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I have standing fan, it has a simple 0-1-2-3 pushbutton switch system with a timer.

A few days ago it stopped working. If I try pushing the blade (with an insulated screwdriver, of course, not with my fingers) there's clear resistance before it spins for roughly one rotation then seizing up again.

If I power the fan down (pressing 0 or unplugging it or turning the timer to "off"), the blades can rotate freely. No resistance (aside from initial inertia), no seizing up. Pushing the blades hard will cause it to rotate several times before stopping due to (seemingly normal) friction.

What could be the problem with this fan? And how do you suggest I fix it?

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I'm going to suggest that this fan has reached the end of its useful life. It sounds like there is a bearing problem that is impeding the rotation.

This is almost certainly an induction motor and one characteristic of these is that once power is applied, the magnetic field from the stator not only tries to rotate the rotor but also pushes is axially forward or backward. So when you turn the fan ON, there is a force on the shaft that is not present when the power is off. That's putting pressure on the bad bearing and stopping it from turning.

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From your description of the fan's operation I would guess that the bearings are worn to the point that the commutator (center part of the motor) is now too close to the armature (outer windings) And this is what is offering the resistance to rotation when power is applied to the motor. The only option I see is to replace the fan or fan motor.

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  • It's unlikely that this has a motor with a commutator. Nearly all fans are induction design and of those most are of the "shaded pole" type. Commutators and brushes are used in DC or "Universal" type motors.
    – jwh20
    Sep 12, 2020 at 10:58

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