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  #1  
Old 12-16-2009
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Fans - Marine vs Automotive vs PC (Jury Rig)

All -

I'm in the buying mood, so I started looking at the boat list and saw that fans were in the high impact, low (relative) cost bucket...and so I set about to find the best value/bang for the buck while maintaining quality.

What I've found really makes me wanna punch out the marketing folks at West Marine as well as other retailers.

Hella Turbo fans are $70 a pop for a 12v fan. Going to Amazon, there are literally hundreds of 12v fans (mostly for the automotive market) that are a fraction of that price. As low as $5 in some cases!!

On top of that, there is the thought I had about rigging up some PC case fans to provide air flow. Those literally run day/night for years on end..and have to move a ton of air *QUIETLY* Best part, these case fans are literally up to $10 in price for high end, ball bearing units. Sure they dont look pretty...but price value quotient seems really high!

Has anyone done the analysis? I've already bought 2 Hella Turbo, but am more than willing to return them if someone can relay their experience using the much cheaper automotive oriented fans...or heck the PC fans.

If not for common areas, I'm definitely installing a couple of PC fans to move air in/around lazarettes just to ensure airflow there and to prevent mold buildup. I mean for $3, its a no brainer for out of view areas.
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Old 12-17-2009
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i have 2 walmart auto fans in my boat, 10 bucks each IIRC. they have been going for 9 months just fine ( well not non stop ). they are not as quiet as the "good" fans, but both my wife and i like some noise when we sleep so its okay. they supposedly draw .9 amps each. the only issue is the screws that hold the sliding switch in the controller rusted, but every thing else is doing fine. also the switches are standard sliding switches that would cost 89 cents or so to replace if i need to.

i would like to change the one in the saloon to a quieter one because it makes me turn the tv or radio louder
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Old 12-17-2009
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I would go with PC fans. Even if they last one seventh as long, it sounds like you enjoy boat projects. I doubt that the hella unit is seven times as good.
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Old 12-17-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
I would go with PC fans. Even if they last one seventh as long, it sounds like you enjoy boat projects. I doubt that the hella unit is seven times as good.
Leaning towards it, but I'd love to get real world feedback on someone thats done this and can point out the pitfalls...I'm sure I missed something.
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Old 12-17-2009
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Use walmart,keep a spare but service good.If brake discard.Sometimes most expensive not always best anyway.
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Old 12-17-2009
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I just replaced my cheap car-model cabin fan for a Hella fan and it has made a helluva difference (pun intended). The power consumption went down and the noise level went way down, before the fan was louder than most of the outside noises and now it is a soft background hum that still lets me hear what is going on outside of the cabin. The costs are quite high, and I do have some large PC fans in stock that I want to install in the bilge areas to keep the air moving (plus to make the refrigerator heat sink bigger and not in the main cabin).
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Old 12-17-2009
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Shop for any fans from Caframo. I picked up the Bora Model which is much better than the Hellas we had in our last boat. Three speeds, very quiet and better priced. Additionally great custoemr service. I had one fail, it wouldn't shut off, and they replaced it no questions asked for free. Looks a lot better than the Hellas too.
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Old 12-17-2009
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Shop for any fans from Caframo. I picked up the Bora Model which is much better than the Hellas we had in our last boat. Three speeds, very quiet and better priced. Additionally great custoemr service. I had one fail, it wouldn't shut off, and they replaced it no questions asked for free. Looks a lot better than the Hellas too.
I found the Caframo Bora on par in terms of price with the Hella Turbo. What model Hella did you have on your old boat?
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Old 12-17-2009
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I believe it was called the Turbo. Got them off the shelf from West Marine. They were effective and reliable but noisey compared to the Caframos. They also drew a bit more energy out of the batteries, not that the difference is anything to worry about.
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Old 12-17-2009
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I vote for the PC case fan, move a lot of air, and the larger versions are extremely quiet, and can be picked up in a huge range of sizes.

As far as ugly:
1st PC 250mm Clear Cooling Blue LED Fan 800 RPM 100 CFM 5 Blue LED light-Best Computer Online Store Houston Buy Discount Prices Texas-Directron.com

1st PC 250mm Clear Cooling Fan 800 RPM 100 CFM-Best Computer Online Store Houston Buy Discount Prices Texas-Directron.com

Click on the small images, shows front/rear views. Those are expensive (and large) for a PC fan, but even at the price and size of them you can keep a couple spares at hand.

you can build one or more into a nice little 'plug' that will fit right inside a port, which will only be as ugly as you build it.

For forced air ventilation, I have a pair of 4" fans in a drop board, with some automotive speaker grilles mounted on each side. for looks.

IF you don't mind a little fabrication. The way I did it on my old boat was to drill holes to the bottom of the drop board, route a groove to each edge, run the wires through holes and grooves and terminate them in small spring contacts, then run power through the jamb to small plates. No hook-up or disconnect hassles, just lift the board out which disconnects the wiring, drop them in and the fan is ready to go. Can even be lifted out with the fans running.
The way I built my contacts (cheapskate, and couldn't find a local source) was to cut two strips of copper sheet, curve it a little, then screw them to the end of the board, using one screw to connect the wire. The stationary terminals were just flat strips on the jamb. Originally I had a ball point pen spring behind the curved strip to keep it pushed out, but found I didn't need it.

Ken.
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