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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BurnerSkunk
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by BurnerSkunk » Thu May 19, 2016 11:32 am

Just finished building mine !! (Pics tonight).. But a question... I am obviously putting the swamp cooler outside my tent and piping it in, but I have the option of putting the swamp cooler itself under the shade structure, or in direct sunlight. Which is better?

With Direct sunlight the water will evaporate faster... But it will also heat up faster... Anyone know which is ideal?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Thu May 19, 2016 11:54 am

In the shade is slightly better.

The heat and dryness of the AIR is what causes the cooling, not so much the sun on the cooler. 8)
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AntiM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by AntiM » Thu May 19, 2016 12:12 pm

I agree, they work better when shaded. I have one on the roof of my house, in a metal "squirrel cage" and when I first turn it on, it blasts hot air until the water pump gets going.

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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Thu May 19, 2016 12:23 pm

Agreed x3, shade helps at start up but not as noticeable when running for any length of time.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Fri May 20, 2016 9:47 am

The A/C in the van is to old to recharge.. So the bucket cooler will ride in the back of the van. Below the A/C intake.. Running a dryer tube from the bucket to the intake.. Use the A/C blower while traveling.. Switch to the bucket blower exhaust to cool while sleeping or chilling.. It has been damn hot here a few days... The cooler did a great job. It save gas also..
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sucobe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sucobe » Mon May 23, 2016 1:38 pm

Looking to build this for our yurt and two points:

1) How does this fair with playa dust? I imagine the dust getting into the holes and on the wet pad thus creating a messy situation.

2) FIGJAM, you mentioned solar panel but then said your deep cycle battery? So did you just replace the solar panel included with your deep cycle? Was the solar panel not worth the effort compared to deep cycle?

LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Mon May 23, 2016 3:51 pm

1) Dust has not been an issue. The swamp cooler actually filters the air and the cool air output is not dusty at all. There is a thin layer of silt at the bottom of my bucket by the end of the week, but it's never caused a problem. Just don't let it run dry.
2) For my setup, the cooler runs off a 12V battery. My solar panel charges the same battery. But I don't run the swampie directly off the solar panel. I tried to make that work but functionally it's elusive due to the fact that I run swampie in the morning when the panel has gotten dusty overnight and sun is not at peak--I'd need a very big panel to make that work. Using 12v Battery WITH solar panel is a great compromise solution. Use power when you need it. Solar recharges it during the day.

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon May 23, 2016 9:12 pm

sucobe wrote:Looking to build this for our yurt and two points:

1) How does this fair with playa dust? I imagine the dust getting into the holes and on the wet pad thus creating a messy situation.

2) FIGJAM, you mentioned solar panel but then said your deep cycle battery? So did you just replace the solar panel included with your deep cycle? Was the solar panel not worth the effort compared to deep cycle?
The dust hasn't been an issue for the 6 years I've had the coolers on the playa.

I've NEVER used a solar panel.

A one hundred+ AH battery will run the bucket cooler 5 hours a day for the whole week without a recharge.

Same with the bigger coolers IF you only run them on low speed, which should be plenty for a yurt. 8)
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sucobe
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sucobe » Tue May 24, 2016 4:55 pm

Cheers and thanks for the response!

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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Fri May 27, 2016 9:41 am

I have a pump question.

First, I just tested my fan that came this week and I have great success!

Image

As you can see it has all black wires, which some figuring out. I found some specs and tested it with a USB cable. It supposed to be a 150 CFM fan at 12v. It's not bad now running on less than half the volts it was designed for.

I made the mistake of ordering an AC pump. I was about to order a DC pump but I thought I would ask about how many gallons per hour I need. Will 40 to 60 suffice?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri May 27, 2016 10:32 am

At least 60 GPH.
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Fri May 27, 2016 11:24 am

FIGJAM wrote:At least 60 GPH.
Thanks. I just ordered and It arrives Sunday! While I am going to build this weekend, I may not be able to really test the maximum cooling effect until on the playa. I'm in NJ where it's already getting humid and it will only get worse.

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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Fri May 27, 2016 2:29 pm

Would that Flex Coat (as seen on TV) seal wooden tank good enough for a cooler??
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri May 27, 2016 4:11 pm

Although I've found out that the roof coating isn't completely water proof, adding a coat of spray appliance epoxy over the coating is working perfectly.

Even while using the cheapest plywood to build the box. 8)
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri May 27, 2016 4:16 pm

For testing coolers in humid climates, set your home AC unit to 80 degrees.

This will dry the air out and you will be able to test your cooler. 8)
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unjonharley
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Sat May 28, 2016 8:41 am

FIGJAM wrote:For testing coolers in humid climates, set your home AC unit to 80 degrees.

This will dry the air out and you will be able to test your cooler. 8)
Throw the thing in a hot car/van, open a window a bit and test run the cooler..
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat May 28, 2016 9:17 am

That'll work if the climate is dry enough. What you need to test one of those figgybuckets is heat plus super low humidity.
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Sun May 29, 2016 3:29 am

It's already steamy in the east coast and my 100 year old house has radiator heat, so I can't dry my home out to test it. I'll just have to make sure everything runs and hope for the best in August.

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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Mon May 30, 2016 8:17 am

Just check the pump and make sure the entire pad is being flushed & getting good water dispersion. Wet pads, fan runs, it is what it is & should work fine.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Mon May 30, 2016 1:38 pm

Gotcha. Thanks! Today I showed off my CPU fan and pump to my neighbor from west Texas who wants to go to BM but can't pull the trigger. He grew up on swamp coolers and said the 5 gallon FIGJAM bucket would work great for my small tent. Staying cool was a big reason I bought a 3 person 4 season tent rather than a Kodiak. I didn't think the 5 gallon could cool off that much space.

LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Tue May 31, 2016 8:55 am

Properly spec'd and assembled, the 5-gal swampie can cool a decent sized space. A 3-person tent is totally do-able with the 5-gal unit. There are a few things you can do to test it, even in a humid climate. Like ^^ said, make sure you are getting an even distribution of water and the whole blue pad is wet all the way around. Make sure the fan is not squashing or crimping the blue pad as you put the lid on. As the pad gets saturated, it gets heavier and it can slouch down a bit, opening up a gap between the bucket lid and the pad. (This is not good). Keep an eye on this situation, there are fixes available if this happens to you.

Once it's assembled and the pump and fan are running, wave a stick of incense or a cigarette around the bucket. The smoke should get sucked into and THRU the blue pad. If instead the smoke gets sucked upward toward the top of the bucket lid, you have gaps and it won't cool as well.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wolfraider » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:50 pm

Hey all!

If I use a controller and a 100 watt solar panel, I shouldn't need a 100+ aH battery, correct? My Costco doesn't have the sweet 12volt deep cycle like I need and they get pricey online for over 100 amp hour batteries.

Some details:

Finished my bucket cooler but dont think I want to go full solar for those cloudy days. I'm looking to double up my swamp cooler as a source for my tent lighting as well swamp cooler duties. My plan was to use low wattage led's and then charge and use the swampy via solar during the day.

Math:
Solar panel: 100 watts
Fan: 30-ish watts
Pump: 5 watts
Light bulb connected to float switch to tell me when the pump is out of water: 4 watts
Led lights for nighttime: TBD but hopefully >40 watts

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:58 pm

Then get one at WalMart.
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wolfraider
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by wolfraider » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:14 pm

No Walmart in Brooklyn. Big box stores tend to be a rarity. Oddly there is a Costco near me but I doubt lowes sells these batteries.

The main question is do I need a larger than 100 amp hour battery or could I survive with a 50-ish one.

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Popeye
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Popeye » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:36 pm

Any boat store and most auto parts stores will have the battery you're looking for. Look in the yellow pages for Battery Manufacturer, a lot of these guys will sell to individuals. I assume you are driving? Pick one up on the way. I've found Sears to be the most expensive but good service and the Mfr's the cheapest but lousy service.
The 100AH battery has been picked by trial and error by many people looking for the best bang for their buck. 50 sounds a little small- remember a PV system is advertised to put out so much power on the best day possible with plenty of sun and no dust. Add up your fan, pump and lighting loads from say 4:30 PM to 9AM. Will your fully charged 50AH battery last?
If you aren't familiar with loads, batterys, etc. the Captain has an electrical primer posted around here. Maybe he could give us a link? :D
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LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:39 pm

Wolfie, I run a swampie plus battery plus solar. Bigger battery is better than bigger solar panel. Get the 100 amp battery. Make sure it's fully charged. You could prob get by with a 50 watt panel if you are responsible about turning stuff off. Solar serves only to recharge the battery. Doesn't matter how big the panel is if your small battery can't take any more juice.

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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:01 am

Regarding the dura-cool pads, do I not want them to touch the inside of the bucket. As in, should the diameter of the dura-cool pad tube be slightly smaller than the diameter of the inside of the bucket?

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:12 am

The bottom of the bucket is slightly smaller than the top. (Tapered)

If you make the tube the same size as the bottom, by the time it reaches the height of the holes, it will be about 1/4" from the sides of the bucket.

This prevents leaks.

The duracool pad actually has a "grain" to it, so it shapes and stands better one way than the other. 8)
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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:19 am

Thanks! I think buckets here on the East Coast may be manufactured somewhere else. The spec is a tiny bit off. A 33 1/2 inch wide pad for the outer ring is about an inch two wide. I had to shave off a bit to make it fit. I'll shave off a tiny bit more to get the desired effect of it being the circumference of the bottom of the bucket.

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Leap
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Leap » Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:24 am

This about right?

Image

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