Why do fans turn on first at high speed

Discussion in 'Community' started by bbarnhart, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. bbarnhart macrumors 6502a

    bbarnhart

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2002
    Location:
    Stilwell, Kansas
    #1
    I have several fans (box fans, oscillating fans, ceiling fans) and they all turn on first at high speed. The next setting is medium and the next is low. Why do they turn on at high speed first? I would think that they would turn on to low at first and then to medium and then high. Why is that?
     
  2. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #2
    You want to make sure that any pets, rodents, bugs, fingers, kids, etc. are well puréed before turning the appliance down.

    If you started with a lower setting you might give them a change to get away.

    Couldn't have anything to do with it being easier to start an electric motor turning with the higher power -- and some of those electric motors do tend do make the lights dim when started.
     
  3. neut macrumors 68000

    neut

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2001
    Location:
    here (for now)
    #3
    shouldn't it be, 'Why do fans turn on high speed first?'

    Sun Baked Makes a good point, but is the original statement even true?

    ?


    peace.
     
  4. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #4
    actually i've been curious about this too, why all fan dials seem to go "low-med-high-off"... i'm not sure about that whole "needs high power to start" concept, because if you turn it to low quickly, it still starts fine.

    If nobody knows, we'll have to ask The Straight Dope...

    paul
     
  5. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #5
    Perhaps that is the way someone made it at first and everyone just eventually followed and it became the norm.
     
  6. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Location:
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    #6
    Just re-wire it like Tim Allen would do.
    By the way, who does make the quietest fans anyway?
    I once had a Sanyo fan and the blades were pretty well designed so that you could turn it on high and it'd still be quiet.
    These fans today sound like a cars' coolant fan when they turn on.

    Why can't Apple design a fan? I can't afford the utility bills for A/C all the time.
     
  7. Mudbug Administrator emeritus

    Mudbug

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Location:
    North Central Colorado
    #7
    What - the 35 of them inside the box of a G5 aren't enough for you? :D
     
  8. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #8
    ive been wondering about this too...

    maybe its a conspiracy with the electric companies to try and get you to use more power
     
  9. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    Yeah, every fan I've ever seen works like this too. I actually find it really annoying b/c I almost always use the lowest speed. High is way too loud for me. It just seems like it would make so much more sense for it to go off-low-med-high.
     
  10. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #10
    Hmm, perhaps it's because "high" is the most dangerous setting, so they want it one click away from the safety of "off"? Not the most logical, but just enough to make me think...

    Now that i know other people are wondering, it's starting to really bother me! hehe

    paul
     
  11. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #11
    My only guess - aside from it possibly being the fault of Windows, which I can't prove - is that is is because "High" is full-voltage, and so requires no additional circuitry (straight feed of line voltage to the motor), whereas "Med" and "Lo" require reducing the voltage and/or current and therefore require additional circuitry.

    Seems like a dumb reason, though. Undoubtedly, it's still that way because it's always been that way, not because it has to be that way.
     
  12. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #12
    okay, i emailed Cecil Adams this afternoon, and within four hours their staff had replied:

     
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #13
    Well, I guess that makes sense, but... in an emergency, I'm guessing you'd be just as likely to turn the control the wrong way. And it doesn't explain ceiling fans.

    But it makes as much sense as anything else.
     
  14. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    #14
    That make a lot of sense Paul, thank you for getting the information. The main goal is to be safe than sorry.
     
  15. Frohickey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2003
    Location:
    PRK
    #15
    I dunno. That answer about high being the more dangerous speed and it needs to be close to the off position sounds bogus to me.

    I think that since a fan is a mechanical device, and fan blades have inertia, its best to go from the off position to the high position in order to overcome the inertia as fast as possible, in order to get it it spinning. If you go from off to low, you might not get the fan to spin, especially if it gets older. Gotta fight inertia, and friction.

    If they want to be safe, wouldn't they just put an off position in between each position, so you can go from high to off, medium to off, and low to off? That would be the safe thing, but the switch might cost extra since its now a 7 position switch instead of a 4 position.

    Also, if its a safety thing, they could have a 4 position switch that lets you go off-high-medium-low, and back to off, without going backwards on the switch.
     
  16. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    #17
    heres my thoughts on why this happens... most people just crank the knob over... and most times people want the fan on low anyhow to circulate air.

    so put low on the far end for people who just cant seem to turn a knob delicatly...

    Just my thoughts..
     
  17. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #18
    Even if you turn it from "hi" to "medium" or "low" it's better than needing to turn it off and turning it onto "hi".


    Lethal
     
  18. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #19
    There are three fans in this house. Two of them go Off-High-Med-Low. The other one, which I think is most sensible, has a dial that you can spin round and round and round - so you turn it one way for high and the other way for low, or two clicks in either direction for medium.

    But yeah, I have wondered about it!
     
  19. bbarnhart thread starter macrumors 6502a

    bbarnhart

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2002
    Location:
    Stilwell, Kansas
    #20
    I'm going to call the Hunter fan company today and see if they can answer this question.
     
  20. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #21
    why? i'll tell ya why.. because the kids need new shoes!
     

Share This Page