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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spacetime
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby spacetime » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:20 pm

I think the heat rendered even good cooler spec designs not helpful enough. It was really hot this year.

That said I think there is a reasonable case to be made for bringing out complete 5000 BTU air conditioners and doing the building portion in the solar space. Solar is cheaper and better than ever.

I'm looking at how solar and battery costs and build requirements can eliminate plumbing (or water) for both coolers and AC. There is still plenty of skill building around wiring, but I suspect ice blocks and swamp coolers may become a backup plan to solid solar setups in the future.

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dragonpilot
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby dragonpilot » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:27 pm

asr9754 wrote:Dragon, if you indeed built it to spec with the correct fan (check the *exact* model number) and pump, and are still not getting good performance, here's some troubleshooting:

blue pad cylinder should not touch the inside of the bucket. There should be a gap. The pad slouches when wet, so if you have a gap when dry, that doesn't mean you have a gap when wet. Double check, and add a chicken wire "girdle' around the blue cylinder to support the blue pad if needed.

The lid should fit on snug and should just barely pinch the drip-hose to make a good seal. Adjust the height of the blue cylinder, adjust drip ring and lid, Put lid on carefully so as not to crush the blue pad or create gaps. The drip ring should not slide down between the 2 layers of blue pad. If is does, that's bad.

Drip hose gets clogged. Test your drip hose to make sure all the holes are flowing well. Shake out your blue pad over a trashcan to get rid of lint. Enlarge drip holes if needed.

Blue pad should be evenly wet all the way around, top to bottom. Run the pump for several minutes, then open up the cooler and check. Pad should all be evenly wet, inside and out. If you have dry spots, you have problems. Adjust drip ring and holes.

On playa: you're letting the water run too low. Refill. The duct line is too long or kinked. Put swampie as close to your window as possible to shorten the length of duct needed. Paint the duct white or silver so the sun doesn't cook it (or wrap in foil).

Your overhead vent in the trailer should be cracked open.

My swampie cools a whole trailer moderately b/c I tightened up all the little gaps and made sure it's in peak condition.


Tips! Got the chicken wire cage, lid is tight, drip ring drips slowly, plenty of water...never got too low, exact same fan as in OP, pump works great...
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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Canoe » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:38 pm

Mozy F Bonz wrote:Common questions asked on a swamp cooler service call.
...
Hope this helps. I know burners hate being told what they're doing wrong.
I tried to wait to see if you guys figured it out on your own.

Unfortunately, unless they post photos, it's pretty hard to guess where things went wrong.
"My favorite people are the people of the dessert", said Lawrence as he picked up his fork.
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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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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Canoe » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:48 pm

Mozy F Bonz wrote:The One of the flaws in this bucket design is your flowing too much water over these cooler pads. It should only be a trickle or a drip barely keeping the pad wet not a full flow stream of water running down it. When you take a flat cooler pad and your roll it up into a cylinder you're losing surface area when you run to much water down that pad you're losing more surface area. When you wrap a cage around that cooler pad to try to keep it from not touching the bucket they're losing more surface area. When the humidity starts going up you have to find tune these coolers so they work at an optimal range.
Large coolers on top of houses only have small drips of water running down into the pad not a big full stream of water.
I really do hope this helps.

The water flow of these DIY coolers is nowhere near what one gets from household lines.
The flow specified is required:
- To flush the pad of playa dust.
- Without sufficient water flow to keep the pad replenished with water, one gets dry spots in the pad, and can pass uncooled dusty air through the pad.
The blue pads have many fine fibres that results in huge water-to-air surface area. That's why substituting another pad type often results in poor performance. Don't be mislead by the foot print of the pad area.
Rolling into the bucket size as designed has little impact on air-flow paths nor water-air surface area. Scrunching the pad in anyway (some caged attempts) to get it to fit without touching the bucket sides can result in reduce flow paths and reduced surface area. Photos give this away.
"My favorite people are the people of the dessert", said Lawrence as he picked up his fork.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

Mozy F Bonz
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Mozy F Bonz » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:08 pm

I would agree the environment these coolers are running in is much different from what's on top of the house. Principle is the same. The clamp only gives you the ability to adjust. And when you're a service tech and you're having to fix these things and people want their systems to cool for them. Your start to understand what makes it cooler and how to adjust it to make it work better. I'm not Suggesting anybody change anything about their design. Only put a clamp on the hose and try cutting back the water you're using. Cooling or dust removal which do you want? I'm sure there's a happy medium between the two. I'm just giving you one piece that I think every Buddy has been missing in these builds. Nothing more.
~

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Mozy F Bonz » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:34 pm

Just to add a little bit of perspective.
From my dad In his 80s did this work all of his life. He describes The location of where he lived as 50 miles from Bakersfield and 50 miles from Fresno right in the middle up against the foothills. Fixed coolers in the tens of thousands.
What I've heard my dad tell a customer.
That $150 you were more than happy to pay me for the service call to come out and fix your cooler on this humid day...... and now it's blowing that beautiful cool air. all I did is screw that screw in five turns like this so you know how to adjust your cooler next time. The old ladies in the city loved him and would pay the 150 bucks just to have him come by and see them.
~

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Canoe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Canoe » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:54 pm

That's nice. And for those water flow rates, air flow rates, and pad media.

For these DIY swamp coolers, when built as designed with the correct parts/materials, and humidity and temperature is measured, these are cooling at or near the max according to the evaporative cooling tables. If you're getting 90%, 95% or 100% of the evaporative cooling potential, where's the improvement going to come from...

The blue duracool pad is constructed differently than the flat faceted "paper" media based pads of yester-year. The duracool pad has HUGE water-to-air surface area for the footprint area.

In these designs, when built ... etc.., cutting back on water flow results in dry spots in the pad, passing hot dusty air through the pad, raising the temperature of the cooler's output.

There have been some reports of performance issues where someone has used a crazy super-duper pump; and now you're saying that water flow may be an issue. I can see how some of the home cooler flat faceted "paper" media based pads would have their air flow paths decreased by too generous of a water flow (we've seen some coolers built with those types of media, with poor performance, particularly once they swell and have reduced air flow paths). But I've missed where you've explained how the water flow rates on these DIY cooler blue pads, where we know there are plenty of air flow paths and a humongous amount of water-to-air surface area, and the remaining factors of ambient humidity, temperature or air dwell time against water surface, can result in reduced performance.

In a related concern, I'm waiting to hear how the AFB1212GHE-CF00 240 cfm, 27.48 mm H2O fan did on the playa, as the pressure of 27.49mm instead of 17.74 mm, may suck air through the pad too quickly, reducing dwell time.
"My favorite people are the people of the dessert", said Lawrence as he picked up his fork.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

Mozy F Bonz
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Mozy F Bonz » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:49 pm

Principle is the same.
~

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:47 pm

The little pumps we use don't supply to much water.

The trickiest part of the build is getting the holes in the drip line spaced and uniform enough to flow out ALL the holes.

I know exactly what your talking about Mosy, I've dealt with swamp coolers all my life (though not as extensively as you have) , but 50 years experience does count for something. :wink:
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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby EGAZ » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:11 pm

I have to disagree on the "Large coolers on top of houses only have small drips of water running down into the pad not a big full stream of water." statement. It may look like a small drip but there is a large amount of water running through the pads. Not a water fall but much more than a drip. (I too have done a lot of swamp cooler work in the past ;) )

The Bucket Coolers are a compromise to a home style cooler. Everything about it is too small. But it works for a week in the "very dry climate of the playa" when done right. I have not seen many builds with an over sized pump(s), (other than mine anyway.. lol ) The clamps you speak of do help when running swampys during conditions on the upper end of their humidity range. This is not a problem on the playa.

Edit: FigJam beat me too it.... The biggest fail I notice is not doing the holes spaced/square/on the center line/etc. on the header tube. Get this wrong and one will have dry spots no matter how much water you push through it. The other is not sealing the lid to the media allowing air to bypass the media. After that its choking down the fan duct to the cooled space or too long of duct. Then no vent.

It was so dry this year I had trouble keeping both layers of my media completely wet. I run two 130G/hr pumps. One for each layer of media. The inner pad would completely wet but the outer pad, on the upwind side, would have a dry spot or two. Even if I shut down the fan for a few minutes to let it 'catch up', it would dry out again. The more water you could throw at the pads the better this year.

It was just flat hot and dry out there. :coffee:
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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BBadger
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby BBadger » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:29 pm

I made my initial set of holes too big, and had to redrill them in a spare piece to maintain enough pressure to spray out all the holes. I actually looked up FIGJAM's suggested 10 AWG wire diameter to match the drill bit size and it ended up working well after that. This was with a pretty standard 4.8W water pump.

I'll have to upgrade my fan next time though. Good way to keep extra cool and use up the water.
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dragonpilot
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby dragonpilot » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:09 pm

One thing I did notice is that my inner pad was mostly dry. My drip ring works fine as far as wetting the outer pad, but the inner pad was only wet where it sat in the water below the big holes. I'm thinking to get the inner pad wet I'd have to run a second drip ring. Yes? No?
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:47 pm

Shouldn't matter as long as the outer pad gets plenty.

I put that inner pad there mainly as a retainer for the drip line and extra filter, but if the fan pulls some water into it, even better.
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mohnjeyers
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby mohnjeyers » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:34 am

Figjam: Given how much issue there is with fans not being powerful enough, perhaps there's some merit to figuring out a solution to mounting the tubing without a second layer. It seems each pad contributes a significant amount of resistance. I took one pad out of my design mid-burn and didn't notice improvement in cooling.

I did not find that my cooler worked amazing, but it did work. I think there are gains to be had. I'm concerned that my pump (I used 500L/H pump) put too much water on the pad, and with the significant surface tension inherent in water, I lost surface area for air exchange as the fibers were "melded" together by water.

I plan to do some modification and more testing at different flow rates for next year with an improved design. 8)

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby asr9754 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:42 pm

I'd not complicate things with a second drip ring, pump etc. I know we're calling it a "drip ring" but it should not be "DRIPPING", it should really be SPRAYING a fine stream of water out of every hole. My swampie gets both layers of pad pretty much totally damp. May need to adjust the placement of the drip ring, the holes, or tweak the circumference just slightly to ensure an even distribution of water thru the pads. If you have dry spots in the pad, the hot air will seek these out and dilute your cold air noticeably. Good luck!
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Leap » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:38 pm

Other than using more energy, is there a downside to adding another pump and tube to the inner duracool pad?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby asr9754 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:51 pm

It would use more energy, parts, and you have more points of failure. I like the KISS principle but understood not everyone agrees.
The single drip-ring is quite elegant in that it fits around the inner blue pad, which fits just about perfectly around the CPU fan. I don't know if you could fit another drip ring on the inner pad without interfering with the assembly of the CPU fan and blue cylinder, which could introduce gaps. But try it and prove me wrong!

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby unjonharley » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:27 pm

asr9754 wrote:It would use more energy, parts, and you have more points of failure. I like the KISS principle but understood not everyone agrees.
The single drip-ring is quite elegant in that it fits around the inner blue pad, which fits just about perfectly around the CPU fan. I don't know if you could fit another drip ring on the inner pad without interfering with the assembly of the CPU fan and blue cylinder, which could introduce gaps. But try it and prove me wrong!

For a couple of years now, I have watched people pole vault over the mouse turds .. I drilled and built a cooler the first year it was posted .. It cools just fine .. If your having problems ?? Go back to the first post.. Forget what you think you know.. Build your Homer cooler as directed in the first draft..
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