Installation of
12 VDC Cabin Fans


The days of the 12 volt cabin fans that draw 1 to 2 amps from your batteries are long gone. Here on the Chesapeake Bay, fans are a necessity, but I refuse to put unnecessary heavy demands upon my house battery bank. Having researched the market I opted for the Hella Turbo Fan. This is a two speed fan that draws a meager 0.1 amp on low or 0.2 amps on high. The only drawback is that the fans are quite pricey ($64 at West Marine). I shopped around and found an end of season sale for $35 and purchased 4 of them.


Material required:

4 ea. Hella Turbo fans ($140 at end of season sale)

1 ea. 5 amp circuit breaker ($15.95 at Boater's World)

3 ea. plastic junction boxes ($9.00 at Radio Shack)

3 ea. barrier terminal strips ($6.00 at Radio Shack)

45 ft. #14 Duplex wire ($27.00 at Boater's World)

Total cost: $197.95


Tools required:

Electric drill and assorted bits

Wire strippers

Wire crimp tool

Assorted screwdrivers


I mounted one in the V-berth, one over each settee and mounted the last one on a teak block with a cigarette lighter plug so I can move it around to other locations such as the chart table, the galley or blowing on me when I am doing engine maintenance in the heat of the summer.

To power the three fixed mount fans, I added a circuit breaker to my DC panel and ran Duplex AWG 14 wire from the panel forward on both the port and starboard sides of the boat up under the headliner lip at the sheer. I purchased a three small plastic project boxes and three electrical terminal barrier strips from Radio Shack to use as junction boxes for a clean installation. A few minutes with my drill and I had entry holes for the wiring as well as mounting holes for the boxes. The boxes were mounted on the forward most bulkhead in the bookshelf section above the settees. The fans were mounted between the bookshelf section and the forward most locker above the settees. The junction box for the V-berth fan was located on the inside surface of the bookshelf on the starboard side and the fan mounted on the bulkhead above the head of the starboard V-berth. The fans come with about 5 feet of power cord which I cut to length and crimped ring lugs to.


New circuit breaker for the fans

Starboard junction box in salon

Starboard fan in salon

I can run all four fans at once using less power than my lone old oscillating 12 volt fan used.

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