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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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:09 pm

No. Pictures doesn't really doesn't help. There are a number of factors that conspire to make a particular swamp cooler model/design work well on the playa. You have to decide if you need cooling on the playa, for the reasons stated before, or if you want to play or experiment with that model works on the playa. There are many things that work well in the default world, that do not work well on the playa.

Or take rain. Would it be damaged. Would it leak VAC onto the wet ground. Who would it fry. You don't want your camp to spontaneously turn into performance art for your neighbours. Will the fan motor burn out in the heat/dust/constrained airflow through duct into an enclosed space... Who knows?
You won't know until you get it there and try it out...

For the rain, you can build a protection box. But if you're doing that, it's not much more to have a box swamp-cooler of a design that's proven on playa.

edit
Use the blue. Problems with the aspen type are reported when they're used on playa.
You can test, but for a week?
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DesertDragon0554
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by DesertDragon0554 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 3:45 pm

Oh I'm using the blue pads for sure, the Aspen seems to trigger allergies in my experience. They also seem to break down and blow in the wind which seems like it would be MOOPy out there.

I was actually planning to run it inside the trailer with ducting to drawn in the supply of fresh air, so I would assume (hope?) that as long as inside the trailer stays dry the cooler would as well.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:10 pm

So about the power... If you have one of those little "Kill-A-Watt" meters, plug the cooler through it and see what your real average power draw is. If you don't have one, they're about $30 and a cool toy to have...
I suspect your cooler doesn't really draw as much power as the specs list, that's probably a maximum during motor start-up.
If it does draw what the specs say, you'll need a whole lot of batteries.
During those performance tests, I'd say run it on the batteries/inverter gear you have and see how long it runs.
Calculations are all theoretical and subject to variables.
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:17 pm

The aspen have a playa track record of swelling and of clogging. And of not being usable the next year. Some do o.k. with them. Most don't.

Running inside can work. It will need to be well sealed so it doesn't recirculate the inside air.
You'll need something to shield the intake from rain. And wind blown rain.
And you need to be able to easily access it during the week, in case there's a lot of dust, and you need to clean it out of the bottom. The pad is irrigated, so provided it's provided evenly to the top of the pad (and you don't want a dry spot for hot un-dust filtered air to get through), the majority of playa dust will get washed off of it as it runs.

You'll also need an exhaust vent. Filtered and rain and wind protected. Much discussed on here. Without an exhaust vent for the trailer, your swamp-cooler will do little. A rain and wind proof one is a simple down-turned pvc elbow on the outside. If it's intake inside the trailer is up high, then it's exhausting the hottest air. Easily closed off too.

The trailer will become slightly positive pressure when the cooler is running.
Except when the wind is blowing really strongly, the air inside the trailer will leak out any cracks, preventing any casual dust entry. Wind/dust storms and all bets are off. Wind/dust storms are also why you'll also need the ability to cover/seal the swamp-cooler while you're away from the trailer. At least with the proven designs, when turned on when you return they quickly fill the interior with cooled fresh air. (also look into radiant barrier covers for the window (and frames) and skylights - huge difference)

p.s.
for batteries, you want the deep cycle kind.
the costco ones seem to be the best value for the money, if you don't have another regular use for one

p.s.s.
is that one point three amps or thirteen amps?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by DesertDragon0554 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:46 pm

1.3 A, did I put 13? Oops!

The Aspen pads are supposed to swell a bit actually, but maybe they are doing worse out on the playa. All I know is that last time I thought I could save a few bucks and bought the Aspen, we had to rip them out an hour later because we all developed severe allergies. Luckily a friend was able to use them so they didn't go to waste.

I do plan to seal up my vents properly to avoid dust. I know in an emergency you can recirculate the swamp cooler air, but it will get humid fast. I know when a storm moves in my house gets humid and miserable with the cooler running, I imagine that would happen about 100x faster in a trailer. It is my understanding the humidity and playa dust = bad bad news, so I will absolutely make sure I have vented everything as well as it can be no matter what we end up using. If I do use this one and I attach a duct to the rear, the unit is still light enough to separate in order to clean the gunk out. Normally you pull the back off to access the inside, but I would take the back off and leave it in place with the ducting, and move the front half for access. The whole thing only weighs about 12lbs empty.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:03 pm

It simply won't work. It can't pull air through the cooler if there's no exhaust vent for the air inside the trailer to leave to make room for the incoming air. The incoming air pushes the stale inside are out.

1.3 amps or 13 amps?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by DesertDragon0554 » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:39 pm

1.3 and I am planning to duct it properly. We run swmpcoolers all the time, I understand how the airflow works. When i said "seal up my ducts" I mean sealing around them, making them so we can close them when we're gone etc. I do understand that the cooler needs an intake of fresh air from outside, and we have to vent the air the cool displaces. You don't HAVE to vent the air, but it makes the cooler nearly worthless, I have spent the last THREE YEARS arguing this point with my husband...because he's never wrong, ya know?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:41 pm

DesertDragon0554 wrote:...I have spent the last THREE YEARS arguing this point with my husband...because he's never wrong, ya know?
We've never seen that before... :roll:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Royal Turkey » Thu Sep 04, 2014 8:39 pm

Thanks for your instructions and guidance Figjam!!

We did a Unicooler in a trash can to cool a Box Truck, and it worked really well. It still felt hot when you were standing and walking around in the box truck because there was about 10" of hot air at the top of truck that lingered, and your head was in it. However when laying in our hammocks near the floor level it was very cool. In fact we woke up cold at 3:30pm one day.

I know that the narrow trashcan was not ideal dimension. If we hadn't been flying there I could have built a waterproof box with a more optimum dimension, and been able to run the fan at its highest setting and had more positive air pressure. Or maybe I needed more or higher venting, or the roller door itself limited air flow across the roof. Still it worked well for our purpose, we could sleep in and nap during the heat of the day quite comfortably, it was a real success. Thanks to all the great knowledge in this thread!

Image

Image

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(I should have saved wood plug we cut out for the intake and hung it on a hinge so we could "batten down the hatches" in a dust storm, but didn't think of it until after we cleaned up our scrap.)

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:23 pm

Was the roof of your truck all metal, or were some panels plastic?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:48 am

Year 2 for my 5-gal swampie and it still performed like a champ. Neither wind nor rain nor hail damaged it.
I will replace the DC pump because I kinked one of the power lines accidentally while packing up, otherwise fantastic, thanks again.
One other tweak, some way to keep the DC pump clamped or secured to the bottom of the bucket--it tends to float up a few inches, reducing the usable water supply. I tried wiring it down but the constant vibration loosened it.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Royal Turkey » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:46 am

Canoe wrote:Was the roof of your truck all metal, or were some panels plastic?
I believe the roof was mostly plastic. I had a single 4" * 4" vent at about 5' 6" the truck door opening is at about 6'3" but the rolled up door comes down a few inches more. Over the vent hole we had a cheap furnace filter. Reading the post above maybe a 4" pvc elbow pointing down would have vented better.

Or I should just be shorter. :-) it definitely cooled though or we would have been cool hand Luke in the hot box in that thing.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:55 am

I built a UniCooler - Per the FIGGY Specs, I followed the directions meticiously, and was less than impressed with it. Mostly the Endless Breeze fan. Im not sure what the problem was, but it was blowing less hard and what seemed less CFM than my buddy who brough a bucket cooler with a CPU fan on it.
For a fan with 3 speeds and 10 blades I assumed it could move some air. It was shit. I knew a girl one that could blow harder than that. I wish I had brought something else (hindsight is 20/20). And to top it off, my fucking water pump broke on Tuesday and left me with a stupid fucking fan that blew like shit.

Im not sure what I expected, but the cooler didnt do shit to cool the HY down. Everything was to specs, I sealed it all together, drew in fresh outside air, vented it, even ran it on Speed 3 and could barley tell a difference unless sitiing within 1 foot of the thing, and my 115 ah battery was nearly full most of the time being continusially juiced up with a solar panel that could light up a house.

Id like to know if it was just mine that is shit or if the endless breeze fan is just what it is. I didnt have a CFM meter with me, no way to test it, so Im not sure what the output was, but it was shit. I have a tiny 2" USB fan connected to my monitor right now that puts out more CFM than a 10" 10 blade fan. :x

Anybody have any ideas on how to make it work better and not toss the entire thing in the can?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by tatonka » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:57 am

mine worked great this year , it got cold on tues had to use the covers ") I brought 2 batt's with me this year , one reg and one marine . Used the reg for 3 days and the marine for 2 , each 2-3 hours a day . At end of week both read 12.6 volts :)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Papa Bear » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:22 am

MFOB, that sounds like a bad fan - my endless breeze worked just fine. I did see a comment somewhere in the backlog here from someone who found the blades on their fan had been installed backward, resulting in a much lower CFM.

Also, was your unicooler the one with a single vent? I think Figjam has already pointed out that that one doesn't have enough of an intake to fully use the endless breeze (I went with the 3 vent box cooler myself).

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:34 am

Papa Bear wrote:... someone who found the blades on their fan had been installed backward, resulting in a much lower CFM.
Also, was your unicooler the one with a single vent? I think Figjam has already pointed out that that one doesn't have enough of an intake to fully use the endless breeze (I went with the 3 vent box cooler myself).
Or possibly wired backwards so they spun the wrong way?
MFOB wrote:...it was blowing less hard and what seemed less CFM than my buddy who brough a bucket cooler with a CPU fan on it.
... my fucking water pump broke on Tuesday
... the cooler didnt do shit to cool the HY down. ... could barley tell a difference unless sitiing within 1 foot of the thing,
...Anybody have any ideas on how to make it work better and not toss the entire thing in the can?
On low, the Endless Breeze is 250 CFM. Should move a lot more air, and a lot quieter, than the computer fans recommended for the bucket cooler. Did you try the Endless Breeze fan on its own?
The cooler won't cool without the pump wetting down the filter. So I assume your complaint is for before the pump broke?

How about some photos of:
  • your cooler, and
  • your cooler installed in your HY.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:07 am

I double and triple checked to see if I wired it backwards or if the blades were spinning backwards. They both checked out to be spinning and turning the correct way. I made damn sure of that when i wired it because of those rumors that i had heard.

Yes, Complaint is when it was working. When it was flowing, I had a nice wet pad and everything seemed to be in good working order. After the pump failed, for unknow reasons..... I just ran the fan. Same shit, low airflow. I also tried it as soon as I took it out of the box in my car with the original plug it came with. I dont recall it pumping out a bunch of air.

Also, it was a Rectangular trashcan design and followed the exact instructions Figgy posted on Pg 90. I understand that the limited airflow would be a factor with only one hole, 16"x14" but I created a flip top lid, mush as Figgys 3 vent Box Cooler and I would open it to get direct air flow with no restrictions and it still didnt push air worth a shit.

I have some pics on my phone of the Cooler, but I am not sure how to get them onto here. Any ideas on how to post a .jpg not on a hosted site?

Also, i dont think I took a pic of it in the HY. But imagine this, Ill try to explain. I cut a hole in the HY wall roughly 2" each way bigger than the intake vent, so roughly 18" x 16" and then out of 1" rigid insulation, I scribed the backside of the trash can so that I would have a tight bond. I created somewhat of a 2" deep duct that attached to the inside wall of the yurt and then fit exactly against the Cooler. I taped all sides of it and also had weatherstripping against the cooler. Therefore it was totally sealed against the back wall and would draw in air from outside.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:17 am

MFOB wrote:...I also tried it as soon as I took it out of the box in my car with the original plug it came with. I dont recall it pumping out a bunch of air.

...I have some pics on my phone of the Cooler, but I am not sure how to get them onto here. Any ideas on how to post a .jpg not on a hosted site?

Also, i dont think I took a pic of it in the HY. ..
For myself, and most people, when trying the Endless Breeze for the first time, the amount of air they move usually causes a reaction along the lines of "Holy shit!". That you didn't makes your fan suspect.

Without a wet filter pad, the cooler is just moving in outside air, which during the day is usually hot & dusty.

Photos are uploaded to eplaya through the Upload Attachement at the bottom.

I am after photos of the swamp cooler in the HY. Not necessarily of the seal, etc., but of the inside of your HY. If not, small photos of each side outside? This may seem odd (I'm odd, but a lot of us take the same bus), but it is very relevant.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:31 am

Here is 3 pics
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:32 am

And another. Ill look for inside pics or outside pics.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:37 am

The EB on high is equal to a 10mph breeze.

I would say faulty fan OR it was mounted backwards. ( I did that on the very first one! :oops: )
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:41 am

asr9754 wrote:Year 2 for my 5-gal swampie and it still performed like a champ. Neither wind nor rain nor hail damaged it.
I will replace the DC pump because I kinked one of the power lines accidentally while packing up, otherwise fantastic, thanks again.
One other tweak, some way to keep the DC pump clamped or secured to the bottom of the bucket--it tends to float up a few inches, reducing the usable water supply. I tried wiring it down but the constant vibration loosened it.
With the new smaller pumps, I run the wire between the bucket and pad so the pad holds the wire and the pump to the bottom of the bucket. 8)
Last edited by FIGJAM on Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:41 am

First look, and it looks good to me.
You could have taken off the fan's grill on the inside slightly less resistance (but that's a very minor tweak). Not doing it can't cause what you're reporting.
Assuming the top sealed well so it had to take in air from outside, it should have been able to move lots of air through the filter. With the top off, as I believe you did as a test, the fan would have been entirely unrestricted by the filter and should have moved lots of air. If you had the fan installed backwards, it should have blown lots of air out of the top when you did the 'top off' test; so much so I can't see how you wouldn't have noticed - if the fan is working properly.

I'm thinking: exhaust vent.
Last edited by Canoe on Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:48 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:42 am

Im not sure that it would blow any air "out" if it was mounted backwards?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:46 am

For what it's worth, I just checked my fan. It blows air in the direction of the side where the switch says "0". If your fan is the same, you've got it the correct direction.

Give it power, have the top off, and see if the air is leaving the grill of the fan out of the cooler, or is coming out of the top of the box.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:47 am

It does in fact get a little "blowback", but I would contact the manufacturer for further info.

That fan really preforms as advertised. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:49 am

Canoe wrote:First look, and it looks good to me.
You could have taken off the fan's grill on the inside slightly less resistance (but that's a very minor tweak). Not doing it can't cause what you're reporting.
Assuming the top sealed well so it had to take in air from outside, it should have been able to move lots of air. With the top off, as I believe you did as a test, the fan would have been entirely unrestricted by the filter and should have moved lots of air. If you had the fan installed backwards, it should have blown lots of air out of the top; so much so I can't see how you wouldn't have noticed - if the fan is working properly.

I'm thinking: exhaust vent.
I carefully crafted a top of 3/4" plywood to fit exactly on the top on the can. I hinged it and then put some really good and spongy weaterstripping and a hold down latch that actuall compressed the weatherstripping.

Even with the lid open it drew air into the top and out the fan. So therefore I assume that the fan was blowing the right way.

As for Exhaust Vent. I had a 4" dryer duct elongated and attaced near the apex of the HY and ran down one of the "ridges" to the wall and out of the wall just below the roofline. When I thought, "hmmm, maybe the vent needs more venting, Id open a window across from the Cooler. Still not much air moving.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:52 am

Contact them for a replacement, but don't send your fan back till you get it.

They may object to the stock plug being cut off. :lol:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by MFOB » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:57 am

Im starting to think I got a bad fan. It is the culprit. When I saw my buddy had a bucket cooler with the CPU fan on it, it was like a little fucking rocket motor blowing air out like it should have. Thats when i got to thinking mine was a pile of shit. I suppose if I had anohter EB to test it against, I wouldnt know either way if it is good or bad. I have no base to go off of except a fn awesome bucket cooler that blows hard air.

Again, thanks folks for all your help, I really appreciate it. I figured it was going to be a shop decoration and nothing more. As far as the comments yall have been giving me, Im sure it has to be the fan is not up to par. Even on power 3 it blows less air than my fan at home on its lowest speed and its a old pile of shit that barely spins.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:59 am

MFOB wrote:... Even with the lid open it drew air into the top and out the fan. So therefore I assume that the fan was blowing the right way.

As for Exhaust Vent. I had a 4" dryer duct elongated and attaced near the apex of the HY and ran down one of the "ridges" to the wall and out of the wall just below the roofline. When I thought, "hmmm, maybe the vent needs more venting, Id open a window across from the Cooler. Still not much air moving.
With the lid off test, you should have been impressed with the air flow, even at low.

So much for the exhaust vent. A 4" duct is limited in CFM. More so if it's ridged ducting. But you tested it with a window open too...

If the fan blades are mounted backwards, it will blow less, but not as bad as you're reporting. You could try reversing the polarity, then see if it moves more air, but not much point as from that battery we're assuming it is getting 12 VDC with enough current available, as Figjam says, it pretty much has to be a defective fan.

(I assume that the pump and fan are wired in parallel and not series...)
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