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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LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:38 am

Looks good. In my experience, when the pad gets wet, it gets heavy and droops, and presses into the sides of the bucket. I did a quick fix by wrapping a cylinder of chicken wire around the blue pad, that helps it keep its shape when wet.

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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:14 am

The bucket cooler is good..BUTThe Captain has never been cool.. goddamitt..
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 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:39 pm

asr9754 wrote:Looks good. In my experience, when the pad gets wet, it gets heavy and droops, and presses into the sides of the bucket. I did a quick fix by wrapping a cylinder of chicken wire around the blue pad, that helps it keep its shape when wet.
That is what I meant by the grain of the pad.

For some reason mine doesn't slump when wet.
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:06 pm

FIGJAM wrote: For some reason mine doesn't slump when wet.
Image

LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:40 pm

Ha ha, Wink!

Yep, I discovered the "grain" issue after I had already cut and shaped the pad, so rather than start over with a new pad, I used the chicken wire cylinder and have had no further problems in 3 years. Sounds like if you cut the pad in the proper direction, you're VERY Good.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wolfraider » Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:40 am

Thanks all for your responses to my battery questions! I found a 95 AH battery and paired it with a solar controller.

The project is definitely turning more complicated since I added a float switch plus a 4 watt light bulb to tell me when the pump is running. I ran it in parallel with my pump after the float switch so it will turn off when the float goes off meaning it's out of water. I thought it was a nifty little addition to make the whole system function more user friendly. ;-)

Excited to get the project out to the playa and thanks for all your tips! And especially for Figjam for just generally kicking ass.


Quick question though, has anyone ever used an Endless Breeze 1100 on a bucket cooler? Would it be worth scraping the bucket and moving into a rubbermaid bin for a larger cooler? I'm going to be in an 8X14ft Ice Fishing shelter with a monkey hut for shade. Interior dimensions is roughly 700 ft3.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:45 pm

For that size space the unicooler would be better.
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Dr Fish
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr Fish » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:04 pm

I live an hours drive from downtown Death Valley, so i've been kicking around making 12 volt swamp coolers for the last 20 years..... Tried using fiberglass, it took too long to make a unit and was just too nasty to work with....
Fortunately, for me at least, i discovered vacuum forming, and how little skill it takes to do it..... What took several days before, takes about an hour now, plus, trim and assemble.... But then, it did take several hundred hours to design and build a diy vacuum former.... And does take a couple weeks to build and finish a set of new molds... After that it's all down hill..... All the work comes before you get to make anything...
Just started a set of molds that uses a EZ Breeze 12 volt fan and a 2"x 18" x18" CELdek pad... + 1-1/2" amp pump... a PWM will be used to control water flow... That should drop the amp draw a bit..
Couple pics of last years truck proto type... A 7 amp 12" radiator fan, bilge pump, and a couple PMWs to regulate the speed of each.... Using a cheap anemometer it pushes about 700 cubic feet a minute through a 2-1/4" three layer pad... At 6% humidity it gets about as close to the theoretic cooling limit as you can get... It eats about 1 gal an hour...
Last edited by Dr Fish on Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr Fish » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:08 pm

Sorry about that was trying to save a draft... didn't mean to post, will post the pics next post

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Dr Fish » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:13 pm

Now some pics...
cooler_027 (1).jpg
cooler_028.jpg
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wolfraider
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wolfraider » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:20 pm

FIGJAM wrote:For that size space the unicooler would be better.
Thanks for the response! I'm going to be switching out to a bigger unit for sure!

And btw, Dr. Fish, that is one damn sexy unit!

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:14 pm

That's nice Dr. Fish.

I have a unite that can get 900 cfm for 3 amps pump included!!! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Jun 20, 2016 5:44 pm

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mtttp
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mtttp » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:23 pm

So I am planning on bringing a generator. Was thinking I was just going to buy a portable evaporative cooler, but after looking at prices I figured I could make a cooler with way higher CFM for cheaper. Was thinking of buying a blower fan. Like this:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Contair-EDGE-Ai ... SwZd1Vdxga


Mounting this inside of a square storage container and basically making the bucket cooler on a larger scale. Essentially making a 2900 CFM swamp cooler for like 150 bucks. Anyone tried something like this? Any idea on how many GPH I would need on a pump to keep the pads wet enough.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:32 pm

With that much CFM, I would build a box with intakes on 3 sides.

Since you have the power, get a regular swamp cooler pump.

They run about $14. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mtttp » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:55 pm

Oh sweet, that makes it easy. The swamp cooler pumps are rated by CFM. Can the pads be too wet? Should I try to find one close to 3000 or would it be a good idea to get one thats like 5000?

Thanks for the input btw, and thanks for coming up with the original idea!

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:37 am

That's the neat thing about these coolers.

If there is "to much" water, it transforms from an evaporative cooler to a water chiller cooler.

Then the cooling comes directly from the chilled water instead of evaporation. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 21, 2016 8:22 am

Just finished this 120 volt version for a family dog.

It needs a stronger fan, but he didn't want to spend more money!!! ($50 total)

It works fine, but doesn't move a lot of air.
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:53 am

This may be a stupid fucking question. But if anyone can help with stupid fucking questions, it's you guys.

My upgraded pump came in this week but it's either DOA or I have a power issues. I picked up a 12 V 12 AH lead-acid battery to test things here on the east coast and to also use on weekend camping trips when I don't need a 100 AH deep cycle battery. My new pump didn't even burp when I hooked it up. I have power in the battery because it will run my CPU fan and my small pump. Here is the potential stupid question: is it possible my battery doesn't send enough amps to the pump to make the damn thing turn on? Or do I just have a crap pump?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:06 pm

That's a big pump for a bucket cooler. A small 12amp-hour battery might not be enough for it? Not sure, test your pump on your car battery and see if it runs. If not, dead pump.
This is the one I use, it's tiny, cheap, and has lasted 3 burns (but I bought 2 extra since they are so cheap)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC12V-3m-240L-H ... 0995415940

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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:48 pm

So it's a power issue. My little battery just doesn't put out the amps. I hooked it up to my car battery and HOLY SHIT BALLS does it work! Even my CPU fan, which I was skeptical of before, runs many times faster. The little pump I had before, which is a 240 L/H like yours, runs great. I am going to return this big one anyway and buy an extra 240. THANK YOU!

EDIT: Is it safe to say that a 100 AH deep cycle battery I buy in Reno will perform like my car battery?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:56 pm

EDIT: Is it safe to say that a 100 AH deep cycle battery I buy in Reno will perform like my car battery?

Yes. Except the deep cycle will last longer and take a solar-charge (if you're doing that) better.
When I was building my swampie my other 12V projects, I always used my car battery to test them. (My deep cycle is in storage but the car battery is always nearby!)

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wolfraider » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:37 pm

Hey all!

Yesterday I finished my design which is somewhere between a bucket coolor and a unicooler. I made a PVC frame to run the water through and used tight garden netting/mesh to run the water through. The corners of the pvc legs would lose the water so I used wine corks and cut them to fit inside the elbows on the top of the legs. ;-)

My fear is that it may be too efficient/evaporative on playa so I wanted to see what other's opinions were. I can rig up the blue mesh into it but this provides a very steady and even stream for the water. When I tested with the blue mesh the fan didn't have as much power it seemed so I decided to switch it. I'm planning on running the fan into an exahust tube so I may lose some efficiency there as well. Any opinions on that?


Image
This is the nearly finished unit (need to install my on/off switch for the pump).

Image
This is the pvc grid inside with pump leading in. I used zip ties to get better contact with the cloth to help the spread of moisture throughout the unit.

Image
This is a preliminary test to see how evenly wet the cloth would get. It was better after I used zip ties.


And, my favorite part, using the wine works to fill the corners:
Image


Also, I learned that with my holes in the pvc facing upwards as opposed to downwards, that it more completely covers the mesh as the water comes down, instead of just shooting out or having a chance to spread. I also learned, it's best to cock the holes slightly outward from center because the water drips down the side and then runs off the opposite direction of the holes (so if pointed outward they'll fall inward, etc). Originally I placed my holes on the top but slightly towards the inside and the water would just run off and come right out of holes in the side of the cooler.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:08 pm

The swamp cooler device must be outside of your structure and the fan blowing air into your structure.
So you'll definitely need to funnel the fan into a tube or duct and run that into your structure. Unless this is mounted in the floorboard somewhere.

The fact that you had "better" air flow using the black mesh compared to the blue-swamp-pads may not be a good thing...the flowing air will find the path of least resistance, which is gaps below the lid and dry spots in the mesh. When air flows thru gaps or dry spots in the mesh, the air does not actually cool down very much (as compared with air that is forced THRU the damp pad). So the stronger air flow might just mean you have more gaps and dry spots. Your cooling performance may be limited b/c your lid does not fit down tightly onto the PVC frame. If there is a gap between the inside of the lid and the damp mesh medium, air will seek out that gap and this air will not be cooled very much. Is there a way to raise the PVC frame so that the lid fits snug against the PVC and minimizes this gap?

Are you getting a temperature drop? If you are, then blow off my comments and be happy it's workin :wink:

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:40 pm

The air is going to flow over that pvc and the lid CAN'T fit down against it cause the fittings will still leave a gap.

The holes in your box CAN'T allow enough intake for your fan to wok properly.

My intake on the unicooler is 14"x18" so that the cooler can "breathe" even on high speed.

Gotta have a pad of some kind.

It was a good effort, but it really won't work. 8)
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wolfraider
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wolfraider » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:43 am

Is there a way to raise the PVC frame so that the lid fits snug against the PVC and minimizes this gap?
I could use longer legs inside the box or alternatively use a pad of some kind (maybe a cut of the blue pad) above the pvc to block that gap. I'll try and see if my results vary.

The holes in your box CAN'T allow enough intake for your fan to wok properly. My intake on the unicooler is 14"x18" so that the cooler can "breathe" even on high speed.
I'm assuming this is a square footage issue in that my holes only provide roughly ~80 square inches of intake (20 X 2 inch holes and 20 x 1 inch holes).

Has anyone ever tried a "four walled open air" cooler? That is to say I could raise the legs so that the lid and bin were not even touching and then leave a 3-4 inch gap around the entire cooler for airflow. I could seal the pvc directly onto my lid potentially making it more effective. My concern then would be that so much dust may enter the reservoir (more or less an open tub) and that could potentially clog the pump.

RedPanther
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by RedPanther » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:30 am

I could use a little assistance from the Hivemind…

My goal is to cool a Shiftpod (880cubic ft). I’ve built a variation of the unicooler. It’s using a Fan-Tastik Endless Breeze fan (920cfm) running on High and a TSSS submersible pump (240L/hr, 3m lift height – moves water great). Running it through Duracool pads. The pads are staying uniformly moist, smoke is being drawn evenly through the pads and not being pulled in elsewhere (well, a couple small spots that I’ll Goop over – but nothing substantial). My outflow tube is 4” diam., and I have an appx. 4” diam. vent open on the far side of the Pod. Current outdoor temp is 106F 28% humidity ( that’s high for here – southeast UT, high desert). Interior of the Pod is 97F.

Currently the interior of the Pod is staying 9-10F cooler than the exterior. Should I expect this level of performance (which is still better than 10F hotter and certainly takes the edge off the heat), or can it be improved? Is it the slightly higher humidity affecting performance? I’ve read through most of this thread and have corrected numerous shortcomings, and I think I’ve covered my bases. Mostly. I’d appreciate any thoughts, improvement suggestions, or insight anyone would like to share.

I lay myself at the critique of the Finest Minds…
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Lightnin'
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Lightnin' » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:37 am

Not that I'm the expert here by any means, but I'd say the 'chokepoint' in your setup is the output duct being too small. That plastic drip pan you are using for a 'plenum' doesn't help either. You should shape that plenum into a funnel shape to let that air flow easier, increase the duct size ( and the outflow duct on the cooled space), turn down the speed of the fan, or all three.
I believe the accepted advice is to exchange the air in your space every 3-5 minutes, which would require 200-300 CFM. You are not getting 900 CFM from that plenum/duct setup.
Also keep in mind that temps on the playa rarely if ever exceed 100, and the humidity should be in the low teens. Both factors will help you exceed that 10 degree drop you are getting now. Hope that helps.......

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:30 pm

Make sure the lid of that box is fitting snug onto the rubber drip line. There's the potential for air gaps.
Put the whole rig on the shady side of the yurt.
Use silver/foil duct instead of black.
The exhaust vent in the yurt should be as high up as possible.
28% humidity is high. Swampie won't cool fantastically in that humidity. Google a "evap cooling chart" to see the expected cooling at different temp/humidity combinations.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:20 pm

You can get flex duct in 12" size that will fix the air flow problem.

Here's the chart.
407092770.jpg
If your cooler were working properly, it should be 84 to 86 degrees inside!!! 8)
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