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 Nicro Solar Vent Noise
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OLarryR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2750 Posts

Initially Posted - 02/02/2010 :  16:34:30  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage
Before I buy another Nicro Solar Vent, thought I would ask if anyone has had success minimizing noise from it. My solar vent is about 4 - 4 1/2 years old and it has developed a sort of rapid clicking, whirring noise. I tried some graphite lubricant spray on it but did not help. I found that if I attach a small weight, like a clip or something onto one of the plastic fan blades, that seems to help a bit. Nothing is rubbing on the blades as it turns in the housing. I figure it is coming from the motor shaft. maybe as they get older such as mine, they start to make noise and it is time to replace them ?

Larry
'89 Robin's Nest#5820, Potomac River/Wash DC http://catalina25.homestead.com/olarryr.html

Edited by - OLarryR on 02/02/2010 16:35:14

OJ
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4179 Posts

Response Posted - 02/02/2010 :  16:58:43  Show Profile
Larry,
Your diagnosis sounds correct. When I went to replace mine they would only sell the entire unit - meaning I'd have an entire housing to dispose of. Instead I purchased a stainless non-motorized vent - probably almost as effective as hot air rises - and no motor to wear out . . .

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Nautiduck
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
3690 Posts

Response Posted - 02/02/2010 :  17:54:10  Show Profile
We've had a couple of them and they make some noise even when new. We turn it off when sleeping. I have had some success with Sailkoat spray on the shaft. If this unit gives out - like the first one did - I may follow OJ's lead and get a passive unit that fits in the hole.

Edited by - Nautiduck on 02/02/2010 17:54:48
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Dave5041
Former Mainsheet Editor

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USA
3150 Posts

Response Posted - 02/02/2010 :  19:23:21  Show Profile
I guess they really don't build them like they used to. Pearl came with one that was old when I got her, and it is still working. This one pre-dates the battery models, so it only runs when the sun is shining.

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OLarryR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2750 Posts

Response Posted - 02/02/2010 :  21:39:06  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage
I may try the Sailkoat Spray. That seems the easier way to go for starters. As far as a non-motorized Vent...That's a harder sell for me...but then again, I stopped into West marine the other day and the Nicro Solar vents were a whopping $150.+ I guess I will check online...and maybe do some consideration of a non-motorized unit. I could just remove the battery and then it will work only when the sun shines but from the way I understand it, it is just when the sun goes down that you want the fan working. It is when the temps cool down that moisture forms. By doing the air change during the cooldown hours, the inside cabin air that is warmer is vented out before it cools down in the cabin and moisture condenses out of it.

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Dave Bristle
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Djibouti
10005 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  07:37:52  Show Profile
Did you try cleaning the fan blades? Just a little dusty scum can throw them off balance.

At least the new models have on-off switches, so you have an easy option for sleeping. (I like mine running when we're sleeping--we seem to generate some moisture.)

Edited by - Dave Bristle on 02/03/2010 07:39:02
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glen
Captain

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355 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  08:11:49  Show Profile
Ours is about 18 years old and still whisper quiet, but the batteries are not holding a charge. I have replaced them a number of times with both recommended original (ordered from WM $$$$$) and ones ordered from Radio Shack. What I am interested in finding out, is has anyone wired the vent to the house battery. I realize I would need to convert the voltage, and include an on off switch for that connection. But at dock I am on shore power (I have to keep the fridge full of cold beverages, for Renzo to borrow) so when the boat is closed up, and I need ventilation the most the vent could be running off the house battery, which is maintained by my charging system.

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Ed Cassidy
Captain

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365 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  10:03:03  Show Profile
It runs on a battery, so it is a DC motor. It should be quite simple to get an adaptor to convert the 12 volts down to 1.5 volts or whatever it is, but here's a thought. Why couldn't you also design in a way to reverse the polarity to the motor and have the fan run backwards at night, brining in cooler air for sleeping in the summertime?

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OLarryR
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2750 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  11:21:16  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage
Dave,

I will try cleaning the blades - Good suggestion - worth a try. If it had an ON-OFF switch that would be of benefit since it is rare I sleep overnight anyway and so just for those times, I would like to turn it off. Even the ticking from the Weems & Platt Clock I have is bothersome to my spouse !

By the way, there is a good chance that I will be up your way again first week of March. I have a business trip to Groton but some that have been up that way for a similar group sponsored task have been all staying in a hotel located in Mystic. If my trip goes as scheduled and staying in Mystic, I'll forward an update. Maybe we can get together again - dinner, etc.

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Alan Clark
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406 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  11:43:36  Show Profile
Glen, I have also had issues with the batteries, not holding a charge. From what I can determine,the battery develops a "Memory", a friend on Mine has his going All the time year round. We,pull it off in the winter and store our boat with the cap on,every spring we need to get a new battery (Batteries Plus store), Not the $25.00 West Marine battery. So I plan on getting a new one this year and just letting the sun charge it, I have also looked at Rechargeable battery chargers for C batteries. Just have not gone there yet... Let me know what you think.

Edited by - Alan Clark on 02/03/2010 11:44:49
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glen
Captain

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355 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  12:56:05  Show Profile
Alan, when you take the vent off the boat in the winter, do you set it some place in the sun, and let it run.

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glen
Captain

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355 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  13:13:39  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Ed Cassidy</i>
<br />It runs on a battery, so it is a DC motor. It should be quite simple to get an adaptor to convert the 12 volts down to 1.5 volts or whatever it is, but here's a thought. Why couldn't you also design in a way to reverse the polarity to the motor and have the fan run backwards at night, brining in cooler air for sleeping in the summertime?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Ed, I have started to look for an adaptor, but as I recall it's an odd voltage. 1.2volts or something like that. 1.5V is an easy one to buy, but I'm not having any luck with this one. As for reversing the direction of the fan. I have my vent located above the head circulating that air cool or not is not a good idea

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delliottg
Mainsheet C250 Tech Editor

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4343 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  13:59:38  Show Profile  Visit delliottg's Homepage  Click to see delliottg's MSN Messenger address
Motors are fairly tolerant of voltage differences. If it's designed to run at 1.2 VDC, most likely it'll run at 1.5 VDC just fine. I'd check with Nicro, but I'd imagine there wouldn't be a problem.

NiCD batteries are 1.2 volts, and alkalines are 1.5 & devices designed for either generally run fine with the other inside them.

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piseas
Former Treasurer

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USA
2017 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  14:47:14  Show Profile  Visit piseas's Homepage  Send piseas a Yahoo! Message
I was looking at the passive vent and this is how they describe it:

"Nicro engineers have created a passive wind-powered vent that moves 600– 1000cu.ft./hr. of air <u>with just a 15-knot breeze</u>!"

Is that a misprint? a 15 knot breeze! Did they mean a 1.5?

Steve A

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Dave5041
Former Mainsheet Editor

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USA
3150 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  16:22:07  Show Profile
I hope so, Pearl has enough gaps to vent that much air in less than 15 kt. without a vent.

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OJ
Master Marine Consultant

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4179 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  19:02:44  Show Profile
Solar is green, disposing of a perfectly good stainless housing and/or batteries is not . . .

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Dave Bristle
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Djibouti
10005 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  21:34:04  Show Profile
I never got around to installing a solar vent in our C-25, but I found that I could leave the forward hatch cracked open with the "dog nuts" (sorry, I couldn't think of another term) resting on the brackets, and I never had any rain get in because the hatch lip was still in the rain gutter. I'd close it before a big storm, but otherwise leave it open for some air flow in the slip. You can see this by clicking the photo in my signature--not put there for this post.

I put a solar vent in Sarge, and will probably replace its NiCad C-cell with a NiMH (from Radio Shack) when it starts running out of gas.

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glen
Captain

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355 Posts

Response Posted - 02/04/2010 :  07:00:07  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by delliottg</i>
<br />Motors are fairly tolerant of voltage differences. If it's designed to run at 1.2 VDC, most likely it'll run at 1.5 VDC just fine. I'd check with Nicro, but I'd imagine there wouldn't be a problem.

NiCD batteries are 1.2 volts, and alkalines are 1.5 & devices designed for either generally run fine with the other inside them.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Thank you David for the information. Looks like this project may be easy for a change

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Dave5041
Former Mainsheet Editor

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3150 Posts

Response Posted - 02/04/2010 :  09:34:14  Show Profile
And even alkalines drop off to about a 1.2V steady state pretty quickly. To bad LiONs need a special charge controller.

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Alan Clark
Captain

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406 Posts

Response Posted - 02/04/2010 :  19:28:12  Show Profile
Glen, I have done that But it could be "TOO LATE" for the batteries, I did speak with Radio Shack and they stated they do NOT sell the type of battery that goes into the Nicro, so they suggested Batteries Plus..or West Marines $26.00 replacement battery. I did call Nicro last summer and explain to the the problem and they sent me a replacement vent and were very helpful. That may also be an option.I am going to Batteries plus this year for $5.00 and see how it does for the summer.

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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
2939 Posts

Response Posted - 02/04/2010 :  21:10:15  Show Profile
One failure mode for small electric motors is that after a while, they wobble. This is due to gunk which unevenly builds up on the blades and causes the motor shaft to spin slight off center and tips the shaft as it is spinning. Then, over time, the bearings wear unevenly, and this perpetuates the problem.

If you clean the blades, this will balance things out, but the damage is already done. If afterwards you use a waxy lubricant, it may cushion the wobble, and you can reduce the noise. It will never go back to its original sound level, but it can be made tolerable.

How many batteries are in the Nicro vent? 1 = 1.2V, 2 = 2.4V and 4 = 4.8V. If you want to run it from your 12.6V battery, you could use a DC to DC converter, or a simple resistor in series somewhere along the wire.

For example, if the vent uses 2.4V, and pulls 100mA to operate, you'll need to drop 10.2V. Using Ohm's law V = IR, the resistor needs to be 10.2/.1 = 102 Ohms.

Checking for power dissipation. P = EI or 10.2 x 0.1 = 1.02W. So you need a 100 Ohm, 1W resistor which are available at Radio Shack. You could also use 2 1/4W 22 Ohm and 2 1/4W 27 Ohm resistors in series (end-to-end, like links in a chain).

As Dave said, the older recahargeable batteries were Nickel Cadmium, which are known to fail in a way where they will not fully recharge: "memory". These were made out of a pretty nasty concoction of chemicals and are now obsolete.

Newer batteries use Nickel Metal Hydride, NiMH. They have several advantages.

They don't exhibit memory, they have a whole lot of power storage capacity(~2200 mAH) and and are not made of a poisonous substance (Cadmium).

They're not as efficient as Lithium Ion batteries, and don't have as much power density, but they're not as finicky about the charge controller.

Is it possible to replace the batteries in a Nicro vent? Can you wire up your own battery pack? You can't solder NiMH batteries together because you shouldn't overheat them, and it's maddening to try to solder the metals used in their construction (solder won't stick). I used aluminum foil strips and masking tape. Careful not to inadvertently create a short circuit, because you can draw a LOT of current from NiMH batteries, and they get HOT.

Another great option is wireless phone batteries. There usually consist of 2, 3 or 4 cells, and you can tell just by looking at them.


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