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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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Thu May 22, 2014 1:32 pm

Couple of brass elbows and a little tube will give you a read on water level..

Put the elbows one above the other through the side of the bucket.. The lower one about 1 inch from the bottom.. The other elbow up above you normal water level.. Put the clear tube between the to elbows.. Measure the water going in a little at a time.. Mark the tube in the side of the bucket... See your water level at a glance..

For me a micro switch is not worth the trouble.. I only use the cooler while getting out of the mid day heat..

I need the water level gage for traveling.. Check it at rest and gas stops..
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu May 22, 2014 1:45 pm

car2roll wrote:I've been lurking in this forum topic for a few weeks. Found all the info to build a unicooler with no questions asked.
See pictures below. How'ed I do Figjam? :)
You did a great job recreating the original unicooler! 8)

The problem with that is that the intake isn't big enough to take full advantage of the fan on high speed, which would allow you to cool up to 2700 cu. ft. of space!!! 8)
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car2roll
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by car2roll » Thu May 22, 2014 7:26 pm

Thanks Figjam,
I agree that I can't cool 3000 cu_ft. But my 1100 cu_ft H15 yurt should be just fine.
You the man Figjam.
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ain't. That's logic!"
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sharpstick
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Thu May 22, 2014 8:02 pm

I tested my cooler today.
outdoors, Florida:
humidity 49% (reported by wundergrond)
ambient temp 86.2
output temp 75.2
difference 11.0
indoors
humidity 48% (by meter)
ambient temp 78.8
output temp 71.0
difference 7.8

I think I saw somewhere that the higher the ambient temp, the greater difference you can get.

I'llpost pics and mod notes tomorrow.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu May 22, 2014 9:23 pm

Right in the sweet spot!!! 8)

Image
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sharpstick
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Fri May 23, 2014 4:53 am

sc-pad-side.jpg
sc-lid.jpg
sc-complete.jpg
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sharpstick
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Fri May 23, 2014 4:59 am

sc-top.jpg
sc-pad-and-hose.jpg
Ready to dry it out and box up.
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nikki_lareinepetite
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by nikki_lareinepetite » Sun May 25, 2014 6:23 pm

Forgive me since I am not a skilled hand-woman.....but if you don't have access to any sort of electricity you should rely on the solar pump correct? Also, how would you hook up a fan to be solar powered? Thanks!

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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Sun May 25, 2014 6:40 pm

nikki_lareinepetite wrote:Forgive me since I am not a skilled hand-woman.....but if you don't have access to any sort of electricity you should rely on the solar pump correct? Also, how would you hook up a fan to be solar powered? Thanks!
These coolers are designed to run off a battery.. I used two solar pumps.. they both pumped water to the tube.. Each on the half circle.. For power a 12 volt reducer.. The reducer came with a adjustable voltage switch.. Can be found at WallyWorld in auto supplies.. The fan run 12 volt right off the battery.. Figjam And I have large car batteries.. They will last most of the week on the desert.. Some campers will share there generator if you use a smaller battery and need a charge.. Keep asking Fig Jam how to do make your cooler.. He is very good at helping..
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun May 25, 2014 7:56 pm

Here's one to give you an idea.

I don't depend on solar and this fan doesn't put out enough air, but get the right fan and make it work!!!

[media]
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danyal711
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by danyal711 » Wed May 28, 2014 1:28 am

Does anyone have experience making the swamp cooler completely solar powered? I've read quite a bit on the forums and it seems like the main issue is that the pumps don't perform well if it isn't perfectly sunny.

I'm thinking about the following and would love some advice:
1) Get a solar pump that is rated at +100gph (much higher than needed since I think ~50-60 is needed for the swamp cooler), that way even in not ideal conditions, it should still pump a decent amount of water.

2) Get a regular pump and then buy a larger solar panel separately so that even in non ideal conditions it'l provide enough power. I'm guessing I'll need some type of current regulator so that at full power the panels don't blow the pump.

Separately I'd also need a panel to power the fan. Probably will end up going with the fan that everyone has been recommending and then find a suitable panel. Again maybe it would be possible to buy a larger panel so provide some buffer on a cloudy day? No clue what components I'd need to ensure that the power doesn't exceed the max value of the fan.

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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Wed May 28, 2014 7:19 am

Solar set up " = " stomping a fly with an elephant..

solar panels, controller, inverter, tracker device and storage battery

one large lead acid battery..85 bucks new or 36 rebuilt,, works at night and cloudy days
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sharpstick
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Wed May 28, 2014 7:34 am

Using your car battery risks a dead battery by burn day. Car batteries aren't designed to be run down as much as DC ones. A small deep cycle battery keeps it separate. Carry along a small charger if you can find someone with a gennie to charge it up midweek or so.
This doesn't work for me because I fly in.

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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Wed May 28, 2014 7:48 am

sharpstick wrote:Using your car battery risks a dead battery by burn day. Car batteries aren't designed to be run down as much as DC ones. A small deep cycle battery keeps it separate. Carry along a small charger if you can find someone with a gennie to charge it up midweek or so.
This doesn't work for me because I fly in.
Suggest no one use "the car battery" for lights or cooling.. A lead acid battery will give a bunch of LED lighting or run a cooler for many hours.. If no near camp has gennie jump and charge with your car for 10 minutes..Deep cell battery take a long slow charge.. Flying in? Two kids scooter battery 14$ per will run your cooler or LED light your camp...
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daft
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by daft » Thu May 29, 2014 6:39 pm

The hard part at the City is that is so hot in the day and so cool at night, right when it cools down you want to go out at night with your lights and trippy attire and hop on art cars and visit the sound camps at each end so you end up going to bed at 4-6am and then go back to camp and sleep, but then it is so hot by 10am so you get up and wander around looking for pancakes and bacon. I can do a day or two but tough to string it out for a week. Turning on the AC in the RV just seems so wrong to me I end up chilling in the shade of the big box it is. So I try and crash at 12 and get up when its still cool and ride out to the playa.

fj rocks for the solution to trying to work a few more hours of rest in, but I just try and adapt. Maybe move to Phoenix and then it will seem wonderful in August.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kowtow » Thu May 29, 2014 7:08 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Here's one to give you an idea.

I don't depend on solar and this fan doesn't put out enough air, but get the right fan and make it work!!!

[media]
Be CAREFUL with these fans!!! In the last month I've lost two shirts and it turned the end of my finger into hamburger!

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kowtow » Thu May 29, 2014 7:17 pm

unjonharley wrote:
sharpstick wrote:Using your car battery risks a dead battery by burn day. Car batteries aren't designed to be run down as much as DC ones. A small deep cycle battery keeps it separate. Carry along a small charger if you can find someone with a gennie to charge it up midweek or so.
This doesn't work for me because I fly in.
Suggest no one use "the car battery" for lights or cooling.. A lead acid battery will give a bunch of LED lighting or run a cooler for many hours.. If no near camp has gennie jump and charge with your car for 10 minutes..Deep cell battery take a long slow charge.. Flying in? Two kids scooter battery 14$ per will run your cooler or LED light your camp...
I have to agree with the general consensus here. Don't use your primary car battery, it's just not going to be worth it and you're surely going to be disappointed come exodus time. I will have 3 or 4 auxiliary 125Ah deep cycle batteries to keep me going for the week, but I will also have 200W of solar panels to help rejuvenate them each day. At a minimum go and buy a deep cycle battery at Costco (~$86) or WallyMart (~$90). That way when it dies mid-week you can be thankful you didn't use your car battery.

I plan on bringing a battery charger and generator along. If anyone needs to have their battery charged, stop on buy and I will gladly charge them for you.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kowtow » Thu May 29, 2014 7:33 pm

danyal711 wrote:Does anyone have experience making the swamp cooler completely solar powered? I've read quite a bit on the forums and it seems like the main issue is that the pumps don't perform well if it isn't perfectly sunny.

I'm thinking about the following and would love some advice:
1) Get a solar pump that is rated at +100gph (much higher than needed since I think ~50-60 is needed for the swamp cooler), that way even in not ideal conditions, it should still pump a decent amount of water.
I have a box cooler (FigJam's design). I ran it with no problems this spring in Yuma on a week when it was 90-95 degrees. I used a 12vdc pump that was rated at 22gph and that was PLENTY. It consumed a mere 0.65Ah. Here is a link to the one I purchased:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009B5 ... UTF8&psc=1
danyal711 wrote:2) Get a regular pump and then buy a larger solar panel separately so that even in non ideal conditions it'l provide enough power. I'm guessing I'll need some type of current regulator so that at full power the panels don't blow the pump.

Separately I'd also need a panel to power the fan. Probably will end up going with the fan that everyone has been recommending and then find a suitable panel. Again maybe it would be possible to buy a larger panel so provide some buffer on a cloudy day? No clue what components I'd need to ensure that the power doesn't exceed the max value of the fan.
As has been suggested, get a solar panel kit. They come with a charge controller, panel, wiring and all you need to do is add a deep cycle battery. This is a must. It would be foolish to spend money for a panel and not get a charge controller. The charge controllers are less than $20-30 bucks for a single panel operation. Then you have power 24/7 and the panel charges the battery in the day time.

Back to the cooler. BUY the Endless Breeze fan:

http://www.amazon.com/Fan-Tastic-Vent-0 ... breeze+fan

This is a power saver yet powerful fan. I think you are looking at about 3.5Ah to run the pump and fan. Soooo.... you can run your swamp cooler ALL day and into the night without taxing your battery whatsoever.

One 100W panel will likely give you ~4-6Ah of power every hour. If you are only consuming 3.5Ah of power every hour then you are using the extra 0.5-2.5Ah surplas power to keep the battery topped off. So when you keep running the swamp cooler into the evening you can afford to discharge your battery, because come morning it will be getting charged once again.

All total you are looking at about $350 (retail) for a swamp cooler setup that will have you very pleased:

$150 100W Solar Panel Kit and Charge Controller
$ 86 125Ah Deep Cycle Battery
$ 69 Endless Breeze Fan
$ 19 12vdc 22gph Pump
$ 26 Box Fan material Costs

The cool thing is, you will have extra battery life, get some LED and EL lighting and charge your phone to keep taking lots of cool pix!

Just my advice...

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu May 29, 2014 7:52 pm

I would be surprised if that cooler used 3.5 amps even on high speed.

My cooler on low speed (250cfm) uses between 1.5 and 2 amps including the pump.

My 105 AH deep cycle battery runs my cooler, a 1 amp LED light for the interior of the playapod, and my radio/cd/cassette all week without a recharge.

If I was stuck inside because of a whiteout, I may have to idle the truck for an hour midweek to recharge! 8)

Keep it simple folks.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kowtow » Thu May 29, 2014 8:08 pm

FIGJAM wrote:I would be surprised if that cooler used 3.5 amps even on high speed.
I was assuming the Endless Breeze on high (3) was around 2.9Ah and then the added 0.65 of the pump is what had my numbers at around 3.5Ah. Even so, that current draw is trivial considering a single 50W light bulb would draw more power.

Being disciplined you could do it with your car battery, but one trip to the playa forgetting you were draining your car batter and 20hrs and 60-70Ah later, the car won't start.

I'm all about excess and knowing how undisciplined I want to be at Burning Man, I definitely don't want to end up my own worst enemy when I forget to turn something off come day 3 or 4.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu May 29, 2014 9:03 pm

I'm pretty sure the fan uses 2.5 on high.

Your setup is great, but I'm thinking of all the people with limited space.

You could get away with using the cars battery IF you Idled it for an hour every other day, but it still wouldn't be good for the battery. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by maxxiimo » Fri May 30, 2014 10:09 am

Hello folks,

I'm putting together a slightly different spin on evaporation coolers that makes me wonder if it's going to work, effectively. So I have a question around the energy exchange in evaporation and this contraption that is better served by seeing it (video):

http://chrismaxwell.com/evap_cooler/

Here it is in a photo:

Image

The white tube will be covered with an evaporation cooler pad with water pumped onto it from the base of the blue box. I'm wondering if the water in the blue box will evaporate around the tube to the extent that it decreases the coolness effect from the energy exchange: evaporated water mixed with hot air flowing through the wet pad vs. dry air? My gut feeling is that the water at the base of the blue box will not evaporate that fast, and even if it did, then I suppose it's still doing its job.

Thanks!

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri May 30, 2014 12:00 pm

The air will be moving through the box fast enough that it won't affect the efficiency.

My concern is water running onto that cross tube, getting inside, and blowing through your fan and hose. :?
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asr9754
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by asr9754 » Fri May 30, 2014 12:13 pm

Since you asked....A few thoughts on the blue box variation: That's a looooong vent tube. With my first swampie, I noticed a definite reduction in coldness with a longer duct. Longer tube = more air friction, less air pressure, and also more exposure to sunlight to re-heat your cold air. Best to get the whole cooler apparatus as close as possible to your tent/window/yurt and minimize the length of the vent tube. I also wrapped my vent tube with bubble-foil wrap to keep it shaded and insulated. Way cool!

Second, there's not as much surface area for the filter material as compared to the 5-gal bucket cooler. More surface area = more opportunity for heat exchange.

Third, the design has a lot of constrictions on the incoming air; the hole in the box top could be much larger and you'd let air in more freely. I don't think you even need the screen on top, the filter material itself does a fine job of eliminating dust. Never tried the Aspen material but people on the forum have said it moops a lot.

As for your main question, yes I think the chamber inside the blue box would become somewhat humid because it's a dark-colored box full of water sitting in a hot environment, with a lid on top and a relatively small air intake. If the inside of the box gets humid, the evap-cooling effect might decrease as you suspected. It's best if the intake air is as dry as possible, ie, right off the playa, whereas the blue-box design has the evap medium inside another chamber that has its own source of humidity.

All in all, it's a creative design but the Figjam original excels b/c the air intake has greater surface area with fewer constrictions, and air intake is directly from the external environment. Good luck!

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by maxxiimo » Fri May 30, 2014 3:04 pm

Some excellent points.

@Figjam what if I brought the PVC/wicking "wand" into the tent; maybe securing it to a shallow bucket (or trough) with water/pump, etc.? I'm thinking (theorizing) that when the hot dry desert air pumped into the tent – through the filtering box – passes through the wicking material, the cooling effect will be closer to where it's needed? I wonder if that would be a better design for this blue box variation?

I haven't tested the dripping factor yet, but you're right. If it does I will upright the box outside of the tents with the small bucket on the ground end.

(I'm using a box versus a bucket because it doubles as a gear container/luggage. I fly in from Florida.)

@asr9754 good ideas. I'll come up with a better delivery method closer to the tent and with less friction and better insulation. Maybe straight PVC?

For the intake hole I figured it was sufficiently larger than the outtake hole, but I think you're right; it's going through a filter.

(The second reason I use a box is to double filter the air. Clean-air and positive pressure inside of my 10 x 14 Kodiak canvas tent - especially during prolonged whiteout conditions.)

I think the wand approach may provide tighter airflow control and probably more surface area and surface area utilization. I could be wrong though. I'll definitely add more holes.

Thanks for the excellent feedback!

Guitar Hero

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri May 30, 2014 3:57 pm

Test it!

The design change is so radical that I can't be sure it will work.

You will want the air flow from the output to be directional so that you can sleep in front of the breeze if you have to. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ano » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:36 pm

If I don't have access to a hole saw, what would be a good way to get holes in the bucket? Knife and cutting?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:15 pm

Maybe. But not fun. Probably take a few hours. Do you have a sabre saw?

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:04 am

Cut diamond shapes out with a box knife will work fine..
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sharpstick
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:37 am

a hexagon or higher order polygon is more efficient and would experience less turbulence. nah, i'm just bullshittin ya.
a knife will work if you're desperate. if possible, that might go easier if you start the corners with a drill hole. and a wood chisel might work better.

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