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wped2000

05:04PM | 06/07/05
Member Since: 06/06/05
3 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
We are finally getting around to installing ceiling fans on our front porch. We just realized the electrician that built our house wired the two ceiling fan boxes off a single switch (one ceiling fan box is wired to the other). We don't mind both ceiling fans being controlled off the same switch (where both fans will always be on or off), but we would like to know if this is an acceptable configuration? Is it safe? Ok with code?

The second question is that we would like to install a fan motor control switch rather than using a traditional on/off wall switch. Most of these fan control switches are rated at 1.3 to 1.6 amps. Will this be ok to use with two ceiling fans being wired to the same switch? We are concerned the two fans will draw to much current for a single fan motor switch.

Note that we will not be installing lights on these fans. So we are only looking to control the fan speed. Thanks in advance.


tshea1

05:23PM | 06/07/05
Member Since: 05/03/05
79 lifetime posts
Two fans on 1 switch is ok.

As for the motor speed controller, there is a 5 amp rheostat available. I will try to get a part number and post again.

bink

09:08PM | 06/07/05
Member Since: 01/18/99
47 lifetime posts
I calculate that both fans(w/o light) draw approximately 1.7 amps.

Let us know how it works out.

wped2000

04:50AM | 06/08/05
Member Since: 06/06/05
3 lifetime posts
The highest rated ceiling fan control that I have been able to find is 1.6 amps.

Will the rheostat work the same way as the ceiling fan control? Is it the same thing? My understanding is a ceiling fan control provides full power as soon as the switch control is moved out of the off position. Therefore allowing full power to start the fan motor. Opposite behavior of dimmer switches for lights.

Billhart

08:05AM | 06/08/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
A rheostat would be bad choice. The main feature of a rheostat would be to generate lots of heat at the controls.

However, finding an appropriate rheostat would be hard to find.

A rheostat is just an adjustable resistor that is in series with the load and has to disapate a large amount of power depending on the load and setting of the rheostat.

Variable speed controls for fans either have several discrete steps and use a capacitors or continously variable and are similar in design to light dimmers.

The later are often mis called as rheostats, but actually use electronic switch (Triacs) which control the turn of of the power 120 times a second.

And the power lost in the electric switch is very small compared with a rheostat.

Those designed for fan control are very similar to light dimmers, but have special features such as minimum settings and they are designed to work with the characteristics of a motor.

Here are some that can handle multiple fans.

http://www.buychoice.com/prodDetail.cfm/29762,%2322394%20Multiple%20Fan%20Speed%20Control,MX0

http://www.formplusfunction.com/2478.htm

http://www.lutron.com/skylark/default.asp#fanspeed

http://www.lutron.com/rotary/Default.asp#fanspeed

You will probably need to go to an electrical supply house or Lighting specialty store for these.


househelper

09:03AM | 06/08/05
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
Be aware that most controllers that are rated for multiple fans will cause hum at the lower speeds.

wped2000

10:07AM | 06/08/05
Member Since: 06/06/05
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for all the helpful replies. I will give one of the listed multi-fan controllers a try.


tshea1

11:30AM | 06/08/05
Member Since: 05/03/05
79 lifetime posts
Sorry bad choice of words. Meant to say controller. The lutron site has a nice selection of devices.
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