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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OnwardLevvy
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by OnwardLevvy » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:40 pm

Trying to build my first cooler and wondering if it's possible/worthwhile to build on that's totally self powered. The idea would be to buy two of these solar fountain pumps (http://goo.gl/0vaROn). One would be used as normal while the other would have the panel grafted onto a normal PC fan (http://goo.gl/csbxcJ). Even though the panel is only 9V would it still drive the fan OK? I'm hoping to avoid building an entire solar setup just to run a cooler and some lights.

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Jackass
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Jackass » Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:01 pm

Avoid it then, buy a 12V battery

Solar without a battery is not all that...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Popeye
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Popeye » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:03 am

OnwardLevvy wrote:Trying to build my first cooler and wondering if it's possible/worthwhile to build on that's totally self powered. The idea would be to buy two of these solar fountain pumps (http://goo.gl/0vaROn). One would be used as normal while the other would have the panel grafted onto a normal PC fan (http://goo.gl/csbxcJ). Even though the panel is only 9V would it still drive the fan OK? I'm hoping to avoid building an entire solar setup just to run a cooler and some lights.
Snark free answer: It will overheat and won't work.

Best and truest answer :) :
All electronics work on magic blue smoke. This smoke is put in by a grumpy grey haired old elf as the last step in a complicated production process. Once the smoke is let out of your pump, panel, etc. you will never be able to put the smoke back in.
Running anything on 3/4 voltage is almost guaranteed to let the smoke out. Good news though, you will be eligible for a merit badge!
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:15 am

An underpowered, undersized fan is NOT going to make you happy.
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reggie13
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by reggie13 » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:00 am

can someone show/tell me what kind of switch to use inline, if I decide to wire one in for on/off control?

thanks!
Reggie

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:24 am

Almost any switch will do.

I had some leftover light switches that worked fine.
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Danielpops
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Danielpops » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:07 pm

What is the best adhesive / glue / etc for attaching the septic connection to the bucket lid? Goop? Gorilla glue? Chewing gum?
/dp

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chuckularone
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by chuckularone » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:45 am

I used J-B Weld. Held like it was one piece.
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:20 am

Scuff the edge of the hole before gluing the connector to the lid.

I used E6000.
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Danielpops
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Danielpops » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:19 am

I bought this fan for the 5-gal bucket swamp cooler:



Any input on that one? From what I can tell, the CFMs are pretty good and the price is low. It seems like it may be a little bulky, but I think that there should be plenty of room for it.

I am really looking forward to building this thing and making it playa ready :)

/dp
/dp

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:47 am

The size is fine, but the CFM is not going to be enough to make you happy happy.
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Danielpops
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Danielpops » Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:33 pm

FIGJAM wrote:The size is fine, but the CFM is not going to be enough to make you happy happy.
Thanks for your input! I figured the 138 vs 190 wouldn't be much of a deal breaker, particularly given the price difference and 1A current draw difference ( and given that most of the other portable swamp cooler instructions I've found online didn't seem to have such high requirements/suggestions). I figured this would allow me to run the rig longer without worrying about depleting my power supply. My plan is to have a 100W solar panel and a 35AH 12v deep cycle battery. On that related note, how many hours out of the day do you typically find yourself running the swamp cooler during BM? just for a few hours? or do you leave it on all day? Maybe if I don't need to plan for having it run for most of the day, I can afford the extra amp per hour.
/dp

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:01 pm

What kind of shelter, is it shaded, is it insulated, does it have a radiant barrier, etc..

Figjam picks his fan recommendations including things like CFM, power/current AND pressure. Vary from what he knows works at your risk (of not having it work as you anticipate).

If your budget allows, you could step up to his Unicooler or Boxcooler designs and use the amazing Endless Breeze fan. The fan is the largest upgrade cost.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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Danielpops
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Danielpops » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:30 pm

Canoe wrote:What kind of shelter, is it shaded, is it insulated, does it have a radiant barrier, etc...
This year I've built an h15 hexayurt (~160 sq ft footprint, 6 ft walls with the center of the roof at 10ft). The yurt is made out of 1.5 inch thick RMax. It will not be under our camps shade structure.



What kind of shelter, is it shaded, is it insulated, does it have a radiant barrier, etc..

Figjam picks his fan recommendations including things like CFM, power/current AND pressure. Vary from what he knows works at your risk (of not having it work as you anticipate).
Canoe wrote:you could step up to his Unicooler or Boxcooler designs and use the amazing Endless Breeze fan.
That does look like a sexy fan. However, at this point I'm essentially committed to the bucket design for one reason or another, unless I'm sufficiently convinced otherwise.
/dp

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:43 pm

Danielpops wrote:... That does look like a sexy fan. However, at this point I'm essentially committed to the bucket design for one reason or another, unless I'm sufficiently convinced otherwise.
Well you've certainly got a shelter that's about as heat proof as you can get. But you'd better check on what size of cooler Figjam recommends for such a yurt (I can't recall).

If you look at the past two pages or so, you'll also see how a unicooler can be easily paired with the wall of a yurt, sitting on the inside or the outside.

Another factor. Although it is early in the season, the Black Rock Desert is seeing meaningfully higher than seasonal heat already, including Gerlach with a high of 104F where 89F is the average high for that day, and twelve days in the 90's and six days 100F+ -- and it's hotter on the playa. By the time of Burning Man, it's past the peak heat, but if June temperatures are any indication, this could be a record year at BRC. Typical, as vague as that term can be, highs around 90F are common. Temps up to 100F happen. Above that is possible.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... 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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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:48 pm

The bucket cooler AS DESIGNED will cool up to 600cu.ft.

Your dimensions are over 900cu.ft.

A bucket wont keep that space comfortable.

I run my coolers about 5 hours during the hottest part of the day.

The very first bucket cooler I designed, I wanted it to use only 1 amp, so I bought a 105cfm fan.

It worked as designed, but only for a very confined area.

Believe me, I have tested ALL these fans to see what works.
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:54 pm

Curious.
Assuming they're built to spec (i.e., an Endless Breeze fan, etc.), what cubic feet is it reasonable to expect to cool for:
  • your Unicooler,
  • your Boxcooler.
Will a Unicooler cut it for his yurt, or should he be making a Boxcooler?
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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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:01 pm

Either one will do the job.

The box cooler is kind of the best of the best, but has to sit outside the structure.

That being said, if you built a unicooler with the same intake area as the 3 sides of the box cooler, you can have it inside with the same cooling affect.

Having the box cooler outside means keeping your controls accessible from the inside, and the thickness of yurt walls may interfere with that.

Either one will cool up to 2700cu.ft. on high speed!!! 8)
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:04 pm

750cu.ft on low.

1500cu.ft on medium.
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Jovankat
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Jovankat » Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:26 pm

Danielpops wrote:What is the best adhesive / glue / etc for attaching the septic connection to the bucket lid? Goop? Gorilla glue? Chewing gum?
I wandered in here by mistake. I'm sure the cooler specific glue advice you're getting is top notch but I thought you folk might be interested in this resource.

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rideincircles
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rideincircles » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:35 am

I got my pumps in from China yesterday. I ordered them uncertain that I would be using them. So far I still need to acquire my hexayurt panels and order the tape which I plan to do in the next week or 2. Once those are secured, I need to decide on a generator with a/c or a swamp cooler probably using my 12 gallon bucket.

I have 3 air conditioners in my storage room, but was uncertain what would be a good budget generator to use on the playa. If I don't go the generator route I would need to get a new deep cycle battery and an endless breeze most likely. I was thinking attic ducting may work to connect it from the bucket tot he hexayurt but am still considering all options.

If for some reason the hexayurt falls through, then the flex bow tent and swamp cooler would be the plan. I was hoping to get the panels this week, but I don't think I can make it happen tomorrow.

Any recommendations on a budget generator to power a window unit and whatever else may be needed? I am not sure what is playa tested or if there was a generator thread.

LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:59 am

DannyP:
The 5-gal bucket cooler is already undersized for a yurt, as the resident engineers described. You're increasing the yurt size while simultaneously choosing a lower-powered fan. From 190 CFM to 138 is ~25% less output, that's significant. You'll be disappointed in the cooling ability of this setup. If you must use the 5-gal swampie don't skimp on the fan--get the powerful one as recommended in the design. Consider hanging a bed sheet inside your yurt to make a curtain for your bed area, duct the swamp cooler to this chamber. It'll keep some the cool air around your bed when you need it. A 100 W panel should give you good recharging power if you are conservative with your power consumption. The 35 AH battery is a little small, if you can get a bigger one you won't regret it. Between bigger solar panel or bigger battery, I'd go bigger battery first. It's better to start off w/ more power and trickle charge w/ the solar panel, rather than have an underpowered battery that gets drained regularly and solar panel struggle to charge it back up to capacity every day. I use a 100 AH and a 30W panel for 8 days and it's fine.

As for how much time you spend, everyone is different but I suspect you will spend little time inside your yurt other than sleeping and power naps or mini-breaks to cool off during the day. There is too much to see and do, most people don't "hang out" in a yurt much.

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Roundabout
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Roundabout » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:38 am

rideincircles wrote:Any recommendations on a budget generator to power a window unit and whatever else may be needed? I am not sure what is playa tested or if there was a generator thread.
Please DON'T bring a budget generator to the playa. They are obnoxiously noisy and your neighbors will not like you. Bring a Honda EU 2000 or something equivalent.
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chuckularone
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by chuckularone » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:46 am

Roundabout wrote:
rideincircles wrote:Any recommendations on a budget generator to power a window unit and whatever else may be needed? I am not sure what is playa tested or if there was a generator thread.
Please DON'T bring a budget generator to the playa. They are obnoxiously noisy and your neighbors will not like you. Bring a Honda EU 2000 or something equivalent.
An inverter gennie is what you are looking for. The Honda EU2000 is the king of the playa. Quieter than most any other power generation besides solar.
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rideincircles
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rideincircles » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:16 pm

Yeah. That Honda EU2000 is a little above my price range. How much would I have to spend on something decent? If its above $500, I will probably just stick to the swamp cooler plan.

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Canoe » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:39 pm

And A/C only provides cool. Then there's the issue on the type of A/C: recycling the inside air or taking fresh outside air and trying to cool it enough, and if it's cooling the coils with hot outside air (not efficient) or with the air from inside the shelter (that you're consuming power to run the A/C to cool), which "wastes" the air you've conditioned while creating a somewhat negative air pressure inside the shelter, thereby working to suck hot dusty outside air in through whatever openings or cracks that exist.

Get a costco deep cycle battery and the Endless Breeze fan for Playa-Tested©)'( designs of the Unicooler or Boxcooler and:
  • you've saved tons of money,
  • no fuel to buy, safely transport, safely store and safely refuel (avoiding ignition sparks in a hot dry environment),
  • fuel spills on the playa can result in danger, fines or eviction; spill potable water for the swamp cooler and it doesn't matter,
  • no generator noise, smell, CO2 or CO for you or your neighbours,
  • you'll have cool dust-free fresh air on demand,
  • when it enters it's replacing stale hot (dusty?) air,
  • while creating a somewhat positive air pressure thereby resisting hot dusty air from casually drifting/blowing into your structure.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... 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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Danielpops
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Danielpops » Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:03 am

Ok so I finished my prototype of my bucket. Couple of notes / thoughts / ramblings below. I would love feedback / inputs if anyone has some!
  • 1. Wired up two separate switches to control fan and pump independently so that the pump can get the material nice and wet before I engage the fan.
    2. I went with the 190CfM fan recommended by figjam. Good call!
    3. I'm using shade cloth to avoid leaks (based on others reporting leaks out of the holes in some cases).
    4. I mounted the 4" PVC using 1" L brackets for stability, then goop/e6000'd for air tight-ness
    5. I do observe the outside ring of cooling pad getting pretty soaked, but not so much the middle one. I feel I need to adjust hole count/positioning, and maybe even add a second ring?
    6. I also plan to add a float switch to turn off the rig in the event that the water evaporates during my slumber, thus preventing drying out and potentially ruining the pump.
    7. All of my solder points inside the bucket (fan and pump) are gooped and heat shrink'd, which is perhaps overkill, but I don't want any fires / shorts / etc on playa (or anywhere for that matter)
    8. I made one row of 2" holes. I wonder if I need/want more holes?
    9. Another idea that I've been toying with is making the rig remote controlled. I had been back and forth contemplating whether I should run the project box into the yurt or leave it outside by the bucket. I woke up this morning with a "voilà!" - I'll use a wireless relay to control from inside or outside and avoid having to run wires into my shelter. Any thoughts / inputs / experiences with something like that? I've found these on Amazon, (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00BQ842D ... MTPT07S4BK) but they are from China and may take a whole month to arrive, and I can't deal with that delay-related stress in the weeks coming up to burning man :-)
Another question I have. I live in San Francisco, and tested out the cooler yesterday evening. It felt nice, but not much cooler than simply blowing the fan in my face without the whole cooling pad setup. So, is it just too much moisture in the air in San Francisco? Is here any way to reliably test my setup and measure its effectiveness without driving to a dryer location?
/dp

LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:22 am

Nice! it's a satisfying feeling to complete a project. A few thoughts:

#3, shade cloth--might constrict airflow too much. I used chicken wire to wrap the swamp pad and give some some support without blocking air flow too much.
#5, You could add a few more holes or make the holes JUST SLIGHTLY bigger. As long as the pad is wet all the way around the cylinder, it's good. Test by poking thru the bucket holes and see if it's wet all the way around. The water might not soak through the whole thickness of the pad, that's OK.
#8, another row of holes will give you more air flow, but reduces the holding capacity of the bucket. It's a tradeoff. I have good luck with 2 rows of holes.
#6, #9: KISS principle. I just ran the switches into my structure, using extra long wires thru the window sill. You have to cut a duct-hole into your yurt anyway, the wires can go thru the same duct hole. Things go wrong out there and any unnecessary additions or complications become failure points. So good luck, but be ready for the switches to fail and have a Plan B.

Test it on a hot dry day and see what happens! Yes it's prob too humid in SF but there are other ways to test it:
COPIED from an old post: Turn on the pump and fan, 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.

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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:03 pm

Danielpops wrote:Ok so I finished my prototype of my bucket. Couple of notes / thoughts / ramblings below. I would love feedback / inputs if anyone has some!
  • 1. Wired up two separate switches to control fan and pump independently so that the pump can get the material nice and wet before I engage the fan.
    2. I went with the 190CfM fan recommended by figjam. Good call!
    3. I'm using shade cloth to avoid leaks (based on others reporting leaks out of the holes in some cases).
    4. I mounted the 4" PVC using 1" L brackets for stability, then goop/e6000'd for air tight-ness
    5. I do observe the outside ring of cooling pad getting pretty soaked, but not so much the middle one. I feel I need to adjust hole count/positioning, and maybe even add a second ring?
    6. I also plan to add a float switch to turn off the rig in the event that the water evaporates during my slumber, thus preventing drying out and potentially ruining the pump.
    7. All of my solder points inside the bucket (fan and pump) are gooped and heat shrink'd, which is perhaps overkill, but I don't want any fires / shorts / etc on playa (or anywhere for that matter)
    8. I made one row of 2" holes. I wonder if I need/want more holes?
    9. Another idea that I've been toying with is making the rig remote controlled. I had been back and forth contemplating whether I should run the project box into the yurt or leave it outside by the bucket. I woke up this morning with a "voilà!" - I'll use a wireless relay to control from inside or outside and avoid having to run wires into my shelter. Any thoughts / inputs / experiences with something like that? I've found these on Amazon, (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00BQ842D ... MTPT07S4BK) but they are from China and may take a whole month to arrive, and I can't deal with that delay-related stress in the weeks coming up to burning man :-)
Another question I have. I live in San Francisco, and tested out the cooler yesterday evening. It felt nice, but not much cooler than simply blowing the fan in my face without the whole cooling pad setup. So, is it just too much moisture in the air in San Francisco? Is here any way to reliably test my setup and measure its effectiveness without driving to a dryer location?
Going for the Gold standard in bucket coolers.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

streetartsquirrel
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by streetartsquirrel » Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:46 pm

Following Figjam's steps and had a couple of questions about wiring the fan and the pump together

going to be getting this fan for a 6 person coleman weathermaster tent on the plaa(unless someone recommends otherwise):



I'm a little nervous when it comes to wiring the 2 together with water being involved. is it safe to splice the pump together with the fan? any tutorials or photos on doing it?

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