Using a computer fan for ventilation

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Using a computer fan for ventilation

Postby gratis » Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:56 am

Since there seem to be a few questions about this and not a lot of real world experience I thought I would address this.

In my 26 foot Hybrid I have two standard roof vents. The first thing I did was follow the crowd and get those white plastic vent covers that allow you to leave the vents open all the time. I wanted this because closed up campers tend to sweat and smell a lot.

I was not pleased with the results because these vents also blocked a lot of air flow when camping and the air still seemed to stagnate. I then installed an 80 MM computer fan in each roof vent.

I can honestly tell you that this made a huge difference! The heat level and that adhesive smell common to newer camper interiors was reduced drastically and there is only a slight hum instead of the full on racket of the fantastic fan the is in the bathroom of this same trailer.

I figure I have about $10 into the project and it uses an almost negligible amount of battery when we are dry camping.

My tear will have a standard $18 roof vent with 2 LED 80MM computer fans (free from scrapped out computer systems). These fans will provide both air movement that can be noticed and a nice glowing light in the same small package. They are quiet and efficient for both intended purposes.

The fan and light functions will have separate switches.

Yes! There will be pictures and if you like I could take some pictures of the existing setup in my big camper.
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Postby An Ol Timer » Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:34 am

Glad to see that someone else shares this thought. I use two 12vdc fans that deliver 140 cfm each for a total of 240 cfm. I have them mounted so as to take hot air from the ceiling area which is ducted thru PVC and is dumped overboard thru screened vents in the floor of the galley. The fans are wired as 1, 2 or both. allowing for a choice of air movement. Also being remotely located the fans are very quiet. Now, although these fans are the same size as computer fans, they are high quality and deliver a greater air flow and therefore are more costly. They were about $30 each. One other benefit of using this setup is that I have no wiring or openings in the roof which simplified construction. Just a few thoughts.
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Postby Arne » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:21 pm

Old Timer, you mean you are moving the air down and out with the fan?... and what was the source for these if you still have it handy.... I'm thinking of using something similar to move the hot air down. My box heater is located near the ceiling and the hot air stay up there and needs something to circulate it down towards the floor.
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Postby An Ol Timer » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:34 pm

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Postby 48Rob » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:45 pm

Computer fans are a good way to move air in a small trailer.

Quiet is a personal opinion...some are, some aren't.
Agreed, they are better that a roof vent fan, but the high pitched whine some of them make isn't pleasant in the wee hours of the night.

Consider also, using two fans.
One in the floor drawing cool air in, and the other in the roof vent pushing hot air out.

That setup has worked well for me, so far.

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Postby An Ol Timer » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:50 pm

While designing my first teardrop I set several prequisites one being the ventilaion. I thought about how noisy the system in a prefab home is in relation to one with a central heating/air conditioning placed at a remote location area such as the basement . I didn't want a noisy fan over my head and decide on a remote placement of the fans. Thin wall PVC makes great duct work.
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Postby gratis » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:53 pm

This is pretty much what I am using. My fans are going to be Blue LED but you get the idea.

http://www.surpluscomputers.com/store/main.aspx?p=ItemDetail&item=ACC10680

You can also get 120 MM models on e-bay cheaply.

I am not saying this is an easy project, but if you can solder and figure out wiring in general you can do lots of interesting things.

I turned 3 clip on LED lights into reading lights. They are 3 LED models and cost about $3 a piece. I added in a 480 Ohm resistor to each to covert them to 12V and a wiring pigtail. They shed lots of light in a narrow beam and cost a lot less then any other reading light I have found.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Clip-on-Spot-Light-with-White-LED-3-Batteries-NEW_W0QQitemZ4451795139QQcategoryZ103438QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I do agree that you have to watch out with the PC fans. The high speed ones are really noisy. The ones I have are what I would call a mid-range speed fan. Just a hum, not a whine.

Now that I think about it.. I could just use a rheostat instead of a switch. Then I could control the speed of the fans...
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Postby asianflava » Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:11 pm

Whoo Hooo that adhesive and chemical smell is a killer. We were looking at trailers at a dealer once. We entered a 5th wheel out of curiosity and promptly ran out because the fumes were burning our eyes.
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Postby 48Rob » Wed Mar 29, 2006 6:00 pm

Oh come now...the government lets them sell that stuff, so it must be safe, right!! :thinking: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Postby Micro469 » Wed Mar 29, 2006 8:54 pm

Another option would be to use computer fans they use in the cabinets. These fans are about 5" square, 115v, 50/60 hz. I know... they are AC, but they do move the air.... ;)
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Postby JIML1943 » Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:03 pm

I also used computer fans in my roof vent went with 120 mm with 90+ cfm each with red led.I mounted them to one side of vent, mounted right to screen with hot melt glue easy to install and remove, with them to one side i can run them with vent closed and still move air around the tear. i can hardly hear them running.

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Postby Arne » Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:48 pm

Interesting point. I have some 12v computer fans. My fantastic vent is switched on the wall, leftover from a former vent fan. So, I could put up one or 2 12v fans with the wall switch on and fantastic switch off and blow that heat down where I want it.....
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