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Old 09-03-2012, 05:15   #1
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Airhead Solar Vent Straight to Battery ?

Hi guys

So I installed my air head and all is great except the solar vent doesn't work. It's not charging the battery. So after much stuffing around I have been able to hook it straight to my house bank.. It is cranking along and is actually louder than I thought it would be. Is it safe to do it this way until I get a replacement or will it wear down my batteries to quick???? Help much appreciated as I am going away on the boat for the weekend and don't want to use the toilet if this isn't sustainable for at least a week until the replacement arrives??
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:26   #2
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

What is the voltage rating on the fan motor? Sounds like you have a bad battery on the fan. Solar vents are notoroius for cheaper batteries and battery failure.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:53   #3
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Wouldn't have a clue. Really doesn't come with any usefull info. I think one of the wires from the solar wasn't connected properly. I have made a mess of that now but it is working
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:04   #4
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

Straight to batter literally? No fuse or breaker? Potential safety issue if so.
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:12   #5
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Yeah straight to it. Hmmm maybe have to do without this weekend
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:38   #6
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

Last solar vent I took apart had the equivalent of 2 AA batteries in it. total of 3 volts, If yours is similar I think you'll be needing a new one this weekend.
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Old 09-03-2012, 13:37   #7
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Last solar vent I took apart had the equivalent of 2 AA batteries in it. total of 3 volts, If yours is similar I think you'll be needing a new one this weekend.
My Nico vent runs on a 1.2 volt battery for nighttime backup.
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Old 09-03-2012, 14:34   #8
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Thanks guys. Am going to leave it off this weekend and just have to do a trip ashore and use the public toilets. Thanks for the feedback
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Old 09-03-2012, 15:22   #9
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

Mattyb,
I've probably junked 3 or 4 of those solar vents over the years. For my Airhead I use a passive vent and the 12 VDC muffin fan provided by Airhead. The fan has been running non-stop since May, 2008. My house bank ammeter does not register the current for the fan. It makes a very slight noise, about the same as the fan in my laptop.

My advice, throw away that solar vent and just leave the 12v fan running all the time.

John
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Old 09-03-2012, 15:52   #10
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyb View Post
Hi guys

So I installed my air head and all is great except the solar vent doesn't work. It's not charging the battery. So after much stuffing around I have been able to hook it straight to my house bank.. It is cranking along and is actually louder than I thought it would be. Is it safe to do it this way until I get a replacement or will it wear down my batteries to quick???? Help much appreciated as I am going away on the boat for the weekend and don't want to use the toilet if this isn't sustainable for at least a week until the replacement arrives??

Here is our air head installation: I installed the pot on a 1/2 inch lexan sheet so we can see the below lockers. I used an existing but new NICOR solar vent and made an adapter for the bolt circle difference. This works well and if We ever had detected a mis-match (ie - batteries ran down etc.) I would add a local solar pad just for the air head fan. I determined we would not connect to the batteries. If your Nicor does not charge or hold charge over night it probably needs to be replaced.

I love the Air Head and this was a particularly successful project.
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Old 09-03-2012, 16:41   #11
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

I tried the solar vent route with the AirHead and it didn't provide enough oomph, especially as it would die at night, so I went to the small computer fan. The first one that came from Air Head died an early death after a rough offshore passage that was sending heavy green water over the decks. Some seawater apparently made it's way through the vent into the fan and destroyed it. Subsequently, I have installed a better water trap vent over, and I replaced the fan with a little one from Radio Shack that has now been running continuously for over five years. I have some solar panels, so the draw is not really noticed. I have it wired to my "always on" circuit that includes the bilge pumps, the GPS, and the VHF (I discovered the memory dies if the VHF is left unplugged all winter and you lose your MMSI #, which can only be reprogrammed by the factory).
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Old 09-03-2012, 20:10   #12
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

[QUOTE=Kettlewell; (I discovered the memory dies if the VHF is left unplugged all winter and you lose your MMSI #, which can only be reprogrammed by the factory).[/QUOTE]

That would be really inconvenient. What radio and model? Perhaps there is an on-board tiny battery that needs to be replaced such as on some computer mother boards. I have a Watchmate 850 AIS that is not bothered by being put away in the winter. I hope the Standard Horizon 2100 is OK. I put the MMSI in that one myself.

After we took a lightning strike on the hard two winters ago I remove it all. The Raymarine mast top wind stuff was blown apart. Also relieves the worry about LCD displays and extreme low temperatures.
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Old 09-03-2012, 20:17   #13
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

Nicro had a rash of bad batteries. They replaced most of them but I still went through two before I got one that worked. Vent has worked for six months so far on this one.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:34   #14
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Re: Airhead solar vent straight to battery?

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That would be really inconvenient. What radio and model?
It's an ICOM M410, and part of the DSC spec. is that you get one shot at programming your MMSI number in and if for some reason the radio loses it you are sunk--it has to go back to the factory for reprogramming. I personally think this is a dumb rule as I found out. My radio lost the number, and I can't put it back in myself. They obviously don't care about cruisers who might be in areas where there is no place easy to send it back to, and also obviously when you do so you are without the radio for awhile. Plus it costs money, etc. I have also had a Garmin GPS in the past lose its memory over the winter meaning I lost all my programmed waypoints and routes etc. Yes, these things have tiny memory batteries that are supposed to prevent this, but no they do not really last forever.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:32   #15
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Thanks for all the helpfull feedback guys. I ended up getting the torch battery out of our dolphin torch 6v and it just hummed along nicely. I sealed it up when we got back and hopefully will have the replacement soon!! Thanks again
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