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JLBJR 11-30-2007 09:10 AM

Solar fans
 
I am looking to install a couple of solar fans on my Sabre 28. I am thinking about putting one in the forward hatch (slightly curved translucent fiberglass) and use one to replace the dorade vent cowl located over the head.

Questions: Any recommendations on brand, I want something QUIET that can be turned on and off manually and that will hold up for the long haul? Does anyone see any problem or see an advantage to replacing the cowl with a fan? What should I expect to pay?

My goal is to keep fresh air moving through the boat while it is closed up at the dock. I live in Florida and do not have AC on board.

Thanks,


JLBJR

Diva27 11-30-2007 09:49 AM

I have a Nicro day/night (3 inch model) in the head compartment of my C&C 27. I installed it last year as a replacement for an old Nicro that had been kicked one too many times by previous owners. The design of the new one is much more robust, although I'm considering installing a protective cage over it. It has a switch that can turn it off, and a damper you can close. It also has a noticeably larger solar panel, even though the cutout is the same. I'm not much worried about taking green water through it where I sail. My experience with solar powered vents on earlier boats is that to keep noise to a minimum, you have to make sure the mounting is fairly level. If the little motor has to operate on a tilt, sooner or later it will start chattering, sometimes alarmingly loudly. You also mention a curved mounting surface, which you'll have to overcome if you want a tight seal. The Nicro comes with a gasket for the deck (there are options for putting them through a flat hatch), but it won't overcome much camber.
While I only have the single solar vent in the current boat, it does a good job of moving air out of the cabin when I'm not there. But since I'm up on Georgian Bay and you're down in the tropics (by my standards) you may as you suggest want to have a more ambitious, multiple vent system, perhaps with larger units, to keep the humidity, mold and mildew at bay. The Nicro also allows you to reverse the fan, so that you could have one unit pulling fresh air into the cabin while another one provides exhaust from the cabin.

sailingdog 11-30-2007 10:02 AM

JLBJR-

Having a switch on them kind of defeats the purpose IMHO.

The Nicro brand vents are very quiet and hold up quite well. Also, Nicro has pretty good customer service as well. I have two Nicros, of the slightly older line, on my boat. Mine were the high end model that used a stainless steel screw-in deck plate, rather than a plastic snap-in deck plate, and came with heavy bronze caps for the deckplates to allow you to close the openings off in case of really heavy seas. I've been out in pretty interesting conditions and not had any water come through the two vents I've got installed... but they're not as exposed as the place you're putting yours, as one is just aft of the mast and the other is by the companionway—under the dodger.

BTW, don't bother with the 3" vents, as the 4" vents move almost twice as much air and the price difference is minimal.. as is the amount of work to install them.

Diva's advice on fairing the surface is very good...key to getting a good seal on the vent. Also, I have one set for intake and the other as exhaust... and the temperature of the boat is at least 15-20˚ cooler than prior to my installing them. BTW, the way the Nicro fans change from exhaust to intake is by switching the actual fan blades.

killarney_sailor 11-30-2007 10:21 AM

get ones with switches
 
I have Nicro ones without switches and they work great, but when you are sleeping onboard and it is really quiet they can be just noisy enough to be annoying. Other than that I have been very pleased with these vents. They really keep the boat dry and clean-smelling and even work through white shrink-wrap in the winter.

JLBJR 11-30-2007 10:24 AM

Excellent advice, from both of you, thanks. The reason I am interested in switchable units is simply more control. Even though Florida is tropical, the evenings in December - February can get cold, at least by our thin blood standards and that is why I think it prudent to have the ability to switch them off. I am off to the internet in search of Nicro products.

JLBJR

JLBJR 11-30-2007 10:26 AM

I hear ya about the switches Killarney sailor, thanks.

Diva27 11-30-2007 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 230557)
JLBJR-

Having a switch on them kind of defeats the purpose IMHO.

The Nicro brand vents are very quiet and hold up quite well. Also, Nicro has pretty good customer service as well. I have two Nicros, of the slightly older line, on my boat. Mine were the high end model that used a stainless steel screw-in deck plate, rather than a plastic snap-in deck plate, and came with heavy bronze caps for the deckplates to allow you to close the openings off in case of really heavy seas. I've been out in pretty interesting conditions and not had any water come through the two vents I've got installed... but they're not as exposed as the place you're putting yours, as one is just aft of the mast and the other is by the companionway—under the dodger.

BTW, don't bother with the 3" vents, as the 4" vents move almost twice as much air and the price difference is minimal.. as is the amount of work to install them.

Diva's advice on fairing the surface is very good...key to getting a good seal on the vent. Also, I have one set for intake and the other as exhaust... and the temperature of the boat is at least 15-20˚ cooler than prior to my installing them. BTW, the way the Nicro fans change from exhaust to intake is by switching the actual fan blades.

Agree on all of above, except for the manual shut-off. It's possible you might find some light thrumming or chattering too annoying to allow you or your mate to sleep, in which case it's nice to be able to switch the thing off it doesn't mean suffocating. I second the motion on the largest unit possible. I stayed with the small unit because the cutout was already there and I didn't like the idea of enlarging it. It's located in an area of critical curvature of the cabin profile, where there's foot traffic around the mast, and a larger hole might start (in my mind) to compromise the panel strength. As for the "reverse" function, on my unit it's a simple case of pulling the plastic fan off the shaft, flipping it upside down, and sticking it back on again.

Diva27 11-30-2007 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JLBJR (Post 230576)
Excellent advice, from both of you, thanks. The reason I am interested in switchable units is simply more control. Even though Florida is tropical, the evenings in December - February can get cold, at least by our thin blood standards and that is why I think it prudent to have the ability to switch them off. I am off to the internet in search of Nicro products.

JLBJR

One last point: I wouldn't spend extra money on the stainless cap. It seems more cosmetic than anything. If serious impact damage seems possible, I would consider as I mentioned some kind of grill over top to prevent contact.

Trekka 12-01-2007 03:36 AM

Nicro changed their designs and the current day/night vents are not removable. They have an internal sleeve that slides up to block water ingress. This is fine for rain and spray, but for protection from green water I would prefer the older designs that are removable. I also think the older designs are more rugged in other ways. If you come across some old ones, replacement Nicad C cells are available at Radio Shack for about $7/pair.

sailingdog 12-01-2007 05:48 AM

The ones I have are the high-end older ones, with the screw-in deckplates. I've found that spray and rain isn't an issue with either of them. Green water is the reason I keep the bronze deckplates aboard. :D


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