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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.
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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.
 

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Good work!

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?
 

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Seasoned Salt
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WONDERFUL!

Thank You!

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.
 

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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!
 

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Thank You

Thanks very much for this. Found a new one for $263, bought the motor for $8.95!
You're the best. Safe winds.
 

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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 ?

Toofani
 

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Old Fart
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Rebuilt mine!

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!
:):):):):)
 

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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!
 

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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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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.
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Thanks much ... 2 of these are on my list as equipment to purchase and install ...
 

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I Just replaced one four year old unit that stopped working and installed three new Nicro solar fans . None of them work for longer than two minutes, even when given a flick start .
After several attempts to contact Marinco .(With no response to several emails, and three calls to their product service department ) they finally said I should replace the batteries. No change after installing new nicad rechargeable batteries.
Defender has offered a store credit .
The quality of the newer models is very poor ,with sloppy bearings and faulty units. I am using a recycled muffin fan connected to a solar panel These are not worth buying anymore.
 

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Telstar 28
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Call Nicro...they'll probably just send you a fan blade set...

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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Many Many Thanks!

My boat also has one of the older units that just started getting temperamental. Now I can do a rebuild :thumb:

--Tim.
 

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I just rebuilt my solar vent this evening with excellent results using this approach. A couple of refinements:

First, if you carefully cut-off the original tube encasing the electric motor with a hacksaw right along the edge of the bottom of the tube (where the motor shaft exits, closest to the fan blade), you can maintain the original depth of the tube. Then all you need is to use is the top from a sugar sprinkle container, and not the container itself or any new tubing. I think a spice jar lid would work also. The lid slips right over the original tube and ultimately can be glued on at the end of the project.

Second, when you drill the hole in the center of the lid, make it large enough so the shoulder on the motor where the shaft exits will fit down inside. A 1/4' drill worked perfectly for me. This way everything will sit flat when you glue the motor to the lid.

Third, I used doorbell wire for the rewiring which was easier to solder and work with. Use a solder gun, not a torch.

Fourth, use one-minute epoxy to first glue the motor to the lid and then glue the lid over the original tube once the motor has set.

As fixed, my vent fan is quieter and seems to run on less sun than before. The Sundance Solar motor, part # 700-60062-00, is still available for less than $9.00.
 

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Before you get the Dremel and epoxy out, try a shot of WD40 or silicon lube. I had a 3" Nicro Day/Night vent "die" on me after making louder and louder noises for months. I simply changed the battery, gave it a spritz of WD40, and it's been running strong and quiet for over a year now.
 

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One of None
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Thought I'd bump up this older thread. Mine vent, sure as the others.. almost 2 years to the day it's not working. I'm going to try the WD-40 as suggested by slowbutsteady.

What about an external battery pack? 2-4 of those little cells in parallel? would run longer on dark days and nights, no?
 

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Telstar 28
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Denise—

I wouldn't use WD40, since it will get gummy. Use a dry film lubricant instead.
 

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Instead of wiring multiple batteries together look online or at a battery store for a higher capacity battery of the same size and type. I did this for my 2000+ solar vent. I thought it would help the unit last more than 2 months. No such luck, but it did run longer during cloudy stretches before it died.
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Instead of wiring multiple batteries together look online or at a battery store for a higher capacity battery of the same size and type. I did this for my 2000+ solar vent. I thought it would help the unit last more than 2 months. No such luck, but it did run longer during cloudy stretches before it died.
When I replaced the battery in my vent I put in one with a much higher capacity, I think about 50% more mAH (but, without taking it apart again, I couldn't tell you the actual numbers). The rated capacity on small batteries varies quite a bit, and I'm sure that the good folks at Nicro don't put one in that are any bigger than absolutely necessary.

As to the lube used, WD40 just happens to be what I had on the boat that day. Something else might well work better; but, so far, so good.
 
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