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Remote Control Ceiling Fans and Lightning


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I have lost 2 remote control ceiling fans in separate incidents after nearby lightning strikes.  Hear a loud "pop" and no smell of anything burning but does not work after.  The first time the main breaker kicked, the second time breaker did not kick.  Nothing else in the house was affected.  The ceiling fan is bolted to a metal beam.  Why is it only the ceiling fans that gets zapped and nothing else?  

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Know what you mean. Whilst I have no technical knowledge to be able to answer your question I did have it happen to me many years ago in a house in Bangkok.  When I investigated why it was not working I found that the fan did have a 3 wire system but rather than the earth wire being connected to an earthing circuit ( which the house didn't have ) it was just fixed by a screw into one of the steel joists. Now whether the house took a strike and that was what caused that fan to fail possibly popping the circuit board of the fan and the IR receiver part of it I don't know. 

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Voltage spikes and highly ionized air can/will take out sensitive components.  When unlucky to have nearby strike, there's nothing you could have done to prevent damage.

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53 minutes ago, HarrySeaman said:

And this is just one more reason why I don't want a bunch of remote controlled lights and fans.  A simple wall switch or pull chain switch works fine, will likely outlast the light or fan, and doesn't require batteries.

Think I am going to try one wired to the wall switch, no remote.  If that one gets zapped will just get a floor fan. 

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7 hours ago, bankruatsteve said:

Voltage spikes and highly ionized air can/will take out sensitive components.  When unlucky to have nearby strike, there's nothing you could have done to prevent damage.

Yes, a voltage surge is the most likely cause. I lost 2 electric shower units that way then I put in a breaker adjacent to the shower, the one the builder fitted is in the consumer unit. I noticed it the second time, the surge was not weather related, just a normal afternoon and I heard the fans speed up and return to normal. that evening the shower did not work.

I have 2 remote controlled fans with integral lights that have a power switch on the wall but have to say seldom switch it off. They are a pain when the power goes off, when the power comes back on, it's the lights that come on, not the fans.

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8 hours ago, Saraburi121 said:

The ceiling fan is bolted to a metal beam.

Which is probably bolted to framework supporting (and connected to) a metal roof, or as the lightning caused static charge in the air would see it, a giant antenna.

The lightning strikes within the local area could charge up the roof/house frame to many thousands of volts.

Sensitive electronic equipment like remotes (senders and receivers) usually only run on 3 volts or 1.5 volts.

With a charge of many thousand volt within close proximity to sensitive circuitry there's always the risk of if being fried.! With cheap Chinese electronic circuitry, double the risk.

Nb: When electrical storms are in the area remove the TV antenna from the wide screen TV as the antennas also attracts this static charge and can fry them too.!

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2 hours ago, HarrySeaman said:

And this is just one more reason why I don't want a bunch of remote controlled lights and fans.  A simple wall switch or pull chain switch works fine, will likely outlast the light or fan, and doesn't require batteries.

So you're the cheap Charlie the girl mentioned the other day.  555555. Just joking😂 

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1 minute ago, millymoopoo said:

Which is probably bolted to framework supporting (and connected to) a metal roof, or as the lightning caused static charge in the air would see it, a giant antenna.

The lightning strikes within the local area could charge up the roof/house frame to many thousands of volts.

Sensitive electronic equipment like remotes (senders and receivers) usually only run on 3 volts or 1.5 volts.

With a charge of many thousand volt within close proximity to sensitive circuitry there's always the risk of if being fried.! With cheap Chinese electronic circuitry, double the risk.

Nb: When electrical storms are in the area remove the TV antenna from the wide screen TV as the antennas also attracts this static charge and can fry them too.!

Get yourself one of these, no problem then 😂

247 Girl Big Banana Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime

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You say metal beam construction, where does it go to? Could it be lightning gets onto that one? Is it grounded?

As you also said, nothing else is effected. If you have surge on your lines, it would also, mostly electronic, effected other devices.

But no, only the fans on the metal beam. It is the only thing, different to the rest of your installation.

 

Probably first time it happend you got a short circuit which made your breaker work. The other time it broke but you didnt have a shortcut?

Could be only your remote receivers are down and fans, motors, are still ok. You could, if you can find, replace the remote receivers in the fans.

It takes some time to do it if you are handy. 

A typical lightning flash is about 300 million Volts and about 30,000 Amps.

If that is on your line, it doesnt matter if you have electronic devices or not. Also manual switches can be burned then.

You will have lightning in your house everywhere. 

Of course (?) power companies have surge arrestors in their lines, but the lines in Thailand are up in the air. Every house has a surge arrestor?

You can place a surge  arrestor  or lightning protection in your power inbox, which should help then to protect for spikes in your line.

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1 hour ago, millymoopoo said:

Nb: When electrical storms are in the area remove the TV antenna from the wide screen TV as the antennas also attracts this static charge and can fry them too.!

Antenna into a TV, these days?

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Just now, KannikaP said:

Antenna into a TV, these days?

I bought a new one last week for my bedroom TV.

Thai digital HD channels are good quality, and I quite enjoy the ghosts, witches and wife-beatings.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

I bought a new one last week for my bedroom TV.

Thai digital HD channels are good quality, and I quite enjoy the ghosts, witches and wife-beatings.

Don't then forget to unplug the aerial when a storm comes or a broomstick appears!   LOL

I have heard that strong tea can ward off ghosts, but tell her indoors she is in for a beating if she only uses the bag twice!    555

Edited by KannikaP
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5 hours ago, HarrySeaman said:

And this is just one more reason why I don't want a bunch of remote controlled lights and fans.  A simple wall switch or pull chain switch works fine, will likely outlast the light or fan, and doesn't require batteries.

 

4 hours ago, Saraburi121 said:

Think I am going to try one wired to the wall switch, no remote.  If that one gets zapped will just get a floor fan. 

It has nothing to do with the remote control. What get zapped is the fan's motor

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1 hour ago, LukKrueng said:

 

It has nothing to do with the remote control. What get zapped is the fan's motor

No expert by any means on electric matters.  Read that capicitors are really sensitive and may be the failure culprit.   

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No problems in Phuket, the power supply is probably better, but up country in the village replacing capacitors sometimes but never a remote?

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6 hours ago, LukKrueng said:

 

It has nothing to do with the remote control. What get zapped is the fan's motor

My fan has a dc motor and with some voltage spikes, the receiver got zapped. It's a little circuit board in the fan housing with lots of little resistors and diodes in it. The motor is quite robust and immune to spikes. Replaced receiver and all good. And then I added a whole house surge protector.

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Had the brightest loudest thunderclap I have ever heard in my long life a few weeks ago, not only did it trip the RCD (which is normal) but the shower also tripped, and my wireless doorbell was fizzled. I've learnt to live with it. Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) is the cause not a surge in current IMO.

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On 5/17/2021 at 7:08 AM, Saraburi121 said:

I have lost 2 remote control ceiling fans

Are you sure you actually lost both fans? Or maybe "only" their remote functionality.

The remote receives are sensitive electronic which can be destroyed a lot easier than the fan motors.

Maybe you can connect a wire directly to the fan motors and use an external switch.

Obviously only do that yourself if you are familiar with electric work. Otherwise ask an electrician. 

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my remote ceiling fan started acting strangely after the last storm, it started coming on randomly, TV also developed a fault the same time, maybe a coincidence

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2 minutes ago, millymoopoo said:

Satellite dish - same same..!

Even that's old tech these days. Network or WiFI.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, brianthainess said:

Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) is the cause not a surge in current IMO.

Uhm,  EMP can induce the high current and voltage spikes that permanently damage electrical equipment.  And, EMP from lightning is the result of ionization.

Edited by bankruatsteve
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9 hours ago, whaleboneman said:

I added a whole house surge protector.

I've been thinking to do the same. Can you give more details please? 

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9 hours ago, whaleboneman said:

My fan has a dc motor and with some voltage spikes, the receiver got zapped. It's a little circuit board in the fan housing with lots of little resistors and diodes in it. The motor is quite robust and immune to spikes. Replaced receiver and all good. And then I added a whole house surge protector.

 

You are right. I had a ceiling fan stopped working after a bang, where the breaker opened. No lights - no fan.

 

The remote control receiver is in the ceiling, obviously. TV repair guy opened the receiver and fixed it for 180 Baht.

 

Don't know if it was a fuse or capacitor that had blown, but after 180 Baht everything worked again

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11 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

Are you sure you actually lost both fans? Or maybe "only" their remote functionality.

The remote receives are sensitive electronic which can be destroyed a lot easier than the fan motors.

Maybe you can connect a wire directly to the fan motors and use an external switch.

Obviously only do that yourself if you are familiar with electric work. Otherwise ask an electrician. 

From reading the posts and doing some research on the internet sounds like the remote receiver is the culprit.  Going to take the fan out and take it to a shop to see what they say.  The fan was built by a company in Thailand so I will query them as well.  Give me something to do in this hot, rainy and humid spell.  Lightning has been pretty bad the last year or two, going to do more research on protecting the house as well.  Lot of good info on TV on household electrical matters but finding a good electrician is another matter.  Thanks to all for input!

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