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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.