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Old 14-06-2018, 01:12   #1
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Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

Just purchased three Caframo Bora fans model 748CAWBX. When we received the Caframo Bora fans we noticed that the provided length of wire attached to the fan was 5-6 feet long, however the wire seemed pretty small. The flat white ribbon cable wires were printed with: "AWM 2468 VW-1 80C 300V E108485 22AWG REI HSING CSA AWM I A/S 90C 300V 22AWG LL84687 FT-1 -F- ROHS REACH".

The UL Appliance Wiring Material (AWM) 2468 style data sheet stated this wire’s intended use as "internal wiring".

Checked 33 CFR §183.425 (d) Each conductor in a multiconductor sheath must be at least a No. 18 AWG conductor. ABYC E-11 paragraph 11.14.1.1.2 Conductors shall be at least 16 AWG. But both CFR and ABYC had an exception of does not apply to electronic circuits having a current flow of less than one ampere. The Bora fan has a current draw of 0.25 amps at highest speed – seems to meet the exception rule, but the manufacture recommends a protective fuse of 3 Amps – seems to not meet the exception rule.

NFPA 302 states: 10.13.7 Conductors, other than those contained completely within equipment or enclosures, shall be at least No. 16 AWG. 10.13.8 All conductors shall meet UL 1426, Standard for Safety for Electrical Cables for Boats, and shall be so labeled. No exceptions found in this standard.

33CFR, ABYC, NFPA, and ISO10133 wire use tables list the smallest “boat” wire as 18 AWG (0.75mm). The use of white ribbon cable also appears to violate the color standards for DC conductors.

Question: Is the Caframo Bora fan wire compliant with the plethora of standards/laws or if installed with this wiring, an item a knowledgeable/ meticulous marine surveyor would tag as a deficiency?
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Old 14-06-2018, 05:54   #2
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Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

That would in my opinion literally be making mountains out of molehills.
As you said, it’s .25 amp, max. I think it’s actually .3 but that is picking nits. That is why they don’t blow much air, they can’t, they don’t consume enough power.
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Old 14-06-2018, 06:32   #3
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

I think you’re causing yourself grief. Unless you enjoy perusing the CFR’s I can in no way see this causing even the most anal-meticulous of surveyors pause.

You’re not trying to stay in class for commercial work are you? If not, this stuff doesn’t even cross the radar.
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Old 14-06-2018, 06:40   #4
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

There will always be some risk in even the best arrange electrical system. I have a gagle of Hellas on C breeze and they come with way too small wire as you mentioned. IP's come with dedicated fan wiring I feed these two fan drop circuits with a 5 amp breaker and cut the fan wires as short as practical. Never heard of a surveyor/ insurance issue but don't mean it has not / could not happened. Couldn't sleep well with these fans directly connected to a 15 or 20 amp circuit.

Have had a couple of resistors burn up on the fan control boards, but just resulted in a big stink and no breaker tripping (the sleeve bearings go bad).

There is a reason domestic electrical appliances only come with 6 ft cords and the NEC requires receptacle spacing NTE 12'. Reduces the risk but not to zero.
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Old 14-06-2018, 07:02   #5
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

It really all depends on the installation and circuit. If the fan is on a circuit with other fans, lights, whatever, then you need to calculate wire sizes for the entire length and load of the circuit. And I doubt you have only one fan on a circuit.

I would ignore the length of the wire that came with the fan; it does not mean anything other than the fact that it's long, lol. Cut it off conveniently close to the fan and replace with whatever is appropriate for the circuit and it's overall load. That could be 18, 16, 14 or even 12 depending. I usually like to err on the safe side and go one size up if only because I might add a new load to the circuit in future.
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Old 14-06-2018, 07:07   #6
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Abbott View Post
The Bora fan has a current draw of [/B]0.25 amps at highest speed – seems to meet the exception rule, but the manufacture recommends a protective fuse of 3 Amps – seems to not meet the exception rule.
The fuse recommendation is for the protection of the 22ga feed wire. 22awg has an ampacity of 3 amps, thus the 3 amp fuse.

I feel your pain. It has always frustrated me that I go to great lengths to ensure that my wiring is tinned, multi-stranded, color coded marine wire, only to find that the expensive electronics that I buy come with un-tinned wire or lamp cord with automotive connectors.
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Old 14-06-2018, 08:25   #7
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

The fuse will blow before the wire insulation melts, so the fuse size shouldn't cause alarm. The question is what might happen if you have a locked rotor (the fan is held so that it cannot turn). In that case, you could, possibly, generate enough heat in the fan motor to cause a fire.

We tested a variety of fans in my office at West Marine to see what the durability of each of them was. They operated for about two weeks. One of them failed, and despite having a fuse and very small supply wire, burned on my desk while I was in Europe. Everything in the office has small plastic "ash" on it. It was a mess.

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Old 14-06-2018, 11:26   #8
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

My suggestion would be an inline glass fuse of 2 amps, not 3. You fuse for the wire size, not the device draw, is the general rule of thumb, and 2 amps should supply enough current to power both fans at those 0.25 amp draws, and yet never risk an overhot lead. I like the suggestions to make butt crimps (or spade connectors with heat shrink over them to keep the salt air out) to better (18 ga.) tinned wire. That you can run to a nearby DC subpanel in a cabinet or sufficiently dry spot.



If Caframos were in the habit of frying on (say) unattended boats in the tropics, they wouldn't have a decent reputation and would have vast legal liability issues. And, for the most part, they do have a good rep.
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Old 14-06-2018, 18:00   #9
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Re: Caframo Bora Fan Wire Size

Thanks for the thoughtful insights.

A few clarifications might be needed. The original question about the Caframo Bora fan wire size was just one specific “case” of many that exist aboard – our LED cabin lights, the LED navigation lights, diesel heater fan, input power wires to nav instruments, and the list goes on and on. Each of these low amperage circuits are not addressed in current standards/laws as all the regulatory wire data tables go no smaller than 18 AWG – maybe this needs improvement in light of today’s available electrical options. So opinions and best judgement, which will differ, will be the deciding factor.

The advice from Suijin, “Cut it off conveniently close to the fan and replace with whatever is appropriate for the circuit and it's overall load.” seems well founded. This is what we did when we wired up the 12 VDC fan motor in our Dickinson Marine Diesel Heater rated at 0.17 Amp current draw with recommended 1 Amp fuse protection – we did wire it with 16/2 AWG, maybe overkill. As the heater fan motor is similar in current draw to the Bora fan - the difference in recommendation of a 1 Amp versus 3 Amp protective fuse added to our suspicions of the validity of the manufactures advice.

As to my “opinion” of the Caframo Bora fan flat white ribbon wire – believe it will meet its intended function as 80C 300V 22 AWG. However, given a choice, I would not use it as it does not meet UL 1426 specifications and lacks the common sense color coding. Besides, as UL style AWM 2468 classifies its intended use for internal electronic enclosures, believe its selection was based on costs instead of compliance or safety factors for marine/boat use.

We purchased these fans based on positive reviews (Practical Sailor and many boat owners) and did not notice the lack of approvals from marine standards/organizations – oh well – lesson learned. As these are popular fans was surprised to not find a comment on the wire size and standards compliance.
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