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What happens when an AC powered floor-fan dies?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by StupidFella, Jun 10, 2014.

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  1. StupidFella

    StupidFella

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    Jun 10, 2014
    Hi everybody, this is my first thread in the world of electronics ever, and I am so happy that such a place as https://www.electronicspoint.com/ exists on the web.
    Because I don't know the simplest facts about electronics (I am an English Literature graduate) excuse me if I am making too many mistakes.

    So here is the problem: Simply put, I had a floor fan like this one:

    [​IMG]
    In my room, connected to the same AC outlet as my PC(there is only one in the room), and it was turned on, and when I was leaving the room I forgot to turn it off, and since my PC was doing some downloading I had it also turned on. After a few hours when I came back, I smelled a very bad smell in the room, and I noticed that the fan wasn't working anymore. now my questions are:
    1- What usually happens when an AC fan like that dies? Does the dieing process takes some time, or it happens instantly? could it cause some irregular voltage or current on the 220V AC outlet? could it have been shortcircuited?
    2- How much do you think it is possible that this whole situation could have hurt my PC hardware? like the Hard drives, or the power supply? or even the mother board? Is it even possible? and if something happened, is it even possible for me to determine it at this point?

    Thank you guys for helping me previously.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2014
  2. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Hi there and welcome to Electronics Point :)

    I like your quote. But I don't like your username. You don't sound like a stupid fella to me.

    I think it's fair to assume that your fan overheated. This could have happened because the lubrication dried out, or for other reasons. I have little experience with AC motors so I can't be more specific. But overheating would have caused the smell. If it was a safety-standards-compliant fan it should have had an overtemperature cutout, to prevent fire. If not, something has broken the circuit in the fan - possibly an overheated wire has gone open circuit, like a blown fuse.

    In any case I think it's very unlikely that any damage has been done to your computer. You can check the hard drive though, if you're worried. All operating systems have ways to do this, but I only know the way to do it on Windows: open a My Computer window, right-click on the hard drive's drive letter and select Properties, select the Tools tab and click the button for "check for errors". If you're running a different OS, do a Google search on "check hard drive for errors" (without the quotes) along with the name of your operating system.
     
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  3. StupidFella

    StupidFella

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    Jun 10, 2014
    Thank you for that, but I am that kind of a person who doesn't like to escape the reality, and that being the fact that in electronics, I don't know anything, only that it is could be dangerous.

    Well, the PC is operating normally at the moment, and voltages seem to be in their standard range. I am a Linux (debian) user, and disk utility, reports that the smart data of the hard drives are fine.

    Thank you so much for the info dear KrisBlueNZ, I really appreciate it.

    PS, I forgot to tell you that I am only worried about the events that happened when I was not home, also what worried me more, is the fact that a family member told me that the lights were gone (less light kind of situation) for like a split of a second.
     
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  4. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Well, that's the most important thing to know about it!
    OK. I very much doubt that there's any problem at all.
    You're welcome my friend :)
     
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  5. Rleo6965

    Rleo6965

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    Jan 22, 2012
    Household fan bushing should lubricated every 3 months. Use engine oil or sewing machine oil. You can use WD40 to removed dried and dirty oil. But still need oil for lubrication. WD40 will only last a week and dried up.
     
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  6. dude

    dude

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    Apr 15, 2014
    WD40 is not really a lubricant, its a water displacer, it will thin out any oil present and a bad idea to use for lubrication purposes on bearings. I have several cans of it I bought years ago and I can't find any use for them for anything, I should just throw them out. I have long since replaced their use with Inox which is also great to get grime off your hands with. I agree with Kris and Rleo on the major cause of fan motor failure being lubricant failure leading to overheating. I do sometimes relubricate ceiling fans when they get slow and hard to start but only for a temporary fix as the problem soon returns and I don't fancy setting my house on fire, ceiling fans being a major cause of them. Fans made years ago ran forever and the biggest mistake you can make is to "upgrade" them if they are still going which they most likely will be.
     
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  7. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    Considering the symptoms of the fan itself, I would think any thermal cut-off protection would not have done it's job (if it had any).
    You probably burned through the laquer on the motor windings, shorting them at some point. I'd discard the fan.
    Even if the possible thermal protection kicked-in, the smell would indicate damage that can only get worse with additionl use/heat.
     
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  8. StupidFella

    StupidFella

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    Jun 10, 2014
    Thank you guys, you have give me a huge stack of valuable information, and I will lubricate my new fan every month from now on. But I still kind of need to know what happened when the fan failed to work? I mean could it have hurt my PC?
     
  9. dude

    dude

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    Apr 15, 2014
    Like shrtrnd said, you're far better off being safe and replacing the fan. If it did damage your PC, which I would find highly unlikely, you would probably already know about it.
     
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  10. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    Yeah, it's like KrisBlueNZ and dude said. It's improbable your PC took a hit from this. Most of them are designed to withstand small voltages spikes, if it ever even saw one.
    I'm sure the flickering lights in your dwelling excited whoever saw it happen, but your PC was unimpressed.
    If this type of thing concerns you, buy an additional Current Surge Protector Outlet Strip for your PC & peripherals. It'll provide you extra protection and peace of mind.
     
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  11. StupidFella

    StupidFella

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    Jun 10, 2014
    You guys are awesome, thanks a million.

    Thank you for the suggestion, I think I might have to do that anyways.
     
  12. Rleo6965

    Rleo6965

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    Jan 22, 2012
    PC have some small fans for ventilation of its critical components and no need for household fan. We only used household fan. When using our PC because we can't withstand 37° C here in Philippines.

    Your concern therefore was to see that all your PC fans were working properly and cpu heatsink was not obstructed.
     
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