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Old 10-07-2011, 12:53 PM   #1
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Yikes! My Fantastic Fans Killed My Batteries

In my ongoing journey of discovery through the vast realm of parasitic battery drain, I discovered a new culprit and his evil twin.

Situation:
5 nights of dry camping at Balloon Fiesta Rally
Charging batteries daily with Yamaha 2000
At the end of day five, with rain storm coming, we close up Airstream and go home to check the cats and sleep at home (14 miles away)
We leave battery isolation switch "On" so refrigerator will work.
We return next day, 25-20 hours later, to find batteries dead.
After exhaustive search we cannot find what drained batteries.
Discovery:
Today, I returned to storage lot to run generator to charge batteries.
On generator power, i resumed my search.
I heard the feeble whir, whir of my fanstastic fans trying to close their already closed vent covers.
New Insight:
If you use the manual knob to open and close your fantastic fan vent cover,
and if you leave the knob pulled out,
and if it rains,
the fantastic fan will attempt to close itself even when the vent is closed!
Two fantastic fans trying to close themselves all night long will kill two, deep-cycle batteries!

Even with switches in the "Off" position, your fantastic fan thinks it is still on duty.
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:07 PM   #2
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I do realize this sounds like a critism, but it is truly not. Why would one leave the gear drives disengaged?

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Old 10-07-2011, 01:18 PM   #3
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Hmmm. Because we are stupid? (Thank God my wife left hers in the manual mode too!)

The manual mode allows you to open and close your vent to suit sun and wind conditions when you don't want to run the fan. In the automatic mode, the vent is either closed or wide open. We had been using the manual mode to open and close the vents for five days. Indeed, we closed 'em nice and tight (manually) when we saw the rainstorm approaching.
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Old 10-07-2011, 01:25 PM   #4
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On my '07 there's a separate switch for the fan. You can open and close the vent without running the fan if you want.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:06 PM   #5
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The fan has a “limit” switch which is opened when the cover motor tightly closes the cover (it’s hard to tightly close the covers manually). If you close the cover manually, then its best to turn the fan speed control to the off position as this also opens the cover motor circuit so that the motor can’t run.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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I have never thought about it, I guess. We let the motors open them and then turn the fan speed switch to zero, if we don't want the fan to run.

If you turn the fan motors to the zero position, the vent motor turns off. That might allow you to have the vent partially open and still engaged to shut for the rain.

The auto-close feature has saved our tail a time or two. The temp control is also nice as the nights get chilly.

On our old fiver, I added the maxx-air vent covers. They did allow the vents to remain open in the rain with no leaks, but also restricted air flow. And, the vent covers foul the clean lines of the AS, in my opinion.


I do hope the batteries charge ok. That would make the lesson learned pretty cheap.

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Old 10-07-2011, 02:42 PM   #7
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Don't Leave Vent Open and Fan OFF

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Originally Posted by jdalrymple View Post
If you turn the fan motors to the zero position, the vent motor turns off. That might allow you to have the vent partially open and still engaged to shut for the rain.
If you turn the fan motor OFF you also turn OFF the auto close feature which will leave you with a soaked interior if it rains!

I just went out to my 2002 ASCL 31' which has 2 each Fantastic fans and have confirmed this.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:00 PM   #8
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The Lesson

Lest we lose sight of the lesson learned in this thread...
If you use the manual mode for any reason, push the knob back into place so the fan can do its job when the rains come.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:32 PM   #9
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I don't understand how would the sensor know if it was raining if the vent cover was closed ... I don't think the sensor can get wet (therefore triggering the "close" order) in that position. Just curious.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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A Bit Further On Lesson Learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
Lest we lose sight of the lesson learned in this thread...
If you use the manual mode for any reason, push the knob back into place so the fan can do its job when the rains come.
And make sure the fan motor switch is in the ON position! If the fan switch is in the OFF position, the vent cover motor is also turned OFF and the cover will NOT close if it rains.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBRich View Post
I don't understand how would the sensor know if it was raining if the vent cover was closed ... I don't think the sensor can get wet (therefore triggering the "close" order) in that position. Just curious.
The rain sensor is a circuit board laying flat (horizontal) under the vent cover with a resistance kind of like this “/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/”. When it rains the water "shortens" the circuit resistance thereby triggering the electronics to activate the closure motor.

You are right that it will not see any rain if the cover is closed, but the battery drain problem of the OP was caused by the cover not being manually closed tightly enough to open the closure motor limit switch, thus leaving the motor constantly running
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #12
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Not a Correct Statement

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Originally Posted by withidl View Post
And make sure the fan motor switch is in the ON position! If the fan switch is in the OFF position, the vent cover motor is also turned OFF and the cover will NOT close if it rains.
My fan switch was in the "off" position on both fantastic fans, front and rear.
When the rains came, the rain sensor still activated the vent cover motor on both fans, thus killing my batteries.

That is the lesson I am trying to share. By my visual inspection, all switches were off, but the vent cover motor still came on and ran all night because the manual knob was not pushed in.
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by withidl View Post
The rain sensor is a circuit board laying flat (horizontal) under the vent cover with a resistance kind of like this “/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/”. When it rains the water "shortens" the circuit resistance thereby triggering the electronics to activate the closure motor.

You are right that it will not see any rain if the cover is closed, but the battery drain problem of the OP was caused by the cover not being manually closed tightly enough to open the closure motor limit switch, thus leaving the motor constantly running
Ah...OK...Thanks. I get it...
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:52 PM   #14
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Regarding "Not a Correct Statement"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alumaholic View Post
My fan switch was in the "off" position on both fantastic fans, front and rear.
When the rains came, the rain sensor still activated the vent cover motor on both fans, thus killing my batteries.

That is the lesson I am trying to share. By my visual inspection, all switches were off, but the vent cover motor still came on and ran all night because the manual knob was not pushed in.
I just trundled back out to the old AS, opened the vent cover (left the vent cover open/close switch in the opening position), turned off the fan motor, crawled up a ladder and applied water directly to the rain sensor. The cover did NOT close. I went back inside and turned on the fan to lowest speed and the cover immediately started closing even though the cover switch was in the opening position.

Both of my Fantastic fans function the same. That being said, the manufacturer of later models (my AS was built in May of 2001) of the Fantastic fan may have incorporated a closure function even when the fan motor switch is in the off position.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for Checking

I'm pretty sure the Fantastic Fan on my 2000 worked just as you described, withidl. That's why I was so surprised when the vent cover motor ran with the fan switch in the "off" position. So, I just dug out the instruction sheet. It says, "When sensor becomes wet, dome will close automatically and shut off fan blade, if it is on." This wording seems to imply that it will also close automatically if fan is off, as happened to me. My FF is a Model 6000A. The instructions were printed 04-04.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:30 PM   #16
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how does the rain sensor sense to close for rain if it already closed? That part does not make sense here...

if you want the rain sensor to work when the fan is off, turn it off by adjusting the thermostat. If it is too hot to turn on, the fan will not run but the sensor will close the lid when it rains.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:37 PM   #17
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Fantastic 101

Just for quick future reference:
If you want your rain sensor to close the lid, but have the fan not run, put the motor control in "1", and the air switch in "neutral", between "in" and "out".
If you want the vent open or closed, no matter what, open the vent, and turn the motor switch to "0".
For factory-installed Fantastics, to make sure everything is off, make sure the fan motor is at "0", and the fan switch is "off".
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:55 PM   #18
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If It Had Been A Snake..........

Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander63 View Post
Just for quick future reference:
If you want your rain sensor to close the lid, but have the fan not run, put the motor control in "1", and the air switch in "neutral", between "in" and "out".
If you want the vent open or closed, no matter what, open the vent, and turn the motor switch to "0".
For factory-installed Fantastics, to make sure everything is off, make sure the fan motor is at "0", and the fan switch is "off".
I'd have been bitten! I remember using the "air switch" NEUTRAL position several years back but had forgotten it was there. Thanks for pointing it out (I need to write that down so as not to forget it again).
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Old 10-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by withidl
I'd have been bitten! I remember using the "air switch" NEUTRAL position several years back but had forgotten it was there. Thanks for pointing it out (I need to write that down so as not to forget it again).
Ah, but the newer fans don't have an In-Off-Out switch. It has been replaced by a simple On-Off switch as the factory installed fans only exhaust. I miss that feature that allows them to pull in fresh air. Turning the thermostat to warmer or turning the fan speed to 0 kills the fan but not the lid motor. I believe the On-Off switch should kill both but I haven't verified that.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:12 AM   #20
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Nope

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Ah, but the newer fans don't have an In-Off-Out switch. It has been replaced by a simple On-Off switch as the factory installed fans only exhaust. I miss that feature that allows them to pull in fresh air. Turning the thermostat to warmer or turning the fan speed to 0 kills the fan but not the lid motor. I believe the On-Off switch should kill both but I haven't verified that.
The "On-Off" switch does not kill them both. That's what this thread is all about. The Fantastic Fan is wired to close the vent cover when it rains even when the "On-Off" switch is "Off."
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