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Old 09-08-2020, 09:22 PM   #1
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Cooling the Multi Function Displays (another project thread)

So I have a very nice helm station in my pilothouse with 3 MFDs built in, plus two 4" displays, engine gauges, inverter panel, 2 VHF radios, an AIS transceiver, and a bunch of other stuff. Most of it generates heat inside the console. After 8 hours of cruising, touch the back of one of the MFDs at your own peril. All this trapped heat can't be good for all the electronics. It's been on my list to do something about. So while I was waiting on parts for my steering upgrade (yet another project thread), I thought I would do this small project.

First I needed a fan. So I went to AC Infinity who I used for a fan in the apartment refrigerator project, and found this:

https://www.acinfinity.com/component...oduct-warranty

It's a 4", surface mount, dual ball bearing fan. It has a 26 CFM flow rate, 17 dba noise level (really quiet), and draws 1.1 WATTS of electricity. It's powered with a USB plug and comes with a 120 VAC adapter. $25 plus shipping.

Off of Ebay I purchased a power supply from 12 VDC to USB 5 VDC female socket. It's advertised as being 90+% efficient. $6 including shipping.

So this door to port is louvered. The shelf below the displays goes all the way back to the pilothouse front wall. There are several 3" holes in the shelf below the displays to run wiring through. These holes also will allow air from the louvered door to come up behind the displays. I may add an additional 4" hole to port to facilitate airflow going behind everything.
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As heat rises and the fresh air entered from port, it seemed only logical to pull it to starboard and vent it out the top shelf.
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Fan installed in the top shelf.
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Where to power the fan from? I briefly considered another breaker on the 12 VDC panel to handle the extreme 1 Watt load (no I didn't). I have a circuit that powers the NEMA 2000 network, the 4" displays, and the AIS transceiver, that stays on until I dock (on when anchoring out). That seemed a logical choice. Here it is installed with a 1 amp fuse (smallest I can find).
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Post installation analysis:
The rigorous testing involved putting a half sheet paper towel over the fan discharge. The paper towel was easily blown off the fan. Testing completed.

26 CFM is a fairly low flow rate, but should exchange the air behind the console several times per minute. How much cooler will it keep the 3 MFDs, probably significantly cooler, but they are also the majority of the heat production. I'm hoping the rest of the equipment stays much cooler. Maybe I should install a remote digital thermometer with maximum temperature memory, to monitor the temperature.

My overall cost was less than $50 and the power consumption with the power supply factored in, should be under 35 watts per day. Maybe I should install a solar panel and lithium battery to power it.

Most of you will think this a waste of time and money. But I like it, and that's all that counts!

I'm sure Healhustler will be along shortly complaining that this will be just another project on his list, and it's some how my fault.

Ted
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:08 PM   #2
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Good story. I get satisfaction from simple improvements done well.
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Old 09-08-2020, 10:19 PM   #3
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Yes, I am sure that you have increased the life of your electronics. And a simple fix at that.
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:27 PM   #4
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Nice job.

I've used the AC Inifinity fans with some stuff at home. Their USB-powered ones are handy, as they come on when the gear is running. Nothing extra to set up or configure if there's a powered USB socket on a device.

https://www.acinfinity.com/quiet-usb-fans/
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:29 PM   #5
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I like it. I also think it was a wise addition. Aircraft loaded with equipment and screens generally have cooling fans as well. And there is certainly a correlation between temperature and failure rate. Usually they will even have a flow sensor to alert of avionics fan failure. With a panel like yours that has a high density of equipment it really should be essential.
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:24 PM   #6
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I will be adding that upgrade to my winter project list.

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Old 09-17-2020, 07:26 PM   #7
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Great idea. Heat is an electronics killer
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:50 PM   #8
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Would have been neat to have mounted it a bit further back and put a directional vent on it, you could have had a nice defroster for the front window.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:58 PM   #9
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Would have been neat to have mounted it a bit further back and put a directional vent on it, you could have had a nice defroster for the front window.
I have an automotive style heater in the pilothouse that runs off the engine's freshwater coolant Loop. Shorts and tee shirt in the pilothouse when the outside temperature is well below freezing.

Ted
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:42 PM   #10
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That’s a great idea, wonder how hard it would be to rig that up for the whole boat, I’ve only got about 300sqft of interior space so not heating a huge space.
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:16 AM   #11
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Thatís a great idea, wonder how hard it would be to rig that up for the whole boat, Iíve only got about 300sqft of interior space so not heating a huge space.
I did that with 3 heaters, one in the saloon, pilothouse, and forward stateroom. Fans are 3 speed and each wired to a line voltage thermostat. At 2 GPH fuel burn in my engine, I can keep the boat in the 70s when the outside air temperature is below freezing. With a total of 100' of coolant hose, I chose to add a small centerfusial pump to increase the flow rate. If you want additional information, I have some pictures and can answer questions on the plumbing.

Ted
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:43 AM   #12
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A handy inexpensive ($16), portable, bluetooth recording thermometer....

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I did that with 3 heaters, . . ., I chose to add a small centerfusial pump to increase the flow rate. If you want additional information, I have some pictures and can answer questions on the plumbing.Ted
I'd like to see that detail, Ted. If we're in thread creep territory, perhaps you could post it in a projects topic.

Google is not friendly to 'centerfusial pump' and is wondering if you meant centrifugal. If centrifusial, can you show the pump in the detail you provide? Also the details on the heating units, please.

Thanks,

Greg.
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:48 AM   #14
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As always a well thought out and implemented improvement. I want to add a fan to my fridge compartment and looking for a quiet one... that link may just be the winner.
Thanks
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by GregBrannon View Post
I'd like to see that detail, Ted. If we're in thread creep territory, perhaps you could post it in a projects topic.

Google is not friendly to 'centerfusial pump' and is wondering if you meant centrifugal. If centrifusial, can you show the pump in the detail you provide? Also the details on the heating units, please.

Thanks,

Greg.
Ok, stay tuned. I'll put a separate thread together this weekend with pictures.

Ted
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