Nicro Day-Night 2000 solar vent repair
I previously posted this on another forum that doesn't show up on Google searches. Thought it might be more useful here. Unfortunately, no pictures of the process. I was impatient to get it fixed and re-installed.
My boat has three Stainless Steel 3" Nicro Day/Night 2000 solar vents that are varying in age from 5-8 years. The batteries in all have been replaced more than once, but one stopped completely. A little testing with a multimeter identified the motor as dead. A call to Nicro confirms that replacement parts are not available; you can't even buy the plastic unit to salvage the dome on the SS models. Best part is these expensive units have been discontinued and the replacement requires installation of a whole new mounting ring system. Even the customer service rep was embarrased at the ridiculousness of not being able to repair the units.
Well, since they are $160+ (if you can find them in old stock somewhere) and I have three which are eventually going to all die, I was on a mission to figure out a way to repair it - and I did!
The key is two parts. One is a simple plastic sugar cookie sprinkle container and the other is a $9 solar motor (I purchased mine online from Sundance Solar - part # 700-60062-00). Repair is a simple process if you have basic soldering skills.
1.) Remove the SS housing and cut out the old plastic motor housing at its base, leaving a 1/4" or so protruding (it doesn't have to be pretty and probably won't be.)
2.) Cut down the sugar sprinkle container (you need one that is approx 1 5/8" diameter) which will now EXACTLY fit over the 1/4" protrusion you left from the old motor housing. Just make sure to measure your cut so that your fan blade sits at the proper height in the housing
3.) Drill a 1/4" hole in the center of the twist off lid of the sugar sprinkle container
4.) Punch a small hole in the side of the sugar sprinkle container to feed the battery housing lines into.
5.) Solder in some 24 gauge wire extensions (I used old Cat 3 telephone cabling) to the solar motor and battery housing and solder the battery, motor and solar panel leads together as they were before disassembly.
6.) Glue the new motor into the twist top of the solar motor
7.) Glue the container down to the 1/4" protrusion (I used super glue for both)
8.) Apply some silicone to seal the hole where the battery wires enter the new motor housing
9.) Screw the new motor in place and watch it run again for less than 10% of the cost of a new one!
Mine started right up with power from a 60 watt light bulb!
The best part is that if the new motor ever dies, I can simply unscrew the cap, break out the old motor, glue in a new one, solder it up and screw it back on.
I have just one old Nicro solar vent. It has the plastic cowl and is not the day/night version---no battery. The bearings in the motor are worn pretty badly. Sometimes it won't start unless I give it a spin, and then it growls. I wonder if your replacement solar motor would be a good replacement? Do you think I could add a nicad battery to convert it to a day/night version?
I also have a unit that has finally failed, and another that will. IMO the new "Day/Night Plus" units are not as rugged. I have had two of them fail w/in months while these two old units have run for at least a decade.
Another issue is that the old design snap fits in a Nicro deck ring. They can be taken out and the common Nicro plug cap put in. The new ones cannot be removed, though they have a slide up water shield if taking waves over them. But for offshore they are not safe as green water could rip the units off. Much better to have the old units which are taken out and the caps plugged in.
Good one, Skippy!!! My first thought when I saw the title to your forum entry was to trash the vent and get a new one. Calmer, more diligent minds have prevailed and yet another item on the boat is repaired and not bought new. Wonderful!
Thanks very much for this. Found a new one for $263, bought the motor for $8.95!
You're the best. Safe winds.
Nicro Day & Night 2000
My Nicro has a working motor ( fan runs when a charged battery is connected ), but when I check the solar array ouput it is only a few millivolts.
Does anyone have ideas or experience on replacing the solar array ?
I too am one of many owners of older day/night vents like this and mine went TU about a year ago. Being too frugal to go right out and buy a new one I hesitated. Based on this thread I rebuilt mine too. The only difference is I used a piece of a 1 1/4 inch OD plastic sink drain pipe to fit the new motor. Just cut off a section about 1 1/4 inches long, split it along one side and stretch it to slid over the new motor. It then will slip in perfectly into the hole made where you cut off the old motor!
Thanks Groven! You saved me mucho dollars!
I did replace the motor on my old unit with the one referenced here and it works great. As an experiment, I soldered wires to a rechargeable AA battery and connected it in parallel with the motor and the solar cell. Now the fan keeps running for several hours when the sun goes down!
repairing a nicro day&night
If I buy the $8.95 motor.... where could I find a replacement fan blade? I just bought my boat, and the fan was missing w/ the shaft all bent on the existing motor. Thanks!
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