Roadtreks and many Type B motorhomes come with the wonderful Fantastic Fan roof vent. It is truly a marvelous device for keeping your camper comfortable. You can fall asleep with the fan pulling a gentle cool breeze through the nearby window and know that the thermostat in the fan will shut off when it becomes a cold breeze in the middle of the night.
We assumed when we first got our Roadtrek that the more windows we had open, the cooler it would be inside. We soon found that was not true at all. Many open windows spread out the breeze to the point it was barely noticeable. Instead you want to be between an open window and the Fantastic Fan, so a nice breeze flows over you. If you open the window too far the breeze slows down (unless you turn the fan speed up).
Sometimes it gets really hot. So we turn on the air conditioner (and the generator to run it, if not plugged into shore power). The problem is the Fedders air conditioner blasts out cold air that makes the kitchen/bathroom frightfully cold, but the dinette/bed area is often still sweltering hot. The obvious solution is to redirect the cool air where we want it.
If you only want to direct the air down, one friend demonstrated an easy solution. She used one of the flexible plastic cutting boards and slid it in above the air conditioner. It sags in a smooth arc, directing the cool air down. It might be all you need for sleeping – or not. If you want more control, a fan is the way to go. Fantastic Vent Fan makes an excellent little 12 VDC box fan called the Endless Breeze, but we found it too large to find a place to put it. We suspended it on bungee cords across the aisle and it did move air to the back, but it was too awkward to get past.
We looked for a fan that would do the job, that could be permanently installed, and be out of the way when we were not using it. We found the Caframo Sirocco fans. They were fully gimbled and were available in black or white and in 12 or 24 VDC. They were made for the marine environment. They can direct the air any direction, had three speeds and four timer settings. Perfect! We discussed where to install the fan for the maximum benefit. We ended up ordering two of the white Sirocco fans from a Marine supply store. Shop around as prices will vary.
Our first goal was to redirect air conditioner output to the dinette / bed area. There was a good spot to mount the fan on the pantry cabinet. There was 12 VDC power available from the TV outlet nearby. We just ran wires through the cabinets. The fans were easy to install on a base plate that is attached first. The main body slides over the base plate and is secured with screws. A lever at the top unlocks the fan to swivel it against the wall for storage (or in this case, either the rear cabinet door or the pantry cabinet door).
The fan worked perfectly and the timer settings of 2, 4, 6 and 8 hours worked well overnight. The power use was low. The low setting is 0.1 amp, medium is 0.2 amps and the high setting draws 0.25 amps. This is significantly less than the Fantastic fan roof vent, which consumes 1.0 amp, 1.5 amps and 1.9 amps on its three settings.
We also decided to add a fan in the front. This was intended to direct the vehicle air conditioning down onto our dogs when we are driving. But we have found the fan useful when sitting in the front when we are parked.
We mounted the front fan on the outside bathroom wall above the third seat. Power (12 VDC) is available from the the chase inside the panel with the holding tank level lights and water pump switch. It folds easily against the bulkhead when not in use. When in use it swivels out into the aisle and can be aimed down, or toward the back, or toward the front. We also use it to speed the drying of towels which we hang on a car clothes rod that fits between the wood rails over the driver and passenger doors.
We did have a failure of one of the fans after three months. We contacted Caframo and they replaced the fan under warranty. They had trouble with a batch of fans and the problem was subsequently fixed. We did take the fan apart to find the problem. The metal in the gimbal electric slip ring connection was weak. We could bend it and make the fan work for awhile, but it would stop again. We’ve had no trouble with the replacement or the other original fan. We are pleased with the flexibility the fans provide in keeping our Roadtrek comfortable.