Sanyo Fan 8

Sanyo Fan 8 Transitor Chime


Sanyo Fan 8 Door Chime ~1962

Sanyo Fan 8 Door Chime ~1962

The Sanyo Fan 8 door chime from Japan is a unique musical door chime that employs a combination of mechanical and electronic technologies.

When activated by the push of a button, a cylinder rotates causing pins to pluck the tuned teeth (or lamellae) of a steel comb to play the Westminster Melody. A magnetic transducer, similar to those used on electric guitars, converts the mechanical vibrations to electrical signals which are amplified and played through a speaker.

Separate circuits using separate batteries power the motorized music box and the amplifier.

The Fan 8, like other mechanical musical chimes, is activated by the momentary push of a button to power a motor which turns a rotor that closes a switch for the eight-note melody cycle. At the conclusion of the cycle, a cam on the rotor opens the circuit until the chime is activated again.

Simultaneous to the melody cycle, a second switch is opened and closed to power the amplifier, pickup and speaker. Thus the amplification electronics are only powered while the melody is played on the music box.

The chime motor operates on direct current from a C cell battery so the motor speed is not governed reliably as it is with synchronous motors that are timed by the regularly reversing polarity of alternating current. So when the battery runs down, the Fan 8’s melody will run slower until such time when the reduced current does not turn the motor at all.

Music box-like mechanisms had been tried in door chimes with the inherent limitation of inadequate volume for large spaces. The Fan 8 solves this problem with an electronic amplifier although the fidelity might have been better with a higher quality speaker.

The Fan 8 was available with different melodies including: The Masters Prayer, Waves of the Danube, Traumer Ei, Swan Lake and Fur Elise. In fact the box indicates the chime could be ordered with other tunes if ordered in quantity.

As evidenced by the Fan-8 name, this chime is styled after traditional Japanese folded (Sensu) paper hand fans. Perhaps due to an idiomatic peculiarity of the Japanese language pertaining to product names, the Fan 8 references the chimes form and the number of notes played. This convention is also seen on the Pipe Six door chime.

The Fan 8 was not a big seller in North America or Europe. And only a few years later, musical notes could be electronically synthesized enabling solid state door chimes with few, if any, moving parts.


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