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Small Household Appliances/Capacitor in 3-Speed Table Fan


I have a small table fan with a three-speed switch which has recently stopped working.  I have taken it apart and cleaned it, then reassembled it.  Everything looks serviceable.  I did some redimentary diagnostics on the capicitor, and I believe it is bad.  I believe the cap provides a 'kick' to initially get the fan going.  If that it correct, can I remove the cap from the circuit and connect the two wires going to it, and then manually spin the blade to get it going?  Seems this would let me know if the rest of the fan is working, and then I would invest the few dollars to replace the cap.  (It's a 2 MF, 250 VAC cap...small black square about half the size of a book of matches)  Thanks for your help.

Any capacitor stores electricity and there should be no direct connection between the two leads on the capacitor.  If you do get a direct reading through the capacitor it is probably bad and should be replaced.  If you connect an ohm meter to the two leads, the needle may jump slightly and return to 0.  That means that the capacitor is good and is charging.  If you touch the leads together, it will discharge the capacitor.  If you have a Radio Shack in your area you may try them for a replacement or go on line to any of the electronic supply sites.  You may find that it is cheaper to buy a new fan than to replace the capacitor because of the postage.  If the capacitor tests good, you probably have some broken windings in the motor.

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Wayne Kiefer


Any concerning the repair of small electric household appliances (coffee makers, waffle makers,etc.) shavers, antique clocks, air compressors, lamps, generators.


High school Industrial Arts teacher. Plant manager at Trek Bicycle factory. Self employed for last 20 years in the small appliance repair business.

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