Fixing Stuff, EcoFan Edition
Followed by my handful of Netherlands pics.
We've had an EcoFan, the original two-blade model, on the top of our soapstone woodstove for a long time, I think maybe 8 or 9 years.
The EcoFan is a really cool woodstove fan that works by magic! Well, close enough. It has no cord. You just put it on the top of the hot stove, towards the back, and it uses the Seebeck effect to run a little motor that spins the fan blades.
The hotter the stove gets, the faster the blades spin. Magic!
It worked GREAT until last winter, when I began to notice it slowing down, and sometimes it wouldn't start unless I gave the blades a little tap. I had gotten used to being able to judge the temperature of the stove by how fast the fan was going, and I really missed being able to glance up and do that.
So I got on the internet and went hunting. I found Nathan's post at Fixya.com and tried his solution. I bought heat sink compound (silicone heat sink grease) from Radio Shack for $4.
I really should have taken pictures as I did this, but I was nervous of destroying it, and I didn't.
First I took the blades off the motor using a small hex key, just to get them out of the way and keep them from being damaged.
My fan has two hex-head screws that hold the top part to the base. When I unscrewed those and took the fan apart, I could faintly see where this grease had been.
I gently scrubbed it off with a green nylon kitchen scrubby, and as long as I had the whole thing apart, I cleaned all the metal parts except the motor and the Peltier junction.
My fan had the following layers:
A: top with the blades and motor
B: Peltier junction - this is the bit attached by 2 wires to the motor
C: two layers (squares) of white ?insulating material
I put the heat sink grease on the top and bottom of the Peltier junction. This sticks the top of the junction to the top of the fan. Then I stuck the first square of white insulation to the bottom of the junction and gently squished it around.
(I tried to reposition one of the white squares after it was greased and stuck on, and chipped the very corner off with my fingernail, so if you're doing this to your fan, be careful repositioning them. It works better to slide them to the edge than try to pry them up by one edge.)
Then I greased the bottom square and stuck it back to the bottom of the fan, then fitted the whole thing back together, screwed the screws back in, and put the blades back on.
And she works! Ha!
(I've put them up small, but you can click to embiggen.)
We went to the Artis (zoo, botanical garden, aquarium) on our first full day in Amsterdam. This was the coldest wettest day of our trip. The rest was warm for late October, and we even had sun!
Sign on a cage in the Artis in Amsterdam:
Penguin-feeding (and herons stealing their food) at the Artis:
From Amsterdam, we went to Rijnsburg and did a little sightseeing in Katwijk:
And we took a daytrip into Leiden:
From Rijnsburg we travelled to Dalfsen. Most of the Dutch windmills look like this:
Then if I turned 90 degrees and took a photo out the window, it looked like this:
And the typical side roads looked like this:
After Dalfsen, we went up into Frieslan and stayed in Lauwersoog:
On the way, we made a side trip to IJlst, where I found some "wildbreien" (yarnbombing)!
It was so beautiful and so green in IJlst:
And finally we had to drive back down through Harlingen to Amsterdam again:
On our last night in Amsterdam, we stayed in an attic hotel room - see the edge of the hook they use to lift furniture through the windows? A beautiful last view of the city before we flew home: