the speed you want a fan to run at making sure you don't go too much lower than the rated voltage and that the fan can still start itself if the power is cut.   I run some fans in the 92 volt region for quieter operation.

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 Posted: Thu Oct 18th, 2018 04:28 pm
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David Kilnapp
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Thanks Steve. I'll just run it as is. My fans are mostly just eye candy though last summer was so hot that many of my fans were running constantly.

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