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# Ceiling Fan Speed Sensor

Is it on medium or low?
 (+8, -2) [vote for, against]

When I want to turn the 3-speed ceiling fan off, I have to pull the chain some number of times - but how many? Is it on medium and needs two pulls, or on low and just needs one?

With the appropriately spaced markings on the base under the blades matching the frequency of the spin, or a Moire pattern or something, it should be possible to make different speeds show different colors. Then I don't have to stand and wait to see if it's stopping, or just slowing down to low.

 — snoyes, Nov 27 2008

...
 — apnea, Nov 28 2008

 Why not use a strobe light ?

 Many ceiling fans have a light fitting below the motor annulus. It would be simple to put a strobe light on the upper side of the light fitting, so that it plays onto the blades; this would have the effect of making the blades appear to be stationary whatver their speed, as the flashes are triggered by a sensor on the motor analagous to a magneto on an engine (a magneto could actually be used).

Thus, when the fan is operating, the blades "aren't" moving; when the power is off, the strobe stops, thus when the blades apparently start to move, you know it's off.
 — 8th of 7, Nov 29 2008

Why no simply reach up with your pre-calibrated carrot on a stick and look at the blade impact readings? [+]
 — xenzag, Nov 29 2008

If you can't tell whether the fan is on medium or low speed, then what is the point of its having medium and low speeds?
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 29 2008

Keep pulling the chain until the blades pick up speed again. Then you know it's on high, and requires three more pulls.
 — nick_n_uit, Nov 30 2008

your pre-calibrated carrot on a stick [marked-for-tagline]
 — gnomethang, Dec 01 2008

//[MB] If you can't tell whether the fan is on medium or low speed, then what is the point of its having medium and low speeds// - If a ceiling fan falls in the woods does it make a noise?
 — hippo, Dec 02 2008

just have 3 different colored LEDs indicate different speeds. Obviously, if none of the LEDs are on, the fan is switched off.g
 — kamathln, Dec 02 2008

 Make it a two-stage pull switch. Short pull = index power setting. Long pull = turn off/on.

This is easily done with a mechanical switch arrangement, but could definitely be improved with carrot-onna-stick callibration.
 — Custardguts, Dec 02 2008

 Over-engineering is such fun isn't it.

2 thoughts: Create a fan with 3 little lights on the base around the pull cord. 3 lights on - top speed. 2 lights - medium. 1 light - low. All off is, well, off. No brainer. Thought #2. Change out the on/off wall switch for a Dimmer Switch. Adjust the speed as incrementally as you like.
 — MauiChuck, Dec 03 2008

We need these for 3-way light bulbs too. I always get greedy and turn the switch for more light; then it turns off.
 — phundug, Apr 12 2009

[phundug] You bought one of those 'morality lesson' lightswitches - they'll teach you a brief moralistic lesson when they detect any contravention of their ethical and moral code (e.g. Greed, Lust, Sloth, etc.).
 — hippo, Apr 12 2009

patience between pulls is such a problem.
 — wjt, Apr 12 2009

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