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Oh, my poor fan: you are lost to me! - Chronarchy

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May 2nd, 2007


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11:26 am - Oh, my poor fan: you are lost to me!
So I'm sitting in my office, and it's freakin' hot in here. I know there's nothing to be done about such a thing, so I set about turning on my fan.

Now, my fan has been working very poorly (to the point that most people would give up and call it "broken") for over a year. Do I care? Not a chance. Just because something is slow and takes a bit more effort to enjoy doesn't mean it's outlived its usefulness (says the guy who prefers his 8-bit NES to a Playstation 3).

So I go to turn on the fan. It's a normal, every day Boston 9" oscillating fan, the kind you see on everyone's desk. It would have been 10 years old this October, according to the sticker on the bottom.

Over the past five years I've worked here, the fan has developed what we'll call a "quirk" (a much more even term than "flaw"): it requires you to open up the cage and manually start the blades moving, because the motor doesn't have the ability to start the blades on its own. I have always thought about this as if I were preparing an old bi-plane for takeoff. I just needed one of those silly hats with the goggles that Beryl Markham and Amelia Earhart used to wear, and I could shout, "Contact!" when the blades caught and the fan began to turn on its own.

I totally need one of those hats. But that's off-topic.

Anyway, today, I decided to see if I could do anything to improve the fan's condition, because, honestly, it was making some weird noises and having trouble turning. And if you can't show a little love to your appliances, you might as well find another line of work.

So, I unplugged the fan, snagged my screwdriver, and began taking it apart. Really, there was only one screw to remove to get to the motor, and I was in.

I glanced over the motor, and said to myself, "Well, first things first: clean it and see if it works!" So I got out my compressed air and went to town on the motor, blowing all sorts of dirt and dust around.

"Well, that might do it," I said to myself, the usual optomism of someone who doesn't know a thing about maintenance creeping into my voice. "Let's give it a shot."

So, the plug goes back in, and I hit the button. It turns! I smiled at it, noting that it wasn't turning quickly (though it was moving faster than other initial startups over the past year), and wondered if I should go deeper this time.

"FFFp!" it shouted at me, a bright blue flame shooting from the center straight toward the ceiling.

And then all that was left was the sickening smell of a dead appliance.

I guess it showed me what a little love is worth!
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: hothot
Current Music: "Barometer Soup", -JB

(9 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:road_trip_judi
Date:May 2nd, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
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I'd trade your hot workplace for my overcooled one anyday.
From:snakesinspace
Date:May 2nd, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
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So it would seem it is not only the women (and some men) that you make (literally) hot and bothered.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:May 2nd, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
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Remind me to never let you touch one of my fans... :)

However, ya probably should watch who you tell this story to; I can imagine a sight-visit from OSHA about untrained personnel working with electrical components... all the "you could of...", not to mention the fact that you ruined University owned property... :)
[User Picture]
From:qorinda
Date:May 2nd, 2007 07:56 pm (UTC)
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Maybe you just needed to help it move on.....
[User Picture]
From:dqg_neal
Date:May 2nd, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
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That reminds me of an old car I had. Finally took the thing in for an oil change and it leaked forever after. Apparently in the process of cleaning it out, they removed the gunk that had been sealing a break in the seal for a long time. So you removed the gunk that had stopped it from shorting out. Fun, isn't it?

Or maybe better.. think of those original weird noises as the little pet fan saying, i really need a hug, I'm not going to make it. Your giving it the little cleaning was the bit when it realized you were finally paying attention. And that neat flame to the ceiling? Well, it figured it oughta give you a spectular going away present because you were so nice too it. All things in perspective!!!

I'm so glad whenever my office decides that it wants to keep our room at 85 degrees, I can just open the door behind me to the server room and get a blast of 62 degree air.


[User Picture]
From:smithing_chick
Date:May 2nd, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
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a bright blue flame shooting from the center straight toward the ceiling

That would have been damn cool to see.

I'm a bit jealous, as I'm currently lacking in the flame department. My tanks are out of gas & I can't get to the welding supply place to get them filled. :-P
[User Picture]
From:romandruid
Date:May 2nd, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Ah well, thank you for doing this. I have an oscillating fan that has had similar difficulties, and I was just contemplating a similar operation. Instead, I think I will put it in tomorrow's trash.

See how you're SO not safe to stand near when there's electricity involved?
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:May 3rd, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
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But you could be missing out on a bright blue flame!
[User Picture]
From:romandruid
Date:May 3rd, 2007 10:11 am (UTC)
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That's the idea. :)

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