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Old 05-10-2015, 20:26   #1
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Fans on light circuit?

I'm finishing up re wiring my boat up and I had a question regarding fans.

As I have it now, I will have each section of the boat on their own breaker (ie fwd stateroom, aft Port stateroom, aft stbd stateroom, galley/salon) the two heads will be connected to the adjacent stateroom. I have the wiring ran like this: from panel to first light in section with 14ga from there its 16 to each light using daisy chain method. The salon is the only section with fans having their own wires(as I was going to have 4).

My question is, if I'm putting one or two fans in a stateroom, do I need a separate wire run for them? Should I have a separate breaker for all boat fans? Or is the wire I have now in the staterooms sufficient for the fans.

Also, all lights are LED and the wire is marine grade, using legit crimps and crimpers. I'm almost done save for the fwd head because I ran out of wire today /:

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Old 05-10-2015, 21:05   #2
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

We converted all our lights to LED so we figure the amps we save on that can run our fans. We do it, but the proper answer is to do the math on the amps/wire size/distance.
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Old 05-10-2015, 22:26   #3
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

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Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
We converted all our lights to LED so we figure the amps we save on that can run our fans. We do it, but the proper answer is to do the math on the amps/wire size/distance.
Thanks, I fit the proper amp/wire size to distance, really just asking if the fans should have their own breaker? Is that better practice, I understand this is completely subjective and up to me. Just trying to get some shouts on what others do in this situation.

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Old 05-10-2015, 23:47   #4
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

My boat has two light circuits (fore and aft) and I've just connected the fans to the existing respective light circuit via the closest convenient wire. I don't have a problem with that, especially considering every house with ceiling fans that I've ever lived in was wired - legally - exactly the same way. As I see it, lights and fans are drawing both similar and light loads, and in these days of LED lighting the wires are never going to reach current capacity limits in the vast majority of installations.
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Old 06-10-2015, 00:20   #5
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

If your wires and circuit breaker are matched correctly than you shouldn't have any problem.
I have done it myself before to have them on the same circuit. Just make a calculation first on how many amps you will end up with. I normally don't go over 50% of maximum load for a particular circuit and breaker.
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Old 06-10-2015, 05:36   #6
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

It's mostly about not exceeding the ratings of the circuit.

Secondarily, its desirable to keep circuits logical (ie: you don't want the light in the bathroom, fan in the stateroom and blower in the engine room as a circuit). You generally want to keep things grouped in a logical manner such as all the 12v devices in the stateroom but I don't think you violate that.

Also, its generally desireable to keep the various loads consistent. You probably don't want to pull a fan off the fridge circuit as the breaker for the compressor is likley much bigger than what is needed for the fan. Not the end of the world but you may blow the fan before the circuit trips. Again, I don't think you violate that principal mixing with lights.
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Old 06-10-2015, 07:10   #7
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

My fans are connected to the light circuit, while I do like "home run" circuits, I see no reason for it in this case, I believe my fans pull less power than one incandescent light bulb did, so now that I am LED, it's not an issue.
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Old 06-10-2015, 07:29   #8
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

Wonder how many people tapping into their light circuit with a cabin fan are installing a fuse on the fan circuit since the wire is way smaller that what the light circuit breaker is probably sized for.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:11   #9
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

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Wonder how many people tapping into their light circuit with a cabin fan are installing a fuse on the fan circuit since the wire is way smaller that what the light circuit breaker is probably sized for.
None I'm sure, an example of what your saying is that my table lamp at home should have it's own circuit protection since the lamp cord won't handle the 20 amps that the CB on the breaker panel is sized to.
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:49   #10
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

Depends on the Size of the breaker and the gauge of the wire you have used.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:02   #11
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

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Originally Posted by SailRedemption View Post
Thanks, I fit the proper amp/wire size to distance, really just asking if the fans should have their own breaker? Is that better practice, I understand this is completely subjective and up to me. Just trying to get some shouts on what others do in this situation.

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Separating the circuits has a few advantages. More control at the panel, if something happens to the fan circuit the lights still work, and vice versa. Disadvantages are cost and weight, and taking an extra spot on your dc panel.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:12   #12
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

One thing I try to do is to have at least two circuits in a room, boat or house. Reason: If a circuit needs to be shut down to work on it I still have lights (or in a house power for power tools) available.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:22   #13
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

Connecting the fans to the reading lights circuits is very common practice in that mounting the fans next to these lights is often the most desirable location for them. Most boats built in the northern hemisphere come equipped with reading lights at the head of all the bunks and the ends of settees. Fans are seldom necessary in these latitudes but when outfitting for the tropics it is considered essential. We have run our fans on our light circuits for decades without the least problem. We run 16ga tinned, for max 25'. Just make sure the air is blowing in the right direction I.e. watch for reverse wiring.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:42   #14
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

sailorboy1 asks a valid question. In the UK and parts of EU, appliances have dedicated fuses in the plug. Like the little Christmas lights.
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Old 06-10-2015, 11:16   #15
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Re: Fans on light circuit?

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sailorboy1 asks a valid question. In the UK and parts of EU, appliances have dedicated fuses in the plug. Like the little Christmas lights.
I remember those, reason I brought up the lamp cord. You hit a point of diminishing returns though in risk reduction.
Myself, I'll take the risk of the tiny 2' piece of wire that runs from my lighting circuit main wire to the fan itself, I have no idea if it could hold 10 amps or not, possibly not. To be effective, you would have to fuse the point where the small wire attaches to the larger main, just as the EU lamp has the fuse in the plug.
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