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Dangerous Ceiling Fan?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Sunny, Dec 26, 2003.

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  1. Sunny

    Sunny Guest

    My wife bought herself a Hampton Bay ceiling fan at Home Depot for Xmas.
    My part of the gift (I soon learned) was to install it. This turned out
    to be a much bigger job than expected, and not just because the intended
    outlet box was mounted at a severe angle to the ceiling and did not look
    like it should be asked to support a heavy fan.

    After removing the poorly installed outlet box and installing a level,
    solid mount and new box, I proceeded to assemble and install the fan,
    being careful to set the remote control codes differently to avoid any
    interference with the existing Hampton Bay fan upstairs. It worked,
    although remote control of the built-in lights seemed a bit erratic.

    Two hours later during dinner, the lights flickered a couple of times
    and went out, and the fan stopped. New fan was dead.

    Today I reprogrammed the new remote to match the codes upstairs, that
    worked so it's not the remote, then partly disassembled the newly
    installed fan and bypassed the wireless receiver - fan and lights work.
    Just great, the receiver died but Home Depot is probably going to insist
    I return the whole fan for exchange.

    I figured I had little to loose if I could open the receiver without
    leaving evidence of having done so, and what I found inside was rather
    disconcerting - the whole board was a mass of dry solder joints. The
    reason for complete failure was a dry joint at one end of a large 27 ohm
    resistor, looks like about 5W, which had obviously sputtered and sparked
    before completely disconnecting itself. The pad and part of the trace
    were gone.

    The fan now works perfectly after I reflowed a couple of dozen solder
    joints and reconnected the resistor - but this is a mains-powered device
    without a transformer. The thing could easily have caught fire!

    I suppose I should complain to the retailer and whoever enforces
    electrical standards in Canada before one of these poorly assembled
    devices causes a fire or worse.

    Sunny
     
  2. Sofie

    Sofie Guest

    This is the way that China can win a war with the West.
    Try to buy something today that is not built in the Orient.
    --------------------------------\\
     
  3. Jerry G.

    Jerry G. Guest

    I have seen many such defects coming out of China in the low cost home
    products. They will manufacture the quality level demanded by the importer.
    This is nothing new. Probably in the assembly, the board missed the solder
    bath. It is too late for you to return it. You should have returned the fan
    and bought another make. It would be best to buy one that is under a North
    American company. It is well worth the few extra dollars. The item may still
    be made in China, but they would have put more emphasis in the inspection
    and testing of the product during assembly. There is an added cost for this.

    If you tell the store manager about what happened, he will probably politely
    nod his head, but will not have a clue to what you are really talking about,
    or not fully believe you. When you leave, he may even find this a bit
    confusing. These people have no technical clue most of the time.

    If you simply brought the thing to the return's counter for a full refund,
    and took your money, there would be less aggravation. Then you would be able
    to shop around for a good one that is American or Canadian designed, and
    built to North American standards.

    In the Orient there are many levels of quality assemblies being exported.
    They range from excellent to poor. The price of the item will usually be an
    indication of the quality level. I have seen some very sophisticated
    machine tooling, and medical instruments coming from there. The quality of
    these instruments were a very strong match to anything made elsewhere. The
    problem arises with the low cost consumer goods. The companies importing
    these goods are in too strong a competition with each other, and are trying
    to cut expenses in any possible way. During assembly having a more ridged
    testing and inspection will raise the price to a large degree. Therefore
    they take the gamble on the goods not being properly inspected and tested.

    --

    Greetings,

    Jerry G.
    =========================================


    My wife bought herself a Hampton Bay ceiling fan at Home Depot for Xmas.
    My part of the gift (I soon learned) was to install it. This turned out
    to be a much bigger job than expected, and not just because the intended
    outlet box was mounted at a severe angle to the ceiling and did not look
    like it should be asked to support a heavy fan.

    After removing the poorly installed outlet box and installing a level,
    solid mount and new box, I proceeded to assemble and install the fan,
    being careful to set the remote control codes differently to avoid any
    interference with the existing Hampton Bay fan upstairs. It worked,
    although remote control of the built-in lights seemed a bit erratic.

    Two hours later during dinner, the lights flickered a couple of times
    and went out, and the fan stopped. New fan was dead.

    Today I reprogrammed the new remote to match the codes upstairs, that
    worked so it's not the remote, then partly disassembled the newly
    installed fan and bypassed the wireless receiver - fan and lights work.
    Just great, the receiver died but Home Depot is probably going to insist
    I return the whole fan for exchange.

    I figured I had little to loose if I could open the receiver without
    leaving evidence of having done so, and what I found inside was rather
    disconcerting - the whole board was a mass of dry solder joints. The
    reason for complete failure was a dry joint at one end of a large 27 ohm
    resistor, looks like about 5W, which had obviously sputtered and sparked
    before completely disconnecting itself. The pad and part of the trace
    were gone.

    The fan now works perfectly after I reflowed a couple of dozen solder
    joints and reconnected the resistor - but this is a mains-powered device
    without a transformer. The thing could easily have caught fire!

    I suppose I should complain to the retailer and whoever enforces
    electrical standards in Canada before one of these poorly assembled
    devices causes a fire or worse.

    Sunny
     
  4. Sunny

    Sunny Guest

    Jerry, unfortunately that's the saddest part of the whole story.

    Hampton Bay ceiling fans are designed and manufactured in California
    exclusively for Home Depot. We paid the extra dollars for a North
    American product, and still received dangerously defective goods.

    Sunny
     
  5. Sunny

    Sunny Guest

    That's the sad part - Hampton Bay ceiling fans are designed and
    manufactured in California.

    Sunny
     
  6. Sunny

    Sunny Guest

    Jerry, unfortunately that's the saddest part of the whole story.

    Hampton Bay ceiling fans are designed and manufactured in California
    exclusively for Home Depot. We paid the extra dollars for a North
    American product, and still received dangerously defective goods.

    Sunny
     
  7. John Del

    John Del Guest

    Subject: Re: Dangerous Ceiling Fan?
    While I certainly don't know where they're designed, I can tell you that I went
    through every fan at Depot and Lowes looking for one that wasn't Chinese or
    Taiwanese. Every Hampton Bay was from Taiwan or China. Every one.

    John Del
    Wolcott, CT

    "I'm just trying to get into heaven, I'm not running for Jesus!"
    Homer Simpson

    (remove S for email reply)
     
  8. Rein Wiehler

    Rein Wiehler Guest

    if you got here in Canada it must have a UL sticker (Underwriters Lab,
    blue). If the sticker is missing returm the unit, too dangerous to
    handle. And in case of any fire the investigators will notce this and
    your house insurance is void.
     
  9. Yep... Even the Hunter fans are now made overseas. They used to be
    made here in the US until about a year ago, but not anymore.
     
  10. John Del

    John Del Guest

    Subject: Re: Dangerous Ceiling Fan?
    Actually, Hunter does make one here, but you won't find it at any depot type
    store. It's a huge cast iron reproduction of their 1920s era stuff. (I did a
    lot of research on this months ago). The problem is that it's very heavy and
    it wouldn't fit the decor of the game room I built. We settled on the Hampton
    Bay fans with the lifetime warranty, but theyr'e still made in Taiwan. I have 4
    fans made by Lasko when they still made ceiling fans, but they don't make them
    anymore. These US built fans are now 10 years old, and they run better than
    the new Hamptons we just bought.

    John Del
    Wolcott, CT

    "I'm just trying to get into heaven, I'm not running for Jesus!"
    Homer Simpson

    (remove S for email reply)
     
  11. Guest

    I have trouble believing that a lack of a UL sticker will void your
    insurance. Opps, sorry that sticker burned off that extension cord so
    we're refusing to pay for the house....

    UL ratings are BS nowadays anyway . Having a UL rating doesn't imply
    it's safe. For example, most powerstrip/surge supressors have a UL
    sticker, but the number on the sticker is for extension cords.

    -Chris
     
  12. That's because the powerstrip/surge supressor is an extension cord.
     
  13. Ken G.

    Ken G. Guest

    The circuit you found was inside the metal fan housing ?? i doubt it
    would be able to catch enough fire to burn outside the fan unless that
    modual was in the part against the ceiling where flames could reach wood
    ..

    Glad you got it fixed

    I have taken apart many of those screw in florescent bulbs . inside is a
    circuit board full of parts .
    I have seen several with burned to ashes parts inside blackening the
    whole innards of the base but never seen the outside plastic melted . I
    find no fuses inside these either .

    Scary .....
     
  14. Guest

    But, isn't there a UL test for surge supressors? I've even seen
    appliances with a UL label on the box and the number just means they
    tested the cord and not the appliance for safety.

    UL ratings have become worthless in my opinion. The poorly
    manufactured fan in this article is a prime example of why. The
    manufacturer sends a couple of units in for the rubber stamp and the
    production line quality is irrelevant.

    -Chris
     
  15. Sunny

    Sunny Guest

    The controller board is in a plastic casing, which is installed against
    the ceiling directly under the electrical outlet box.
     
  16. I will agree. I also think the UL ratings are worthless, and would
    never depend on them to tell me if a product is built safe or not.

    Besides, the UL gets swamped with so many products nowdays, how can they
    possibly test them all?
     
  17. Mike

    Mike Guest

    [screw in fluorescent bulbs]
    What, those Low-Energy lamps? We've had a few, different brands, that have
    expired with an impressive bang. On investigation :-

    1) The lamp is very hot
    2) The plastic casing is split open
    3) There's a smell like burnt toast or toffee, but not as pleasant
    4) The fuse for the circuit or lamp has gone

    They've got the appropriate CE/UL marks, but they still fail in an interesting
    way.

    Mike.
     
  18. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Can we make anything here anymore? Used to be just our cars sucked, now it
    seems like *everything* is made in China, if there's such low demand for
    domestically manufactured goods it won't be long before no one goes into
    manufacturing them, and all we'll be able to produce are lawyers.
     
  19. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    They use either a tiny fuse, or a fusible resistor, they are protected
    though. The vast majority of failures I've found have been shorted mylar
    capacitors and bad solder joints.
     
  20. Hi!
    Well it seems like we can...it's just that this country is making things you
    would really think might be made overseas. It's funny how many simple things
    like air fresheners or even drain grilles are still made here. That doesn't
    make any sense when you compare what we make here to what is made
    overseas...like DVD players, stereo systems, TV sets, etc...

    William
     
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