What is a DC / direct current motor?
A brushless low energy motor is often described by experts as a DC motor. But what does this actually mean and why is this technology so great for ceiling fans?
Do I need a DC power supply?
One of our most frequently asked questions about energy-saving fans concerns the mains supply. To make a long story short: No, you do not need a 12 V mains supply to operate a DC fan. The common household 220 – 240 Volt / 50 Hertz AC current is transformed automatically inside the ceiling fan. Furthermore, these fans are connected to the grid like any other ceiling fan with an outer, neutral and earth conductor.
The Bayu ceiling fan consumes a maximum of 27 Watts (without LED light), but at 400 rpm it rotates just as fast as a standard ceiling with 60 Watts consumption. The fan is suitable for a 140 – 240 V / 50 – 60 Hz voltage.
Kinds of current and their importance for ceiling fans
A quick explanation about electric current: As soon as a voltage source charged with a positive and negative pole is connected to a closed circuit through a conductor, the whole system will strive for a state of balance. Excessive negative electrons move towards the positive pole and the current flows. If this flow always moves in the same direction and maintains the same intensity, it is called direct current. This type of current is generated by batteries or photo-voltaic systems.
Alternating current is created if the charge of the poles changes periodically. In case of the common household frequency of 50 Hz, polarity changes about 100 times per second. The alternating current system was invented by physicist Nicola Tesla and investor George Westinghouse. Alternating current became the prevalent form of current, since it could be conveyed over long distances virtually loss-free in contrast to direct current. Seeing that nowadays transmission paths have improved considerably, some experts consider direct current to be power supply system of the future.
Operating mode of direct current fans
This video explains technical basics of electric motors.
The average power grid works with alternating current (50 Hz, 230 V), however low-energy fans with DC motor still operate with this supply.
The alternating current from the outlet and connecting cables is rectified by a transformer unit inside the electric motor. Its magnetic commutator changes polarity (positive and negative) within a fraction of a second. This allows the current to flow in the direction of the same pole thus it flows “directly” and becomes a direct current.
- Alternating current motor
- “Standard“ ceiling fan
- Direction of electric current changes regularly
- ca. 70 Watts power consumption
- Direct current motor
- Energy-saving / low-energy / ECO ceiling fan
- Direction of current flow and intensity stay the same
- Same performance despite significantly lower power consumption
Benefits of ECO ceiling fans
Given that DC fans are relatively new to the market, most new technological advance is implement right away in these devices. For example, integrated LED panels are not a rare occurrence, and neither are light dimmers and colour shift features: This allows users to switch from warm white to daylight and cool white lighting. That way you can adapt your lighting to current requirements at any given point in time.
One of the pros that stands out the most is the reduced power consumption of DC motors, they require just about 30 Watts on high speed.
Another benefit is the more accurate control of speed levels on the remote control. Usually, AC fans offer three speeds: low, medium, high. In contrast, DC ceiling fans feature five to six speeds and come with an integrated remote control. Switching the fan from summer to winter mode (reversing function) is done with a manual sliding switch on the motor housing of AC models. This often requires a stepladder or chair. On the other hand, eco ceiling fans let user choose all features on the remote control. Furthermore, they are whisper-quiet and run smoothly.
⮩ DC fans conserve energy. However, even traditional ceiling fans still require less power than an air conditioning system.
Other terms for DC motors
Brushless direct current (BLDC)
EC (electronically commutated)
Eco, energy-saving, low-energy, commutator or direct current electric motor
Energy-saving fans (DC) in comparison with conventional ceiling fans (AC)
More speed levels, up to 6 speeds
ca. 50-60% less power consumption
Power consumption ranging from 3 to max. 30 Watts
Reduced operating costs
Many models feature integrated LED lights (dimming, colourshift)
Includes control system
Reverse function (winter mode) activated via remote control
Shortened response time of the remote
Lower motor weight, slimmer fan bodies
Directives and environmental conservation
Since 2009 the European ErP (Energy-related Products) directive demands a reduced energy consumption for electric appliances, for example by reducing the standby consumption as well as improved environmental soundness of the products. The goal is to cut back on CO2 emission (Kyoto Protocol) during operation, manufacture and disposal of the appliances. Along with various white goods, ceiling fans were improved, too. In addition to a low-energy motor, durable LED lights are also part of these modern devices.
Ceiling fans with a BLDC motor operate particularly quiet. They are perfect for areas that require silence such as a bedroom, nursery, reading room or office space.
Depending on the model they can be mounted to sloping ceilings, for example in an attic or loft apartment. In that case it might be necessary to add an extra drop rod, you will see this in the item description. Energy-saving ceiling fans are also available with a Hugger style mount which makes them a great choice for rooms with low ceilings.
Ceiling fans with light can be used in hallways or basements and obviously living rooms or hotels. Thanks to a low power consumption and reversing feature, all Eco fans are a profitable means of heat recovery. The savings of heating costs become noticeable soon, particularly in places where they are continuously operating such as restaurants, bars or hotels. Our tip: The Faro Just Fan (/a-333950/) is supplied with 3 different drop rods that allow an overall depth of up to 64cm which is great for old buildings with high ceilings.
DC fans are also popular for use outdoors. Seeing that these fans are all equipped with a built-in remote control system, they can be controlled from far away. This allows you to apply the fans in conservatories, carports, covered patio or supporting beam outdoors. Outdoor ceiling fans are always specified as suitable for exterior spaces, they have IP codes such as IP44 or IP54 which means they are protected against certain types of water ingress. Use our quick-search tool to look for these models. They are also suitable for interiors with increased humidity levels like a bathroom or laundry room. Check the manual if the item can handle greasy kitchen air as well.
ECO fans with blades made from solid wood are suitable for use indoors only since their design cannot handle excessive humidity.
Ceiling fans with DC motor in creoven’s range
Small and large fan sizes for all rooms
Which ECO fan is best for you?
Low-energy ceiling fans are available in a variety of designs and different fitness, e.g. for damp rooms and outdoors, with and without lighting. Versatile looks like antique or high-gloss housings give users more freedom when it comes to choosing the appliance that is most compatible. No matter the outside, they all feature a state-of-the-art motor on the inside. These motors consume an average maximum of just 30 Watts.
When selecting an energy-saving ceiling fan, you are most likely to look for the design and diameter first. However, also take the place of application, preferred operating time and required speed levels into consideration.
The power consumption of the single DC models varies only slightly. Some models use only 27W. This makes them suitable for use in the summer, e.g. to provide cooling in the attic. Other eco fans consume 3 Watts on low speed, but about 33 Watts on high speed. Those items are a great choice for the bedroom where there is no real need for extremely high revolution speeds.
⮩ Click here for our article “Which DC ceiling fan is the right one?”