Fan-Tastic Vent upgrade kits
Bill and Jenn Gehr
October 10, 2012
Filed under Gear Reviews
It was a perfect New Mexico day — clear, warm and simply beautiful. During our dinghy tour of the countryside, we stopped to savor the critically acclaimed chili at the most talked about venue in town when the wind shifted, the sky darkened and rain came down in a torrential downpour. Only then did we realize our Fan-Tastic roof vents were wide open and our bedroom comforter and living room sofa were sure to get drenched.
Each time it rains, we think of how nice it would be to upgrade our manually operated Fan-Tastic roof vents to a model with rain sensors and an automatic closure. Fortunately, Fan-Tastic Vent offers exactly that — an upgrade kit with automatic opening and closing capabilities that respond to moisture. These upgraded models control airflow via specific temperature settings, and a battery-powered wireless remote control, with wall cradle, can be added.
Model 6600R (with remote) is Fan-Tastic Vent’s most popular upgrade kit, offering 14 fan speeds in auto or manual mode. The remote upgrade kit is pre-wired with an interior assembly and electronics that draw only 0.2-1.9 amps. This kit converts a manual Fan-Tastic roof vent into the company’s flagship product with little effort. The kit is sold at Camping World (item #37334) for $169.95. A similar upgrade kit, Model 6000RBTA, without the remote control, sells for $155.47 (Camping World item #56331).
Included with the upgrade kit (with or without the remote) are the components to turn the fan into a motorized unit controlled by a rain sensor and a thermostat that responds to preset temperature limits. This kit will work with all Fan-Tastic vents on the market today.
For this project, we upgraded the roof vent in the bedroom using a kit without the remote. The living room vent included the remote, which really comes in handy when controlling the lid and fan, whether in bed or lounging in front of the TV.
The rain sensor is the key element in providing ultimate convenience and protection from the weather. Once this sensor detects moisture, it signals the lid to close. When the rain stops and moisture on the sensor dries, the vent lid will automatically open. This cycle continues depending on weather conditions and is ideal to help protect the motorhome’s interior and regulate temperatures to keep people and pets comfortable.
Upgrade kits come complete with the small hardware necessary for the conversion. The process is simple and straightforward, and should take no longer than an hour to complete.
The installation of the bedroom upgrade kit in a basic (manually controlled) Fan-Tastic vent was easy and utilized only four wires. Before you begin, unplug the leads to the lifting motor and set them aside. Using a Phillips screwdriver or cordless driver and pliers, remove the frame assembly that includes the switches and the screen from the interior side. Then unplug the white dome switch wire, the red wire to the on/off switch and the positive and negative 12-volt DC leads. With a flat-blade screwdriver, knock out the T-shaped plastic plug located on the fan motor frame assembly; this is where the rain sensor will feed through the frame. Replace the existing vent lid-lifting crank; there are only two screws so this step is a cinch. Install the new interior frame assembly by reversing the wiring sequence and feeding the rain sensor through the T-shaped slot.
The next steps require reinstalling the lifting motor that opens and closes the vent lid, pulling down the black knob so it’s in the manual position and raising the lid so it’s open all the way. Once that’s done, carefully climb the rear ladder onto the roof and place one end of the rain sensor onto the existing plastic pin and secure the opposite end of the sensor with the supplied No. 6 Phillips screw. The kits can all be installed without disturbing the factory caulking on your roof.
Back inside the motorhome, lower the vent lid and push the black knob into the auto position. From here, set the fan speed switch to “low,” the in/out switch to “in” and move the thermostat to the coldest position. By pushing the raise/lower switch, the lid should open and close on its own and the fan blade will start or stop spinning.
Upgrading the vent in the living room followed the same steps, with the addition of the remote install, which was added at a later date. As we found out, it’s more cost effective to make the conversion with a kit that already includes the wireless remote. It only took us 15 minutes to handle the two-wire installation of the wireless remote kit for our previously upgraded vent.
Keep the wireless remote in a drawer or place it in the wall cradle. The large buttons and bright red lights indicate individual function settings on the handheld remote. These lights automatically turn off after 20 seconds to conserve battery life.
If you want the vent lid to stay half open, a trick we learned is to simply hold the black knob until the motor stalls out. To return to standard auto mode, hit the lower switch to close the lid and reset the board. This function comes in handy during overcast or humid weather conditions or days that bring heavy dew because the level of moisture will continuously activate the rain sensor.
For those installing these kits in older model Fan-Tastic vents, you will enjoy the new Pop ’N Lock Screen feature that makes cleaning a breeze by eliminating the need to remove several screws to clear out a dirty screen. Be sure the Pop ’N Lock pull-tab remains in the 9 o’clock position so it does not interfere with the black knob during the raise/lower functions.
Fan-Tastic Vents, now owned by Atwood, has a great reputation for customer service. If you have any questions or operational issues during the install, someone in Fan-Tastic Vent’s tech support will be happy to help. We were impressed to learn that all Fan-Tastic Vent parts have a lifetime warranty. After two years, the customer is only required to pay for the shipping for replacement parts. Fan-Tastic Vent has you covered in more ways than one.
Fan-Tastic Vent Corp., 800-521-0298, www.fantasticvent.com