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 Jun 19, 2014 11:14 pm

POWER!!!

These designs are all 12 volt DC.

So any 12 volt DC source will run them.

The costco 115AH marine battery should run any of these designs 5 or 6 hours a day for the whole week without having to recharge.(price, $90)

I use a Deka 105AH AGM deep cycle battery. (price $240, but I get factory seconds for $140)

You can also go solar!

From what I've read, a 50 watt panel is what you'll need, but I don't have any practical experience with solar.

And finally, keep it simple!

This is an easy project, and although there is a lot of good technical information in this thread, you don't need all of it to build a cooler.

I'll be refering interested Burners to this page so that they won't have to start at the beginning! 8)

Big thanks to Yellowdog and everyony who has contributed to this monster thread!
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:12 pm

400,000 views............who'ed a thunk!!! 8)
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jellyburner
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by jellyburner » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:28 pm

First off... figjam, you rock!!! Thanks for your gifts of knowledge to the community.

I have a back to (power) basics question:

I have a technical question for those knowledgeable with battery charging and solar panels for my bucket cooler. Here's my assumptions and calculations. Are these theoretically correct? And also, what variances should I expect from theory?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Power requirements for your battery and solar panel:

Power Load for my battery & solar:

o FAN (190CFM Delta): 1.6 amps
o PUMP (5 watt model): 0.42 amps
= Total power requirement= 2.02 amps

· BATTERY: If using a 12 Ah battery; 12Ah/2.02 a = 5.94 hours (to fully drain the battery); BUT, if you drain the battery more than 50%, it will kill the battery or make it very difficult to recharge, so using the 50% rule: 5.94 hrs/2 = ~ 3 HOURS MAX run time before battery recharging is required (if the solar charger is not operating).

o An 18 Ah battery would provide ~4.5 hours MAX

· SOLAR CHARGER: If you have solar charger on the battery, the size of the solar panel dictates the maximum charge for the battery (max= full direct sun exposure, no dust or shade covering panel, panel is facing the sun)

o For a 20W panel; @12v it can provide ~ 1.67 amps to the battery. (Im assuming 12v from the panel, though I think the panel kicks out 16 or 18vdc to the solar controller). If our load drain is 2.02 amps (20W/12v=2.02a), then we are discharging the battery 0.34 amps/hour (2.02a-1.67a) with full sun exposure (instead of 2.02 amps) If I want to keep the battery fully charged while running the bucket cooler, I’d need a 25W panel or larger. (25W/12v=2.08 a)

o Remember, if its cloudy, or your panel is full of playa dust or in partial shade, the power output will be much less than the rated power!

· CONCLUSIONS:

o If you use 12Ah battery without a 20W solar charger, you can run your cooler no more than 3 hours before needing a recharge.

o If you use 12Ah battery WITH a 20W solar charger (and full sun exposure), you can probably run your cooler for 35 hours.

o If you ran the cooler while the 20W solar was fully operational, you would need to charge your battery (without the cooler running) 15 minutes for every hour you operated the cooler.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do my calculations seem correct?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:43 pm

Sounds right, but I would get a 35AH to have a bigger backup margin.

I've seen many a cloudy day on the playa.

Ebay has them for $65 with free shipping. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:59 pm

Don't forget that batteries aren't linear. When discharged below say around 50%, the output gets weak.
There are a lot of real-world variables the simple math leaves out. Battery condition, loss through wires and connections, temperature, etc.
Build your cooler and test it, using the batteries/solar/copper penny in a glass of fermented orange juice/whatever you intend to bring to BRC. That's the only way to really know.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kowtow » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:14 pm

jellyburner wrote: o For a 20W panel; @12v it can provide ~ 1.67 amps to the battery. (Im assuming 12v from the panel, though I think the panel kicks out 16 or 18vdc to the solar controller). If our load drain is 2.02 amps (20W/12v=2.02a), then we are discharging the battery 0.34 amps/hour (2.02a-1.67a) with full sun exposure (instead of 2.02 amps) If I want to keep the battery fully charged while running the bucket cooler, I’d need a 25W panel or larger. (25W/12v=2.08 a)
You will not get close to the maximum output from a solar panel. I run 200watts of solar that should provide a theoretical maximum of 16amps, but in reality on a perfectly sunny day in Arizona I was only able to generate 14amps at high solar noon. I am guessing for an hour or two you may achieve as high as 1.2amps, but in reality you will likely be in the 1amp to <1amp range most of the day. When calculating solar power needs you have to be very conservative with the numbers you will get from your panels.

I also use an MPPT controller that is far better than my old PWM controller; the MPPT controller allows me to capture far more power from the panels during peak and non-peak times. I am almost positive you will have a PWM controller, because an MPPT controller would cost far more than your 20Watt panel will.

I would rather see you try to get enough solar to run your swamp cooler and charge your battery at the same time. Then you will have battery to run the cooler a little longer when the sun isn't putting out max power. I would recommend no less than a 75watt panel and for the price of 2 20watt panels you should be able to snag a 75watt one. That should give you around 4amps at solar noon and then 2-3amps the rest of the day.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ano » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:07 pm

I've been talking about doing it for years, but I just splurged on all of the parts plus a small solar setup to keep things topped off (and to learn more about electronics in general, I need to get a handle on some of this stuff if I'm ever to build something really fun...). So, waiting on Amazon, and then I get to slam my head against a wall and do this. I'm mechanically, electronically, and generally inept. Going to be good. I'll post pictures when construction is done...

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:22 am

Ano wrote:. I'm mechanically, electronically, and generally inept.
I made this thread for YOU!!!

You'll be surprised how easy it is, once you get started. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Sunbeam56 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:35 am

Good job!
Nice easy invention, and great job explaining how to do it. :)
Let GOOD win!

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jul 01, 2014 7:15 am

Wait till we compare yours to mine on the playa! :lol:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by melodiousdirge » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:25 am

Alright, this thread has helped me stay cool every time I've been to the playa. First year (2011) I made a bucket cooler, and screwed it up. It helped a little, but it just wasn't enough, or done right, so I had to go bigger. 2012 I made a 4 foot tall, 18 inch square beast with a 3x1.5 foot pad and an endless breeze fan. It worked incredibly well but it took up a ton of space in my trailer. In 2013 all I changed was that I made a duct so the monstrosity cooler could sit on the ground beside my trailer and be a little less of an obstacle, but it was still a pain to deal with, and took up a lot of valuable transportation space in my trailer.

Enter 2014! I decided to make a lower profile unit that bolts to the side of the trailer:

Image

Image

Image

Thanks for sending me down this path figgy!

Image
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:59 am

That's incredible!!! 8)

Wouldn't it have been easier to just mount the cooler on the tongue of the trailer? :lol:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by melodiousdirge » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:13 am

FIGJAM wrote:That's incredible!!! 8)

Wouldn't it have been easier to just mount the cooler on the tongue of the trailer? :lol:
Thank you! Yeah that would have been much easier, but my trike bolts up to the front of my trailer for transportation and takes up all that space. Also my trailer integrates with my geodome, so where I've put it, it will be inside the dome, but outside the trailer that it's cooling (so it will be in the shade). If I'd put it on the tongue it would be pulling hotter, dustier air in than where it is now.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Meat Hunter » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:28 am

Outstanding Job..... !

Not everyone can do those bottom compound corner cuts.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:44 am

melodiousdirge wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:That's incredible!!! 8)

Wouldn't it have been easier to just mount the cooler on the tongue of the trailer? :lol:
Thank you! Yeah that would have been much easier, but my trike bolts up to the front of my trailer for transportation and takes up all that space. Also my trailer integrates with my geodome, so where I've put it, it will be inside the dome, but outside the trailer that it's cooling (so it will be in the shade). If I'd put it on the tongue it would be pulling hotter, dustier air in than where it is now.
I came by your camp last year, but couldn't find YOU.

7:30 & J?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by melodiousdirge » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:47 am

FIGJAM wrote:
melodiousdirge wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:That's incredible!!! 8)

Wouldn't it have been easier to just mount the cooler on the tongue of the trailer? :lol:
Thank you! Yeah that would have been much easier, but my trike bolts up to the front of my trailer for transportation and takes up all that space. Also my trailer integrates with my geodome, so where I've put it, it will be inside the dome, but outside the trailer that it's cooling (so it will be in the shade). If I'd put it on the tongue it would be pulling hotter, dustier air in than where it is now.
I came by your camp last year, but couldn't find YOU.

7:30 & J?
Oh I would have loved to chat! We wanted 7:30 and J but were pushed back to 7:30 &K by the theme camps layout. Sign out front reads "Bakka Sevin: 30 Burners" and my campmates probably don't know my eplaya name. My real name is Cam, if you find yourself in my camp again this year!
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:51 am

I found the camp.

I recognized your set up.

I was out riding Monday morning trying to find Clocks & Mirrors. :lol:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by stratdax » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:37 pm

All the fountain pumps I can find* are all 110v ac. I can't find a 12v dc anywhere that can run off a battery. It looks like the only 12v dc's that exist all come with their own solar panels. So what are people doing here, running the pump off the included solar panel and using a battery for the fan, or using an adapter to run a 110v ac pump, or cutting off the included solar panel and splicing wires together so it connects to the battery?

Edit: *I can find in person. Was trying to avoid ordering stuff online, but if I have to I have to.
Last edited by stratdax on Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

asr9754
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by asr9754 » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:51 pm

Try that big E-auction website.... search 12v fountain pump. Lots available for <$15. Takes a while to ship so do it soon.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:53 pm

auto parts stores sell lighter plugins the are voltage adjustable.. Solar pumps run on about 6.5v DC.. I run two solar pumps at 7 volts..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:29 pm

"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kowtow » Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:17 pm

stratdax wrote:All the fountain pumps I can find* are all 110v ac. I can't find a 12v dc anywhere that can run off a battery. It looks like the only 12v dc's that exist all come with their own solar panels. So what are people doing here, running the pump off the included solar panel and using a battery for the fan, or using an adapter to run a 110v ac pump, or cutting off the included solar panel and splicing wires together so it connects to the battery?

Edit: *I can find in person. Was trying to avoid ordering stuff online, but if I have to I have to.
Here is what I purchased.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009B5 ... UTF8&psc=1

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by garyt » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:10 am

so im down scaling my structure this year to a 4 person tent. would still like to stay cool with the unicooler that I have. im trying to figure out how to attach it to the tent without cutting any holes to the tent. any suggestions? 2 issues

1. couldn't find any hvac ducting/vent that will cover that giant fan
2. even if i solve #1, how do i attach it to the tent? do i tape it to one of the vents ?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by garyt » Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:28 am

holy shit figjam! didn't realize you've been tagging my design in your repost. :mrgreen:

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:17 am

It's a great cooler!

You should be able to shove is against the inside of one of the tent windows.

If there's extra mesh around it, cut an old sheet to cover that and clamp it to the tent.

I wonder if Velcro would grab mesh? 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by jwfold7777 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:03 am

The past few years I've done the hexayurt-unicooler combo with much success. This year, I'm flying out and can't haul everything like I used to. I'll be in a tent and want a cooler of some design. My questions to the community:

1. Can anyone share their experiences flying with cooler parts? Easy, hard time with TSA?

2. Ideas for utilizing tent and cooler? Obviously don;t want to cut a hole in the tent. Ideas? Hacks? I'd love to hear them.

3. Finally, I'd like to do have a unicooler, but is that unreasonable with a tent? Is the bucket cooler the best option given the tent/flying to the event combo?

As always, thanks in advance.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:06 am

The bucket will work fine for a small tent.

Set the bucket just outside the door, and zip the door closed around the pipe. 8)
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Papa Bear
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Papa Bear » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:08 am

So, I'm just about ready to start cutting some wood for the box cooler.

Out of curiosity, what are the dimensions on the example? Just by eye, I'm guessing around 18"x18"x24", using 1/2" ply?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Fan C » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:11 am

My campmate made a variant of the box cooler for his hexayurt. He used a regular box fan that fit snugly into a cutout on the yurt. That got downright cold.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:12 am

I went 30"s tall for more water room. 8)
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