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 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:11 pm

As I mentioned, revisiting my swamp cooler for its 3rd burn, replacing the water loop, pump and going to a stronger fan system.

Testing my updated water loop, I'm using the originally intended vinyl tubing and getting an even spread except for two holes near one side.

Image

I realized that I drilled the holes when the tubing was in its natural shape, which has resulted in them pointing more inward than down. It is sort of resisting being twisted to shoot downward or even out. Any suggestions on this? I've seen using a hair dryer or putting it in the dryer and pulling it out, straitening it and cooling it? Don't want to mess up my nice, mostly even holes.

Other question:

I have never really sealed the top of my bucket really well, partly because I've needed to get in and either adjust or fill the thing with water. Any quick suggestions for a way to seal the bucket top and still be able to remove it for inspection or water filling occasionally? I suppose Ideally it wouldn't need inspection and I could fill it via a hole in the side but I'm not sure if that is realistic or not.

One more:

How do you all handle wiring? Do you go up over the pads and out through a hole? I think in the past I've actually let it hang over a lip so I have not actually had a good seal really on the top at all! I swear it still worked decently, but I'd like to improve that this year.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by pterodactyl » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:16 pm

BBadger wrote:
pterodactyl wrote:This is probably a dumb question, but if I'm going to build a swamp cooler would I want that big hole sealed shut or would it be okay if it was open/filtered?
Well it's your yurt, do you want it exposed to the elements? People often build yurts in order to isolate their sleeping quarters from the playa. You're going to allow dust and other shit into the yurt. If you're okay with that, by all means.

As noted above, if you need 12V from 120V get a power supply such as this (this only does 10A, but is enough for one person). Then use barrel connectors to connect it to wire in your setup. That only provides one connection but you can get splitters if you need more.
Thank you all for the help.

To clarify- I'm not proposing that the hole would be wide open, but rather covered with a furnace filter and potentially have a flap (tarp/plastic) that I could try to seal it with when needed. My question is whether or not having the vent open would make the cooler ineffective. I will probably go with the suggestion of buying a small piece of rmax to fill the hole and tape a flap so it can be open or closed. I guess that means I would need a third hole to attach the cooler ducting. The rectangular hole the size of a window AC seems like it would be too big for an exhaust, or am I wrong?

As for a fan, I might need to find something locally so I'm leaning towards an in-line duct fan that will push about 200 CFM to stay in line with the one suggested.

Regarding the power converter- my friend assured me I could use a regular three prong plug. Whether or not that's directly from the generator or already converted for me I'm not sure, but I'll see soon and trust him in the meantime.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by BBadger » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:29 pm

I think Canoe mentioned that if you have an exhaust fan, unless it's perfectly matched with the input fan (which it won't, since it won't be sucking air through a moist pad), you'll probably end up sucking in warm air through cracks in the rest of the structure.

Maybe just use the air filter or a small exhaust port while there is positive pressure.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by BBadger » Fri Aug 18, 2017 1:36 pm

spacetime wrote:I realized that I drilled the holes when the tubing was in its natural shape, which has resulted in them pointing more inward than down. It is sort of resisting being twisted to shoot downward or even out. Any suggestions on this? I've seen using a hair dryer or putting it in the dryer and pulling it out, straitening it and cooling it? Don't want to mess up my nice, mostly even holes.
Just use the hair drier. It's not like your holes will melt and seal up.
I have never really sealed the top of my bucket really well, partly because I've needed to get in and either adjust or fill the thing with water. Any quick suggestions for a way to seal the bucket top and still be able to remove it for inspection or water filling occasionally? I suppose Ideally it wouldn't need inspection and I could fill it via a hole in the side but I'm not sure if that is realistic or not.
I prefer the two-bucket method where there is a top bucket with the filter and a hole in the bottom that drains into the lower bucket. The lower bucket is a reservoir that pumps into the top bucket. Then you can just use a flashlight on the lower bucket to see the water level. You can try the flashlight method with a single bucket, but it might be harder to see.

If you must use a single bucket, try gluing in a piece of plexiglass or something similar in the lid.
How do you all handle wiring? Do you go up over the pads and out through a hole? I think in the past I've actually let it hang over a lip so I have not actually had a good seal really on the top at all! I swear it still worked decently, but I'd like to improve that this year.
You could cut a hole in the lid or something if you have enough wire. I would connect the wire to connectors that you can detach and reattach wire to (like Wago lever nuts).
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:26 pm

BBadger wrote:Just use the hair drier. It's not like your holes will melt and seal up.
Okay.
I prefer the two-bucket method where there is a top bucket with the filter and a hole in the bottom that drains into the lower bucket. The lower bucket is a reservoir that pumps into the top bucket. Then you can just use a flashlight on the lower bucket to see the water level. You can try the flashlight method with a single bucket, but it might be harder to see.
I had not thought of a two bucket, but this is just to check water level, right? It assumes it is actually filled using the main holes drilled in the side?

I think I have needed to get into the sealed top because i needed to adjust the water ring or something. Is the standard bucket top tightly closed enough to stop airflow? I guess it is a paintbucket, so it better be water / air proof when normally closed?
You could cut a hole in the lid or something if you have enough wire. I would connect the wire to connectors that you can detach and reattach wire to (like Wago lever nuts).
Ah! I have some connectors coming for a different project. I'll build this into the design.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:27 pm

BBadger wrote:Just use the hair drier. It's not like your holes will melt and seal up.
Okay.
I prefer the two-bucket method where there is a top bucket with the filter and a hole in the bottom that drains into the lower bucket. The lower bucket is a reservoir that pumps into the top bucket. Then you can just use a flashlight on the lower bucket to see the water level. You can try the flashlight method with a single bucket, but it might be harder to see.
I had not thought of a two bucket, but this is just to check water level, right? It assumes it is actually filled using the main holes drilled in the side?

I think I have needed to get into the sealed top because i needed to adjust the water ring or something. Is the standard bucket top tightly closed enough to stop airflow? I guess it is a paintbucket, so it better be water / air proof when normally closed?
You could cut a hole in the lid or something if you have enough wire. I would connect the wire to connectors that you can detach and reattach wire to (like Wago lever nuts).
Ah! I have some connectors coming for a different project. I'll build this into the design.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ratty » Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:32 pm

Spacetime don't be alarmed if your bed is lumpy. It's just me and Abba Zabba chillin in the yurt. See you soon.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by BBadger » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:17 pm

spacetime wrote:I had not thought of a two bucket, but this is just to check water level, right? It assumes it is actually filled using the main holes drilled in the side?
Actually the main reason for that design is to have a large reservoir of water to make it where you don't need to fill up the single bucket so often. It also has the added benefit of allowing you to have more holes in the upper bucket, and therefore more airflow since you don't need to use the bottom half to hold water. Your pump does need more lift to it though.

I actually have two colored buckets. The reservoir one is one of those translucent paint buckets that has a level gauge already painted on it.

Remember that you need more tubing to pump from the lower one to upper one.
I think I have needed to get into the sealed top because i needed to adjust the water ring or something. Is the standard bucket top tightly closed enough to stop airflow? I guess it is a paintbucket, so it better be water / air proof when normally closed?
I'd assume that it seals up top pretty well and that the duct doesn't have any gaps around it.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:03 pm

You can partially close the Homer buckets snug without pushing them down so far that the lid locks on.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kast » Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:13 pm

First, pictures of the finished build!
unicooler_build_11.jpg
unicooler_build_10.jpg
It's a hybrid between FIGJAM's Unicooler and Box Cooler, built from a 25-gallon RV water tank.

Here's a mini album of the process I took in building this thing.


Random Notes:
- Don't use sideways facing return air grilles - water will leak. Vertical and facing down+inwards only.
- I plan to use gaffer's tape around the lid to create the airtight seal at the top.
- I've only tested it in a high humidity area so far, it feels like "humid air" is blowing out, but it wasn't SUPER cold. I'm gonna get a temperature gun so that I can actually get some real data.
- I used silicon caulking along the edge where the air grilles meet the water tank - the seal isn't 100% perfect, though I'm not sure if this is super critical.
- I'm using a Costco 27D battery - they come fully charged from Costco. However, I think I need to buy an outlet wall charger, as I used some of the power while testing.
- I have no experience with power tools and car batteries, but I had an absolute blast creating this thing. I highly recommend anyone that's on the fence to dive right in, it was surprisingly manageable. Starting was the hardest part...
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:21 pm

Ratty wrote:Spacetime don't be alarmed if your bed is lumpy. It's just me and Abba Zabba chillin in the yurt. See you soon.
:wink:

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by bhearn » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:19 pm

kast wrote:First, pictures of the finished build!
Very cool! Mine is almost done. I went with the Genuine Joe trash can.

It's perhaps closest to this design:



but in the tall trash can. Pics once it works. Will power it with 60W panel, charge controller, and 35ah deep-cycle battery.

The last thing is getting the yurt connection right. I think I'm going to build a foam-rubber extension around the fan, that will plug into a hole in the yurt.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:44 am

RedFoxxx wrote:... What tips can you provide me to make it as simple and efficient AND cool as possible? What Fan, Pump, cooling, pad, tools, etc?
If I don't have or cannot locate the right saw to cut the bucket holes, what is the next best way to do it?
I'm in late on this, but for best results try to stick to the recommended fans & pumps & the blue pad. Check from the back of the thread to get the current fan/pump recommendations. Blue pad is duracool; much more surface area of water exposed to the air coming through the pads, than from other pad materials. And some other materials used have swollen or come apart on the playa.

As to the holes, any size will work, but too small and it could restrict air flow. Too large, and it won't limit the playa winds during a heavy blow.
Last edited by Canoe on Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:49 am

spacetime wrote: Image

How do you all handle wiring?
Looks like your pads are against the sides of the bucket. Bad idea. Go read here.
viewtopic.php?f=280&t=33842&start=3840#p1138440

Wiring can go under the pads and out a hole.
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 Canoe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:26 am

pterodactyl wrote:To clarify- I'm not proposing that the hole would be wide open, but rather covered with a furnace filter and potentially have a flap (tarp/plastic) that I could try to seal it with when needed. My question is whether or not having the vent open would make the cooler ineffective. I will probably go with the suggestion of buying a small piece of rmax to fill the hole and tape a flap so it can be open or closed. I guess that means I would need a third hole to attach the cooler ducting. The rectangular hole the size of a window AC seems like it would be too big for an exhaust, or am I wrong?

As for a fan, I might need to find something locally so I'm leaning towards an in-line duct fan that will push about 200 CFM to stay in line with the one suggested.

Regarding the power converter- my friend assured me I could use a regular three prong plug. Whether or not that's directly from the generator or already converted for me I'm not sure, but I'll see soon and trust him in the meantime.
Having a filter over the hole impedes airflow, so it may be sized fine for exhausting the yurt's air as the swampcooler pushes in its air. You do want something to seal over it when you leave so a heavy blow can't force hot dusty air in.
But, the higher up the exhaust hole, or duct some flex dryer vent to the top of the yurt to exhaust the hottest air, is more efficient, so you don't get hot air staying in the top and radiating down at you. This is a tweak; the swampcooler is using brute force to replace the hot air with cooled air anyway.

Image

Using other than the recommended fans can lead to poor performance. It's not just a matter of getting 200 cfm, etc.. The fan is used to create a negative pressure on the inside of the pads, thereby sucking the hot playa air through the pads. So you need a fan that is good for creating that negative pressure, not just capable of blowing. For example of a possible issue, an in-line duct fan means that negative pressure is in the duct from the cooler to the fan, so that duct has to be strong enough to not collapse.
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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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:54 am

Canoe wrote:
spacetime wrote: Image

How do you all handle wiring?
Looks like your pads are against the sides of the bucket. Bad idea. Go read here.
viewtopic.php?f=280&t=33842&start=3840#p1138440

Wiring can go under the pads and out a hole.
Ya they kind of do I wonder if they are too long in material

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:50 am

spacetime wrote:...Ya they kind of do I wonder if they are too long in material
Yup.
Need to NOT be touching the sides of the bucket. This is a crucial aspect of the bucket design.
Touching the sides and possibly some water leaking out the holes is the least issue. The big issue is incoming air flow being restricted to the area against the holes, greatly:
  • reducing incoming airflow,
  • increasing possibility of drying out that limited area & passing through hot/dusty air, and
  • decreased dwell time for evaporation cooling (as the air travels through the double thick pad).
In short, seriously limiting the efficiency and effectiveness. With a properly space, there may not be a need for the increased pump or fan. Not having that distributing space and increasing the fan will increase the chance of drying out that limited area, which you'd be trying to fight to keep it wet with increased pump, while having even less airflow dwell time.
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 FIGJAM » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:36 pm

Not sure why people are putting the Endless Breeze INSIDE the cooler, but ok.........I guess. :?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by bhearn » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:42 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Not sure why people are putting the Endless Breeze INSIDE the cooler, but ok.........I guess. :?
I put mine outside the Genuine Joe. I hemmed and hawed, and would like it inside just to make a smaller form factor, but (1) then I'd have to move the switch, and (2) it seems like a harsher environment for the circuits.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:56 pm

Yeah, my thought was the switch thing.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kast » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:09 pm

FIGJAM:
Smaller form factor for ease of transportation in a small car. I'm open to rebolting it to the front if you think that performance will be significantly affected.

If the main problem is the switch being inaccessible, I think I can live with that for this year.

I had planned to duct air into a tent, so I'd have to get up and go outside to turn it on/off no matter what (versus having an accessible switch inside a yurt).

bhearn:
I had not considered harsher environment for the circuits.

In my head, it seems like it'd be pretty similar inside/outside, but I don't have experience with this kind of stuff.

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free bucket cooler supplies - tahoe

Post by posikid » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:50 am

i've been sinking around with the bucket cooler build for a while now and have accumulated some extras. fan, cooler pads, hose, etc. anyone in south lake want it?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Traveller in Time » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:50 am

Welcome to ePlaya :D

Just bring them with you, you never know who needs a spare part.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:55 am

Canoe wrote:
spacetime wrote:...Ya they kind of do I wonder if they are too long in material
Yup.
Need to NOT be touching the sides of the bucket. This is a crucial aspect of the bucket design.
Touching the sides and possibly some water leaking out the holes is the least issue. The big issue is
This all makes sense. And I have struggled with leaking on this cooler at times.

What I'm confused about is I think I cut this to spec originally. And if you look at figjams first post in this thread the two over head shots seem to show the material touching the sides. Are these photos out of date or maybe not at good angles?

Image

Can you show an overhead of the extra space between the material and the edge of the bucket?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:08 pm

FigJam's does touch the walls. Go to this page, in this thread, scroll down about 2/3 of the way to my pics. You will need to have a foam spacer, (pool noodle maybe) around the media tub to hold its shape. An inch or so is enough.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:24 pm

EGAZ wrote:FigJam's does touch the walls. Go to this page, in this thread, scroll down about 2/3 of the way to my pics. You will need to have a foam spacer, (pool noodle maybe) around the media tub to hold its shape. An inch or so is enough.
Okay then my pads won't go to the top either. They are a bit too short. But I think cut to spec.

I can probably put a riser at the bottom in the water to handle this.

Are there multiple swamp cooler designs competing in this thread?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by asr9754 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:43 pm

Spacey, it's not too late to solve your issue with the blue pad. Get a scrap of chicken wire and roll into a cylinder ARound your existing blue pad cylinder. Make the chicken wire a little bit smaller circumference. The wire will squeeze your blue pad and prevent from touching the sides of the bucket, and additionally the squeeze effect will make it a bit taller too. You want approx 1/2 inch gap between the bucket and the pad.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:57 pm

Anything under the media to hold it up would work. It doesn't need to be round like the media tube. Don't run the water level below the bottom of the pad. Air will bypass.

A chicken wire cage will also hold it up as ARS9754 stated.

Design is the same, just some small application tweaks...
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Traveller in Time » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:19 pm

Any hand build Swamp Cooler will be different. And even the Figjam Swamp Cooler has evolved.

Papa and mama swampcooler produce offspring with mixed and slightly different construction :D
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by spacetime » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:59 pm

Okay I'll look at getting a spacer under it and maybe a chicken wire girdle.

I am ok with designs changing but I think it might be good if eplaya had a wiki, and then the thread would be great for questions and discussion.

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