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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Air today, gone tomorrow

Now that the heat is on, table fans are much in demand. Used on desks and various counters, they come in myriad colours with matching blade sets. Selecting the right table fan depends on various factors such as the colour of the walls, the decor of the room and value for money. Unique features like silent operation, easy to use switches and regulators combined with world class looks and performance make some of the models stand apart.

Into thin air

Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS) in Ahmedabad tested 15 brands of table fans (400 mm) in their independent in-house appliance testing laboratory to help consumers take their pick.

The brands tested were Crompton (120 Sdx), Bajaj Media (BT-01), Orient (Deluxe Supreme), Usha (Mist Air), Khaitan (Zolta), Orpat, Anchor (Cool King), Almonard (Hi-Speed), Cinni, Polar (Mistral), Shaan, Havell’s (Swing), Ashok, Ortem (Royal) and Remi (Hi-Speed). Of these 15 brands, Shaan, Cinni, Bajaj Media and Ashok did not conform to the safety standards which included high voltage test in dry condition, stability and mechanical hazards and internal wiring.

To start with, the fans were tested for their air delivery capacity. Table fans should deliver not less than 65 cubic metres of air per minute. All the brands passed the test. Polar delivered the least amount of air at 65.35 m3/minute. Almonard gave the maximum at 103.83 m3/minute, followed by Remi at 103.19 m3/minute.

During the air-delivery test, the power consumed by each fan at full speed should not be more than 61 watts with an allowed tolerance of plus/minus 10 per cent, provided the service value is complied with (minimum 1.08 cubic metre per minute per watt). Almonard consumed the maximum power at 142.78W, followed by Remi at 133.66W. Usha consumed the least at 48.30W.

The best fans deliver maximum air while consuming the least power. That is known as the service value of the fan. The service value should not be less than 1.08 cubic metre per minute per watt. The service values of the fans ranged from 0.72 of Almonard to 1.47 of Orpat.

CERS also examined if the fans could withstand rough handling. Cinni proved unsafe as the test finger used during the test could easily touch the moving blades of the fan in spite of the fan guard.

Normally, table fans are provided with an oscillation mechanism to allow air delivery from an angular position. When the oscillation mechanism stops working, no air can be got in an angular position. The oscillation test is carried out in the form of 10,000 cycles. Bajaj Media stopped working after the test. The gear box in Ashok failed to work after a mere 2,842 oscillation cycles.

Testing times

The fan regulators were subjected to 2,500 operations (full cycles of movement from the “off” position to the “full speed” position and again back to the “off” position). Approximately, there are six operations per minute. Bajaj Media, Usha, Shaan and Ashok stopped working after the test.

CERS then tested the fans to see if the quality of insulation used conformed with the standards. This test was done in both dry and humid conditions. The insulation of Shaan could not withstand the high voltages during the dry test. All the brands passed the humidity test.

Speed regulators should be capable of reducing the speed of fans by at least 30 per cent of the full speed. Out of the 15 brands, Orient, Khaitan, Cinni and Remi conformed with the requirement. Regulators’ “off” positions should be next to the lowest speed contacts. Crompton, Usha, Khaitan, Cinni, Shaan, Ashok and Remi did not fulfil the requirement.

Reading the fine print

It is also important to look at what the manufacturer has printed on the label before buying a product. According to the Indian Standards, apart from the manufacturer’s name and address, the trade mark and number, rated voltage, type of fan, frequency, input in watts, the size of the fan, the country of origin, the symbol for the nature of supply, the maker’s model and the construction symbol (only for class II appliances) must be marked. Usha, Khaitan, Orient and Remi did not mark the input (in watts). Any marking on the sample must be legible and durable. It was observed that in the case of Orpat and Cinni, information was printed on paper which was glued to the fan. This could be easily removed. No information was marked on Ashok and Shaan.

It was assumed that each fan was operated for six hours per day, with the tariff being Rs 4 per unit. All the fans were tested at 230V. Almonard consumed the highest energy at Rs 103; Orpat consumed the least energy at Rs 34.77.

CERS also took into account the ease of use parameter. The major ease of use parameters considered were visibility and clarity of marking on the knobs, use of switch (for speed) and the oscillating/swinging adjustment knob, lifting/handling of the fan, silent operation, preference in mode of switches, and physical appearance. Ortem topped the ease of use parameter with 91 points, followed by Bajaj Media and Havell’s with 90 points each. Cinni got the least score of 65.

CERS also tested the brands for protection against electric shock, starting of the motor, temperature rise, leakage current, insulation resistance, mechanical strength, construction, components, supply connection and external flexible cords, terminal for external conductors, screws and connections, creepage distance and clearances, and resistance to heat, fire, tracking and resistance to rusting. All the brands, whose prices range between Rs 750 (Ashok) and Rs 1,650 (Remi), conformed with these parameters.

The scorecard showed Khaitan and Orient jointly bagging the top spot while Orpat, Havell’s and Ortem came a close second.

Armed with this knowledge, when you go to buy a fan, you will surely be able to grab the best deal. But look out for discounts and check whether the company offers a warranty or guarantee and its duration before you buy the fan.

For more information write to [email protected]

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