Warning on Caframo Fans

We don't have enough information yet to determine if our experience with the Caframo 747 fans are just an isolated case that only we have experienced, or whether this is a problem with other fans of the same model. On both our Mariner 40 ketch, Sea Trek and now our Marine Trader trawler Beach House, the Caframo 747 model fans have been our preference for many years. The fans use the least amount of power, are the quietest and move the most volume of air of any other fans we have used. The fan is mounted using the more permanent mount and hard wired into a circuit breaker. The circuit breaker did not trip. As full time cruisers, improving the air flow inside the cabin is very important. In the last year, we have had two failures that have given us serious concern. Just over a year ago, one of the fans, which is mounted in our main salon near the lower helm station, suddenly began smoking and the body of the fan became very hot. Fortunately, we were able to shut off the power immediately and no harm was done other than evacuating the smoke. A replacement fan lasted about a year when we noted the smell of electrical burning and immediately determined that it was the replacement fan. The second time there was no smoke, but perhaps that was because we quickly shut off the power. Our concern is what might have happened if the fans were running and we were off the boat, even for a short period of time. Usually all fans, etc. are turned off when we leave the boat for any period of time, but not if we step off the boat for short periods, like talking to neighbors or taking out the trash. We now worry about these fans and whether we should consider another manufacturer in light of our experience. We have contacted Caframo about the issue, but as of yet, have had no response. We would very much like to hear from anyone else that has had issues with this specific product.

Update May 20, 2014

We have finally received a reply from Caframo. They have offered to replace one of the fans but did not address the question of why they might smoke and overheat even if not seized. One of the fans did slow down a bit but the other seemed to run at normal speed. Here is the reply... 

Dear Mr. Baier,

I am sorry for the bad experience you had with the Caframo model 747 fans. Please be assured that we take these issues seriously.

With your fans we only us special Fire Retardant grade plastic for the housing so that should the motor seize there is not risk of fire. However, with older units, should a motor seize heat can get sufficient to cause some smoke and smell.

Our new fans have added thermal protection so that should the blade get jammed or the motor seize current will be cut off to the unit ensuring all components keep at low temperatures. We will gladly send you a new unit at no charge. Please confirm your postal address and I will arrange for a unit to be sent to you.

Sincerely, Mike Tettenborn


  1. Also use the 747 fans and have for many years. One is over 10 years old still going strong. Usually shut it down when I am no longer under it's influence though. I'm all about saving the amps no matter how small. Mine are not permanently mounted. Though I am currently thinking about it. I have had on occasion the suction cup fail and drop the fan on me which is another reason I shut it down when I don't need it. Would not want the motor burn out trying to move an immovable blade.

  2. Capt. Mike, we have used Caframo for 15 years and this is a first for us. But keep in mind that your 10 year old fan may very well have been made in a different manufacturing facility and to different standards than those that are made today. We see this happen all to many times in the marine industry. A great product undergoes major changes and suddenly isn't worth buying any more. I'm not saying that is what happened here, but it does happen a lot. We are getting replacement fans from Caframo and will give them another try. This could be an anomaly, it just seems strange that it happened to fans a year apart. We will post back our results with the new fans. Chuck


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.