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Old 09-15-2019, 05:25 PM
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Help with portable fan, please


I have an Ozark Trail 41-2243 2-Speed Portable Battery Operated Fan with Fluorescent Light that I am trying to restore to working order. Mainly, it needs new batteries. I know how to open the battery box once the fan is folded open but mine is folded shut and I can't figure out how to open it up. Does anyone have any of these, instructions, help for the google-weary? Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:33 PM
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You have to install something to get this, but here's a download link for a manual

https://searchmanuals.net/search85/?...hoCmKYQAvD_BwE
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:36 PM
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I think you have to pull the handle to it furthest extension to open it. If it has a handle. Some don't.
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:51 PM
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It has a handle but it does not extend

I'll have to check out that manual link.

Last edited by Broomstick; 09-15-2019 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:00 PM
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Does the handle swivel or move in any way
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:44 AM
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The handle is not the Magic Opening Device. It does move, but at no point in its travels does it unlock anything.

I noted in my internet searching that this model is no longer made. This sort of difficulty may be a contributing factor.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:10 PM
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Is this it?
https://www.ebay.com/c/26016229483

In one of the pictures it a bit blurry but appears that there are legs that fold or swivel away from the body of the fan.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:43 PM
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Sorry.Just trying to help. I have a light by them that folds into its self. The handle is the main moving device. The light has to be completely flat to access the battery compartment.
Good luck
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmellMyWort View Post
Is this it?
https://www.ebay.com/c/26016229483

In one of the pictures it a bit blurry but appears that there are legs that fold or swivel away from the body of the fan.
Yep, that's it.

Yes, the legs do fold/swivel away from the body. That is exactly what I want to happen so I can access the battery compartment and change the battery. As it happens, that picture has a very nice view of the instructions on how to change the battery. What it does NOT have is instructions on how to unfold the legs to that configuration. That's the missing step, it's not obvious, and I'm am quite frustrated.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:25 PM
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You've seen this item, I haven't. Maybe I need to drink a tall, cold glass of STFU. At the risk of speaking out of my ass though, are you sure this isn't a brute force issue? The idea of using a non-obvious mechanical catch seems to be an odd design choice. Most such consumer devices would use a simple friction joint to position the foot. Double that for the "Ozark Trail" (Wal-Mart brand) cheaper than cheap, Chineseum version.

Did you acquire it in it's current state of have you already used it extensively? Do you have much invested in it? If you accidentally break it while trying to open it up, how distressed would you be? It may be time to up the degree of force exerted and see what happens.
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Old 09-16-2019, 06:52 PM
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DISCLAIMER: This is merely a WAG.

Have you tried this: Push the top/front part of the unit (i.e., the not-legs part) down toward the hinges? Judging from nothing but the pics and some vague experience with hinges like those, you may need to slide the front of the thing down about 1/8" to give it room to swivel freely. NB: If this is the case, then the front should slide down without too very much effort at all; try not to break the thing based on some anonymous interwebz guessing.

P.S. -- Don't bother with that manualz link; they lied. All they have for Ozark Trail manualz iz a portable grill.
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Last edited by mjmlabs; 09-16-2019 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:02 PM
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I have one of these fans; it seems similar to yours (without the light, natch). Here's a video review of it. At 1:56, the reviewer folds the legs up to the back, you should be able to grab one of the "legs" and pull down in a similar, reverse fashion.
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
I have one of these fans; it seems similar to yours (without the light, natch). Here's a video review of it. At 1:56, the reviewer folds the legs up to the back, you should be able to grab one of the "legs" and pull down in a similar, reverse fashion.
... and from the series of clicks in that video as the legs open up past various detents, I'd second the "pull harder" brute-force suggestion from Alpha Twit, above.
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:23 PM
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^ It's possible the "cogs" have busted teeth, so the brute-force technique ain't gonna make it any broker. Yank away.
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha Twit View Post
You've seen this item, I haven't. Maybe I need to drink a tall, cold glass of STFU. At the risk of speaking out of my ass though, are you sure this isn't a brute force issue? The idea of using a non-obvious mechanical catch seems to be an odd design choice. Most such consumer devices would use a simple friction joint to position the foot. Double that for the "Ozark Trail" (Wal-Mart brand) cheaper than cheap, Chineseum version.
Oh, I agree with your general assesments, but this is a case where the design is not well done. When we first acquired these fans (we have more than one) we did get them unfolded. Well, we had to in order to get batteries into them in the first place. There actually is a catch that keeps them folded once folded, I've seen it. But this was long enough ago that I don't remember how to unlatch it.

Quote:
Did you acquire it in it's current state of have you already used it extensively? Do you have much invested in it? If you accidentally break it while trying to open it up, how distressed would you be? It may be time to up the degree of force exerted and see what happens.
We bought them new (possibly on clearance) and used them during a couple of power failures as, in addition to a decent light, they also provided a cooling fan. Arguably, I have already gotten my money's worth. I'd rather not break this particular one as I know it is still operable (last used it about a year and a half ago) but I have another one whose operational status is questionable and perhaps I'll attempt to brute-force that one.

It's not a crisis level problem, more a puzzle that would have the pay off of continuing to have it as an emergency lighting/cooling item. If it were destroyed entirely I could, of course, purchase a new sort of battery-operated fan much more sensibly designed.

As I said, there may be a reason this model is no longer manufactured.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:41 AM
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Last ditch effort:

Is it possible for you to take some well-lit pics of the stand area--particularly, the latch you mentioned--and post them somewhere for us to examine?
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:01 AM
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I was able to zoom in a bit on that first pic that has the box and the fan in it and it appear that there are sliders on the two legs that need to be pulled apart in order for the battery compartment to flip open. This would be after the legs/stand is folded down away from the fan. If that's the problem, it could be that something is rusted/seized and you just need to give it a little more force.

Last edited by SmellMyWort; 09-17-2019 at 11:05 AM.
  #18  
Old 09-17-2019, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
Last ditch effort:

Is it possible for you to take some well-lit pics of the stand area--particularly, the latch you mentioned--and post them somewhere for us to examine?
No - because when it's folded up the latches holding it folded up are entirely concealed.

In this image you see the legs unfolded. The latch that locks the folded legs is visible as a nubbin under the "E" in "Ventilateur". It is not visible when the legs are folded up.

Another view of the legs and "nubbins". Side view..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmellMyWort View Post
I was able to zoom in a bit on that first pic that has the box and the fan in it and it appear that there are sliders on the two legs that need to be pulled apart in order for the battery compartment to flip open. This would be after the legs/stand is folded down away from the fan. If that's the problem, it could be that something is rusted/seized and you just need to give it a little more force.
It's all plastic, nothing to rust.

Last edited by Broomstick; 09-17-2019 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:44 PM
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Those images were superb and a huge help.

One more suggestion and then I'm stumped--take two butter knives (or something even thinner but sturdy) and slide them down between the stand legs and the back of the fan. See if you can push the nubbins down simultaneously. As you've said, pretty stupid design, although I guess you can take butter knives camping with you.

If all else fails, buy kayaker's handgun, prop the light/fan up on a post out in the country somewhere and teach it a lesson. (Kidding. Sorta.)
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:32 PM
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If the nubs on the legs engage an internal catch then I would expect a central spot to press on the top/back of the fan unit. If there is nothing there then swivel the handle to the up position. You could take a flat head screw driver and insert it between fan and leg and gentle rotate it or lever it up.

Last edited by Magiver; 09-17-2019 at 10:35 PM.
  #21  
Old 09-18-2019, 03:25 AM
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I have tried both a screwdriver and a butter knife. I can not get them into the area between the legs and the body.

I KNOW there's a way to do this - my late spouse knew how to unfold these things, I saw him do it.

I have a cake lifter around here somewhere that's even thinner than a butter knife....

Funny how this has become quite the problem, isn't it? Not earthshattering. Guess my life isn't too bad if this is the "big" problem I have at the moment.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:09 AM
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If you think those nubbins are what's locked, try pulling the handle away from the body, out, sideways, like you are prying it off.

If it's locked at the hinge end, look for a way to move the legs away from the body at the hinge end, or a way of moving the centre clip so that it doesn't block.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
No - because when it's folded up the latches holding it folded up are entirely concealed.

In this image you see the legs unfolded. The latch that locks the folded legs is visible as a nubbin under the "E" in "Ventilateur". It is not visible when the legs are folded up.

Another view of the legs and "nubbins". Side view..


It's all plastic, nothing to rust.
In the side view it looks like there are circular feet on the stand that are positioned directly opposite the nubbin. Maybe those press in.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:10 PM
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Have you tried swiveling the handle from one end to the other and/or pushing pulling on it? The center pivot area of the handle is about where a release mechanism would be. The release should be a one handed operation.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmellMyWort View Post
In the side view it looks like there are circular feet on the stand that are positioned directly opposite the nubbin. Maybe those press in.
No, they don't. I tried that.

Quote:
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Have you tried swiveling the handle from one end to the other and/or pushing pulling on it? The center pivot area of the handle is about where a release mechanism would be. The release should be a one handed operation.
I understand why people are focusing on the handle but really, it's NOT the release. It really isn't. You can't see it from the pictures but you can move the handle any which way and it doesn't make a bit of difference. It's free-swinging on a pivot and in no way functions as a latch.

And no, it's not a one-handed operation.

No, it's not a great design.

I have a friend who's about as strong as the Hulk. I'm thinking of turning it over to him to either open up the legs or break the fuckers off entirely. At this point there's not much to lose.

If I ever get this to work I'll be sure to post it.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
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I understand why people are focusing on the handle but really, it's NOT the release. It really isn't. You can't see it from the pictures but you can move the handle any which way and it doesn't make a bit of difference. It's free-swinging on a pivot and in no way functions as a latch.
I accept that the handle is free swinging. I'm suggesting spreading the handle. Have you tried that also?

When you try to open it, does it appear to be locked /at the nubbins/? Or at the hinge?
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:39 PM
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My absolute last suggestion: On the side view, there are a set of five ridges, both on the legs and the fan body; I assume there are corresponding ridges on the opposite side(s). Maybe, if you press the ones on both sides of the stand (gently), it triggers a release mechanism.

And angels will fly outta my butt.

Last edited by burpo the wonder mutt; 09-18-2019 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:26 PM
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We can do without your butt angels, Burpo
I just know that handle swings all the way around and makes access easier. Keep trying. You'll hit the sweet spot sooner or later. And the whole thing will lay flat. My last time. I swear.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-18-2019 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:33 PM
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can you press on the center of both of the handle pivots.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjmlabs View Post
DISCLAIMER: This is merely a WAG.

Have you tried this: Push the top/front part of the unit (i.e., the not-legs part) down toward the hinges? Judging from nothing but the pics and some vague experience with hinges like those, you may need to slide the front of the thing down about 1/8" to give it room to swivel freely. NB: If this is the case, then the front should slide down without too very much effort at all; try not to break the thing based on some anonymous interwebz guessing.

P.S. -- Don't bother with that manualz link; they lied. All they have for Ozark Trail manualz iz a portable grill.
I think mjmlabs is on the right track, but maybe the opposite motion? It looks like from this picture the latching mechanism catches the side away from the hinge. So with the fan in the orientation in that photo, slide the base/bottom to the left and the fan/top to the right while simultaneously trying to open it like a clamshell?
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:17 AM
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This thread is like watching a vid of a pack of dogs with a Kong ball.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:37 PM
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OK, I got it unfolded... and the plastic is brittle enough to start falling apart. Seriously, one of the nubbins broke off (not that that is a loss) and when I gently unfolded after getting the other nubbin to release one of the hinges broke.

I am seriously considering re-wiring the business bits - fan and light - into a new box that is much more intelligently designed.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:01 PM
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So how did it release?
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:38 PM
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I slid a cake slice lifter (because I needed something both stiff and very thin) between the front and back to try to trigger the nubbins to release, then used force. The results were... less than ideal. But I can't see any other way to do this, it looks like you're supposed to brute force it, with the idea the nubbins will pop open.

Old enough that the plastic is getting brittle. Clearly not intended to last a long time.

As I said - I am seriously considering re-wiring the fan and light into a new box. Also found the other one, which has not worked for an even longer period. Might rework that one, too. Because the notion of having both a battery powered light AND fan is a great idea for hot-weather power outages.

Not a crushingly high priority, more of an interesting exercise.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
OK, I got it unfolded... and the plastic is brittle enough to start falling apart. Seriously, one of the nubbins broke off (not that that is a loss) and when I gently unfolded after getting the other nubbin to release one of the hinges broke.

I am seriously considering re-wiring the business bits - fan and light - into a new box that is much more intelligently designed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
I slid a cake slice lifter (because I needed something both stiff and very thin) between the front and back to try to trigger the nubbins to release, then used force. The results were... less than ideal. But I can't see any other way to do this, it looks like you're supposed to brute force it, with the idea the nubbins will pop open.

Old enough that the plastic is getting brittle. Clearly not intended to last a long time.

As I said - I am seriously considering re-wiring the fan and light into a new box. Also found the other one, which has not worked for an even longer period. Might rework that one, too. Because the notion of having both a battery powered light AND fan is a great idea for hot-weather power outages.

Not a crushingly high priority, more of an interesting exercise.
I admire your tenacity with this "repair job." I'm loathe to toss something unless/until it draws blood. It's a sickness with me .

If you need advice with your re-build, you know where to come.

Last edited by burpo the wonder mutt; 09-24-2019 at 08:36 PM.
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