How do I revive my Patton P-20SW?
July 29, 2012 11:43 AM   Subscribe

How do I revive my beloved Patton P-20SW? I tried to turn it on today and there was a spark and smoke then no response. Any ideas?

This is the only link to it I can find on the internet. It's a wonderful fan that has been wonderful to me for the last three years since I acquired it.

I'm fairly electrically and mechanically inclined so I wouldn't mind taking a look at its guts. I just don't know what the wiring is supposed to be like in the poor guy or whatnot.

Thank you very much.
posted by lizarrd to Technology (12 answers total)
I'm not particularly electrically inclined, and I would just open up something like that and take a looksee for scorch marks and stuff. Fans are nearly toaster-level in complexity, I can't imagine it'd be very hard.
posted by rhizome at 12:09 PM on July 29, 2012

For anybody who didn't click the link, the Patton P-20SW is a pedestal-mounted industrial air circulation fan.

It would help to know whether or not it had been giving any signs that something was wrong, and where the spark/smoke came from. Depending on what went wrong, there's a good chance with an industrial fan like that that all the switches and motors and such are fairly standard parts and that you could just swap them out with an appropriate replacement. A fan is a fairly simple electrical device. Whether or not it would be cost-effective to do so depends on the part, but for a $140 fan that is otherwise a quality piece of equipment, it might be worthwhile.
posted by Scientist at 12:10 PM on July 29, 2012

Also, if you do go poking around, be careful. There's unlikely to be anything in the fan that will bite you as long as it's not plugged in, but there's always the chance that when you put it back together and try it out it might catch fire or something, if you do something wrong. Standard disclaimers apply.
posted by Scientist at 12:13 PM on July 29, 2012

Response by poster: Yeah, that is what I was thinking. The spark seemed to have come from the upper part of the motor. I haven't had a chance to take it apart and look inside. It has been occasionally sluggish to start but otherwise has had no problems operating as usual, though there are some times I thought it was operating less than what I remembered it's optimal speed to be, although I just chalked that up to the heat.
posted by lizarrd at 12:15 PM on July 29, 2012

Response by poster: I'll keep a fire extinguisher handy if I do, that much I promise you. I also found this:

and I found my Control No. but I suck at reading these damn things:
P-20SW 303 0121
if anyone can help decipher that I might not need to poke around in there.
posted by lizarrd at 12:17 PM on July 29, 2012

sounds like a motor coil has gone kaput (the wire that's wrapped around and around is usually covered in a shellac that tends to melt when it overheats, shorting it to the next loop of coil, shortening the electrical path, which causes it to's what makes the ballast on a flourescent light fixture smoke and ooze goo before going out...this happened a few times in school, growing up, don't know if you've witnessed that before :/ ) need to have the motor replaced...though you can probably find a nearly exact match (in wattage/amps/whatever), it's a crap shoot whether or not it will fit in the fan the mfg and see if they dont sell a replacement part...prob more expensive, but guaranteed to fit.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:20 PM on July 29, 2012

change 'sounds like' to 'definitely'...'sluggish to start' and 'operating less than optimal speed' = blown motor coil. (you can't replace just the motor is in order)
posted by sexyrobot at 12:24 PM on July 29, 2012

How easy is it to turn the fan by hand? If you spin it, does it coast around for several revolutions or does it quickly stall? The fact that it's been starting and turning slowly suggests the bearings may have gotten gummed up, which could easily toast the motor as sexyrobot suggests. There's no way to fix such a failure yourself; when this happens, it's new motor time. In the future when a fan is slowing down like that, it's time to get out the oil can.
posted by jon1270 at 12:26 PM on July 29, 2012

Locate the site of the spark and smoke. There will be signs of heating.
Once you're looking at the right place, try to figure out what happened,
as the failed assembly will give you more clues about what is wrong.

What did the smoke smell like? Plastic-y or more like burnt hair?

Look for debris that has fallen into the commutator. If a piece of slightly
conductive or slightly wet debris (a bug, for example) gets between the
brushes and the commutator, it conducts, heats, burns. Clean it out if you
find it.

Unplug it, give the blade a push, and then plug it back in again, to clear
non-conductive debris, and maybe get it going again.

Failing in the above pursuits, I casually locate and inspect the brushes.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:27 PM on July 29, 2012

Response by poster: Arghs, oh well, I love this fan quite a bit, I'll see what I can do. Thank you very much though.
posted by lizarrd at 12:27 PM on July 29, 2012

Yup, agreeing with sexyrobot that you have blown a coil and you need a new motor. Coils are not repairable or replaceable, but motors are. I bet if you remove the motor and look at it there will be a label on the side with its specifications and probably its model number. That is the information I would use to search for a suitable replacement part. You might find one at your local electrical/electronics surplus store, at a junk shop, on eBay, via the manufacturer (might be best to call them rather than just use their website), or through an industrial parts supplier such as Grainger or McMaster-Carr.

Good luck!
posted by Scientist at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2012

For what it's worth, it is possible to have a motor rewound, but for a fan motor, AIUI, it's cheaper and easier to get a replacement motor. (For larger motors it can be worthwhile to get them rewound.)

Also, as jon1270 says, if the bearings are gummed up you'll want a new motor and new/degummed bearings, or else you'll quickly burn out the new motor too.
posted by hattifattener at 12:46 PM on July 29, 2012

« Older greater west london by the airport?   |   Ooki no kuri no ki no shita de... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.