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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worldjoe
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Re: Timer wiring and electric question

Post by worldjoe » Fri May 08, 2015 6:36 pm

Almost forgot to tell you what to do with the black wire.
worldjoe wrote:I had trouble understanding the timer switch. I bought the 4 hour timer:


I blew a fuse on my van because I didn't understand the terminology. So here are instructions on how to wire the timer.
Definitions:
Load = power coming out
Line = power coming in

That means:
Connect the red wire connected to your battery to the Line
Connect the red (power) wire of your pump to the Load
Connect the black (ground) wire directly to your battery's (black) ground.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri May 08, 2015 8:03 pm

The black wire is the negative and goes direct from the battery to the pump/fan.

The red wire is the positive and is the wire that you will splice the timer into.

Cut the red wire and connect the ends to the timer. 8)
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worldjoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by worldjoe » Sat May 09, 2015 4:35 pm

FIGJAM wrote:The black wire is the negative and goes direct from the battery to the pump/fan.

The red wire is the positive and is the wire that you will splice the timer into.

Cut the red wire and connect the ends to the timer. 8)
Does this mean that connecting both the fan and the pump to the timer won't cause them to get less power (perhaps half of the power goes to each... I don't really know how this works)?
And is it ok to connect to a 12V outlet instead of directly to the battery - or will that further reduce the power available?
Thanks,
Joseph Elwell.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sat May 09, 2015 5:21 pm

Neither of those will reduce the power to the cooler.
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worldjoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by worldjoe » Sun May 10, 2015 1:57 pm

I took the screen off on the driver's side sliding window and I installed a vent kit that came with my old portable Sharp A/C unit. Similar to something you can by seperately like this:
http://amzn.com/B00004YWK7

Drip line sewn to the pad - so it doesn't move around whenever I take the top on or off.
Image

First test run.
Image

Inside the van.
Image

For the real run, I have some foil insulation tape that I will use to tape the vent kit to the van.
Image

I bought the most recently suggested fan:
http://amzn.com/B004XJLOG8
I do own the Endless Breeze fantastic fan. And I am concerned that the PC fans 190CFM won't be enough to cool off the van efficiently. I'm not really sure how many cubic feet I'm dealing with. A review of my Eurovan said it has 209.7 cubic feet - but that is if the van's tent is not popped open. With the top popped open, it's probably another 100 cubic feet, so maybe 309 cubic feet total.

The entire swamp cooler setup uses 1.95 amps.
Combining this with my engel fridge, which draws 2.8amps when on, I'm worried I'll run out of power too fast. I have an Instapark Mars 100:
http://amzn.com/B007VWW8X2
And a Power Patrol 1180 that is only 65Amps.
http://www.gowesty.com/ec_view_details.php?id=4507

In the past the Mars has powered my engel just fine for a long weekend. But now I'm wishing I had looked to see if I could find a 105Amp battery that would fit under my seat instead of the gowesty suggested Power Patrol 1180 that is only 65Amps. If both the swamp cooler and fridge ran continuously (neither do) with 65Amps I could go 13.7 hours without any solar charging. So maybe I'm worried about nothing.

One shortcut I took - which I'm sure will come back to haunt me. The first test run it was leaking, the pad touched the bucket on one side where it tends to limp. So I wrapped the pad with some copper clad steel ground wire that I had on me. I simply tied it around the area where the holes are and it helps keep the sag down. I might replace it with chicken wire but not today.

I am looking forward to using it at Lightning in a Bottle this year. I will report back how successful I was. But one thing is for sure: it was fun to build, so thank you very much!
Joseph Elwell.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun May 10, 2015 3:46 pm

Cutting the inner sleeved pad correctly will help with the sagging, add more cooling surface, and keep the drip line centered!!!

Image
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worldjoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by worldjoe » Sun May 10, 2015 7:01 pm

Inner sleeve doesn't overlap! Brilliant, that helped. My bucket dimensions were significantly different than yours, so I trimmed the outer sleeve, but forgot to trim the inner sleeve. One of the photos shows you holding the inner sleeve up for the camera with an overlap - so I didn't realize that once it's in the bucket it's not supposed to overlap.

I like the detail on this new photo. It shows some ingenious bits, like that the spot where the inner sleeve meets you have the drip line running right through. And you also have the inner sleeve slightly taller to keep the drip line from moving!

Awesome.

My new test run went much better. I just need a better way to get the fan wire out of the bucket. My first go I just smashed it under the lid - that worked until the wire broke (not visibly, but no longer carried a current). My second attempt was to run it straight from the fan down to the closest hole. But now water wicks down the wire sometimes. I might try duct taping it to the lid, before running it down the side wall to the hole.

Joseph Elwell.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun May 10, 2015 8:01 pm

I ran the pump wire under the pads and up the inside of the bucket and the fan wire over the pad and down to where it's spliced into the pump wire.

It goes out one of the holes, but pushed down so the water would have to run uphill to leak. :lol:
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LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Sun May 10, 2015 9:21 pm

I can dig it! WJoe that's a very similar rig to what I use to deliver cool air into my trailer. A tip though, if the long duct is in direct sun it heats up and robs your cold air, so consider wrapping it in foil and/or parking in a way to leave that side of your vehicle in the shade. I hammered together some old lumber to make a little table to raise the swamp cooler up just below the height of my window, so the length of duct is much less, and that improved my cold air output as well. Have fun at LIB!

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reggie13
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by reggie13 » Thu May 21, 2015 9:25 am

long time lurker (soaking up info), 1st time poster! ;)

1st of all, who do i throw my money at so i just can pick up a ready-to-go Figjam bucket cooler at the burn this year?

*SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!*

ok, not really! but i have been back and forth in this thread and have a few questions. I work in a casino tech shop so i have a few of these parts (fans) already. here comes the 1st question: i live in the swamps of Louisiana, so no dura cool. BUT i thought of trying to recycle something very similar to the pad. i got these filters off of some games we have cuz they don't use them. they are almost identical to the dura cool, but thinner and maybe a little more "open" (not as "webby" as the duracool). each one is 10.5 by 11.5, and 1/4" thick. i figured i could sew them together with fishing line and double them up for thickness.
filter4.jpg
this on is in front of the monitor so you can see its porous.
filter2.jpg
Figjam, do you think this idea will work in place of the duracool pad? i will try it and see. trying to recycle instead of spend.

2nd question is: pump is run strictly off the solar panel it comes with? and fan off a deep cell battery? for the fan, is it attached directly to terminal post by wrapping bare wires around them or is there some sort of attachment for that, like battery posts? i will use this picabond from work to splice any wires instead of wirenuts.
picabond.jpg
lastly, 1 video i watched showed the guy using solar panels for the pump AND the fan. he said the following:

"pump runs by a 6 volt .5 amp panel
fan runs off of a 15 watt 12 volt 1.2 amp panel"

this is where i get lost, with all the amps and volts flying around. SO, do you think what he is doing is feasible? just trying to go the cheapest, most functional route with this. if mine works, i will have it documented so i can do a "swamp coolers for dummies" post for those who don't understand a lot of this terminalogy/math.

3rd question......i will be using a 6" stretch yurt....don't know the cubic feet for that. do you think this bucket cooler will work in it? not trying to make it Antarctica, just cool it down a bit.

thank you to everyone who has shared info here!
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu May 21, 2015 9:40 am

I wrote thing a while back that explains watts amps and volts by making a direct analogy to bicycles.
It works, I guarantee you'll have an easy time understanding it this way even if electricity is pure Greek voodoo.
Check it out:
https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic ... lectricity
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reggie13
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by reggie13 » Thu May 21, 2015 10:00 am

thank you Captain! that helps a LOT! now if i can just get past the math of it....i'm a creative type that uses the pictures in the instruction manual, instead of the wordy directions! lol but this helps!

also a question on the deep cell battery. don't have a Costco, so Walfarts it is. but they have different sizes ranging from 65 to 100$...."does size matter?" when it comes to powering the fan? the options are:

29DC, 845 cranking amps
27DC, 750 cranking amps
24DC, 690 cranking amps
24MS, 625 cranking amps

reggie13

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Thu May 21, 2015 11:44 am

@Regg,
as you can see, there are 100+ pages on this topic and the basic design of the bucket is pretty much unaltered--so, follow the design as closely as you can, just get the Duracool pad online rather than use an untested substitute material.
For battery, you need a 12 volt, and then get the largest one you can afford/comfortably carry and store. You won't regret having more power, only less.

.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mooserider » Thu May 21, 2015 12:00 pm

reggie13 wrote:also a question on the deep cell battery. don't have a Costco, so Walfarts it is. but they have different sizes ranging from 65 to 100$...."does size matter?" when it comes to powering the fan? the options are:

29DC, 845 cranking amps
27DC, 750 cranking amps
24DC, 690 cranking amps
24MS, 625 cranking amps

reggie13
The cranking amps are irrelevant, since a swamp cooler doesn't contain a large internal combustion engine that needs to be started by a high-current-draw quick-surge starting motor. The number that matters is the ampere-hour (Ah) storage of the battery, which indicates the total amount of current over time the battery will be able to supply to a steady low-current load (like a swamp cooler fan and pump) before it runs out of charge and goes dead. Typical Group 24 batteries have around a 55 Ah rating; the number varies, based almost entirely on the physical size of the battery (how much lead plate surface area is there to hold charge?), but varying depending on what current draw was used to make the measurement (lower steady-state current will pull more total charge than a high current draw can). If you know how much current your chosen fan and pump draw, you can easily calculate the expected battery life in running hours.

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reggie13
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by reggie13 » Thu May 21, 2015 12:03 pm

asr9754 wrote: For battery, you need a 12 volt, and then get the largest one you can afford/comfortably carry and store. You won't regret having more power, only less.

.
Ok, so if anyone could please link to or post a pic of exactly what this battery looks like, I'd appreciate it. Don't want to het the wrong one.

Thanks!
Reggie13

mooserider
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mooserider » Thu May 21, 2015 12:09 pm

reggie13 wrote:
asr9754 wrote: For battery, you need a 12 volt, and then get the largest one you can afford/comfortably carry and store. You won't regret having more power, only less.

.
Ok, so if anyone could please link to or post a pic of exactly what this battery looks like, I'd appreciate it. Don't want to het the wrong one.

Thanks!
Reggie13
Here's a picture. Image Note this particular battery doesn't display anywhere on it the ampere-hour rating (quite annoying for a deep-cycle battery that's meant for long-term discharging instead of quick-surge starting motors).

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reggie13
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by reggie13 » Thu May 21, 2015 12:30 pm

Apavlin,

Thanks! Just what i needed! Thought that was it, but like you say, no mention of 12 volt anywhere.

Reggie13

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu May 21, 2015 12:38 pm

You want 100 to 115 AH to get you through the week without having to recharge.

I think wally world has a 115AH for about $100.

If you have access to power for recharging, you can go with a smaller battery.

Forget the solar pump and get this!

It's very reliable, uses little power, and is 12 volt, so it can just be spliced into the fan wire.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ultra-Quiet-Min ... 3cd9bd0e15

The bucket isn't quite big enough to completely cool a yurt, but if you direct it over your sleeping area, it will work. 8)
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu May 21, 2015 12:49 pm

No, that's not what he said. He said there's no mention of amp-hour rating. Not same at all.
You want a deep-cycle battery (not "deep cell") and generally, any 12 volt deep cycle sized about like a car battery is going to work.
They're all 12 volt except for the ones usually sold as golf cart batteries that are 6 volt.
If it looks about the size of the one in that photo, has nut & bolt power connections on top, and costs roughly $80 - $100, and says "deep cycle" or "marine" on it, it's probably what you need.
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reggie13
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by reggie13 » Thu May 21, 2015 1:46 pm

Figjam,
thank you! just bought the pump. i *think* the 6" stretch yurt is about 70 square feet. either way, i'm sure this will work!

Captain,
I see what you mean....i know which one i'm after now. off to find some duracool now!

Reggie13

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu May 21, 2015 1:50 pm

Build it exactly like FIGJAM says, down to the finest detail.
Minor things like how you place the filter or water lines can make the difference between working right or not, and it's been playa-tested and refined for many years.
Chill on!
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yolaine
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by yolaine » Sun May 24, 2015 12:48 pm

This might be the dumbest question ever, but if I get this 12 volt solar panel, which can apparently put out about 4 amps in full sun


And attach the following recommended 12V DC pump and fans

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ultra-Quiet-Min ... 4897.l4275

Do I need a controller/battery set-up?

Or can I just wire it directly like this guy is doing


I'll only be using the thing during fully sunny playa days ...

LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Tue May 26, 2015 1:22 pm

It might work, during full sun, but if it's dusty/cloudy or less than ideal conditions it might not have enough solar power to run the fan and pump without interruption. For best reliability, add a battery to this setup and you'd be in good shape. The best time to run the swamp cooler is in the morning when the sun starts to cook your tent or RV and you want to sleep a bit longer--at this time the sun isn't straight overhead and the solar panel isn't going to have full output. With a battery you have more flexibility.

maladroit
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by maladroit » Tue May 26, 2015 6:04 pm

A battery, solar panel, and photocell aimed at sunrise could be ideal.

worldjoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by worldjoe » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:31 am

My Lightning in a Bottle report.

First off I had plenty of power to run the swamp cooler continuously (during the day) and my engel fridge all weekend, Thursday - Monday.

I tried it on 2 days, the rest of the days simply weren't cold enough.
The first day was Saturday. Wunderground says it had a high of 74F with an Average Humidty of 67. I tried turning on the swamp cooler after some morning shows when the van was already unbearably hot inside. It could not compensate, I tried for a while and gave up and opened the tail and sliding door - it was significantly cooler outside.

The second day was Sunday, Wunderground says it had a high of 81F with an Average Humidty of 60. This time I turned the swamp cooler on as soon as I woke up and just let it run all day. It did not get unbearable until 4pm or so. Not bad, but not particularly cold either - it was no A/C unit.

I bought a thermometer/hygrometer and did some tests at home. I'm easily getting a 10 degree drop in temperature or more from the swamp cooler - which is great. However I think my expectations are off or something with my setup is not ideal.

In my home test I started with the van at 107 degrees at 4pm. It was 73 degrees outside. 2 hours of the swamp cooler running, putting out about 64 degrees, the van inside was still hotter than outside. 82 degrees inside and barely 70 outside.

I did some measurements, the van (with the tent popped open on top) is no more than 293 cubic feet. I bought the suggested Delta fan with 190.48CFM that means every two minutes all the air in the van should be cycled. I have one of the windows zipped open on the tent (on top) to let the air out, but I suspect it's not making it up there. I did find that my van has 2 flaps hidden near the tire well that allows air to be pushed out of the van (like when you shut the doors), so I put plastic bags over them with rubber bands, but that didn't make any difference.

Overall my impression is that so long as I start the cooler early in the day it will keep it cooler for a bit longer, but I was expecting the van to be colder than the outside temperature, not hotter.

I almost forgot to mention, the one teenager in my house that can't handle the heat (and doesn't like camping) said the swamp cooler worked great. So unqualified success, since that was why I built it.
Thanks,
Joseph Elwell.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:49 am

Re posting from another thread--these are some tips to test your swampie's functionality:

Turn on the pump and fan. To test your device, poke thru all the bucket holes w/ your finger (yep) to make sure the pad is getting wet evenly (yep) all the way around. If not, cooler won't work well. Adjust your drip line to get an even distribution of water.

To test airflow, wave a lit cigarette or incense around the perimeter of the bucket and ensure that the smoke is getting sucked up evenly and getting sucked *thru* the cooler pad, not up and over the pad or thru any gaps in the lid.

Make sure, when you put the lid on the bucket, that the CPU Fan isn't catching on the cooler pad and squashing it down. The CPU fan should fit completely inside the cylinder of blue pad. I also had an issue w/ the drip line hoop slipping down in between the two rolls of cooler pad. (I made the drip line ring a bit too small). But easily fixed w/ a few zip ties to keep the drip line perched on top of the cooler pad.

After running it for a bit, touch the output duct on top of the bucket lid. If it's cold, that means its working, but also means you are losing some coldness thru the ductwork. Consider wrapping the duct in foil or bubblewrap to insulate and keep more of your cold air.

I had great luck w/ mine, but it was about attention to detail and following the specs closely. If your van is sitting in the sun, it's going to be very hard to counter act the greenhouse effect. You could try putting a shade visor or tape foil on the windows to cut down on incoming sunlight and heat.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:17 pm

It sounds like a combination of that and the high humidity.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr. Brap » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:56 pm

Those are all good ideas to check. I'm sure the humidity was an issue too. You're looking for a drop of about 30 degrees in "low" humidity.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Bemerritt » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:58 pm

So recently I purchased a cargo van and am converting it into more of a camping vehicle. I have my swampcooler built and will be forever thankful for this thread when that cool, moist air enters my oven-like van.

One question though. Does anyone ever just power the fan without the pump? I am starting to think about how to wire this and am deciding whether to splice the two together or to have them individually powered, controlled by switches.

I envision the fan only operation could be beneficial when fresh air would be nice in the van, but the outside air isn't too hot. The swamp cooler pads would act as a dust filter and all would be good.

Thoughts?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:00 pm

It must be the season.

The site where I store my pics show the "View" count jumped from 350 a week to 4500 per week!!! :lol:
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