Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby FlyingMonkey » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:35 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:Rooftop A/C is the way to go on a bus like Sparr wishes to cool, not window or floor-standing. However, I own a big floor-standing single hose A/C at home, and despite all the theories that say it shouldn't work, it chills a pretty big space on hot days very nicely on about 400 running watts.

Swamp cooler proponents have all sorts of arguments why A/C shouldn't work, but the fact is it does, and makes colder air than a swamp cooler can.

I run a rooftop A/C in my unshaded camper (which is an oven otherwise) on the playa, and I invite anyone to step inside and see for themselves how much colder it is inside than any swamp-cooled space they have.

Colder is colder, that's the bottom line.

Run a swamp cooler if you haven't got the electricity for A/C, have lots of water to burn away, don't want to be as cool, and don't mind all your stuff being damp.

You're right. I forgot he was cooling a bus. Nix the mist. I have an RV A/C unit in my bus but the power requirement forced me to use a noisy generator which I won't do again. If I'm sleeping during the daytime I like to crash out in our car port & the mister worked great. If for some weird reason I find myself sleeping at night cooling is never an issue.
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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby Major Krash » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:25 pm

maladroit wrote:... I need to write this up and perhaps make a simple circuit/kit for people to do their own mods.

Please do - this sounds awesome!
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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby Canoe » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:47 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:... But this thread is about chilling a bus.

And my post detailed the types of A/C unit operation, so people can be aware of the choices they can make, instead of not being aware that they're making a choice, while providing some points on improving efficiency of operation.

> those single-hose freestanding units actually work quite well even though they shouldn't.
"even though they shouldn't" is an example of "not technically correct".
There are many spaces that any of the above A/C unit types can cool well, if they're sized appropriately. Different types, or in different modes, have different efficiencies, both electrical and thermal. In a given cooling situation, it is possible that units of the same BTU rating and electrical efficiency, but of different types or modes, will result in one being able to do the job and the other can't. This is materially different from the incorrect "even though they shouldn't". Of course the turn-key solution is simply throw size and power at it: a large A/C unit and the power to run it.

I don't know if you were tired when you read and posted or if you've got your solution for the playa so you didn't give it full attention. If you want to understand, go back and read above. You've already got your turn-key solution that works for you on the playa, so you personally don't need to understand.

Not explained above, but only touched upon, is the difference in how an A/C unit fits in cooling a space vs. how a swamp-cooler cools a space. (This is completely different from how each produces their chilled air.) That has been covered in the swamp-cooler thread many times, although the thread's emphasis is 1. how to build one that works well on the playa, and 2. how they produce chilled air. It's a very interesting difference (well, to me it is...), as understanding opens up methods of installation and use that provide more effective cooling inside a structure.
If understanding how they chill a space interests you, go read. Hint (on a platter): if the hot air is expelled from the interior then you don't need super chilled air to mix with it to lower its temperature. And further to how it works, and one of the available tweaks,
Again, this info is of no value to you with your existing turn-key solution.

Yes, if an A/C unit has enough BTU then it can overcool a space if you choose to do so. Unless the air coming out of the swamp-cooler is cooler than you'd ever want, then the swamp-cooler won't overcool that space. On the playa, some setups have a swamp-cooler overcooling their space somewhat, so they shut it off, have it on a timer or even a thermostat.

As for using a swamp-cooler on a large space like a bus, the success of doing that would depend on how passively heat resistant the bus is (forget it if lots of unsheilded windows; too large a heat gain, you'd have to be replacing the inside air too often). It's a balance of airflow of chilled swamp-cooler air, which results of a dwell time of that air within the structure as it flows through the structure, against how much heat is incoming to the structure and how much it will heat up the interior air before it is exhausted by fresh chilled incoming air from a swamp-cooler(s). If one's intended use of the bus precludes taking measures to minimize heat gain from the playa, then don't waste your time considering a swamp cooler (you'd need very large, or a number of large units, and you wouldn't be able to know if you got it right until you were on the playa...).

BUT, a small swamp-cooler can be an additional benefit to add to a bus (or ____), even though it would not be doing any meaningful cooling load: would you like to have the interior at a slight positive air pressure to minimize dust getting in while having the incoming swamp cooler air replacing interior dusty air (dust you tracked in and gets into the air) with fresh dust-free air?

A swamp-cooler is not a turn-key solution. You have to built it, install it on the playa (although you could have it integrated to the bus) and monitor it & add water as required (or use a top off, which has to be monitored). But it has way fewer points of failure, significantly less noise, both inside and against your neighbours, isn't causing wear & tear on A/C or generator that are way more expensive, pushes dusty air out with dust-free air replacing it, while that air is comfortable cool, and happens to cost a fraction of an A/C solution.
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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby maladroit » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:04 pm

My single point of data is that a FIGJAM-style swamp cooler was only enough to take the edge off the heat in a standard H12 hexayurt. The smallest window AC unit we could buy accidentally cooled the hexayurt air temperature to 64 degrees midday when we fell asleep with it running.

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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:05 pm

The two types of A/C units you talked about aren't even the ones to use on a bus.
You can educate me on things I already know until you turn blue but you can't get your thermometer to read as low in your swamp-cooled space as I can by using an A/C.
It's not that I don't understand the principles. It's that you're arguing the merits of an inferior system.
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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby maladroit » Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:41 pm

I would say that a swamp cooler is definitely better than nothing. FIGJAM bucket style would work pretty well for a 6 foot hexayurt or truckbed camper. FIGJAM uses a much larger swamp cooler for his own cargo-trailer camper. It's a good solution if you don't need a generator for other uses, if you budget for cooling is less than $200, if you only have <100W solar power, etc.

It's a great and creative solution, but as Captain says, if your measure for success is the thermometer then the swamp cooler can't win.

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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:44 pm

The bucket was only meant for a tent or van, that's why people using them for yurts get marginal results.

That's the very reason I designed the unicooler for those larger spaces.

The unicooler actually uses about the same power on medium speed (500 CFM) as the bucket cooler!!!

The only complaint so far is that people were spending to much time in their yurts and missing the festivities.

I hung a thermometer in front of my cooler this year, and it was consistently putting out 65 degree air, keeping me cool and dust free.

It's not a competition in my view.

Different needs = different solutions. 8)
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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby AntiM » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:11 am

A "different needs" scenario: MyLarry takes one of our bucket coolers with him on the semi to cool the sleeping area of his tractor. Truckstops and DC lots get brutally hot in the summer, and he hates to idle (and loves the low idle bonus), so the 12V cooler is ideal, and provides just enough cooling to be comfy. An entire bus? Nope. Swamp coolers are not "inferior", they do what they do well, just not useful for every application.

At home, I have the choice of AC or evap in my bedroom. Unless it is near or over 100 outdoors, I prefer the evap airflow feel. The AC makes me feel boxed in. Great at night, because it makes a terrific white noise generator.

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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby jgwinner » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:34 am

I found this thread due to the mini-split discussion, but haven't seen any other threads talking about mini-splits. The Sanyo systems I believe would need professional A/C tools to attach the lines.

This unit doesn't:

I'm thinking it might work really well for a (sealed) tent. (I have a Coleman Instadome which can be sealed, no mesh. Still, it's a tent, it'll leak).

What's great about this unit is you can put the evaporator / pump outside, then run the lines into the tent through a very small opening. No tools needed.

Has anyone seen this or tried it? DIdn't find any references via search, or the Sanyo units. I really like the idea of something that recirculates, per this great conversation.

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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby Admiral Fukkit » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:25 am

According to one reviewer it draws 15 amps at startup and 11 amps continuously - that's a lot!!! That alone is a deal-breaker for a 10k BTU A/C. If I were you I'd go with a one-piece portable. Simpler, cheaper, more efficient.

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Re: Most efficient and/or lowest startup power air conditioners?

Postby EGAZ » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:01 pm

Just wanted to say to maladroit that your little control board is the Bomb Dillio!! Did you ever get a
'How Too' typed up? I assume the board gets mounted to the genny? I do the 'sequence of operation' in manual mode right now... :wink:
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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