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HS-FC200+ fan not spinning as fast as Leviton Fan Controller

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    HS-FC200+ fan not spinning as fast as Leviton Fan Controller

    So I had a couple of Leviton fan controllers where the high speed stopped working. Known issue that others have reported so I chalked it up to being the same for me. I couldn't wait for these to come out. I have so many ideas for the LEDs and the multi-tap operation. I installed a few of them already and I can immediately tell without even verifying that the fan on high does not spin as fast as the Leviton. So I used an RPM app on my phone that stobes the flash on the back. You adjust the speed until the fan appears to stop moving. The HS-FC200+ controller spins the fan at 580 RPM and the Levitons that I have that still work on the same model fan spin at 680. I used an anemometer as well and confirmed that the air flow from the fan on the leviton was almost double what is was on the fan with the HS-FC200+. I tried it in 3 speed and 4 speed mode. What gives?

    #2
    Did you get your fan working? Does it run the same speed on just a regular switch?

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      #3
      Sadly I don't own a strobe tachymeter or an anemometer. I actually spent an hour or so playing around with a couple of iphone apps but ultimately wasn't able to determine my fan speed prior to giving up and just installing the new FC200+. Because of the concern that the speed could be degraded I installed my first FC200+ in a room where I have two identical fans installed. the FC200+ replaced a zwave GE fan controller. standing between the two fans I can't determine any difference in speed with them both on high, airflow also seems to be the same. Since I'm personally satisfied I don't think I'll investigate this further.

      If someone did want to check this out, I would suggest a couple of thoughts

      1) Fan speed controllers work by decreasing voltage to the fan, unless my quick google search is in error. You could compare the voltage of your mains compared to the voltage being supplied by the fan controller. (If I try this out, no promises, I'll post my results to this thread; I have an old leviton fan speed controller laying around.)

      2) a bit more work, but check RPM using a strobe tachymeter and/or airflow using an anemometer when the fan is connected directly to mains, then compare to your old fan controller followed by the FC200+
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        #4
        Interesting... I had 2 Leviton Vizia RF fan controllers where the high speed stopped working. I did not know it was a common issue. Any more info on that such as why?

        I replaced 7 fan controllers with 7 HS FC200 and one of them stopped working a few days ago. LEDs are all off and it does not respond via zwave either. I did not check what the output was before removing it but I am guessing it would have been zero as it is completely dead.

        I configured my fan controllers to 4 speed as I wanted more granularity in speed control. HS said that the 4 speed setting was for 4 speed fans only but that doesn't make much sense to me. If the fan control is done by varying the voltage output then you can have more speed settings than would be perceivable. With 3 or 4 you should be able to fee the difference.

        Since it was hard to tell the difference between 3 and 4 speed settings, I decided to check the voltage output and current draw and I found something fishy:

        3 speed setting:

        Speed 1 >>> 33% >>> 50V >>> 203mA
        Speed 2 >>> 66% >>> 83V >>> 329mA
        Speed 3 >>> 99% >>> 120V >>>483mA

        4 speed setting:

        Speed 1 >>> 24% >>> 50V >>> 203mA
        Speed 2 >>> 49% >>> 83V >>> 329mA
        Speed 3 >>> 74% >>> 120V >>>483mA
        Speed 4 >>> 99% >>> 120V >>> 483mA

        While the 3 speed setting works fine, the 4 speed setting does not seem to do anything when going from speed 3 to 4. I was expecting different voltage levels spaced equally between 50 and 120V on the 4 speed settings but there appears to be no difference at all between 3 and 4.

        I believe the correct VOLTAGE should have been something like this?

        Speed 1 >>> 24% >>> 50V >>> 203mA
        Speed 2 >>> 49% >>> 73V >>> ???mA
        Speed 3 >>> 74% >>> 97V >>> ???mA
        Speed 4 >>> 99% >>> 120V >>> 483mA

        This has to be a bug in the firmware, as I can't see how it would be meant to work this way. I am not sure how to tag someone from HS. Can anyone get their attention about this issue? Maybe they can explain how it is supposed to work or confirm it is an issue. I am keeping fingers crossed that it can be fixed with a firmware update...

        Edit:

        I found what I was told:

        "Well, 4-speed ceiling fans are rare but they do exist! If you set the fan controller to 4-speed and you have a 3-speed fan... you won't usually end up with 4 separate speeds. Typically, one of the settings won't change anything. It doesn't hurt anything however."

        This is literally what is happening - no difference between 3 and 4 - but I can't see any way how this would be correct. How would the fan controller know whether it is a 3 or 4 speed fan? If it doesn't know, then the voltage output between all speeds should be different. How the fan behaves with the different voltages is a different story but my guess is that there will be some speed difference unless there is some speed control circuit in the fan itself (mine do not appear to have it... the speed control was done with a capacitor in series for medium and low, none for high on the small fans and the larger fans had a controller in the canopy that I removed given I was controlling speed with the wall fan controllers. This has worked perfectly for many years with Leviton fan controllers).

        Edit2: Got the math wrong in the last 'table'. Corrected it.

        ​​​​​​​macromark - can you comment on the above?
        Last edited by aruffell; October 22, 2018, 03:31 PM.

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          #5
          Originally posted by aruffell View Post

          macromark - can you comment on the above?
          Like I said above, you can't turn a 3-speed fan into a 4-speed fan just by changing the fan controller settings. If you want or need 4 discrete speeds, you'll need to install a 4-speed fan. I don't know how the manufacturers accomplish this magic but I suspect each speed is triggered based on a range of voltages. If speed #2 and #3 produce the same fan speed, then both of those are probably operating within the same voltage range of one of the fan speeds.
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            #6
            None of this makes sense to me.

            Fan controllers do not vary the voltage, they wave shape the output. This may result in a different voltage measurement, but you would need to hang a scope off of one and watch the waveform. On older multi speed fans, the speed was usually varied by changing the value of the run capacitor. Newer ones use a solid state equivalent.

            We have the HS-FC200s on 3 Hunter ceiling fans. These are not the older single speed Hunters, they are the newer sealed motors from China like the rest of them. They are three speed fans set to "high". With the controller configured as 3-speed there are three distinct speeds. When set to 4-speed there are 4 distinct speeds. High feels about the same in either configuration. Low feels like it might be a little lower on the 4-speed configuration, but it is difficult to tell for sure. Each step on the 4-speed seems to double the feel of air flow. The sound distinctively changes for all 4 speeds. All of this is subjective. I may take instruments after one over the weekend.

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              #7
              Originally posted by rprade View Post
              None of this makes sense to me.

              Fan controllers do not vary the voltage, they wave shape the output. This may result in a different voltage measurement, but you would need to hang a scope off of one and watch the waveform. On older multi speed fans, the speed was usually varied by changing the value of the run capacitor. Newer ones use a solid state equivalent.

              We have the HS-FC200s on 3 Hunter ceiling fans. These are not the older single speed Hunters, they are the newer sealed motors from China like the rest of them. They are three speed fans set to "high". With the controller configured as 3-speed there are three distinct speeds. When set to 4-speed there are 4 distinct speeds. High feels about the same in either configuration. Low feels like it might be a little lower on the 4-speed configuration, but it is difficult to tell for sure. Each step on the 4-speed seems to double the feel of air flow. The sound distinctively changes for all 4 speeds. All of this is subjective. I may take instruments after one over the weekend.
              I had read that the fan controllers varied voltage output to control the speed from more than one source but I do not recall what they were and I don't doubt they may well be incorrect. I also read about Variable Frequency Drive circuits but it seemed to be something high-end and unlikely to be in a home fan controller.

              macromark - Rather than focusing on whether it is a 3 or 4 speed fan, I would love to know what the FC200 outputs. In other words, how it controls the speed. I am sure it is not a trade secret as it is likely what they all do but for some reason it is super hard to find out searching google.

              Whatever it is doing works with my 7 fans (2 significantly different models) that once had capacitors (small fans) to slow the fan down, or a circuit w/ remote (large fans) that I removed. Both models have been working fine for many years controlled by in wall fan controllers. When I picked them out I specifically went for models where I could either remove the control circuit in the canopy, or set them to high via a chain switch that essentially skips the capacitor that is connected in series for the two lower speeds.

              I have a scope and am tempted to see what the output is. Only issue is that I have never used it to look at 120V... I have not used it in years and would rather not blow anything up. However, the curiosity is eating at me so I might just brush up on how to do it and then go for it.

              Interesting read that might shed some light on how my smaller fans work since a cap is apparently all that was used to control its speed:

              https://electronics.stackexchange.co...own-a-220v-fan

              Comment


                #8
                OK so I guess the post notifications for this were going to my spam so I didn't get them. I thought no one responded. For those that had the issue with their Leviton fan controller losing high speed, this is the fix. Replace the fan controller because it's dead no matter what. Replace the 3 speed capacitor in the fan itself. For my Hunter fans I used this capacitor to fix the fan speed.

                https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

                Apparently the capacitor in the fan is common to fail as well. I was getting a terrible hum from the fan with the capacitor was bad as well. This took care of all that. I can actually feel the fan again.

                I glanced through the responses and some of you mentioned the capacitor. Just letting you guys know I fixed my issue by replacing that part and the Leviton controller. So the Homeseer fan controller works perfectly now. Thanks.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Interesting information here.
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                    #10
                    Originally posted by macromark View Post

                    Like I said above, you can't turn a 3-speed fan into a 4-speed fan just by changing the fan controller settings. If you want or need 4 discrete speeds, you'll need to install a 4-speed fan. I don't know how the manufacturers accomplish this magic but I suspect each speed is triggered based on a range of voltages. If speed #2 and #3 produce the same fan speed, then both of those are probably operating within the same voltage range of one of the fan speeds.
                    Sorry to dig this back up but it never really made much sense to me. My theory was that the fan controller should be able to spin the fan at 3 or 4 different speeds depending on how it is set regardless of whether the ceiling fan is a 3 or 4 speed model. The speed difference might be small and not perceivable but that is besides the point.

                    I have two types of fans in my house. 3 of my fans are 60 inches and originally had a canopy module to control dimming and fan speed (3 discreet settings) via remote control. I removed this module to enable control from wall dimmers and fan controllers. I've had this same fan model running this way for over 6 years. At first it was with Lutron IR dimmer and fan controller, then with Leviton Vizia RF+, and currently with HomeSeer WD200+ and FC200+.

                    Earlier today I placed a light stand under one of my fans and strapped a tachometer to it. I did not put a reflective trip on any of the fan blades so the RPM is most likely 5 times higher than actual as the tachometer is likely detecting each blade passing by. The overall RPM is irrelevant for this test as long as whatever it reads is fairly stable/repeatable.

                    In the video below, the FC200 is set to 3 speeds. When changing the speed via the paddle buttons, the speed gets set to 33%, 66% and 99% so that is what I used in my test. As expected the test shows 3 distinct RPMs (the actual RPM is likely whatever number is shown divided by the number of fan blades - 5). The values measured were more or less 345, 510, and 670.

                    https://youtu.be/z3RNFZJx5yI

                    I then set the FC200+ to 4 speed setting and repeated the test to see whether I would get 4 distinct speeds as I expected. When changing the speed via the paddle buttons, the speed gets set to 24%, 49%, 74% and 99% so that is what I used in my test. As expected the test shows 4 distinct RPMs (the actual RPM is likely whatever number is shown divided by the number of fan blades - 5). The values measured were more or less 215, 345, 520, and 660.

                    https://youtu.be/7VYkiy2NKmI

                    When set to 4 speeds, the last 3 speeds measured essentially identically to the 3 speeds when set to the 3 speed setting, however I have gained a lower slow speed which can be handy to move air making less noise.

                    My measurements confirm my perception (I felt speed/air flow changes) so I am even happier of having chosen the FC200+ to control my 7 fans. I just don't understand HomeSeer's stance on the FC200+ not turning what was sold to me as a 3 speed fan into a 4 speed fan. I would not be surprised if I missed something but in the end I am getting the result I wanted.

                    Soon I will repeat the test on a typical 52 inch fan that has the pull chain to set 3 speeds. I always leave those fans to the highest speed setting (no capacitor in series to motor) and use a wall fan controller to set the speed. However, to resolve a WD200 dimmer incompatibility with LED bulbs and current limiter in the ceiling fan, I retrofitted the ceiling fan with an LED module whilst removing the current limiter and fan speed switch (hardwired to highest speed without any caps in series, just one in parallel - starter cap). I expect to get the same findings as the 60 inch fan (this never had the pull chain for speed control) but with different RPM readings.

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