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 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:00 pm

You're getting creative and I like your style! Keep in mind that a taller bucket and more evap surface area won't necessarily make a better cooler, you're limited by the airflow of the fan too. Your 12' tent is rather sizable esp since it will leak air, but getting it under shade will be a huge improvement. Also try this trick: Hang a sheet as a divider within the tent to isolate your sleeping area, and run the swamp cooler into this inner chamber. You'll trap the cool area at your bed area during nap time. And bonus it'll make your tent feel like a "suite".

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Popeye
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Popeye » Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:29 pm

My point was that he is trying to do more work with the same amount of power drawn. that is lift water higher and move the air higher. You can't do more work with the same amount of energy so the volume of water and air will decrease. My gut tells me air volume/speed will be most important. Dryer tubing is fairly resistive to airflow.
Sorry that I didn't explaing this well enough.

FIGJAM wrote:Those specs show 2.3amps per hour of use. (mine is under 2amps)

Best battery life means don't discharge below 50%.

100AH battery mean 50 usable AHs.

4 hrs a day will use close to 10 of those hours.

So realistically, you can go 5 days with that set up before recharge.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

sharpstick
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by sharpstick » Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:46 pm

asr9754 wrote: . . . Hang a sheet as a divider within the tent to isolate your sleeping area, and run the swamp cooler into this inner chamber. You'll trap the cool area at your bed area during nap time.
My design goes one step farther. We have a cabin tent, too. The bed itself has a coffinish enclosure over it made of housewrap and suspended from the tent frame with a couple bamboo spreaders. It's only about 30 cu ft. (This started on my second burn in '03. I put my bed inside a small TNF backpacking tent, inside the cabin tent. It had a full length fly so it would seal up during the day to keep dust out, at night to keep it warm, an had full openings on both sides to let i air when I wanted. I realized that the suspended tyvek thing accomplished the same thing at 1/3 the weight, a significant issue when flying out every year.)
With this design, the SC can be inside the protection of the big tent and be less exposed to dust.

legionvr6
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by legionvr6 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 9:29 pm

Almost done with my cooler. dual fans in the lid and i wired the pump to a DC jack on the side of the bucket for easy connect and disconnect since I plan to run the fans non stop to keep positive pressure in my tent to help minimize dust. I also installed 2 DC jacks on my solar generator for connecting the fans and pump.

The fans are 150 CFM and 127 CFM. I'm wondering if the holes are to small though as the suction created when I put on the lid with the fans going seams a bit strong. Any thoughts from the photo's?
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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:17 pm

If you're going to run two fans you should go with a different container, like a storage bin. ;) And they should be the same size, (CFM) as the one spinning faster will do most of the work and the smaller not running to design. You can't just add the CFMs of two different sized fans together when using the same duct, in or out.

Looks like the fans are running in the pic. Did it have water pumping too? Did water get sucked into the fans? I would be surprised if it does not. If you look at my fan layout on the bin cooler 'lid V1', there is just over an inch from the edge of the fans to the media. (on the latch ends) At times even this would suck water into the fans.
IMAG1623-a.jpg
I moved them closer together on 'lid V2' to eliminate the 'water carry over' problem.
IMAG1983-a.jpg
Both of your fans push 277CFM, in perfect conditions. You're not going to see much difference IRL from one 200CFM fan. Like the ones specified. ;)

If you move the media away from the side of the bucket, like posted on the previous page, it should reduce your suction issue. To calculate the 'free area' of the holes in the bucket use this equation.

A = π x r2

Area equals PI times radius squared. Do this for each hole than add all that together. The fans are approximately 5" dia, so as long as your hole's area total more than the area of a 5" hole, (in your case two 5" holes) it should be fine.

So you have a decision to make. Either loose one fan and go with tried and true single 200CFM fan. Or get a storage bin to have enough from for two fans. This will mean more media too. Not sure if you plan to have the pumps running 24/7 with the fans, but if you don't, once the media dries out you will fill the tent with dust because the media is not fine enough to stop dust when dry.
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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 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:42 am

EGAZ wrote: If you move the media away from the side of the bucket, like posted on the previous page, it should reduce your suction issue. To calculate the 'free area' of the holes in the bucket use this equation.

A = π x r2
You're just showing off now!

Where are you this year? I think I missed you coming by Big Puffy Yellow last year. We are at 6:15 and G.

legionvr6
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by legionvr6 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:07 am

Tanks for the input EGAZ. No water in the fans after running it for 2 hours. I have my top ring right between the 2 layers of blue pad so the very top of the pad stays mostly dry. that may be why I get no water in the fans. Also I didn't realize dust would go through the ducacool pad when dry THANKS!!!!

I figured I couldn't just add the CFM but thought it would at least add up to 200ish. I got them for free out of E-waste computers so I'm trying to reuse and reduce :D

If built a dual fan box like yours I'd do dual 200CFM fans with a duct each so it could cool 2 tents. would need a flap cover on the ends and switches.

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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:29 pm

@ legionvr6........ I have my top ring right between the 2 layers of blue pad so the very top of the pad stays mostly dry. that may be why I get no water in the fans.

That will take care of it too. Move the media away from the bucket wall for better air flow & i guess you GTG! :)

@Leap..... Just tryin' to keep up! Some smart cookies here ya know..... I did stop by a couple of times. Talked with your camp leadership, walked around the tents to find your bucket cooler and leave a note. Never found it though. :mrgreen:

I'm going to try and get around H or I and 5:00. Won't know till I get there.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:46 pm

Legs, don't forget you need to funnel both of those fans into a duct of some kind. The bucket has to sit outside your structure and the duct(s) run into the inside of the structure. Once you do that you can test what the real on-the-ground air output will feel like.

legionvr6
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by legionvr6 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:42 pm

asr9754 wrote:Legs, don't forget you need to funnel both of those fans into a duct of some kind. The bucket has to sit outside your structure and the duct(s) run into the inside of the structure. Once you do that you can test what the real on-the-ground air output will feel like.
I'm planning to build a cover to go over both fans. I picked up an automotive throttle plate to 4" adapter to top it with to adapt it to the duct

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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:45 pm

I assumed you were doing that. Make it no smaller then 8" dia.......

Or you will defeat the purpose of two fans. :coffee:
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
I am Camp2. - A solo camp - Stop by and say Hey!, 8) Gotta beer?

If you are another Solo Burner & very 'Radically Self Reliant' - Maybe we can 'Do What We Do!' :P

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KennyReff
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by KennyReff » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:05 am

Hi again. Can this controller be used with a 35amp 12v battery?



My 2016 setup worked really well, but the solar controller failed. Not sure of the cause. But in replacing it, I've noticed that it's rated for 20a and my battery is 35a (the solar panel is 30w). Would that be a reason? Thank you.

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Popeye
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Popeye » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:09 pm

KennyReff wrote:Hi again. Can this controller be used with a 35amp 12v battery?



My 2016 setup worked really well, but the solar controller failed. Not sure of the cause. But in replacing it, I've noticed that it's rated for 20a and my battery is 35a (the solar panel is 30w). Would that be a reason? Thank you.
If your panel has a max 30W output at 12V then the max amps it will produce is 2.5A. Power in watts= Current in Amps divided by Volts. P=IE
Your battery is actually 35 Ampere Hours. Not amps.
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KennyReff
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by KennyReff » Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:18 am

Ah, yes, Popeye. Thanks for the clarification on amps vs. amp hours. So, obviously, this 20amp controller is fine with a 2.5amp power source from the solar panel. And the battery is not an issue in any case because it's on the receiving end of the power. Do I have this right?

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Popeye
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Popeye » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:53 pm

KennyReff wrote:Ah, yes, Popeye. Thanks for the clarification on amps vs. amp hours. So, obviously, this 20amp controller is fine with a 2.5amp power source from the solar panel. And the battery is not an issue in any case because it's on the receiving end of the power. Do I have this right?
That's right but I would load test the battery before taking it to the playa.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

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Danielpops
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Danielpops » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:08 am

EGAZ wrote:Not sure if you plan to have the pumps running 24/7 with the fans, but if you don't, once the media dries out you will fill the tent with dust because the media is not fine enough to stop dust when dry.
I put a float valve in mine as a kill switch for if/when the water levels get too low. My main motivation was to avoid burning out the pump.
/dp

mtttp
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mtttp » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:00 pm

Here is an album of the Cooler I made with a blower fan, and a regular swamp cooler pump. Works great if your camp has a generator.


LowePro
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by LowePro » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:35 pm

A nice summary and shopping list in here. One month to go on your builds!

www.theplayalabs.com/swamp-cooler

My little swampie is still going strong, prepping for trip #5 right now, thanks Figjam and crew for the awesome forum.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Jul 29, 2017 6:04 pm

Very nice. :)

The only difference is I run my wires UNDER the pad, then up the side and out one of the holes.

The pics give a different impression because that was in test mode.
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SethCaplan
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by SethCaplan » Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:37 pm

Not sure if I missed this while reading the thread but--how does the water get cold in the first place, and what are you using to hold the water that the pump is drawing from? Are you making ice water and buying the ice from Center Camp?

Thanks!

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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:38 pm

The water gets cold as a by-product of evaporation. Its not the cold water that does the cooling, its the phase change of the water, from liquid to gas, that transfers the heat from the incoming air.

The bottom of there bin is holding the water.



Anyone else notice the referral links in the Playalabs site?? Just sayin'.... :coffee:
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
I am Camp2. - A solo camp - Stop by and say Hey!, 8) Gotta beer?

If you are another Solo Burner & very 'Radically Self Reliant' - Maybe we can 'Do What We Do!' :P

lecosmique
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by lecosmique » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:20 am

EGAZ wrote:Anyone else notice the referral links in the Playalabs site?? Just sayin'.... :coffee:
Why yes I did. Here, let me decommodify that for you:

Cooling Fan
Pump
Cooler Pad
Ducting
Wire
Battery Clamps

kast
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kast » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:59 pm

Thanks to Figjam and all other contributors for this awesome thread - it was a journey, but I made it through all 130 pages!

Of course, I still have a couple of questions...

1) Figjam, or anyone else, do you have any photos of the assembly or fully constructed Unicooler, made specifically from the RV fresh water tank? This is the route I plan to take, but I wasn't clear on how to create the "lid" for this version of the cooler. Jigsaw the top of the tank off and treat the edges with silicon maybe? The pictures you had originally linked (on page 107) when you made the find are no longer viewable.

2) Why is the taper of the "Genuine Joe" trashbin (or any trashbin) so problematic? I'm not clear on exactly why having an angled dura cool pad creates so many problems. Is the distribution of water over the pad that affected by that slight angle? Shouldn't the constantly flowing pump override any slight difference in pad distribution? Or is it because it makes it difficult to "link up" to the side of a hexayurt?

So far this Summer, I've built the bucket cooler but then realized halfway through the thread that my 10'x14' tent will require the Unicooler. I ordered an Endless Breeze yesterday and now I'm trying to understand the science behind why the RV tank is superior to the tapered trash bin. I plan to vent all three sides of either the RV tank or trashbin for increased air intake. I'm also looking to create a duct, from the fan to my tent door, as this seems like it'd be easier to create a "seal" around the air intake.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by mattcamp » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:17 pm

kast wrote: 2) Why is the taper of the "Genuine Joe" trashbin (or any trashbin) so problematic? I'm not clear on exactly why having an angled dura cool pad creates so many problems. Is the distribution of water over the pad that affected by that slight angle? Shouldn't the constantly flowing pump override any slight difference in pad distribution? Or is it because it makes it difficult to "link up" to the side of a hexayurt?
Water tries to fall straight down.... if the bottom of the pad isn't in line with the top then you get drips, and dry spots on your pad.

I built a bunch last year with the other big square trash bin that was a bit cheaper than the genuine joes and on the whole they worked pretty well... not TOO many drips but keeping the pads fully soaked required some careful placement of the holes on the drip line.

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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:31 pm

"....made specifically from the RV fresh water tank? This is the route I plan to take, but I wasn't clear on how to create the "lid" for this version of the cooler. "

Do I understand correctly you are using an old RV water tank as the case for the Unicooler? Be aware getting things to 'stick' to an RV water tank is damn near impossible. Got any pics of the tank? Does this link help anyor the same pics missing?
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:14 pm

The tank was a fresh water travel trailer tank that goes under the bed.

When Stood on end it has about the dimensions of the unicooler, once you cut it down to size.

Use small nuts and bolts to secure the vent, then ziptie or wire the pad and dripline to that.

Small L brackets can be used to mount the fan, then seal with silly cone.

Make the lid out of anything and add some weather stripping for a good seal.

This is all easier to do without tapered sides.

I like keeping things simple. 8)
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EGAZ
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:27 pm

Ah, I missed that pic. Then one can use flanges, nuts, bolts for penetrations. Do it right an you don't even need to cut a lid. Work through the discharge opening. The lid, if needed to be cut, can be sealed with magnetic or velcro strips.
2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
I am Camp2. - A solo camp - Stop by and say Hey!, 8) Gotta beer?

If you are another Solo Burner & very 'Radically Self Reliant' - Maybe we can 'Do What We Do!' :P

kast
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kast » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:09 pm

mattcamp: I think I get it - rather than dripping into the pad, the water would be dripping down toward the tapered side, leaving the dry spots. Thanks for the explanation.

EGAZ: Yes, Figjam had recommended the fresh water tanks as the 'perfect container' for the Unicooler. barasingha followed up on page 109 with an E-Bay link to the aforementioned water tanks: viewtopic.php?p=1082465#p1082465

21-Gallon: 39" x 8" x 16"
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RV-camper-trail ... 51c7bb0e88

25-Gallon: 33.5" x 10" x 17"
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-25-Gallon-F ... 2536603516

Also, thanks for your input on the construction! I'm not sure if I understood correctly about creating the whole thing through the discharge opening, which I might be incorrectly assuming is the 1.5" diameter circular opening. The pump and tubing wouldn't fit through this?

FIGJAM: Thanks for the input on construction as well. Is there a size you'd recommend for the fresh water tank Unicooler? Assuming I plan to vent all 3 walls. Your original Unicooler design lists 17" x 30" x 9", which seems more like the 25-Gallon version.

I will post photos of the entire build process once it's up and running.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Matt-ish » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:23 am

I'm about 85% of the way through my bucket cooler build. I'm looking to cool an older 30ft class A RV, so I have used a combination of tips from this thread and other sources to do a 32gal trash can cooler.

A few pictures of the build so far:



Rather than have the cooling pad up against the side of the bin I've used two layers of mesh with a pad in between to make a cylindrical filter, as the air flow should be unrestricted through the above water level pad I've used just one layer of thicker duracool. The bottom of the inner mesh is folded out at a 90 degree angle so that it drops in central to the bottom of the bin and aligns with the fan/lid.

The mesh is topped with a pool noodle to act as a gasket to the fan/lid, there is also a small section of plastic sheet from the noodle down past the pad to ensure 100% airflow through the filter past the dripper ring.

I've gone for a bilge pump and a 12" radiator fan, which running at full speed (after initial spike) pull 85W total. Per spec sheet (if believed) the pump is 600gph and the fan 2000cfm. I went for standard dc motors so that I can use a PWM motor controller on both pump and fan, giving individual speed control and associated power savings and easy tuning. A lot (maybe all?) of the computer style fans use PWM internally so wont play nicely with a second PWM controller.

I've got some 12" flexi duct and will run a short length of that to a board in a window at the front of the vehicle, at the rear I have an extraction fan in the bedroom roof vent (or just open one of the other windows/vents at the rear).

I hope this should give me good results, if all else fails I can run the genset and AC - but if I can get by on solar alone that would be nice :)

Typically after being really hot and dry for weeks here in central valley CA, its slightly cooler and humid here this weekend. Initial testing only gave me a 15F drop, but the humidity was just below 50% so not that surprising.

Now my question for you wonderful life engineers. I have gone for a 2" hole spacing around the ring, but I'm not sure if I should have made this 1". I do seem to get good pad coverage with pump at full speed, but I would like to cut the pump speed down to save on power, so the 1" spaced holes may be better?

I will get the rest of the wiring done today so I can test it with the PWM controllers, I guess if I still get good pad water coverage with a slower pump speed I don't need to pull the dripper ring off again :)

Thanks to everyone that has contributed :)

Have a great day.
Matt

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by EGAZ » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:38 pm

Your build looks good! I built the same thing. :) Yea, add more holes for 1" spacing on the header tube. Then you can slow the pump down. Another thing you can try first is to flip the header tube so the holes point up. The water will follow the inside of the pool noodle and might help with dispersion. (Ice machines use this method)

I did this on mine by cutting a hole for the fan in two cake pans, (one 15" pan one 10" pan), sandwiching them together to create a round, inverted trough. (like the pool noodle) I searched all over looking for the right size bunt cake pan but couldn't find one large enough. So I bought some cheapy cake pans and made one. I'm waiting for the humidity to drop next week so I can test it. Its' been all wired up and ready for a couple of weeks but its monsoon season in Phx, so we get rain.

Be aware once you set the pump speed at home you may need to tweak it on deck due to the dryer conditions. It will evap more water out there. ;)

Two pans pop riveted & siliconed together. One inside the other. I run two pumps so I have two header rings.
IMAG2042.jpg
Filpped into proper position.
IMAG2043.jpg
One big cartridge. Double stacked media tube in a cage, two pumps, PCV bottom plate, and styrofoam ring, all slide into the trash can.
IMAG2037.jpg
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2nd time better than the first. And the first was pretty Freakin' Great!
I am Camp2. - A solo camp - Stop by and say Hey!, 8) Gotta beer?

If you are another Solo Burner & very 'Radically Self Reliant' - Maybe we can 'Do What We Do!' :P

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