Gear Graveyard November 1, 2000 Issue

Cabin Fan Destruction Test

Four popular models were run continuously until they stopped running. The worst ran just 23 hours, the best longer than one year.

In the double issue of September, 1999, was a report—part of a special section on ventilation—on cabin fans.

The four fans, from left to right: Guest, Hella
Turbo, Caframo and Seafit.

A dozen fans were tested for noise, and for current draw and miles per hour breeze produced (which rendered a MPH per milliamp rating).

After all the testing at high and low speeds, the conclusion was:

“In our view, the Hella and Caframo fans are superior. The Hella models draw less current but lack the power of the Caframo fans, which are Best Buys…”

Also noted in the report were two instances known to Practical Sailor in which the Austrian-made Hella Turbo fans (the popular wall-mounted models) had, after long usage aboard, fried their internal controls and some wiring, and produced some molten, dripping plastic.

Subsequently, Practical Sailor heard from a Hellamarine spokesman who said that the “2,000-hour motors” in the Hella fans had proved inadequate for equipment that often runs 24 hours a day and had been replaced by “5,000-hour” motors.

To test for longevity, a Hella Turbo with the new motor and a Caframo (both fixed but adjustable fans), and two oscillating fans, a Guest and a Seafit, were firmly affixed to a board, wired through proper fuses to a good transformer, and mounted on the wall of a storeroom, where the noise and moving air from four fans running continuously was tolerable.

The Seafit oscillating fan quit after 23 hours and could not be made to run, with the oscillator turned off or by manually spinning the blades.

The Guest oscillating fan stopped after 123 hours. With the oscillator turned off, the Guest ran another 82 hours.

It seems obvious to blame the oscillating mechanism for the short lifespan of the oscillating fans.

The Caframo ran for 2,247 hours—better than three months.

The Hella purred on…and on…and on.

After 9,134 hours—that’s one year, two weeks, one day and 14 hours—the Hella, after making small ominous noises for a week or so, finally died and did not respond to any kind of what might be regarded as cardio pulmonary resuscitation.

Contacts- Caframo, RR 2, Airport Rd., Wiarton, Ontario, Canada N0H 2T0; 800/567-3556. Guest, 95 Research Pkwy., Meriden, CT 06450-7124; 203/235-4421. Hella, Hellamarine, 201 Kelly Drive, Peachtree City, GA 30269; 877/22-HELLA. Seafit, West Marine, Box 50050, Watsonville, CA 95007-5050; 800/262-8464.

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