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Casablanca Ceiling Fan

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Bob Shuman, Sep 5, 2006.

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  1. Bob Shuman

    Bob Shuman Guest

    I just repaired a 20-year old electronic Casablanca ceiling fan (cold solder
    on the control board in the fan causing intermittent to the light) and
    wondered if someone could provide some insight into how it worked.

    The fan runs on standard 120VAC (US), but only used two wires: a white
    neutral and a colored switch leg. The switched leg ran to a three button
    Casablanca wall mounted controller. The controller only had two wires: a
    black hot and the other "switched leg" to the fan. The three controller
    buttons are: 1) two position master power on/ff, 2) momentary contact fan
    (depressing each time steps the fan through increasing speed settings), and
    3) momentary contact light (which similarly steps the brightness up to the
    light fixture at the base of the fan. Pressing the two momentary switches
    simultaneously reverses the fan direction.

    It appears that the wall controller must send the control signals over the
    switched leg wire. Can someone provide insight into what is inside the
    controller that is used and how they distinguish between the fan and light?
    I am assuming it is a fairly simple device, but wonder how it is done since
    there is no neutral wire provided to the wall controller to support an
    "active" transmitter circuit.

    Thanks in advance for insight. The device is working fine, but I'm curious
    and would like to better understand the technology being employed.

    Bob
     
  2. Bob Shuman

    Bob Shuman Guest

    I've seen no replies to this message from 9/5 so am re-posting it in hopes
    someone in the newsgroup can venture a guess on how this fan/light control
    circuit works given only two wires to both the fan and 3-button
    controller...

    I've given it a little more thought and come to the conclusion that the
    return signal path may be through the steel screws connecting the fan and
    switch controller to the mounting boxes via earth ground. I still have no
    idea of what is inside the controller unit since it is "sealed", but the
    "receiver" inside the fan has two circuit boards with several transistors,
    diodes, caps, triacs, etc.

    Bob
     
  3. That would be a code violation. I suspect it uses a carrier system - similar
    to X-10 perhaps?
     
  4. Hi,

    Better late than never. I just took mine apart. Same control (three
    switches as you described). There are basic active components in the
    control. I assume when the fan and light are off there is still voltage
    across the control's terminals (assuming the main switch is on). That's the
    power source for the control. Also I'm reminded of a tv in standby or
    "off" as long as it is still plugged in. There must be a leg parallel to the
    fan motor and light(s) -the main load- that keeps the control circuitry
    alive. The black w/ stripe wire between the fan and control is not really a
    hot leg of the mains, but part of the control circuitry, such that the wall
    control is an extension of the control circuit in the main unit (so much for
    overstating the obvious). The main component in the wall control appears to
    be a triac in series with the load, but I suspect it is only used to
    temporarily "modulate" the line voltage as a means of communicating with the
    rest of the control circuitry in the fan housing. It's not sophisticated and
    appears to only encode switch position logic by way of modifying the duty
    cycle of the main power (slightly? - I didn't scope it) - only while the
    momentary buttons are being depressed. There is a very limited number of
    functions in this simple control and almost half of them are merely created
    by a delayed hold on the momentary switch which does not require anything
    additional in the wall control to convey. I could bore you with more
    speculation but.....it's old technology. The new stuff all uses RF for this
    multifunction type of fan/light control. They add a few more functions as
    well, which is nice. BTW you can purchase a conversion kit to upgrade to the
    new controls. No-I'm not advertising here and not affiliated. This level of
    control is what Casablanca calls inteli-touch (now and back then) and it
    would seem that they require their specific top end motor to use (like you
    have). I just happen to have one of these old ones and got my upgrade
    information from browsing the web (outside of the insight I may or may not
    have into how they work). I will assume X10 is a little more complicated
    (and costs more) as per the other response to your question. I don't know if
    I will be upgrading my controls because the motor bearings are shot, the
    main control power device shows signs of overheating, and one of the
    momentary switches on the control isn't momentary any more. In 1984 they did
    not have a lifetime warranty on the top motor. That started in 87 or so. So
    basically everything but the housing/hardware, fan blades and light fixture
    needs replaced. But it's the "20th Century" model/design which I can't see
    being made anymore. The housing has very detailed castings with a lot of
    what I suppose is called filigree all around, top, and bottom. I suppose
    it's worth it . Flat rate is at 140 for the repair but I don't think that
    will include the conversion which will be needed. Oh yeah I had to do the
    light control solder joint repair a while back too.

    Scott
     
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