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Old 13-05-2007, 11:35   #1
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Sunsei Solar Vents

Wondered if anyone had any experience with these solar powered vents. The manufacturer claims the units will move 1200 cubic feet of air per hour and will run 24x7 with rechargeable batteries.

I'm considering installing three of them in my 36 foot catamaran to provide some 'free' air circulation but I'm a little concerned the claims may be somewhat exaggerated so I'd love to hear any real world feedback.

Here's the URL:
Sunsei Solar Vent Stainless Steel
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Old 13-05-2007, 12:42   #2
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I've had a couple of Nico solar vents in a couple of boats. Never had any mold problems in the "Pacific Northwet".

Steve B.
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Old 13-05-2007, 16:06   #3
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What does "weather resistant" mean?
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Old 13-05-2007, 17:09   #4
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It means Not Green Water Proof. We've been in lots of nasty stuff, but never had any leakage from heavy spray.
When we went offshore we had an inverted RIB dinghy strapped over the hatch during passages. The fan kept the air changed for about 36 hours before the battery discharged.
Our current boat has a similar vent just forward of the mast. Although we've not been offshore with this boat, we've been in a couple of full gales in the Straits of Juan de Fuca as well as Puget Sound. Nary a drop got past the vent.

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Old 13-05-2007, 22:30   #5
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Even dorades aren't totally waterproof; if you jam enough water at a hole on a boat, it will find it's way through the hole. I've heard of some people getting water through their Nicros, but I also thought there was a way to seal them from the inside.

And like I said, even dorades are not toally waterproof in the really nasty stuff. I've got a Nicro solar vent uninstalled; I think I'll place it:

a) Not the forward deck, where the green water comes across the most.
b) Not above a sleeping area.

So maybe in the head, or above the galley or something of the sort. I've had too many problems with leaks dripping on my head in the night, and it's common to have water on the foredeck, but the cabin top and the such tends to stay dry unless it's really splashing.
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Old 14-05-2007, 13:15   #6
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Computer fans will give the same results, and if you have a small solar panel to keep your batteries up , you have essentially the same thing, at a fraction the price, and far more cheaply replaceable. The self contained units are a scam for people who don't bother to think.
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Old 14-05-2007, 13:43   #7
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The other side of "weather resistant" may mean the solar panel itself will fail with continued immersions.

Since even West sells the Nicro for ten bucks less, and the Nicro already has a good reputation, I can't see buying the new brand from ICP unless they are willing to put an outstanding warranty behind it. I didn't see any warranty claim on that page.
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Old 14-05-2007, 19:44   #8
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Louis,

While you are technically right, the self contained units have something that your version lacks, namely a mounting system which gives a thruhull of sorts with a flange on the deck. The ones I've seen also have a semblance of a dorade type design which keeps out water unless it's REALLY blasting at it, as well as a plug to install on the inside when it gets really nasty.

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Old 14-05-2007, 20:57   #9
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Wheels just had a thread about his trip to pick up his new mast and he mentioned that his solar vents leaked badly. He also mentioned that the fan bearings didn't last very long. I wonder if his vents were "weater resistant"? I don't believe he mentioned the brand by name though.
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Old 14-05-2007, 21:20   #10
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I just installed a Nicro Day/Night Plus in my forward hatch cover. I've also installed many computer fans. I doubt seriously that I could design/build/install a similar vent with a computer fan and solar panel and get the same results. This particular unit has a damper, essentially a sleeve that you push up from the inside, to completely close off the vent and make it waterproof.

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Old 15-05-2007, 01:26   #11
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I have tried a computer fan in another situation. It didn't last long at all. The problem was the fan motor did not like the voltage swing during charge stages. So to ensure you have a fan that can survive higher than 12V, you would need to regulate it. The fan did last long enough for me to find out if the bearings were going to become an issue in a salt environment. But I imagined they would. Regular replacement of fans as they got noisy I imagine would become expensive.
The solar vents I has fitted were a cheap Asian one. I can only hope and assume that the Nicro would be far more relaible. With the aid of the sleeve to block off the vent from green water, I would say it is worth the money right there. The cheap one I have doesn't have those features.
I'll try to remember and take a photo of the one I am using and post it later in the week.
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Old 17-05-2007, 04:26   #12
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Nicro Guide to Ventilation:
http://www.marinco.com/docs/guides/n_vent_guide.pdf

BoatUS on Ventilation Below Deck
Goto: Boating Tips - Ventilation Below Deck

Marinco - Nicro Ventilation Products:
Nicro Recreational

Including the Day/Nite:
Marinco Search Results[and]Night%202000
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Old 17-05-2007, 17:11   #13
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Quote:
Wondered if anyone had any experience with these solar powered vents. The manufacturer claims the units will move 1200 cubic feet of air per hour and will run 24x7 with rechargeable batteries.

I'm considering installing three of them in my 36 foot catamaran to provide some 'free' air circulation but I'm a little concerned the claims may be somewhat exaggerated so I'd love to hear any real world feedback.



I cannot remember if mine are sunsei or not, but their estimate on CFM is probably the same estimate that solar panel mfg put to out... you know, where there are two suns on planet vulcan and no clouds, nothing on them... blah, blah, blah.

Yes, they work. No, they do not move the air they claim to move. Yes you will like them if you are realistic and go ahead and buy them.

- CD
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Old 17-05-2007, 22:11   #14
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Ah, CD, you must remember that China is the Middle Kingdom. It lies closer to heaven and the Sun God than the barbarian lands elsewhere, and enjoys his special favor, so yes, the sun really is stronger there.

Who are we to argue with what a billion Chinamen know so clearly? (Even if a number of them worship that troublesome and forbidden barbarian carpenter god these days.)
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Old 18-05-2007, 07:37   #15
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Hello,

You did it, didn't you?? You bought a Solar Stick!! I thought I felt a little extra power jump into the US power grid. You truly are saving the world, one stick at a time.

- CD
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