Dust Collection With a Ceiling Fan Remote





Introduction: Dust Collection With a Ceiling Fan Remote

About: Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter, the one of us who soonest finds the strength to rise must help the other. - Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

My workshop dust collector has been something of a nuisance to turn on and off as the switch is located in an awkward position on the motor body, well away from where I need to access it. I happened upon a thrift store offering of a wireless R.F. remote on/off system for ceiling fans that would suit my needs perfectly with just a little modification, so I laid down my whole $2.00 and off to home I went.

Step 1: Safety First

High voltage may be present in this build, ensure all power is removed from this project during physical handling.

Step 2: Examine the Goods, Figure Out Needs

This device was date stamped 2001, a bench test showed it to be operational, so the next step was to open it up and see what the mains switch type is. I found a BTA12 triac is used to switch a maximum rated lamp load of 300 watts, although the data sheet indicates the device can handle up to 12 amps at 120 volts A.C. I need more current capacity as the collector's motor is 1- ½ hp or 12 amps, highly inductive. A definite purpose contactor is called for, and now the triac can easily handle motor duty switching since the contactor coil draws very little current. The dust collector motor is thermally protected and fused, so this modification is simplified by not replicating those functions.

Step 3: Gather Parts, Plan the Work

I ordered a contactor from E-Bay, rated 30 amps at 120 volts ac, plenty of safety factor for $9.36 delivered:


Opening the motor junction box gave me access to the wiring diagram, I plan on operating at 120 volts exclusively, and wanted to still have a manual override feature, so the original switch wiring will be utilized as well.

Step 4: Improve the Receiver, Test the Circuit, Add Protection

I removed the simple heat sink slab/ back panel and attached a better quality design to the triac. I am also going to include a line conditioner circuit I recovered from a microwave oven. I figured with the motor and contactor there'd be EMF generated, and since a microwave oven is like an EMF hand grenade, their design would be superior, plus it included a fuse which I changed from a 20 amp to a 2 amp.

Step 5: Housing and Wiring

I constructed a simple box from scrap plywood, and painted it black. Screws secure it to the original motor switch box, and access holes were drilled to make the interconnections. Wiring is straightforward, the contactor parallels the main switch, a D.P.S.T. design, and power for the filter/ receiver module is taken from the “hot” side, or line in, so it is constantly waiting for a command, I let the antenna lead out the side of the box, but it probably would have worked inside as well.

It's more than an indulgence, it actually improves productivity as during a workshop session, I might need to periodically saw parts well over a dozen times a day, and fiddling with a poorly located on/ off switch can have a detrimental impact on concentration.



    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    Thanks, the only improvement I have done since is to glue a magnet to the transmitter so it sticks on my radial saw's arm, nice and handy.

    Wondering why you didn't enter this instructable in any contests??

    3 replies

    To be frank, I think I've already won the big contest- enjoying retirement, doing what I want, and sharing what I know. I like to leave the contests to curious, energetic up- and- comers like yourself who truly have a deserving need for the prize awards, and have the creative drive to keep trying to find solutions with very limited resources. Jugaad attitude best exemplifies that quest, and I stand in awe and admiration for those who can perform with grace under pressure while seeking that goal. Thank you for asking, you are the first to do so.

    Well, seeing a good instructable. I feel that it should be in the contests, and I believe any one can use the boost of winning a prize.
    You are great... giving way for the next generation and people like you are our inspiration. Keep up your good work and enjoy your retirement..

    Damn. I want to be Frank. We should all be THIS Frank! I got about 12 years left to go for my retirement. Thanks for sharing those kind words.

    this could easily work for simply powering the outlet the collector is going in right?

    1 reply

    Yes, that is so, I wanted it integrated into the machine though, so if moved, the unit will still be controlled by the remote. Radio Shack, and others sell devices that wire into home outlets or plug in that do the same thing. I recently picked up a wireless doorbell system, I think with a low voltage relay controlling the mains, it too would do the same function.

    This is a great project - if you have a spare junked fan laying about that has a wireless controller. If not, a much cheaper alternative is a wireless, outdoor-light controller. You can often obtain them very cheaply after the holidays are over. (Clearance shopping...I get shivers.) They are typically rated in about the same range as the controller you cleverly reused. It is not recommended but I have even run a collector directly off an unmodified controller. Another nice feature you may find is switchable broadcast frequencies. Great work here - I know a lot of people are out there looking for this solution!

    1 reply

    Thank you for the endorsement, and also for pointing out that the operating frequency of these wireless types can be altered. I really did get lucky finding this unit at a thrift store, I can't remember ever seeing one such before.

    I wanted the dust collection to be on whenever my wood lathe is on. So I put a double outlet on the lathe stand with a switch. Both the dust collection and the lathe are powered but this switch. Now to turn this switch on the dust collection comes on and the lathe switch can be turrned on.

    1 reply

    In my first shop I had a low voltage relay activated by a simple switch/ L.V. transformer at my sawtable, but my current layout makes that not feasible, other wise like you, I'd go the simple route.

    Reduce, reuse, recycle!!!