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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I have zero electrical experience other than switching out a couple of light switches in the house. So when I say an electrical noob, I mean it. :)

We are starting our van build with the very basics, eventually adding in solar but not right now. Eventual needs for electrical would be for lights and a fridge, and that's about it.

We want to get our Fantastic Fan installed now, and when searching I find some information here, but a lot of it is still far over my head. It sounds like wiring it to the main battery isn't good practice. We do have a "Battery Doctor" that a friend gave us, which I think is the right tool to get us started.... but I still don't really understand the setup. I think that the battery doctor is something to go in between the main battery and an aux battery?? If that's the case, do you have any aux batteries to recommend for our current purposes?


I have read that it is very easy to get the fan wired, but I need extremely simple, step by step instructions because I don't have any electrical foundation. Does anyone have a thread or website link to help me out? Or would you be willing to help here by listing out the steps and putting up with my super basic questions?

I'd greatly appreciate it if so.

Thanks!
 

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I would suggest you forget the FantasticFan and get the MaxxFan instead. It’s is a lot higher quality and quieter from what I’ve read. If you connect your house battery to your alternator (+ terminal on both batteries actually) and use a battery disconnect switch/relay there is no need to complicate it more by using a a Battery Doctor for your uses. Check out RD’s simple picture diagram. This is as basic as it goes. I’m sure RD will be happy to provide further help and info as soon as he logs back on - listen to his advice and you will not go wrong!
 

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I have a Fantastic Vent and it is a great product.
Voltage is the potential difference between two wires such as those coming from a battery. It is measured in Volts oddly enough. Current is the rate of electrical flow measured in amperes or amps for short.
All 12Volt appliances have two wires. One is likely red and one is likely white. FROM a 12 volt battery’s + terminal you need a fuse rated for the fan, perhaps 8-10 amps because if a short circuit happens you want to disconnect the flow and fans use less than that so they wont blow the fuse running normally. Then rin that wire to the fan, checkin in its manual to see which wire to connect to. The other wire runs to the other - side of the battery.
See: $500 Solar and $700 Complete Electrical System for more. Put in a battery for your conversion and solar.
 

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The red wire (+) is black on some units, the MaxxFan,for example, and the (-) wire can be black or white. It’s white on the MaxxFan. My MaxxFan suggests a 5 amp fuse minimum but i use a 10 amp because I’ve used heavier wire (#12) and can. The MaxxFan is a much higher rated and quality unit than The FantasicFan which just "ain’t so fantastic" as they say. Spend the extra few $ for the MaxxFan you won’t regret it?
 

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Typically when you buy new 12 vdc appliances, lights, etc the + & - wires will be labeled for you. It’s not uncommon to find a red and back wire in which case the red is the + and the black is the - but it’s just as common to find a black & white wires in which case the black is + and the white is - . Low voltage wire coloring isn’t as standardized as in 110 vac applications.

I don’t know of anyone who has a MaxxFan and wanted to trade if for a FantastcFan but I’ve heard many people say just the opposite.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well we already bought the Fantastic fan so that's a done deal. :)

I am again going to reiterate "for dummies." Even though the "$500 solar and $700 complete system" link is extremely helpful, I still have huge gaps of lack of understanding.

I would suggest you forget the FantasticFan and get the MaxxFan instead. It’s is a lot higher quality and quieter from what I’ve read. If you connect your house battery to your alternator (+ terminal on both batteries actually) and use a battery disconnect switch/relay there is no need to complicate it more by using a a Battery Doctor for your uses. Check out RD’s simple picture diagram. This is as basic as it goes. I’m sure RD will be happy to provide further help and info as soon as he logs back on - listen to his advice and you will not go wrong!
I don't understand what you mean by a battery disconnect switch/relay.

Where is RD's picture diagram? I'm very visual, so that would likely help me understand.


Both of you agree on 8-10 amp fuse, but I don't know where the fuse goes in the system.

We plan to put in solar eventually.... but not now. I'm looking for a setup that we can run right now to can allow us to run the fan while we work on other things and actually go camping. And ideally build upon once we add solar. And again - we are ONLY looking to power the fan, a fridge, lights, and phone charging. No microwave, no TV.

Could we use these batteries with the Battery Doctor?
Batteries- 2- 6volt flooded Lead acid golf cart batteries from Sam’s club 215 Amp Hour rating made by West Penn a very reputable firm. $84 each I suggest you vent them. Duracell Golf Car Battery - Group Size GC2 - Sam's Club

And again - noob. I don't know what it means to have the batteries vented. If it just means placing them in an area with air flow, that's simple enough.

Thanks for your patience.
 

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CUT....... The MaxxFan is a much higher rated and quality unit than The FantasicFan which just "ain’t so fantastic" as they say. Spend the extra few $ for the MaxxFan you won’t regret it?
KOV That just ain’t so. The Fantastic Vent has been manufactured for much longer, has a history of reliability, is quieter than the MaxxFan, is lower profile on the roof, has more options, and easier to get replacement parts, lid options and such. Just because the MaxxFan is much more money does not mean it is higher quality. I have had several of them and would buy another just to avoid that hideous roof plastic house on top. I know you have had the MaxxFan and now have bought another but any preference you have must be due to not seeing clearly.
Here are some good reviews:
High end models with similiar rating:
There are folks who like one better than the other like you and me but I didn’t find any reviews that said one is not as good overall just different features.
Basic fans w/o hood, Fantastic Vent $119, MaxxFan $201 on Amazon. Either is good really!
 

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RDcwill have to post his diagram as I don’t have it at my fingertips but if you’ve read his post above $500 Solar and $700 Complete Electrical System he answers most of your questions. A battery isolator/cut off switch simply prevents you starting battery to be deleted by your hose batteries. It goes in line on the positive wire that connects both batteries. Yes, those golf cart batteries are all you need. I also have the same set up. The fuse for the fan goes in the positive (+) wire between the positive terminal on the battery and the fan itself. Sometimes a fuse holder & fuse comes with whatever you buy other times you have to supply it yourself. The fuse typically goes close to the battery so it protects the wire to the unit. Vented batteries are just that - in a closed container with a vent to the outside. You may also just provide lots of air near the battery and accomplish the same thing unless you keep the van tightly closed up for any length of time. The venting choice is up to you. I do not choose to vent mine as my van is a daily driver and the batteries relieve plenty of air circulations. RD and others feel it’s safer and more Important to vent their batteries because they aren’t used as much and so do they. You don’t need the Battery Doctor at all for your application. You can’t run a microwave without having at least a 1200 - 1500 watt inverter anyhow but that is a whole different problem for you to consider at this stage.
 

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The batteries are great and are the ones I have on my diagram on post #37. You are going to need to research electrical! The fuse always goes as near the positive end of the circuit as possible to protect the wire and appliance. In theory vented means a vent rising from the battery enclosure to the outside, many just vent to the air around the batteries.
 

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I know you guys are going to beat me over the head for this, but if he can afford it, Magpie is a perfect candidate for a Goal Zero or similar. That is, unless he can’t go anywhere anyway because of the virus. Modest needs, no experience, he just wants something that works so he can go play.
 

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Some people swear by Chevys, some swear by Fords a few even Fiats & Rams?. MaxxFans cost more because they are simple better although they do make a cheapie $100 + model to compete with the FantasticFan.
 

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I know you guys are going to beat me over the head for this, but if he can afford it, Magpie is a perfect candidate for a Goal Zero or similar. That is, unless he can’t go anywhere anyway because of the virus. Modest needs, no experience, he just wants something that works so he can go play.
Possibley, but we don’t know if he just won Megabucks or is on a budget?
What is you opinion on the MaxxAir vs the Fantastic? I know you have the same MaxxAir as I have. I understand ProEddie had the FantasticFan and posted he was more satisfied with the new MaxxAir he replaced it with.
 

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A few details...

I had a Fantastic Breeze. It's a box fan not a ceiling vent. Then, once I found that Maxxaire offered a low profile ceiling vent fan, I measured, decided it would fit, and installed it. Personally, I am not impressed by the big rain-protect shroud of the Maxxair models. My non-shroud version has a rain sensor so it closes if it rains anyway, and can be run with the hatch closed to circulate air. IMHO, a top of the line Fantastic is comparable to a top of the line Maxxair.

Regarding house batteries...

If the OP magpie has a Battery Doctor, why would he not use it? It is "smarter" than a solenoid system and does more. "Like what?"... it automatically senses when your van battery is full and then starts to charge the house batteries. A solenoid that must be switched on (or left on all the time) is just not as "smart." And for a novice, the push button to jump start your van is a great, easy to understand feature.

~magpie~,

If you look up a Battery Doctor online, it will show you how to hook it up... pretty easy. You just run an appropriately-sized wire from your van + terminal to a fuse, then to the BD and then the same size wire from the BD to the house battery(ies). Then there's a small black wire that you ground to the van.

The batteries you mention will work well. Venting is required with this type of battery because as it charges, it releases gasses. So you put it in a closed box, and run a vent hose from the box out to the outside of your van.

If you don't want to vent, use AGM selaed batteries instead... do cost a bit more.

Once you've got your house batteries set up, you add fuses to the + terminal to feed stuff, like your fan, lights, etc. And add a few USB charging ports too! The - terminal of the house batteries is just connected with a wire to the van's metal chassis. All items added have their - wire also connected to the van chassis.
 

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I can’t judge the relative quality. Certainly, RD isn’t the only Fantastic fan, pun intended. I looked at design. I don’t want my fan to close just because it starts raining, and I don't want a big ugly canopy, so the MaxxAir was a done deal for me.
 

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Wait those features are the same as my Fantastic Vent! I call it a draw, buy whichever works for you. Research the options.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Goal Zero
I googled this and it looks similar to a generator, but not gas-powered... interesting because we wanted to buy a generator for motorcycle track weekends to run tire warmers.

It also seems like something we could work into a solar system later... But I've also seen full solar kits for a similar amount or less. Hmm....


What is you opinion on the MaxxAir vs the Fantastic? I know you have the same MaxxAir as I have. I understand ProEddie had the FantasticFan and posted he was more satisfied with the new MaxxAir he replaced it with.
As mentioned, we already own the Fantastic Fan, so debating the fan brands here might be fun for you all, but I don't plan on returning the Fantastic at this point. :)


Regarding house batteries...

If the OP magpie has a Battery Doctor, why would he not use it? It is "smarter" than a solenoid system and does more. "Like what?"... it automatically senses when your van battery is full and then starts to charge the house batteries. A solenoid that must be switched on (or left on all the time) is just not as "smart." And for a novice, the push button to jump start your van is a great, easy to understand feature.

~magpie~,

If you look up a Battery Doctor online, it will show you how to hook it up... pretty easy. You just run an appropriately-sized wire from your van + terminal to a fuse, then to the BD and then the same size wire from the BD to the house battery(ies). Then there's a small black wire that you ground to the van.

The batteries you mention will work well. Venting is required with this type of battery because as it charges, it releases gasses. So you put it in a closed box, and run a vent hose from the box out to the outside of your van.

If you don't want to vent, use AGM selaed batteries instead... do cost a bit more.

Once you've got your house batteries set up, you add fuses to the + terminal to feed stuff, like your fan, lights, etc. And add a few USB charging ports too! The - terminal of the house batteries is just connected with a wire to the van's metal chassis. All items added have their - wire also connected to the van chassis.
Thank you! Yes the battery doctor we own was gifted to us. So if it can be helpful in the setup, I would love to use it. If it is more complications for minimal value, that's another thing.

Pictorially speaking...

View attachment 62036
THANK YOU - seriously. I think you are understanding where my electrical understanding is at. Hahaha.... This pictoral speaks volumes to this visual-learning noob.



Peeking around this morning, the solar kits available seem like a simple system that people like me are less likely to get lost in. Bad idea for your money? We would love to keep expenses as low as is reasonable.... so maybe we should just start going that route now, vs. piecemealing it and adding later?
 

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A solar “kit” can be fine but often come with a PWM controller which is a bit less efficient than MPPT. Look at my $500 solar and $700 complete electrical system thread listed below. Take a bit of time to go through that. A caveman can instal solar! It’s just three parts, solar panels (200 watts is a good size), a solar controller they wire into, then connection to a battery set.
Diagram for wiring is on Post #37. Go for it!
 
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