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Old 07-27-2015, 07:16 PM   #57
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aquinob's Avatar
1973 27' Overlander
Portsmouth , Virginia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 776
OK, so it's been awhile, but I finally got some time to go back and complete one of the fans, the forward unit. I had to button everything up when we took her out about a month ago, and it was so hot that opening a vent was pretty much out of the question anyway.

Previously I had started on making a wood mount for the switches out of some mahogany I had lying around. The other night I got to fitting in the rocker switch and the small pot to control the fan speed. Since the original light switch was mounted in the plastic, I had to modify the wood to make it much thinner so the controls would mount correctly, I.E. not too deep if that makes any sense. Pictures tell the story better than words.

I very carefully drilled for holes on either side and used a short metal cutting blade in a jigsaw to cut open two sections to fit the controls through. I also used a forstner bit to open up the back by each control so the pot and rotary switch didn't sit too low.

I had to cut back the heat shrink on the rocker switch so it would fit in the square opening I made in the wood. The pot for the fan speed sits next to it.

I decided to mount the speed controller on the side of the diffuser. Originally it was mounted to base plate, but I figured it would be easier to deal with the wires from the controls to the board since they were fairly short. I used some Isolate it Sorbothane strip that I bought for controlling vibration of the AC unit to pad the bottom of the board against the plastic.

The wood panel was glued to the plastic using my favorite adhesive, 5 minute epoxy.

I went to the local hardware store and got some of the brass nipple stock that is what they use for table lamps, some brass hex nuts and a small dark brass finial that I used to hold the whole fixture up just like the old switch held it up before.

Lights on, you can see I didn't put the screen back in yet. So far it works well, no different from the last time. I still have to work on the back unit by the bath. I've got a few other projects on the trailer as well as around the house to catch up on, always something to do, but never enough time to do it all.



Ongoing adventures at:
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:17 AM   #58
3 Rivet Member
1972 25' Tradewind
1976 31' Excella 500
Denver , Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 137
Getting ready to do my fans/vents and thought I'd post my findings, even though this is an old thread.

I actually bought one of those 02Cool fans mentioned earlier in this thread when we were stranded in Wyoming on our first trip. It runs on D cell batteries or 12v, so seemed great for the Airstream. I was going to install the fan in one of the vents and wire it to the 12v system, but since it also runs on D cells, I've decided to keep it as is (it's great for a tent, and the D cells last longer than you'd think).

Next thing I tried were computer fans. One alone doesn't move enough air, so I installed four in one vent (I am also using two to vent the refrigerator). You can get *really* quite computer fans, depending how much you want to spend, and you can get *really* cheap fans (like free, in old, thrown out computers), if you don't mind a little noise... they're still quieter than the original fans by a LONG shot.

Finally, I just purchased an Excella that came with three new-in-the-box Fantastic Vents, so I had the luxury of taking one apart without feeling like I was throwing away my money (and it came apart easily, so I could actually put it back together if I wanted).

The motor and blades by themselves fit in the original Airstream vent housing, so you don't have to remove the aluminum lid and collar if you don't want to. You can even transfer the pin from the Fantastic Vent to the original housing so the fan doesn't operate unless the lid is open.

After checking the size to make sure the fan and motor actually fit, I searched eBay and found that you can get the motor and blades with "bow tie" (the piece that attaches the motor and fan to the housing) for around $30. So if you're handy with electrical, you can do your own switches and mounting in the original housing with an actual Fantastic Fan for around $30 plus wires and switches.

Probably a more "elegant" and quiet solution than the electric automotive fan, and definitely quieter with less power draw. Also it turns out, actually cheaper than the automotive fan and switch.

25' 1972 Airstream Trade Wind Land Yacht
2006 Jeep Liberty CRD (diesel)
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