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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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:16 pm

You can glue some foam rubber on the box to make the seal for the wall, but the fan is going to blow at a slite downward angle.
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HeyJoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by HeyJoe » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:55 pm

I would like to add a toggle switch so I can control the power supply to the fan from inside my tent. I'll be using a marine battery to power it. I found a "Mini Toggle Switch" at Radio Shack. Do you think I can just add it to a splice on one of the lines to the battery? Any other concerns using a switch?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:36 pm

HeyJoe wrote:I would like to add a toggle switch so I can control the power supply to the fan from inside my tent. I'll be using a marine battery to power it. I found a "Mini Toggle Switch" at Radio Shack. Do you think I can just add it to a splice on one of the lines to the battery? Any other concerns using a switch?
Yes, that will work just fine.
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SOC
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by SOC » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:55 pm

I'd like to cut out the pump altogether. Do you think it would work to simply gravity feed the water down into the wicking at a slow drip?

Thanks for all the information.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:09 pm

IMHO the pad needs to stay pretty wet and balancing the exact amount of "drip" may be hard to adjust.

You may be able to do some kind of catch system to refill the resevour manually, but I'm too lazy to do it that way.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by SOC » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:41 pm

Thanks for the fast response time. I'm coming out from the east coast, so I will be purchasing many of my supplies. I'm trying to figure out how I can build this as cheaply as possible. I'm thinking maybe setting up a drip system and running a fan on a small solar panel is the way to go.

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kman
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kman » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:42 am

SOC wrote:Thanks for the fast response time. I'm coming out from the east coast, so I will be purchasing many of my supplies. I'm trying to figure out how I can build this as cheaply as possible. I'm thinking maybe setting up a drip system and running a fan on a small solar panel is the way to go.
While I applaud the general sentiment, you should bear in mind that these coolers are not "super coolers" except under the best of circumstances, and where everything comes together. If one component doesn't work exactly as intended (for instance, the very real risk that figjam alluded to, where pad is not kept perfectly wet all the way around, allowing for a dry section that lets air through easier than the wet parts, reducing the critical evaporation...) you'll see little benefit from them. At that point, you're probably better off with just a nice solar fan.

OTOH, it can be fun to learn those lessons, as long as you have the money to spare and the curiosity to experiment. Just don't be too upset if it doesn't work out as well as you hope.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by SOC » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:07 am

Hmm. My suspicion is that I should be able to get it to work without the pump. On the other hand, maybe I should just get this just in case:




I've had shade structures the last couple years, but a lot of my friends got caught without tickets this year. I remember how hot it is with a tent in the sun. I want to make sure to get this thing working. :-)

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:52 am

That pump has an 18" head, which means it can pump water 18" high.

It won't move 215 liters an hour at that hight.

I may be under sized for this project.

This will work better.

http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-powe ... 66093.html
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by The Bee » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:06 am

SOC wrote:I'd like to cut out the pump altogether. Do you think it would work to simply gravity feed the water down into the wicking at a slow drip?
Somebody did a siphon feed from a separate water bucket. There's a link somewhere in this thread... I wonder if you could have a smaller bucket inside the larger bucket. The small bucket could hold water with strips of towels or other fabric draped over the side. The fabric would wick water and stay moist. The outer bucket would have holes with air filters in it to draw the outside air in, and a fan in the lid as usual. I don't think it would cool the air as much, but it might help. Keep in mind that any breeze of filtered air will feel good. Experiment, and let us know!
HeyJoe wrote:I would like to add a toggle switch so I can control the power supply to the fan from inside my tent.
Great idea. I'm adding a switch too. Positive battery to one switch terminal. The other switch terminal goes to the positive lead of each fan and pump. Negative battery goes to negative lead of each fan and pump.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wimala1 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:49 pm

i am running the pump, bucket fan & circ fan in the tent off one source (solar panel to battery, through charge controller. controller from harbor freight solar kit & solar panel from my solar attic fan) - i put an inline switch for the pumpi/fan combo and the circ fan in the tent is actually one of those car fans that you plug in to the ciggy lighter. the fan/pump & circ fan are hooked on a terminal block. the circ fan for the tent already had an on off switch & i also added one of those little toggle switches from radio shack. it all functioned well, but being in south florida means that real life testing is destined for the playa. it is all on the truck on its way to BRC so we will see how cool we can stay once we get there!! thanks fig for answering all my questions and i look forward to meeting you when we get there.

you are going to have to let us know where you are camping & who we are looking for!! i can just see me spending the whole week "hi, i'm tanya from florida. are you figjam?" :P
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andreas97
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by andreas97 » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:59 am

We should totally have a "swamp cooler builders" meet up.
:)

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:34 am

We tried to do that last year, but playa time is tough to syncronize.

So while your out and about, randomly yell as loud as you can,"Turn the fucking cooler on!"

If you hear this, the proper responce is "I did, I did turn the fucking cooler on!"

This is the call of the cooler people. 8)
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percussivepaul
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by percussivepaul » Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:37 pm

Figjam, would this pump work OK do you think?
http://www.princessauto.com/all-seasons ... bilge-pump
I can't see why not...

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:00 pm

percussivepaul wrote:Figjam, would this pump work OK do you think?
http://www.princessauto.com/all-seasons ... bilge-pump
I can't see why not...
Try to find some specs on how much power it needs in amps.

The pump I use is .3 amps.
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percussivepaul
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by percussivepaul » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:48 pm

I can see on the sticker that it draws 1.7 amps (zooming in on the photo). But it may be less because there is apparently a mistake on the capacity - the sticker says 200gph but it's actually 60. Maybe draws less then? Either way I think it works? I suppose it might be too powerful, so that it squirts the water at high pressure, but I could work around that I think.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:37 pm

Ok?

http://www.siliconsolar.com/replacement ... p-103.html

80gph, 5ft. head, and I check the the amps myself at .3amps. :?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by percussivepaul » Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:02 pm

Unfortunately I am in Canada. With these cheap parts it's almost always better to buy here than pay international shipping. (Silicon Solar only has one shipping option - UPS Worldwide Expedited - and it costs $65!!!) The pump I linked to is available locally. I haven't found a better one yet.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:24 pm

See if there are fountain contractors in the area, they may be able to help.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Mr.Coffee » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:45 pm

Are you staying at a hotel nearby burning man (reno, sparks, etc) before the event starts? If so you could have the parts delivered there, and pick up the nonessentials wherever you needed them.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:47 pm

percussivepaul wrote:Unfortunately I am in Canada. With these cheap parts it's almost always better to buy here than pay international shipping. (Silicon Solar only has one shipping option - UPS Worldwide Expedited - and it costs $65!!!) The pump I linked to is available locally. I haven't found a better one yet.
I'm in the same boat.
If you don't need to get it in your hands before you leave, you can have it shipped to a UPS store in Reno. The one at the Keystone location is handy, and there's huge Burner activity at the grocery store there, yet strangely they don't advertise for Burners.

I had a biiig cooler and cart wheels shipped to the one in the North West (10580 N MCCARRAN BLVD)
Burner Friendly
http://www.theupsstorelocal.com/3120/
Not necessary, but if you're nervous you can email them to expect a "package for Your Name from Vendor for Burning Man". store3120@theupsstore.com
Typical fee is $5 per package. Some stores it is $5 per package per week.
7 days a week, Monday to Friday til 7:00, Saturday and Sunday til 5:00

p.s. You don't have to ship by UPS. They'll receive shipments from any shipper: UPS, FedEx, DHL, United States Postal Service, etc.
The USPS has great rates if your vendor will ship by them and there should be time for it to get there. No tracking number if you're nervous and need to watch the progress.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by percussivepaul » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:18 pm

Thanks... but is there anything WRONG with the pump I found? Will it work fine, just suck more power than it needs to? If it wants to do it high pressure, I'll just drill a relief hole in the main tubing or something... any reason it wouldn't work?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:50 pm

It will work fine.

My only concern was the power.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by The Bee » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:00 pm

My prototype undergoing beta testing. I had the rigid 3" pipe lying around, so I used it instead of flexible dryer hose. The upside down bowl on the bucket lid lets me go from the 6" fan opening to the 3" pipe. Inside the van, another series of flanges and couplers let me connect another 6" fan to the pipe. To be honest, I'm not overwhelmed by the breeze. The inside fan seems to blow harder when it's not connected to the pipe. (3rd pic.) I'm using the Scythe fans. I like the low power output, but the CFM is too low, I think. We'll see. This is what I'll have on the playa. Oh yeah, I have a single toggle switch that controls the two fans and the pump from inside. I plan on packing the bucket near the front seats of the van and powering it from the cig lighter while I'm crawling in the entrance line because the van doesn't have AC. :mrgreen:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ratpick » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:20 pm

Hello! I just received a "sunjet 150" solar fountain pump from amazon. This is supposed to flow 40 gph max, which I thought sounded pretty good. When I pulled it out I saw it was disappointingly small (that's what she said!) I haven't tested yet, since it was already dark and my swamp cooler isn't quite ready either.
So why wouldn't that be enough? Glad you asked. I'm building a cooler out of a 34" plastic storage chest, using a car blower motor for air flow. I made a housing for fan on top, it draws air into the top through air filters, then through the wet filters inside the box, and up through fan in middle and then into yurt. (well it will, still fab'ing stuff) This design also gives a big area in middle for cool storage of food and booze. I would love to show you a pic of what I've got so far, but photobucket and my iPhone aren't jiving right now.
Isn't that a bit much? I hope so. I hope it's overkill. I hope my yurtmates complain it's too chilly. Hope! But to do so I'll need a lot of water flow to keep up with all that possible air flow; it blows pretty hard. So now I'm looking at rv type transfer/ sink pumps. I found one that says it's 1 gpm at max 2.5 amp. I think that sounds a little stronger. But I guess I'll rig it up with solar pump and see if it can keep her wet enough.
My power is coming from Harbor Freight's 45w solar panel kit connected to two car batteries in a custom battery box. I'm not sure yet if solar power input will surpass fan's consumption alone. But should be close.
Glad to jump in on this thread. Read through most of it. Any input welcome, will be back with updates, and pics if I can.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ratpick » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:34 pm

HeyJoe wrote:I would like to add a toggle switch so I can control the power supply to the fan from inside my tent. I'll be using a marine battery to power it. I found a "Mini Toggle Switch" at Radio Shack. Do you think I can just add it to a splice on one of the lines to the battery? Any other concerns using a switch?
Hey HeyJoe, just make sure the switch you pick can handle the amperage you'll have through it. With a small fan shouldn't be an issue, but some of those el cheapo switches aren't made to handle much.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:02 am

The Bee wrote:My prototype undergoing beta testing. ...To be honest, I'm not overwhelmed by the breeze. The inside fan seems to blow harder when it's not connected to the pipe. ...
I see two possibilities:
* the fans are working, pulling the air through the filter, which has resistance, along with the pipes/tubes and the holes in the bucket,
* when the fan inside is not connected, it's free to blow the air around; when connected, it part of blowing air from outside the van into the van; this is like blowing air into a box, except that the van will have some small paths for the air already inside the van to escape - are these holes enough to let the air already in the van to escape to let the air blowing into the van to flow freely?

With everything connected and running, do you have better air flow with a door to the van open?
If so, then you need to provide an opening for air to flow out of the van. If it's near the top of the van, then it's the hottest humid air that's pushed out when the cooler runs (and obviously not beside the cool air blowing in).

Temporarily connect everything, but all outside the van. That's the max airflow you can expect.
Put a hand over one of the air holes on the bucket: does that reduce the output significantly? If so, then maybe larger air holes in the bucket will improve air flow?


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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:37 am

If the cooler is inside the space being cooled, and that where it's drawing it's air from, it will just build up humidity in the space.

The intake of hot DRY air is what makes the cooler work.

Roll a window down a few inches as far away from where the air comes in from the cooler.

The air can't come in if it can't get out. 8)
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Re:

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:43 am

FIGJAM wrote:Oh....my buissiness partner took the bucket cooler to the corner to peddle cactus so she wouldnt have to use the air conditioning in the truck. It worked great (105 degrees outside), but after awhile it started to feel like a sauna because of the buildup of humidity. She had it sitting on the passenger side floorboard. Once she cracked the windows a little it worked fine. :D :D :D
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The Bee
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by The Bee » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:04 am

With the two fans operating in series, I think the turbulence from the first fan prevents the second fan from operating optimally. If I use the second fan on it's own, not connected to the pipe, it will blow better and I can use it to direct the cool air towards the back of the van where the bed is.

@canoe - good point about the filter causing resistance. I think I'll make more holes in the bucket to allow greater air flow.

@fig - yes, good point about operating the cooler inside the van. I'll plan on opening a window slightly while we're on the entrance road with the cooler running. Of course, once I set up camp, the bucket will be outside.

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