* Fantastic Fan Upgrade ...added Reverse Switch *
Our 2003 Winnebago motorhome came with 2 Fantastic Fan power roof vents with thermostat controls. Both also have off/on switch on the fan body and one has the rain sensor. The motorhome also came with one Elixer power roof vent in the "throne room." The Elixer vent had up/down and off/on switches on the wall.
The Elixer fan eventually failed due to a broken lift gear. Unable to find the small plastic replacement part, we bought a Fantastic Fan "Create a Breeze" model for $103.50, knowing the old vent would have to be totally removed from the roof ...we figured we could have that done at the Winnebago factory rally where we were headed later in the summer. But then six weeks and a few thousands miles down the road, we learned the Fantastic Fan we had bought was not a power lift model. Since the only ones we had seen had power lift, we figured they all did!! …with the old vent already removed from the roof and no other Fantastic Fan models available, we went ahead and had it installed at a labor charge of $84.82. A couple of years later, we upgraded by replacing the fan body control panel with the Fantastic Fan model 8000 Upgrade kit for $104.56. This did not require removing/resealing the vent body through the roof, and I installed it myself. This allowed both the up/down and off/on controls on the wall to function properly.
But we kept hearing people talk about how they loved Fantastic Fan vents because they were reversible …and none of our's were! When I enquired about upgrading to add the reversible feature, Fantastic Fan again wanted to sell me the entire fan body control panel at somewhere over $100 each just to add the reversing switch. Since our three fans still work just fine, I decided that was too much money just to add the reversible feature. Knowing that all this should require would be to reverse the fan motor polarity, I got creative…
I went to Radio Shack and found a "DPDT Center OFF" toggle switch, part #275-1533 for $3.98 after NY state tax …pictured at the left.
I wired the switch as in the illustration to the right. It helps if you attach wires to the switch before you begin to install it inthe ceiling vent/fan. BE SURE you leave plenty of extra wire so you will have enough to reach each connection …much easier to cut a bit extra off than to add more on, although that can be done with a couple of butt splices if necessary. The DPDT toggle switch from Radio Shack has screw connectors. You can simply wrap the wires around the screws and tighten them down, but it might be neater if you use small round terminals on the ends of the red, black and blue wires in the illustration above (what color the wires are doesn't matter at all). I simply stripped a bit of insulation off the black and red wires where they crossed the terminals on the left end, wrapped the bare wire around the terminals, and screwed them down.
Now to install the switch. I recommend you start by removing the fuse from the fan body just to be sure you don't short something out along the way. (Yep, I did, and needed a new fuse!) After removing the fuse, remove the screws that hold the fan body to the ceiling and gently lower it and let it hang by the wires …leave the square trim ring that is screwed to the ceiling in place. Once the vent body is hanging by the wiring, figure out where you will mount the switch. You may have only one corner available, so location may be easy. Since the first fan I added the switch to did not have an off/on switch on the fan itself, I had two corners to choose from. Check to make sure there are no obstructions, screw holes, etc where you will mount the switch.
Using the appropriately sized drill bit (I believe I used ½"), carefully drill a hole through the fan body face where you will mount the switch …verifying again BEFORE you start drilling to ensure you are far enough away from screw holes & other possible obstructions that might prevent the switch from going through the hole. Insert the switch, put on the switch faceplate and tighten down the face nut.
Figuring out which wires you need to splice into inside the fan body may seem intimidating at first, but it really isn't. Visually start at the motor above the fan blade. Two wires go across the top/outside of two different fan body ribs and then go through the top of the fan housing into the interior of the coach. (You COULD push the wires from your switch through small holes to the top of the fan, then go up on the roof and remove the vent cover and make your cuts and splices there, but you really don't need to do that unless you just enjoy drilling some new small holes in the fan framework and getting up on the roof. I did that with one wire ...the one with the lid-triggered switch ...and found an existing hole right where I needed it push the wires through ...but it was hot and dirty up there and I had to remove the vent cover and the vent lid, then put them back when I was through ...extra work.) Once you figure out where those two wires are after they come into the interior of the RV, you have the two wires you need to be concerned with.
NOW you need to be sure you have enough wiring on the switch to reach around the fan body to where the wires need to connect. With the two wires coming from the motor that you have determined you need to cut, working one wire at a time, cut the wire and strip the new cut ends. Then using a butt splice, connect the end toward the motor (toward the ceiling) to the wire from a center pin on the switch. Then use another butt splice, connect the wire from the end pin by that center pin to the other end of the wire you cut on the fan (the end away from the ceiling). Then go to the other wire coming from the motor, cut and strip the ends, and again connect the end toward the motor (toward the ceiling) to the wire from the remaining center pin on the switch. Finally, with another butt splice, connect the wire from the end pin by that center pin to the other end of the wire you cut (the end away from the ceiling).
Before putting the fan body back in place you might want to test your work. Move the toggle switch to the middle/off position, replace the fuse you removed earlier, and turn the fan on as you normally would. Now push the toggle switch to one side. The fan should come on. Turn it off and note which way it is rotating. When it has stopped turning, push the toggle switch in the opposite direction from before and the fan should rotate in the other direction.
I mounted my toggle switch so that when the switch is toward the outer edge of the fan housing the blade is pulling air OUT of the RV. When the switch is toward the inner edge of the fan, the blade is pulling air INTO the RV -- that just helps us to know by looking which direction the blade is set to rotate before we turn it on.
Woo Hoo!! I now have a reversible Fantastic Fan for just $3.98, some wire, a few butt splices, and my time! Here is what the first modified fan looks like. That's my new reverse toggle switch at lower right. As you can see, this Fantastic Fan 8000 does not have the off/on rocker switch on the face of the fan body as most models do. That switch would normally be at top left in this picture. My other two Fantastic Fans do have that switch …now I need to find a Radio Shack that has two more DPDT Center OFF toggle switches so I can upgrade my other two Fantastic Fans!
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