cooling your tent or van

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.
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LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:21 pm

I have my fan and pump wired separately, mainly so I can test and configure them separately while I'm tinkering with the swampie. IE I can test the fan without having to fill the bucket with water and run the pump. It's bad for the pump to run w/o water in it. Or I can test and fiddle w/ the pump without having to listen to the fan and blowing dust all around.

Once in a while I'll run just the fan to get some fresh air into the trailer, when it's not hot enough to justify running the pump too. On the last day, I run just the fan to dry out the cooler pad. I pack stuff into my bucket cooler for transport so I like the pad to be dry.

I just spliced off two switches from one of the 12V wires, one switch for each device.

All minor points, wiring them together wouldn't be the end of the world.

amitrus
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Wiring and AC Adapter Question

Post by amitrus » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:18 pm

I want to use an AC adapter, since my camp will have a generator running in the mornings.

First question: Can anyone help me figure out how to choose the correct AC adapter?

I’m using the 12v ebay pump FIGJAM recommended (rated at 350mA), and the 12v fan FIGJAM recommended (rated at 1.6A).

I assume I will be splicing these into the AC adapter these in parallel (rather than in series), right?

Can I just add the amps (.320A + 1.6A = 1.92A), and therefore look for a 12v, 2A adapter like this one?
Image
Second question: What happens if I use the above circuit with a 12 AC adapter rated for higher amps, like 6A? Will everything be fine, or will things break?

I'm also toying with the idea of using this much more powerful 252CFM 12V 3.9A fan :shock: , since I'll have enough power for it. If I did that and used the same pump, I assume I'll need a 12V AC adapter rated at 4A? 5A?

(Apologies if this has been asked/answered before. I searched around for a while and didn’t find an answer.)

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:24 pm

Yes it will all work just as you lined out.

If you have access to 110, you can get off the shelf pump and fan that will work even better!!! 8)
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Dr. Brap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr. Brap » Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:37 pm

Don't have a 12V battery laying around, or don't fee like buying a new one? You can use a buck converter http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-LM2596-4-0-4 ... 3cef4f7fdf to step the voltage down from a battery rated at more than 12V. I used this setup last year with a 20V, 6Ahr Li-ion battery for a cordless chainsaw that I have. With the output voltage set at 12.7V and the 93% efficiency of the buck converter I think I should get about 8.8Ahrs out of the battery. The nice thing about a Li-ion battery pack like this is that you can pretty much use all of the available capacity without damaging it, unlike a normal lead acid battery. I'm using a 1A fan that delivers 150cfm (I wouldn't go any lower). So I should get at least 8 hours of run time out of this. We have a generator at camp for the sound system so I can recharge the battery each night if I need to. I had a monkey hut over my tent last year. That combined with the lower temps meant that I didn't have to use the cooler as much. I only recharged the battery once even though it had only used 25% of it's capacity based on the lights on the front of the battery. Somehow I think I was getting more run time out of it than I calculated.

I have a 5V, 0.14A, pump that runs on a separate battery pack. This battery pack is rated at 18Ahrs and is usually used for charging your cell phone. With such a small pump this battery pack will run it all week with no worries at all. I achieved a 30 degree temperature drop at the outlet of the cooler but this pump is probably the absolute smallest that you'd want to use. I'm going to install a second one this year.

What's nice about the buck converter is that, If you're like me, you might have several cordless power tool Li-ion batteries in the garage. You could easily get a few hours out of each one (enough to extend your sleeping in the morning or to allow a cool snooze in the afternoon). If you go this route don't forget to use a multi meter to set the output voltage for the buck converter. If you don't have a generator, recharge the batteries at SnoKone Solar or use a neighbor's generator.

The obvious problem with this set up is the low battery capacity and added risk of having one more thing to fail. An extra pump and buck converter would never hurt.

Finally, I ziptied the water distribution line and cooling pad to the lid to keep everything in place and to prevent incoming air from shortcutting the cooling pad. Just make sure to seal up the holes for the zipties with caulking.


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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:00 pm

Dr. Brap wrote:... The nice thing about a Li-ion battery pack like this is that you can pretty much use all of the available capacity without damaging it, unlike a normal lead acid battery. ...
whoa there
Key words in that: "like this".

Careful with that. It only holds true for Li-ion packs that have an internal BMS (battery management system) that protects from low-voltage, shutting off the output once the voltage of the pack drops to the minimum, else your pack is now a brick.
Problem is, these packs typically use a budget BMS that don't monitor the voltage of each cell, but typically monitors the voltage of the entire pack, using the per-cell minimum to come up with a "safe" minimum-pack-voltage. The packs are also not made with matched cells. As a pack gets older, you increase the chance that one cell will deplete before the others, and even though the total pack voltage appears to be "safe" to the BMS, a low cell can drop below the cell minimum voltage, and it's bricked, which in turn bricks the pack. At least it's a brick until you tear the pack apart (careful, lots of current possible) and identify and replace the bricked cell (and hopefully any under-performing cells too).

Three guesses what messes with cells' internal resistance, thereby aggravates a cell or two not getting as full a charge as the other cells, or depleting it's charge faster than the others, leading to an easily obtainable perfect storm that bricks the pack: something we have plenty of on the playa - heat.

So your Li-ion pack that works fine in testing at home may seriously under-perform or brick on playa. Particularly so if they're the old packs just laying around. But if you've got enough of them, why not?
And if you've got bricked packed, look into replacing their bricked cells so you have a working pack again.
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Dr. Brap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr. Brap » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:13 pm

Ha Ha, I was waiting for this comment! Canoe, you're the winner. You're probably right, the BMS is probably cheap but, like myself, I assume that most people use power tools until the battery dies and then they recharge them. I have a couple of different brands of tools between home and work and they're all still going strong after 3-6 years of full depletion use.

Here's a question for you though--> I also ran the system through a solar charge controller to prevent full discharge when using another 12V battery. Would this help to protect the 20V battery running through the buck converter if the BMS failed?
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:17 pm

Bemerritt wrote:... I envision the fan only operation could be beneficial when fresh air would be nice in the van, but the outside air isn't too hot. The swamp cooler pads would act as a dust filter and all would be good. Thoughts?
Nice vision, but
The cooler pads act as an excellent dust filter - when they're wet.
When they're wet, they're providing evaporative cooling.
Stop the pump, the dust filtering will degrade as the moisture in the pads evaporates away.

But at least once you've filled your shelter up with dusty air from outside, you can turn the pump on again and the cool dust-filtered air will push out the dusty air inside. :D

There are sometimes a few short periods where you can open windows and and get cooler dust-free air blowing gently through your shelter. Be prepared to shut things up quickly when that ends - you may have little warning.
If you have two air-flow exit vents in your shelter (you need a vent to let the inside air escape so the swamp-cooler can blow it's cool filtered air inside), and use a furnace filter on them to prevent casual wind/dust from entering, then when outside conditions are good you could:
- shut the swamp-cooler off,
- cover its input to the shelter,
- have a fan on one of the exit vents, blowing air INSIDE (so the shelter is slightly pressurized; if it's blowing out, then the inside is slightly a vacuum, which will such outside dusty air in through any and all cracks/defects in the structure).
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:43 pm

Dr. Brap wrote:... I assume that most people use power tools until the battery dies and then they recharge them. I have a couple of different brands of tools between home and work and they're all still going strong after 3-6 years of full depletion use?
The BMS should stop output just BEFORE it's at minimum, because, well, it's the minimum.
It's when you deplete use a pack until it shuts off, but don't recharge it right away (or very shortly afterwards), that you increase the chance that cells will deplete below minimum just from sitting, thereby bricking the pack, as all cells in the pack that go below minimum are themselves bricked. Then you're not replacing one low/under-performing cell, but several, possibly all of them. But if you source the cells at a good cost, it can be less expensive than buying a new pack. Just really watch that current - it can arc weld. And if the BMS shut the pack off, any discharge will almost assuredly drop cells below minimum. If a cell is run to below minimum, it's a brick. If it fades below minimum from sitting, rumour is (I haven't done this myself) you can do an extremely small trickle charge and edge a cell (each cell separate, not the pack entire) up over the minimum, and you stand a reasonable chance that it will then take a normal charge. Same as when replacing a cell, DO NOT try to give it a normal charge until the cells are back in their containment in the pack - if they're allowed to expand they can rupture, which may start a fire.
Dr. Brap wrote:...Here's a question for you though--> I also ran the system through a solar charge controller to prevent full discharge when using another 12V battery. Would this help to protect the 20V battery running through the buck converter if the BMS failed?
My turn to laugh. I'm wondering about using some cheap low-power solar panels (that I have laying around) in series to get a high voltage on cloudy days so this buck converter has enough so it can provide a charge for a 12 VDC deep-cycle battery while it's on-duty to power the swamp-cooler. I'd have 32VDC in full sun and 16VDC in cloud, so it's looking good. So I've sent my question on to my power-supply expert. We'll see what he sends back.

But the BMS rarely fail. It's usually a cell over-charged/under-drawn due to mismatched cells, with the mismatch aggravated by time, often with an additional wack by heat. I can't see how a solar charge controller would help with that, unless it would shut off it's drawing of current from the li-ion pack well above it's minimum-pack-voltage, to minimize the chance that an individual cell went below it's minimum.
As tested, that buck converter is rather efficient. I'd not expect as good of numbers from the charge controller.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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Koumori
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Koumori » Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:01 pm

New trick: Place the duct under your bed sheet... OMG it's a heavenly pocket of cool air enveloping you. WARNING! I slept/hibernated ALL of Friday. :oops:

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Dr. Brap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr. Brap » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:21 pm

Koumori wrote:New trick: Place the duct under your bed sheet... OMG it's a heavenly pocket of cool air enveloping you. WARNING! I slept/hibernated ALL of Friday. :oops:
NOW we're getting somewhere!!
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ShreddinPB
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ShreddinPB » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:03 pm

So, I have been using the standard bucket cooler in my yurt the last 3 burns, this year tho, I have my own RV that I bought!! So, its time to upgrade to a unicooler!!

On fans, I believe this is the one that most people use..
http://www.amazon.com/Fan-Tastic-01100W ... ds=12v+fan

Searching around I found this guy..
http://www.amazon.com/CFR-Performance-E ... CAWU1X100X

Is there any reason not to use it? Its 2/3rds the cost, seems to have low amp draw for the air flow it puts out, 1700 CFM. Looks easy to mount.
Stats look good
"fan is 2.8 amps 12 Volt 2860 RPM and 1700 CFM."
The only drawback I see is it doesnt have a speed controller like the endless breeze, but I plan on using an arduino with a motor controller to control the fan speed.
So, any reason to use the Endless breeze over this one?

Has anyone found a good non tapered trash can to build one out of? or is everyone just building their box?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:42 pm

If it does everything it promises it sounds great.

It may be loud.

For that much CFM you will need 3'x3' air intake and maybe a double layer of pad.
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ShreddinPB
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ShreddinPB » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:46 pm

FIGJAM wrote:If it does everything it promises it sounds great.

It may be loud.

For that much CFM you will need 3'x3' air intake and maybe a double layer of pad.
Sounds like it would be a good idea to do a 3 sided intake like the one earlier in this thread?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:53 pm

That means the whole cooler is outside with just the fan blowing into the RV.

Soooooo now you get to design a stand of some kind to set it on.

Even with the "Box" cooler I would use the biggest intakes you can comfortably manage.
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ShreddinPB
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ShreddinPB » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:29 pm

FIGJAM wrote:That means the whole cooler is outside with just the fan blowing into the RV.

Soooooo now you get to design a stand of some kind to set it on.

Even with the "Box" cooler I would use the biggest intakes you can comfortably manage.
What about this idea? Intakes on all sides that are 1' x 1' square (blue material in images, I left out 2 sides for visibility)
Red tubes would be the rain bars on top of all 4 pads.
Fan mounts in the hole on the top.
Reservoir is the bottom half.
Screenshot 2015-06-16 16.19.20.png
Screenshot 2015-06-16 16.20.06.png
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ShreddinPB
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ShreddinPB » Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:32 pm

Id use a flexible vent tube to pipe the exhaust from the fan up into the RV

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:40 pm

I've never done it quite that way.

How long will your duct need to be?

The longer the duct the more cooling you lose, but probably not much.

I would keep this set up on the south side of the RV so that it's in the shade most of the day.
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ShreddinPB
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ShreddinPB » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:06 pm

FIGJAM wrote:I've never done it quite that way.

How long will your duct need to be?

The longer the duct the more cooling you lose, but probably not much.

I would keep this set up on the south side of the RV so that it's in the shade most of the day.
I was thinking about putting it on a table to keep it off the ground anyway, dont want all that heat conducing into the water either.
This would also make the ducting short.

How much pump GPH do you think I need? I have 2 of the normal ones used in the bucket cooler, I could use one pump per 2 cooler pads. A guestimate is all I need ;)
Energy is less of an issue as I have 150Ah in the coach batteries, and I am planing on adding my 150 watt solar array with my current 100Ah deep cycle, and if money allows, adding 2 more 100Ah deep cycles to the solar bank for charging electric vehicles and running the RV cooling system

On a side note, if I build this from wood, what do you spray inside to water proof it? Or should I just try to build from plastic?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:13 pm

I would go with one 12 volt bilge pump.

Probably 100 to 200 gph.

When building out of wood, I coat every thing heavily with roof coating, let that dry, then coat with epoxy spray paint.

Boat paint would probably be perfect, but I haven't tried that.
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ShreddinPB
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by ShreddinPB » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:49 pm

FIGJAM wrote:I would go with one 12 volt bilge pump.

Probably 100 to 200 gph.

When building out of wood, I coat every thing heavily with roof coating, let that dry, then coat with epoxy spray paint.

Boat paint would probably be perfect, but I haven't tried that.
Might go with ABS sheets like this.. just make the cut outs a bit smaller than 1', and use a 2x4 collar around the outside mid bottom to support the water preasure.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NER ... WCVO9POVQF

And if I use a bilge pump like this one, can I just restrict the voltage so it pumps less?
http://www.amazon.com/Seaflo-Marine-Plu ... WAEGJNR9ED

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:41 pm

I build my boxes out of plywood.

I've used an 80 gph on my box design and it was plenty, but yours is bigger and taller, so more is better.

This one should be more than enough.

http://www.amazon.com/Rule-24-Marine-36 ... B000O8D8QG
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SourPatch
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by SourPatch » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:30 am

I want to share this find with you guys...

I needed a dimmer for the Endless Breeze fan, something that would control the fan blades from 0% to 100% speed, continuously.

After researching and ordering 3 different dimmers, this one worked the best: KEDSUM® PWM DC Converter 12V-36V 10A DC Motor Speed Controller Adjuster DC Motor Driver

The other 2 produced a high pitch hum/loud screech.

If you are looking for a dimmer for your Endless Breeze, try this one.
Overkill or go home.

Katan
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Katan » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:00 pm

This year will be my first burn and this thread (among others) have been invaluable to preparing for the burns. Thank you all for taking the time to explain methods / ideas.

Over the last month or so, I've built an H12 (did the full test build last weekend) and built a Jyman style triple intake box cooler (btw, is there a formal name for that one yet?.) I have a costco carport for shade and will be using FigJam's chain link lag bolts for tie downs. For power I'm going with costco deep cycle battery, but no solar power recharging this year.

Any who, have are a few outstanding questions I could use some help on

1) My understanding with any hexayurt, the door should face north. If so, which side should the box cooler face? and which side should the vent to outside be on? Based on the wind directions viewtopic.php?f=3&t=40474 my uneducated guess would be to have the cooler on the east side, with the vent on the west. However before I cut the holes, I could use some wisdom from someone who has done this before.

2) I've purchased three small filters to fit over the three air intakes on the cooler, but was wondering if anyone has tried this. My thinking is that while wet pads work as a dust filter, it seems like a ton of dust will end up in the cooler with no way to flush or clean it until you get home. Seems like the dust could gum up the pump, hose, etc, which is why the filters seem like a reasonable solution. Also given how fine the dust is, it seems like dust could still get in to the hexayurt any time the cooler is dry / not running. My question here is should I even bother with filters or am I trying to solve a non existent problem?

Also feel free to add any other suggestions as needed.

Thanks again

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:07 pm

The filters will just restrict the air.

Make a cover for the fan if you're concerned about dust when the cooler isn't running.

The dust settles in a thin layer at the bottom of the cooler.

If you keep the cooler on the north side it will be in the shade most of the time.

The wind can come from any direction.

Just make sure you have a vent on the opposite wall from the cooler.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Victorgphoto » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:43 am

Quick amateur question, does the whole cooler have to be OUTSIDE my yurt, and just run a vent into it? Or can I keep the whole thing in your yurt?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:16 pm

Has to have hot, dry, outside air to work affectively.
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:55 pm

Victorgphoto wrote:Quick amateur question, does the whole cooler have to be OUTSIDE my yurt, and just run a vent into it? Or can I keep the whole thing in your yurt?
I believe I see what you mean.
  • Bucket cooler inside - forget it.
    You end up building another enclosure for it, with the hot dry outside air vented to that enclosure just to house the bucket cooler.
    Easier to build one of the box swamp coolers instead, for more cooling capacity and less noise.
  • Unicooler (box-cooler with one vent with one pad) - easy to have on the inside, IF it's tight to the wall so it's well sealed (and lid sell sealed) so it can only draw outside air (inside air short-circuits the flow with humid-inside air, swamp cooler efficiency drops). I'd be tempted to make the hole in the wall a good inch or two larger than the intake vent opening on your unicooler, then with the unicooler placed tight to the wall opening, use aluminum foil tape to seal the wall to the unicooler: unicooler vent is entirely exposed to the outside. The less this opening is in the sun, you've added a tiny advantage.
    You can run a vent (if large enough) from the wall to a unicooler, but you'll want it insulated, and you're adding more construction details that are untested and you've added more points for failure.
    Check which size of yurt Figjam says is good with the Unicooler.
  • Box-cooler (three sides of vent & pad), then you're into the same issue as with the bucket cooler, or you're into a custom design, with addressing many design issues, which means you're not using a playa-tested proven design.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mooserider » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:07 pm

Canoe wrote:[*]Unicooler (box-cooler with one vent with one pad) - easy to have on the inside, IF it's tight to the wall so it's well sealed (and lid sell sealed) so it can only draw outside air (inside air short-circuits the flow with humid-inside air, swamp cooler efficiency drops). I'd be tempted to make the hole in the wall a good inch or two larger than the intake vent opening on your unicooler, then with the unicooler placed tight to the wall opening, use aluminum foil tape to seal the wall to the unicooler: unicooler vent is entirely exposed to the outside. The less this opening is in the sun, you've added a tiny advantage.
You can run a vent (if large enough) from the wall to a unicooler, but you'll want it insulated, and you're adding more construction details that are untested and you've added more points for failure.
Check which size of yurt Figjam says is good with the Unicooler.
Hmmm... I wonder if this would work for me. I took the broken washer/dryer out of my RV, and now have a large empty cabinet with fresh water and drain pipes, electric service, a rain-capped dryer vent to the outside, and louvered doors to the RV interior. Would this be a good place to stick a unicooler whose intake was ducted to the old dryer vent?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:16 pm

How big is the dryer vent?

The air has to flow freely through the pad.
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:17 pm

apavlin wrote:...Hmmm... I wonder if this would work for me. I took the broken washer/dryer out of my RV, and now have a large empty cabinet with fresh water and drain pipes, electric service, a rain-capped dryer vent to the outside, and louvered doors to the RV interior. Would this be a good place to stick a unicooler whose intake was ducted to the old dryer vent?
I'd want Figjam to chime in on this, but I'd suspect that the dryer vent would not provide enough unrestricted flow to the unicooler. Possibly with the endless breeze fan on low, but med and high?...

Given that it's an RV (large space), I'd be looking at using that space, sealing it off, then using it as a chamber for a box-cooler (three vents & pads), but with an enlarged or multiple dryer vents. But that's getting into modifying where the outside vent is, and into all sorts of details that you have to know what you're doing or you could easily end up with something that will not do what you're expecting it to do.

Of course, the better you reject heat from getting into the RV, the less your cooling needs will be.
viewtopic.php?f=280&t=73966#p1075045
So perhaps a unicooler on low would be enough.


ah he beat me!
and he always managed to use fewer words!
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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