Most helpful critical review
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Probably Fine for Some Applications
on February 28, 2014
I needed a vent fan, preferably solar, to vent a composting toilet. It would not need to vent even a small room, just a volume equivalent to a 5-gallon bucket. I had set up such a system while living on a boat a couple of years back and wished to duplicate this simple yet effective system in my small cottage. The idea is to run a 4" dryer vent hose from near the top of the composting toilet's "holding tank". The fan I used before had been acquired by me from West Marine. It worked perfectly. The vent hose was attached to the back of the unit which was mounted through the boat's deck. The solar cell ran the fan when sunny and charged the internal batteries for night/cloudy use. It ran pretty much 24/7.
When this unit arrived, I quickly realized two major problems which aren't addressed in the product description. First, the control buttons for this unit are located on the bottom center of the device. On my previous vent, this is where the vent hose would have been attached. There is flange enough on the Sunforce to attach a vent hose but then the 4 control buttons would be unreachable. This is obviously intended to be mounted in a room and draw air into (or out of) the space.
The second, and more serious, problem arose when I studied the use instructions. The night-time mode, working off the batteries that have been charged during the day, would only run for ten minutes! The unit then auto shuts down. In order to vent the odors from a composting toilet, the fan needs to run 24 hours a day. This unit really only works during the daylight hours, practically speaking. The good news is that the batteries are standard AA rechargeables and readily available for user replacement. Many other units I've found do not have replaceable batteries so the whole unit needs to be replaced when the batteries give out.
If you only need a vent fan to operate when the sun is shining and you don't need to move a lot of cubic feet of air, this unit will work well and you will be able to keep the batteries fresh.