Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How does a portable fan work?

  1. Apr 29, 2010 #1
    I am curious as to how a portable fan works. I took one apart and here are some pictures of the motor:
    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B9FkpE8S_7W0NTEwOGZlYzUtMzhkNS00ZmU4LWE5ODItN2Q5NWViNDNmOGMz&hl=en&invite=CIrB408" [Broken]
    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B9FkpE8S_7W0MjM3MTAwNTUtODRlYy00ZThiLWE0MzUtMWI3MjAzMjA4MjI0&hl=en&invite=CPXusNgG" [Broken]
    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B9FkpE8S_7W0ZGI5MzMwMzUtYTU4NS00ZGEwLWE3OWQtNTU1NzExYmIxMmMx&hl=en&invite=CKaQ1bkG" [Broken]
    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B9FkpE8S_7W0ODlmYTJmMWUtNDJiNC00Mzk2LWI5N2MtMzA0NzI1YTI2NGI3&hl=en&invite=CPKwofAL" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2010 #2
    Your kidding, right?
    If not, what part of a portable fan do you not understand?
  4. Apr 29, 2010 #3
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  5. Apr 30, 2010 #4
    By the looks of the picture it is an AC motor. Search induction motor.
  6. Apr 30, 2010 #5
    The motor in your pictures is called a "shaded pole" motor. Most all small AC fan motors will be of this type.

    Edit: Bassplayer142 is also correct. It's a shaded pole induction motor. :)
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2010
  7. Apr 30, 2010 #6
    you can try building your own with some wire and a magnet and dc source
  8. May 4, 2010 #7
    If you guys look at the first picture, there seems to be copper wiring around the magnet. Can someone explain the function of this? Sorry if this is a stupid topic, I really have no idea.
  9. May 5, 2010 #8
    The "magnet" is actually not a permanent magnet, it's just layers of soft steel. That copper coil is what turns it into a magnet. Whenever you put current through a conductor you automatically create a magnetic field. When you wrap that conductor around soft steel or iron, it turns the metal into a magnet. In this way you can turn the magnet on or off by turning the current on or off. Likewise you can change the North pole of the magnet to a South pole by simply switching the direction of the current! This is what they mean when they speak of an electromagnet. A permanent magnet cannot be turned on or off, and the North and South poles can't change place.

    Edit: you can make an electromagnet yourself with some insulated wire, a nail, and a battery:
    Last edited: May 5, 2010
  10. May 5, 2010 #9
    What does 'Portable' have to do with it?
  11. Jul 30, 2012 #10
    I was also curious as to how portable fan works. But I want to know how it oscillates from one extreme to other...
    Is there a special mechanism to do this on the fan? I am unable to locate one!!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook