Synchronizing ceiling fans

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by jpanhalt, May 7, 2010.

  1. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter Expert

    Jan 18, 2008
    I have a high ceiling (22'-6") that has two, 4-blade ceiling fans. They are slightly out of synchronization. It is a real chore to get up there to mess with them. Ideally, it would be nice to have them synchronized for both speed and, ideally, phase. Currently, they are out of sync enough to make a noticeable and annoying beat.

    Has anyone seen remote controllers that can be retro'ed to older fans? I am thinking of some sort of SCR-based phase control.


  2. Jaguarjoe

    Active Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Run one of the fans faster or slower enough to get the beat frequency higher than you can notice.
  3. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    Is it turbulence that you are hearing?

    You could also consider reversing one. That can give a nice circulation.

    Are you thinking about replacing the wall switch with the control you have in mind?
  4. SgtWookie


    Jul 17, 2007
    During WWII in the Pacific, the Japanese would send bombers at night to circle over American occupied airfields, their engines deliberately out of synchronization, and occasionally drop bombs to prevent our Marines and Soldiers from sleeping all night; increasing their levels of fatigue.

    The troops called these Japanese bombers "Washing Machine Charlie".

    I'm sure it's annoying as heck.

    At my folks' place, they had ceiling fans with SCR/TRIAC controls. The doggone things were noisy as the dickens unless you had them going full blast.

    Don't have a good solution for you offhand, John. Only thing I can think of is having one fan act as a master, and slave the control of the 2nd fan to the speed of the master.
  5. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter Expert

    Jan 18, 2008
    Your WWII story is interesting. I had not heard it before (my dad was AAF on Guam).

    Eventually, I might need a master-slave setup, but I was thinking initially, I could probably keep them in sync manually. Unfortunately, they are wired to the same wall switch, and without pulling more wires, I am probably stuck looking for a remote control that can be retrofitted to each fan. Has anyone seen such add-on devices?

    I should also add that this is a new house for me, and last week was the first time it was warm enough to want the fans on. The fans are multi-pole synchronous motors, and I was a little surprised they were so out of sync. I have not ruled out that there may be a problem with one of them. This question is basically brainstorming a "what if" scenario.

  6. eblc1388

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 28, 2008
    Couple the two rotors via an elastic belt?