CasaBlanca Fan Company envisioned an advanced fan control system that would enhance CasaBlanca’s reputation with both dealers and the buying public and thus result in an increased share of a stable market. Marketing objectives included convenient control and straight-forward operation, and a small price differential from their manual fan control system. Remote control of fan speed, light intensity and fan direction was required so that all switches could be removed from the fan. Extremely quiet motor speed was required along with no household wiring changes. Additionally, the design was to be the basis for a series of future product releases as the control was implemented in CasaBlanca’s full line of ceiling fans.
MTSI employed a unique method of AC line information communication utilizing the AC power to the fan. The standard wall switch was replaced with a “zero power” communications switch interface. A microprocessor was placed inside the fan to receive the commands from the wall mounted switch and to control the fan motor and lights as commanded.
The Intelli-Touch Wall Control
Quiet motor speed control was performed by a very simple and clever approach which balanced heat dissipation between the control and motor and was simple, reliable, inexpensive and produced the quietest possible motor control. The microcomputer in the fan also allowed sophisticated motor control to further smooth and dampen the motor control. Special modes such as Light MinderTM, Safe-ExitTM, and Home SafeTM were made possible by the presence of the microcomputer. In fact, a special demonstration mode which exercises all the capabilities of the fan was included to enhance the salability of the fan, a first for a household appliance.
All these features were implemented with a cost differential of less than ten dollars over their previous manual control. With technical support from MTSI, within four months the production rate was over 1,000 units per day with a first pass yield of over 97%. Additionally, sales doubled over the previous years’ rate and today this fan is a fundamental part of the success of CasaBlanca Fan Company.