Ventilation - Flettner Vent
Do you see that round device that spins at the top rear of the van? That is called a Flettner Vent. It’s a great conversation starter - almost everywhere we travel to outside of major cities, people come up to ask us what that “spinny thing” is at the top of our van.
In the Vancouver Canada area, you’ll see this type of vent on some of the work vans. When we drive into other areas, especially into the United States, we hardly see the Flettner Vent mounted on vans.
For the ventilation, the Flettner TCX-2 wind-powered vent was installed in the rear of van right next to the camera. Reasonably easy to install without professional assistance, about an hour from start to finish. No electricity is needed for the fan as it is powered by wind or by convection currents inside the van. Cooler air from the floor pushes up the warmer air through the vent. The Flettner is designed using state-of-the-art computational low dynamics, the Flettner TCX-2 was created to maximise rotational efficiency and torque to produce very powerful extraction rates, making it particularly suited to being fitted to larger vehicles like the Sprinter.
At highway speeds, the air inside the Sprinter remains fresh as the Flettner pulls all the stale air out, and the front vehicle vents allow fresh air to enter.
When parked on a windy day, air inside the van is pulled out and replaced by fresh air from the slightly open windows in the front doors.
On a cold winter day with no wind, the Flettner continues to spin when the inside air is warmed by the Espar D2 heater with the hot air venting to the outside, keeping moisture and any subsequent condensation at bay.
Our bed is located in the back of the van, and the vent is directly above our heads when we sleep. On cold winter nights we can feel a bit of the cold fresh air come down from the vent and it’s a refreshing feeling! We’ll have the Espar D2 diesel heater running at night as well, and slight the air movement inside the van feels really good. Unlike 12V powered vents, this vent is completely silent, and due to it’s design actually moves the air continuously in from the front windows that are open slightly and from the front vehicle air-vents, throught the van, up and out of the Flettner vent.
When there is absolutely no wind on a hot day, the Flettner will not spin.
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USB Powered Fan
We purchased two of the OPOLAR 9 Inch Metal USB Portable Fans (View on Amazon) which are simply amazing. The fans works on any 5v USB power outlet including power packs. We have one connected continously to our Goal Zero Yeti 1000 USB port, and we set the fan speed to the first low setting. It moves quite a bit of air in the van, and makes it less stuffy during all times of the year, and helps reduce any mold from forming since the air is constantly moving inside the van. It’s no match for a full air-conditioner of course, but good enough to be as comfortable as possible on a budget.
Flettner Vent Installation Photos
Installed on 10Jul2017. From beginning to end, the vent was reasonably easy to install. The install photos are shown below from completion to start. Final product first!