Adding Wiring for a Fantastic Fan - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-23-2010, 11:23 AM   #1
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I am getting to be a real pain in --- ---- with all my basic questions--sorry. Soon I will be off camping and will stop posting! One of the many things I know nothing about is electricity . . . I am going to pay someone to install a Fantastic fan (4000 model) in our 78 Trillium 4500, which seems to be completely original. At the moment there is only the original pop-up vent, no electricity. I have a few questions:
1. Has anyone done this in this particular model? Do you know where the wires will need to be fished from? (Knowing this could save me some money on the install, I think.)
2. We will be camping mostly in Alberta, BC (Kootenays) and NW Ontario. Does anyone think the fan is a waste of money and we should just get a new vent instead? (My husband has not caught the bug for this trailer and keeps talking about "not wanting to invest" in it.) On the other hand, we don't like to be hot.
3. I think everyone on this site is a DIYer, but by chance do any Winnipeggers out there have advice re a good place to get repairs done? I am looking at Happy Camper RV Service on Dugald Rd because the guy was very decent on the phone. On the other hand, I'm getting the fan from Transcona Trailer Sales--it's cheaper, but don't want to get the work done there because the service guy kind of snorted when I mentioned the age of the trailer.
Thanks for your patience!
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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I added one to my Scamp and I can say without a doubt it was the best modification todate! The trailer did not have a fan only a large escape hatch. Use to have to bring along a small portable fan to use when cooking in the trailer or hook up the portable AC in the back window in the event of a rare hot BC coast day or when camping in the interior. Both were also a big drain on power if doom docking so thier use was very limited. Now I use the fan a lot. IMHO if I had a list of things I wanted for the trailer and money was tight the fan would still make the top of the list. Tell your husband that the fan will also help a lot when trying to deal with damp BC summers. :-)

Can't help with the electrical issue as my scamp had a light in the position I but the fan so just used those wires. You should though be able to fish the wires from an electrical box without to much trouble.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:04 PM   #3
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A couple of notes:

1) Not that this is a reason not to do it, but note that your original vent might be a 9" one (if it is the metal Hehr vent), so the job might entail enlarging the hole and/or building a new mounting frame.

2) Are you going to be camping with electrical hookups? If not, then consider the power usage of the Fantastic Vent, and whether your current battery/etc. supports it.

3) If you want to get some camping in before making this decision, I have had great luck with the "suck the air out and cool air rushes in" box fan method. You can use a $20 box fan from Home Depot if you have power; or, Fantastic sells a Fantastic Fan box-style fan that plugs into 12 volts with a cigarette-lighter type plug (again, you do need power/battery available; but at least you are not committing to an installation before you are sure).

What I do is set the fan up in one of the windows, facing out (not in!). I have a shelf that runs across the foot of the bed and put it there, but any window will do. It should be filling the window as much as possible (you can use cardboard, or curtains, or etc. to fill the gaps). Then open one other strategic window and start the fan up blowing air out. Cool air will magically and abundantly come rushing in the other window (you can open more other windows, although the more you open, the less air rushes in each one).

4) Another option is to install something like a Hello Turbo marine fan inside the camper - you can set them up with a cigarette plug. They don't move nearly the air of a box or Fantastic Fan, but they use much less electricity, if your supply is limited.

5) Or, even easier, go to the camping department at Wal-Mart, and get a battery powered fan. I have one I use for car camping that lasts for *weeks* worth of nights on about 6 D batteries. Again, not the flow or "suck out" capability of a box fan or powered vent, but.... you could try it out for next to no investment (you would just have it blowing right on you).

6) One last option is that some folks rig up a computer ("muffin") 12-volt fan in the opening of their original vent. I have seen a nice installation with some aluminum channel so the fan could be slid in and out at will.

Luckily the Trillium has tons of opening windows - and they are jalousies so you can leave them open rain or shine. And heat will escape through the vent even if it's just the passive original vent.

One note is that if you have the original Hehr 9" metal vent, and you remove it, don't toss it out! I'm one of the probably dozens of people who would *love* to have one of those vents. There is no longer any 9" vent made except one exceedingly low quality plastic one.

Raya

PS: I would imagine that there would be wiring available from under the sink or perhaps in an upper kitchen cabinet. That should be pretty obvious to a competent installer (but... be careful... many aren't!). I would want to carefully fish the wiring under the Ensolite.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
A couple of notes:

1) Not that this is a reason not to do it, but note that your original vent might be a 9" one (if it is the metal Hehr vent), so the job might entail enlarging the hole and/or building a new mounting frame.

2) Are you going to be camping with electrical hookups? If not, then consider the power usage of the Fantastic Vent, and whether your current battery/etc. supports it.

3) If you want to get some camping in before making this decision, I have had great luck with the "suck the air out and cool air rushes in" box fan method. You can use a $20 box fan from Home Depot if you have power; or, Fantastic sells a Fantastic Fan box-style fan that plugs into 12 volts with a cigarette-lighter type plug (again, you do need power/battery available; but at least you are not committing to an installation before you are sure).

What I do is set the fan up in one of the windows, facing out (not in!). I have a shelf that runs across the foot of the bed and put it there, but any window will do. It should be filling the window as much as possible (you can use cardboard, or curtains, or etc. to fill the gaps). Then open one other strategic window and start the fan up blowing air out. Cool air will magically and abundantly come rushing in the other window (you can open more other windows, although the more you open, the less air rushes in each one).

4) Another option is to install something like a Hello Turbo marine fan inside the camper - you can set them up with a cigarette plug. They don't move nearly the air of a box or Fantastic Fan, but they use much less electricity, if your supply is limited.

5) Or, even easier, go to the camping department at Wal-Mart, and get a battery powered fan. I have one I use for car camping that lasts for *weeks* worth of nights on about 6 D batteries. Again, not the flow or "suck out" capability of a box fan or powered vent, but.... you could try it out for next to no investment (you would just have it blowing right on you).

6) One last option is that some folks rig up a computer ("muffin") 12-volt fan in the opening of their original vent. I have seen a nice installation with some aluminum channel so the fan could be slid in and out at will.

Luckily the Trillium has tons of opening windows - and they are jalousies so you can leave them open rain or shine. And heat will escape through the vent even if it's just the passive original vent.

One note is that if you have the original Hehr 9" metal vent, and you remove it, don't toss it out! I'm one of the probably dozens of people who would *love* to have one of those vents. There is no longer any 9" vent made except one exceedingly low quality plastic one.

Raya

PS: I would imagine that there would be wiring available from under the sink or perhaps in an upper kitchen cabinet. That should be pretty obvious to a competent installer (but... be careful... many aren't!). I would want to carefully fish the wiring under the Ensolite.
Thanks very much, Donna and Raya. Raya, it is the 14-inch square opening that I have. I like your idea about the battery-operated Walmart fan (going to Walmart and buying a fan are within my capabilities). My hesitation is, and I should have mentioned this--our current (old) vent is leaking and my husband has basically taken it apart and covered it with a tarp for now. So our thinking was, we need to install SOMETHING--no point in going to the trouble of re-installing the old one, so might as well decide what we really want there. He was going to do the work himself to replace it but we have run out of time and plus he is hesitant about trying the electrical. I don't want him to be in a bad mood before our camping trip and hold it against the trailer : )

The Fantastic fan (4000 model) plus a couple of hours of labour will cost us about $350, whereas I guess installing a new vent would be $40 for the vent and I think Daniel could probably install it himself without too much difficulty, or we could get it installed for $50 or so.

Raya, you raise a good point re whether we will be camping with hookups. I would like to have the option not to (get the better sites that way). I have absolutely no understanding of the current battery and what it will support--I guess I'll find out!

I will mull this. If I only make a $40 investment in a vent and Daniel installs it, then it wouldn't break my heart to add a fan later when we are more sure of our needs (and after Daniel has developed a fondness for the trailer, which I'm confident he will).
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:26 PM   #5
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Thanks very much, Donna and Raya. Raya, it is the 14-inch square opening that I have.
OOPS I mean thanks Carol, not Donna! sorry Carol!
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:26 PM   #6
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Hi Susan,

Just to clarify, the Fantastic vent can be used without electrical hookups, but it does use electricity, which has to come from somewhere. That "somewhere" could be a 12-volt system in your camper if you were boondocking. You would just have to have said 12-volt system (powered by a battery/solar/etc.), and have enough "amps in the bank." Not hard to figure out once we know what your system consists of. It's just numbers

On the other hand, and especially if you are feeling a bit rushed and unsure, I think that putting in a new replacement passive vent is not a bad idea. If you bed it with butyl tape and use machine screws, it will be easy to remove when the time comes (or, you can use rivets and then drill them out - also not difficult).

I think you can even get the passive vents for less than $40. Then, as you say, you can replace with the Fantastic Vent (or go with another options) down the line,when you are more certain, have time to figure things out, etc.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:08 PM   #7
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Camping World has Fan-Tastic fans and Create-a-Breeze fan/vents on sale until July 11.
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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When we got our Boler the first thing we did was have a fantastic fan installed.It was worth every penny.We had a malfuntion with the first one installed.I found the costomer service from the company second to none.They sent a new unit,installation was covered and they even threw in one of their endless breeze units and a new flange that was thinner and better suited to the installation in the boler.We have used the unit on every single camping trip.There is very little room in a 13' trailer to set up portable fans and they are no where near as efficient at moving air as the Fantastic Fan.I agree it is much more expensive than an ordinary vent,but it is impossible to compare the two.You get what you pay for and the Fantastic Fan delivers.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:35 PM   #9
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We found that just hanging and endless breeze fan off the window frame works great:
http://www.fantasticvent.com/products/endl...ess_breeze.html
We used the clips on the top to hang from the frame and a piece of PVC conduit the width of the window with slots cut in for the feet of the fan to hold it off the screen. Blows in or out in the rain.
It can run off one of the portable battery pacs if needed.
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:11 AM   #10
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Sounds like the Fantastic Fan (Endless Breeze) version of my box fan . Even better because it's 12 volts. I also like the option to move it around if I want to (although I typically just leave it in the window, blowing out and sucking cool air in).

And I hadn't even thought of the fact that I use it all the time when it is raining, with my jalousies open. I would not like to lose that. I like your idea of hanging it right on the window frame, too. I think I just decided to get a Fantastic Fan instead of a Fantastic Vent.

Raya
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:29 AM   #11
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It stores nicely behind the upper bunk of your boler too Raya.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:47 AM   #12
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The Fantastic fan (4000 model) plus a couple of hours of labour will cost us about $350, whereas I guess installing a new vent would be $40 for the vent and I think Daniel could probably install it himself without too much difficulty, or we could get it installed for $50 or so.
I picked my fan up from Camping World for about $150 and I was in Oregon at the time so no tax. Sweet deal for this Canadian.
As mentioned Camping World does have a sale on currently and you can pick one up for about the same so if you know someone in the US perhaps they can make the purchase and send it to you.
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