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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spacetime
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:02 am

Ok! My swamp cooler is working enough to get back to my other packing. Here's a video of it running:

[media]


I took a bunch of photos of steps that I thought were not as well documented.

The best discovery in this build was someone previously mentioning and showing this toilet flange. The holes for the flange line up perfectly with the computer fan and thus seal both the flange and the fan pretty well. It also sits just inside the plastic ridge on the lid, making placement very easy.

I used #8-32 2 1/2" machine screws and flat washers to secure it, and they go perfectly with this setup. If I remember, I'll get wing nuts to replace the normal nuts on top, as they're just finger tight.

I'm going to get back to my other packing and organization now, but hopefully I'll have time to install the water level switch and another switch for inside the tent so that this is easier to operate.

Biggest problem I had was that I got vinyl tubing, which was not at all easy to perforate using hot 10-gauge wire. It is too hot in Oakland these days to be running the oven in the middle of the day anyhow! I gave up on this after hole 2 and instead pinched the tube against the table with my thumb and nipped out a tooth of plastic at the edge at each mark I measured previously using a box cutter. This worked pretty well.

Wiring up the fan and pump in parallel was a bit of a pain until I figured out how to use one butt connector to splice 3 wires.

I need to do a bit more testing to make sure no water is dripping out the holes. It seems like it helps to have the top on tight to keep the hose spraying into the duracool.

I'll try to post my other build pics this week. Thank you figjam!

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Roundabout
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Roundabout » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:44 am

I love the toilet flange! That is perfect and easy. I think you are going to have water leakage out your holes, because your blue stuff is pressed against the edges of the bucket. Let it run for several hours and see what happens.
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:52 am

Yes, it is going to leak.

No, the pad shouldn't be touching the holes.
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spacetime
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:17 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Yes, it is going to leak.

No, the pad shouldn't be touching the holes.
I am noticing a trickle on some holes, sometimes. I went back into the thread and found canoe's diagram:

Image

I cut the pads to the dimensions as per spec and have them pressed to the bottom. Presumably they should stand up and have room between the holes in the sides. Yet they still seem to be touching anyhow.

Why are my pads making contact with the holes / how do I fix this?

Here's a photo:
Image

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:23 pm

2 things could be happening: the pad is a bit too big and you may have to cut an inch or so off the blue pad and re-roll it,
Or, what happens sometimes is when the pad gets wet, it gets heavy and sags just enough for it to slouch into the sides of your bucket. Solve this by wrapping the blue pad in a cylinder of chicken wire. The chicken wire wrap gives it enough stability to stand upright.
Or it could be a bit of both problems. Experiment.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by SourPatch » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:43 pm

I solved the leaking problem in my bucket cooler by running a fishing line loop around the wet pad. Squeeze the pad with the line at the mid point of the holes. That should separate the pad from the bucket enough to stop the leaking.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:47 pm

That will work.

You're going to have a dry strip if you don't cut the ends off the T going into the halo.

Leave just enough for the tube to fit onto the T.

The halo will be rounder.

AND put the bottom of the T in the gap of the inner pad to hold everything in place!!!

Image
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback.

I don't have any plastic or fishing line (or chicken wire) handy so I added a little girdle made out of hemp string. After adjusted it upward a bit in some places there are no more leaks!

Image

I took the whole contraption up to my roof with 3 of my 4 solar cells and set it up. In direct sun they were putting out about 1.58A. The pump and fan pull a little less than that. It did run just fine off the solar until I stood in front of it.

Image
I was also able to set it up with the solar cells connected to the controller to the battery and finally the swamp cooler. It would probably be good to do a final test of just trickle charging the battery with the cells to make sure that works.

Image

I could use some finishing for the wiring, but I'm otherwise feeling good about the setup.

figjam, I'm going to take that advice and cut that T back to the halo. I have had it positioned into the gap of the inner pad but keep moving it around as I fiddle with it. Do you put holes in the plastic T connector?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:03 pm

One right in the middle and no bigger than the ones on the halo.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rideincircles » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:00 am

Here is my concept in process. The idea for mine is based on using materials I found or already had around the house, along with not having to create a watertight box. I am relatively certain a watertight box is pretty simple, but I liked the idea of using a container designed to contain water than creating a box from scratch. That along with an easy hinge to fit a keg inside to cool off and 15 gallon capacity.

I considered making it to fit inside the yurt, but will probably just have it outside so it doesn't take up interior space. I didn't check the actual height, but the regular pump has no problems exceeding 3 feet height.

I would have kept working on it further, but power tools after midnight is not very neighborhood friendly. Still need to cut holes to the reservoir, and I need to get some more wiring connector stuff also. I have some industrial marine paint I will test out also to make sure it doesn't leave any fumes after painting it.

Image

Image

Image

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:17 am

Oh my!

I'm not quite sure what's going on here.

Is the bucket catching all the water from the pad?

Are you then pouring that back in your reservoir?

If so, you will be babysitting that thing any time it's running. :?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:52 am

I don't know how it works but I like the way it looks. Like some kind of crazy birdhouse.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by amitrus » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:08 am

If I want to install a fuse, for safety, does anybody have a recommendation for the appropriate type/size of fuse to use? I was thinking about using this connector:

Image

But I couldn't find a fuse on Amazon that was designed for about 12V DC 8A?

Any recommendations about what would be the appropriate fuse?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rideincircles » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:43 am

Basically I will install a box on top of the cooler that mates with the lid and there will be a giant hole for the pad to drain into inside (like what it looks like with the keg in there). The bucket shown was just for supporting the vent I had laying around. More work needs to be done, but I plan on having the pad located over the water reservoir and it will drain straight down into there. The pad will be slightly offset from the intake hole. The offset is due to the wheels of the cooler.

The width of the offset was just based off some boards I had lying around. I may cut it shorter, but with the grate I have, the offset over both edges seems to work fine. Getting it airtight will be the main issue, but sealant on the boards and some tape on the cooler lid connection should be able to get it sealed up pretty well.

I threw this diagram together to better explain it. Assume there will be a hole from the interior of the cooler going up into the box and it makes more sense.

Image

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spacetime
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:46 am

I'm curious about the keg. Will you be dumping ice in the water to keep that cool, or counting on the evap?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rideincircles » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:49 am

I may use cooler melt water, but am not 100% on that yet. What temperature does the water get to on its own? My assumption is that having the keg in there for a few hours will get it cooler than it would be just sitting in my hexayurt and have it ready to go if I want to have a beer whenever.

I may make a hole in the roof so I can get kegs in and out and refill the water level without having to disconnect or remove it from the hexayurt.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:06 am

After the cooler has been running for about 20 minutes, I generally get a water temp of 58 degrees.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:15 am

FIGJAM wrote:After the cooler has been running for about 20 minutes, I generally get a water temp of 58 degrees.
That's a tad warmer than British cellar temp of 55F for authentic stout.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Popeye » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:26 am

amitrus wrote:If I want to install a fuse, for safety, does anybody have a recommendation for the appropriate type/size of fuse to use? I was thinking about using this connector:

Image

But I couldn't find a fuse on Amazon that was designed for about 12V DC 8A?

Any recommendations about what would be the appropriate fuse?
The voltage rating on fuses is a maximum voltage rating. In other words you can use a 120V fuse on a 12V circuit with no problem.
The amp rating is the important part. Should be between 120% of the running current of your motors and the ampacity of your wire.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by silverfish » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:50 pm

Last year I used a 90 CFM 3" air pump meant for a boat. This year my girlfriend and I decided to supersize the system:
super evap cooler small - 1.jpg
12" ducting fits well with 5 gallon buckets. We cut off a bucket top and mounted it to the fan using some L brackets (after removing the back plate so we didn't screw into any electronics). Duct tape will seal the connections on playa.

By combining this new evap cooler with a 2 layer silver reflective tent we are hoping to stay cool any time of day. Were also looking forward to be able to direct the air inside the tent better and control the power settings from inside the tent.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:52 pm

Your fan will not be able to live up to its specs due to limited air intake at the bucket.

The intake needs the same surface area as the fan, or larger, for the fan to work properly. :(
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Cos » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:07 pm

I'm building a Figjam, trying to follow the instructions as best I can. First problem I noticed today is the 33 1/2 x 13 is too long for my bucket. The duracool pad was touching the holes in the bucket which I've read will cause leakage. I then cut roughly 8 inches off the length of the pad (now 25 1/2 x 13) and then made a cylinder of it. The pad no longer is touching the holes now. Took another piece of duracool pad and cut it to roughly 20 x 13 and made it my middle cylinder. Again, seems right to me as the holes aren't being touched. I'm using the same home depot bucket you did, I wonder why the measurements are different.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:53 pm

33 1/2"s was my mistake and it's to late to edit.

The buckets are sometimes a little different in size.

30" is now pretty standard.

It should ideally fit the bottom of the bucket perfectly, and the slight taper of the bucket will leave it 1/4" away from the sides at the holes.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by silverfish » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:34 pm

Figjam - 12" fan has 113 sq. in. of area. 19 3" holes in my bucket equals 134 sq. in. of intake. That seems like it would work, no?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:38 pm

Cos wrote:I'm building a Figjam, trying to follow the instructions as best I can. First problem I noticed today is the 33 1/2 x 13 is too long for my bucket. The duracool pad was touching the holes in the bucket which I've read will cause leakage. I then cut roughly 8 inches off the length of the pad (now 25 1/2 x 13) and then made a cylinder of it. The pad no longer is touching the holes now. Took another piece of duracool pad and cut it to roughly 20 x 13 and made it my middle cylinder. Again, seems right to me as the holes aren't being touched. I'm using the same home depot bucket you did, I wonder why the measurements are different.
Hey, if you can go back to his spec by stitching the original 33 1/2 x 13 together, you can use a little belt made of string to hike in the area near the holes. This could be secured with some more thread. Fixes the problem.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:05 pm

silverfish wrote:Figjam - 12" fan has 113 sq. in. of area. 19 3" holes in my bucket equals 134 sq. in. of intake. That seems like it would work, no?
Not necessarily.
It's not just the total area. It's also the resistance to air flowing through a hole, and that varies with size of hole AND velocity (and to a lessor extent, edge shape).
There's a reason you cut 3" holes in the bucket and and not enough 1/4" holes that would provide a larger area.
To get up to the medium and high settings of the Endless Breeze, and you need to provide adequate intake flow.

One oddity to illustrate: a gentle breeze from the right angle will blow air through a bucket cooler that is shut off. With a wet pad you can get some cool air entering. Yet when a big blow some in, the flow resistance at big blow velocity against the 3" holes limits how far it can try to overwhelm the bucket cooler.

You could round the edges of all of the holes, rounded from outside to inside, smooth surface nearly polished, and that would reduce the entry turbulence, but only so far.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:53 pm

silverfish wrote:Figjam - 12" fan has 113 sq. in. of area. 19 3" holes in my bucket equals 134 sq. in. of intake. That seems like it would work, no?
Oh it will work, but here's what happened to me.

The first unicooler I built with a 12"x12" intake since that was the size of the fan.

It worked fine on low, but if I tried it on medium or high, there was no change in air flow.

Open the top to add water and the air increase was fantastic.

I built another with a 18"x18" intake and now the fan can draw all the air it wants. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by trex2000 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:20 pm

OK..I know this has been beat to death and i know its in here. I have a week to get my shit together, just got my TICKET WOOOHOOO. I have a fan and a pump pulling a total of
4 amps.. I have a deep cycle 12v battery with 120amphours….How many hours per day can I run this thing? 30 total hours 5hrs for 6 days?????

THANKS
TREX

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:44 pm

60 usable AH so you don't discharge below 50%.

4 amps means you don't have the standard pump and fan.

15 usable hours.
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:55 pm

Your math is correct. 120Ah / 4A = 30 hours.
  • But that's for a perfect battery under perfect conditions, so change that to ~30 hours, or, up to 30 hours.
  • For Lithium-Ion you can use that full Ah, IF the Battery Management System is a good one and will shut off when you reach the low-charge voltage. This is likely unless it is a DIY pack.
  • For the deep-cycle batteries we typically use, it's a different story. Figjam has previously advised that for long battery life, do not run your battery all the way down. He's provided a voltage/charge to not go below, but I keep remembering that voltage wrong, so search for what he said or wait for him to chime in.
  • If you don't deplete your battery on-playa, it should be fairly quick to recharge it on-playa using your vehicle. This is pretty much the better choice than drawing from your battery until it is dead...
Tweak, not necessary:
In high heat, a battery's performance goes down some.
The hotter the battery is/gets, the higher it's internal resistance goes up. This increased internal resistance means that the output voltage drops and more of the consumed power is:
- wasted on the internal resistance and generates more internal battery heat, and
- not running the fan & pump as strongly as it would have if the battery was cooler.
4A is not a big draw, so it shouldn't be generating too much internal heat, but on the hot playa it's kinda hard for the battery to get rid of that heat.
But you can try maximizing your battery performance by having it in shade so it's not gaining direction solar heat.
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