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  #41  
Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Hi, interesting that so many have the same problem. I heated up the top and got the lid off with slight miscolouration of the lid edge, and found that the solar panel - of glass - had shattered, while the motor runs nicely on an 1.5 V AA battery. So I'll look up a new solar panel and glue / silicone the thing together again and attack the number two vent that seems to suffer from something similar. Mine are at least 10 - probably 20 - years old and I have no chance of finding spares, and I agree that the deck plate is desirable to avoid having the thing torn off in green water if ever. So the new ones seem to be designed only for protected waters too. Can't imagine they get a serious off-shore rating on those. By the way, the cost for steel tubes to protect these would make the investment in this dinky little toy phenomenal. It seems it is hard to avoid setting a foot on them from time to time. But there are other cheaper brands with at least 4 inch measure and chargeable slightly fat looking NiMh batteries of 300 mAh x 1.2 V. Those solar panels might fit into the same diameter as the top plastic cover. But pretty expensive solution.
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Old 08-09-2012
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

The difficulties I have had with rehabilitating our old Vent have been the inability to get any specs from Nicro so trying to guestimate what I need for a replacement solar panel and finding a suitable motor. The "hobby motor" I found that fit the vent did not hold up although that may have been a issue with the first replacement solar panel I used which I discovered, after the fact, generated more voltage than necessary. I was only looking at wattage rather than taking into account both voltage and amperage when I selected the panel and it turns out to have been a 3 volt panel but with lower amperage so the high voltage may have killed the first motor.

More recently I have found a replacement panel that puts out only 2 volts but 410 mA (see 2V 410mA 0.82W mini solar panel small solar panels charge small motor AA battery | eBay) which will just fit within the ventís enclosure and may be a better fit for the motor/battery. The motor suggested as a replacement in a prior post (see Motor for Solar Projects - 1.5V to 12V DC) supposedly uses 80 mA. Assuming 12 hours a day when the battery is running the vent either wholly or partially, thatís roughly 960 mA hours of power. The rechargeable battery I have is 2000 mAH so it would be discharged to roughly 48%. Assuming my panel operates at an average 60% efficiency over a 12 hour period, the average power output would be about 246 mA. With 80 mA running the motor, Iím left with an average 166 mA to recharge the battery which should be enough to bring it back up to snuff in roughly 6-8 hours.

I have received the solar panel and am awaiting the delivery of the replacement motor. When that arrives Iíll give this effort one more try. The unfortunate fact is, however, I really have no clue what the heck I'm doing so this is really a learning experience.

FWIWÖ

PS: Having looked at several possible replacements for the Nicro Vent, none seem to be even up to Nicro's offering.
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  #43  
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Hi again, thanks for useful info. I realise I typed 300 mAh, it should have been 3000. You are right about the mathematics, and maybe all those mA are not going into charging, depending on the motor. In my case the original motor seems OK and it works now. I saw a question in one of the posts about the little electronic components, and in the cheaper vent I used (to cannibalize to be able to retain my old NICRO with deck plates), I found two little things that read IN58!9MIC, which when checking on Google translates into 1 Amp Schottky Barrier Rectifiers, which I take is a great kind of diodes. In my case the solar panel gave about two volts (2.05 or so) and the diodes (connected in parallel between the panel's positive and the battery positive / motor positive) took off something like 0.15 or 0.2 volts i.e. the voltage on the user side was 1.8 volts. That is pretty much for the 1.2 volt battery but if it really turns out to be destroyed I can replace it yearly. Or simply remove it, after all the earlier setup did not even have a day and night function.

Regarding the quality of the cheaper ones, yes I agree; as I removed the panel etc of the cheaper one, the electrical wire connections came off by themselves, and the motor - probably essentially the same as the hobby one - was much harder to get to move with the panel, so I think the older one is still of better quality. I am curious, though, at the rating of the motor from Sundance, as it says 1.5 - 12 V and thus should not really have reacted to 3 V as overvoltage. I would be interested in trying the 0.5 - 3 V although it is small and weak, it takes 100 mA to start but runs without load on 50, on rather high revs. That is, if the data sheets are right. I do not know what the load is from those masses of cubic feet of air that is transported. Well well, apart from being an interesting experiment it might save a buck, when we do not have to patronize those expensive Marine Equipment Shops. Until next repair that is.

Hope to get to sail soon too... Rain here, hesitate to go out and get wet.
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Oops, me and typing, the Schottky diode should be IN5819MIC or 1N5819MIC, According to the website it is made by FCI Semiconductors. Good luck. I suppose it is easy to get those in a shopŚ for electronic components and solder on the lead, but it makes sense to first find out the voltage etc, to match motor and battery. Maybe they are only intended to prevent backcurrents, but they could also have a stabilizing function. I think I remember hearing about Schottky in connection with voltage regulation as well.
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Akeela--

The first replacement motor I used was from a local hobby-shop, not the motor from Sundance, and was only rated for 1.5 volts. Another member, HelloSailor, commented that he thought it would not be adequate for the task and it was not, although that may have been because of my lack of knowledge and having used a higher voltage, lower amperage panel. I have ordered the suggested motor from Sundance and hope that will be up to the task, at least for awhile. As for diodes, I did not see any in the original Nicro installation although they may have been integral to the panel itself. I have wondered about the need of a diode between the panel and the motor/battery to prevent bleed-back into the panel from the battery when that is powering the system but thought I would just try Nicro's apparent arrangement first. If the battery goes flat too quickly I may try again with a diode but I am concerned about losses through the thing as the panel I have seems to have less surface area than the original and so may put out less power overall.

At this point, this is just an experiment for my learning purposes.

FWIW...
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  #46  
Old 08-20-2012
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Well--I finally got the replacement motor from Sundance and lo-and-behold, it's the same motor I bought from the local hobby shop. I also discovered that the first motor did not fail but that I inadvertently disconnected the wire from the first solar panel to that motor, at the motor itself, when I disassembled the Vent for the second time. If I had realized that, I would not have had to replace the motor at all. It seems that the first repair probably would have worked but that the rechargeable battery I used had failed and shorted out the circuit from the solar panel (although that may have been due to too much voltage). In any case, the new, larger, solar panel should provide enough power at 2.1 volts to run the motor and recharge a 1.2 volt battery without destroying it. That the new panel develops more power (i.e. amperage) is evident by the fact that it will spin the fan even in shade so long as it's oriented toward reflected sun light while the first panel had to be in direct sun light to work at all. The new panel also came with a tiny diode which I installed to prevent the panel from discharging the battery over night.

Right now the vent is sitting on my back porch spinning away, where it will remain for a few daze just to ensure it will last awhile, before I reinstall it on the boat. It is amazing the one needs go through this much brain damage to effect a repair. Nicro does itself no favors in this manner.

FWIW...
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  #47  
Old 08-20-2012
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Hylyte-
"In any case, the new, larger, solar panel should provide enough power at 2.1 volts to run the motor and recharge a 1.2 volt battery without destroying it. "
Wellll.... Overcharging it at 2.1 volts will indeed cause it to fail sooner rather than later. The exact voltage may matter less than the charging amperage does. Cells are designed to be charged somewhere between ~1 hour and 12+ hours, and the cells are built very differently to handle that. The common 600mA commercial cells are built very robustly, designed for a 10-hour charge at a rate around 80-90mA and about 1.5V.
Exceed the voltage OR the intended amperage, and you cook the cell. A gas vent opens, it steams out, dries out, dies young. Exceed the amperage bigtime, and it heats up and explodes rather dramatically.
ODDS are, that if the amperage from your 2.1v solar panel does not exceed 1/10th of the amperage capacity of the battery, you'll get away with it for a good long time. Just saying, you might want to run the numbers to make sure the stuff will keep you happy for a while.
For example, a NiCd AA cell is rated 600mA for "commercial" commodity grade cells, but a premimum NiMh cell can be rated 2500mA these days. There's quite a range available, with a batch of subtle differences besides price. Same for bigger cells.
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  #48  
Old 08-21-2012
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Re: Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Hylyte-
"In any case, the new, larger, solar panel should provide enough power at 2.1 volts to run the motor and recharge a 1.2 volt battery without destroying it. "
Wellll.... Overcharging it at 2.1 volts will indeed cause it to fail sooner rather than later. The exact voltage may matter less than the charging amperage does. Cells are designed to be charged somewhere between ~1 hour and 12+ hours, and the cells are built very differently to handle that. The common 600mA commercial cells are built very robustly, designed for a 10-hour charge at a rate around 80-90mA and about 1.5V.
Exceed the voltage OR the intended amperage, and you cook the cell. A gas vent opens, it steams out, dries out, dies young. Exceed the amperage bigtime, and it heats up and explodes rather dramatically.
ODDS are, that if the amperage from your 2.1v solar panel does not exceed 1/10th of the amperage capacity of the battery, you'll get away with it for a good long time. Just saying, you might want to run the numbers to make sure the stuff will keep you happy for a while.
For example, a NiCd AA cell is rated 600mA for "commercial" commodity grade cells, but a premimum NiMh cell can be rated 2500mA these days. There's quite a range available, with a batch of subtle differences besides price. Same for bigger cells.
The 1.2 volt NiCad batteries I have are rated at 2000mAh. I also happen to have 1.2v NiMh batteries rated at 3000 mAh. The standard commercial charger for the NiMh batteries (from Batteries Plus) seems to generate 1.52 volts which seems like a rather stunning number for a 1.2 volt/3000 mAh battery considering the charger on our boat seems to generate only about 14.6 volts to "bulk charge" our 450 Ahr 12v house bank. N'any case, from my earlier post;

Quote:
More recently I have found a replacement panel that puts out only 2 volts but 410 mA (see 2V 410mA 0.82W mini solar panel small solar panels charge small motor AA battery | eBay) which will just fit within the vent’s enclosure and may be a better fit for the motor/battery. The motor suggested as a replacement in a prior post (see Motor for Solar Projects - 1.5V to 12V DC) supposedly uses 80 mA. Assuming 12 hours a day when the battery is running the vent either wholly or partially, that’s roughly 960 mA hours of power. The rechargeable battery I have is 2000 mAH so it would be discharged to roughly 48%. Assuming my panel operates at an average 60% efficiency over a 12 hour period, the average power output would be about 246 mA. With 80 mA running the motor, I’m left with an average 166 mA to recharge the battery which should be enough to bring it back up to snuff in roughly 6-8 hours (I hope)
FWIW at this point the effort has become little more than a science experiment, we shall see. (FYI, after 24 hours, the vent is still whirling away.)

We shall see...
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 08-23-2012 at 08:31 PM. Reason: COrrect typo
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  #49  
Old 09-03-2012
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Closing Comment

I have now been "burning in" our renovated vent for a week or so, and have tried both the NiCad and the NiMH batteries. The replacement motor seems to work efficiently and smoothly drawing a minimum of power from either of the batteries at night , each of which will run the fan for more than 48 hours--the extra running time coming--I think--from the installation of the diode in the positive line leading back to the replacement solar cell. The replacement solar panel seems to work reasonably well and will raise the voltage in the NiCad from 1.31 v at sun-up to 1.44+ v by the end of the day. The NiMH comes up to 1.39 v during the same (roughly) 12 hours. (By comparison, a fresh C-Cell measures-on my volt-meter-a bit more than 1.5 volts even tho' rated at 1.2 volts, so I don't know what constitutes a "fully charged" state for these size batteries.)

N'any case, with the foregoing, I am going to re-install the vent on the boat and see how long the thing lasts, and will use the NiCad battery initially as that seems to accept more charge. At roughly $14.00 each for the motor and replacement solar panel--which should last 10 years or so--the repair is certainly more cost effective than replacing the entire vent (at $160.00). We shall see.

FWIW...
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Old 10-31-2012
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Still Spinning

For those contemplating the repair effort described in the previous posts in this Thread, after two months of ceaseless operation our renovated Vent continues to operate smoothly and quietly although seemingly spinning somewhat more slowly than the original when it was new (the fan blades are a bit less of a blur). Never-the-less, a "smoke test"--a puff of smoke discharged near the over-head in the vicinity of the vent--reveals that the air is quickly cleared as the vent discharges, so the vent is doing its job quite well enough to justify the $28.00 dollar repair.

FWIW...
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