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F51 13-07-2015 16:09

Caframo vs Hella fans
Which fan is best? I have both Hella Turbo and Caframo 757 fans on the boat. We have lived aboard for 7 years, currently in the tropics (Guatemala). For airflow I have found nothing that will top the Caframo. I held my Dwyer portable wind speed indicator 24 inches in front of the Hellas and the max reading I got was 3 knots. The same distance in front of the Caframo produced 7.5 knots! Both fans on high, both are approximately the same size and both draw about the same power.
There is a dark side, however. The Hellas are hands down winners for longevity. I have had a switch problem on one of the 4 Hellas, but that did not kill it. However, none of the 4 Caframo fans has ever lasted over 15 mos. Dead, kaput, finis. I expect them to die after about 12 months. I know we demand a lot from our fans. We do not run the air conditioner due to the high price of electricity and that means our fans are on a minimum of 12 hours per day, all year long. I do wish Caframo could improve their MTBF. I'm still a customer because even though the cost of ownership is higher they move a helluva lot of air.

leftbrainstuff 13-07-2015 16:20

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
Good to know. We too have some Hellas. You can't kill them with a stick. We too have one with a detached switch.

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MarkJ 13-07-2015 17:41

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
Thanks for your report

JPA Cate 13-07-2015 17:53

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
F 51,

I'm surprised that your Caframos have lasted so little. The one in our galley is original to this boat, and is over 20 yrs. in service. About 5 yrs. ago, I bought new blades for it. The other one is only about 10 yrs. old, but no problem with it. We have an old Hella in the forepeak which we brought with us to this boat from the first Insatiable; it's so old I can't remember when we got it!

I'm wondering if our usage is different. We usually use all our fans on low speed, 'cause it's quieter, and only rarely on high. Perhaps that makes the difference?

Last night, aboard a friend's boat, I saw he had covered his hellas with plastic bags to keep out the dust. What a good idea! I purely HATE cleaning our Hella. In fact, when/if the Hella dies, I'll be wanting another Caframo.


F51 13-07-2015 18:09

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
Yeah, high speed must be the difference. We rarely run ours on low.
I like the idea of bagging them when they are turned off, but find that most of the dust accumulates while they are operating. You are right the Hellas are a pain to clean. Caframo is much easier. They have the right idea there with the open non-injury blades. (Still startles the heck out of you when you stick your head in one :-)

robert sailor 13-07-2015 18:14

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
We used Hella fans many years ago and now use Caframo and have not had any issues but like Anne we only use low power. The Hella moves less air we all know that but they are also pretty damn noisy, Caframo is quieter.

travellerw 13-07-2015 18:37

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
Just a FYI.. I recently ordered 4 Caframos and they were not all identical. It seemed they came from 2 different manufacturing batches. One set looks a little beefier than the other.

I'm interested to see which ones last longer. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing which is the newer version.

sailjumanji 13-07-2015 18:51

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
My 2002 model boat has six (6) Caframo 757's of same age. The boat spent the first four years in charter in Florida, with no air cond, so I suspect the fans got used really hard then. We've had to replace one of them, and only because it got a bit noisy. All still working after thirteen years. Couple of blades replaced, but that is it.

donradcliffe 13-07-2015 19:22

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
We've had good luck with the simpler 757 Caframos, but I would not buy the 807 Sirocco until they redesign it. We had 3 failures in 2 summer seasons, all involving the swtich/timer mechanism.

RTB 13-07-2015 19:28

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
We're just at 3 years on our Sirocco, and it's just beginning to show problems with the push button switches. Great fan otherwise, and we use it a lot in Texas-Bahamas-Keys, etc. Not sure what else to use.


savoir 13-07-2015 20:16

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
This issue has been raised before and Caframos have mostly gotten the nod. I agree that you can't kill Hellas with a stick but oh how noisy they are for such a little fan. The 9" house fan that I use in my salon is quieter.

slowpoker 13-07-2015 20:50

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
All fans, even those big ones at home, need some maintenance.
Just a drop of 3 in one oil or machine oil with no detergents in the oil, works wonders for any fan. Detergents in the oil pit the metal bearings because the 'detergent'is actually microscopic metal pieces that will scour the softer bearing.
Takes just a few minutes to clean and lubricate and much less work than going to the Marine store, and back, disconnecting the old one, wiring it up again with connectors or whatever and screwing it back on.
Instead; do this: At your leisure, unscrew the fan, any brand, from where it's mounted. While it's hanging by the wires, pull the blades straight out and off. Now, put a couple of drops of 3 in one oil or non-detergent motor or machine oil, even axle grease works well, on the front spindle, axle, or shaft right where it comes out of the motor and giggle it in and out and spin it a little and wipe off excess.
For the rear bearing at the shaft, tilt the fan facing down and slide a thin piece of wire through the rear vents and touch the place where the same spinner shaft exits the motor inside the fan enclosure. Now; the difficult part is to steady the fan while the thin wire is touching the shaft and slide a few drops of oil down the wire and onto the rear shaft.
If you cannot line things up, don't leave it dry now that you are almost finished, just tilt the fan at any angle where you could drop some oil onto the shaft by gravity. It will get messy but at least lubed up. Try not to drown the internals with oil. Oil does not conduct well, or may short things out or even attack the rubber insulation depending on lubricant used.
If the internal wires or the switch are somewhat in your way, gently move then aside. Even if you must cut part of the case at the rear vents, it will not show and will make it easier next time. Wiggle the shaft some more, spray some WD40 or electronic cleaner onto the switch and exercise it, clean up the fan and re-fasten in place. Fan will be good for another 200 hours or more!! Then ....repeat next time; fans will last you for many years.

travellerw 14-07-2015 07:59

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
While I agree lube can extend the life of bearing, it won't help brush or armature wear.

I'm guessing most failures of 757 are due to wore out brushes. The carbon brushes are softer than the copper armature in most electric motors so they are the failure point. I have fixed various motors by replacing the brushes. Generic brushes can be bought on ebay. Get the closest bigger size you can and use a file to shape them.

Not sure it would be worth fixing a 757 unless you were in a remote HOT location

UNCIVILIZED 14-07-2015 08:59

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
Good information to know.
Coming at the problem from a different angle. Has anyone tried wiring in a small household fan? As while technically they're AC, I know that a fair number will run on DC. Kind of like a lot of lights & other items.

Jeanneau 45.2 14-07-2015 12:18

Re: Caframo vs Hella fans
I had four Camframo Shirocco(sp?) fans over the past 5 years and not one lasted more than two short seasons on Lake Michigan. West Marine replaced the first two no questions asked, but after that I felt my beef was with Caframo. Called and spoke with Caframo customer service whose best offer was to sell me a new fan at a discount off list that was still more than the regular price at several online retailers. No thank you to that offer ... personally I would never by a Caframo product again, even if the problem is limited to their Shirocco(sp?) model, given their indifference / reluctance to stand behind their "proudly made in Canada" product. IMHO, YMMV.

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