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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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:29 pm

Yeah, that's a couple of years old so the prices have gone up, and costco does'nt advertise batteries online.
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The Bee
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by The Bee » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:15 pm

kman wrote:
The Bee wrote: Image
#2: Simply in terms of increasing airflow: Looking at your photos, I'd seriously consider some sort of pedestal to raise the bucket up higher. The shorter the outflow tube, the more air you'll get out of the system. There's only so far these small, low-power fans can push air along a tube. Since, I assume, there's really no way to bring the air into the van at a lower place (without cutting into your side wall!), simplest thing is to bring the bucket higher, so shorten that output tube. I really think that'll help noticeably.
Thanks, Kman. Today I happened to be on a step-ladder next to the van, working on the roof-rack, when I got inspired to try your idea of raising the bucket. I put a board in the middle of the step ladder (making it look like an A). Then I put the battery on one side of the board, and the bucket on the other side. It seemed fairly stable, and I think it might work. But then I had a classic "playa-brain" moment. I took the (heavier) battery off first, and like jumping off a see-saw, the bucket plunged to the ground and did a good job washing my driveway. :mrgreen: BTW, I also plan on adding more holes to the bucket. That will increase the airflow.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by The Bee » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:29 pm

rararouge wrote:3. No duracool pads in cali, guess i can order online unless you have another suggestion
Yeah, I couldn't find duracool pads locally either. It just doesn't get hot enough in Santa Cruz. As an alternative, I'm using a cut-to-fit natural fiber air filter pad called NaturalAire. It seems to hold water really well, but it's a bit moopy. It's held together with a flimsy netting. I reinforced the netting with gopher-wire mesh to help hold it together, but there's still a risk that a stray fiber might clog the pump. I'll report back after the burn.

Alternatively, you could also use strips of cotton or polyester batting like might be used in quilt making. Basically, you want a material that holds water and still allows air flow through it.

BTW, peeps -- don't forget to bring extra water for your cooler! You probably don't want to be putting beer in it if you run out of water. :P

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FIGJAM
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:09 pm

If you can't get pads try an upholstery supply.

http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/uphols ... -wrap-.htm
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by porkmuffin » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:36 am

Thanks for the help FIGJAM! Ordered my new fans this morning.

For those still looking for cooling pads (Duracool pads), try this place:

http://www.ronshomeandhardware.com/3074 ... 888909.htm

Their shipping is pretty $$$, but if you order today they can at least guarantee delivery next Friday. I called in after placing the order this morning, and was told it would ship from CA and should get to me this Friday, not next Friday...so def try that if you do order today or later!

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Mojojita » Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:57 pm

Damn it! Have a beautiful tall rectangular trash can for big box cooler. Tried to adhere fan and louvers as recommended - EPIC FAIL. Since then have determined that the can is made with the kind of plastic that darn near nothing will stick to. Finally used carriage bolts for the fan, epoxy for the louvers. (Even the epoxy is giving up though - will have to run in some self tapping screws likely). Cant get evap cooler material here anywhere - have some air filter stuff I think will work.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:53 pm

Did you try sanding the box to rough it up? 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:02 pm

rararouge wrote:3. No duracool pads in cali, guess i can order online unless you have another suggestion
Perhaps you mean NoCal... I've found Duracool pads at 3 local Home Depots down here in the LA area, and last I checked, we're still "cali". ;)

OTOH, I've also seen (and heard of) a number Home Depots around here that DON'T have them, so it may just be luck of the draw. Personally, I'd make an evening of sitting with the phone in my lap and calling every Home Depo within a reasonable driving distance, and asking them. Just because your closest HD doesn't carry them, doesn't mean another HD just a wee bit farther down the road doesn't have it...

And regardless, they should be available at other shops as well. Hopefully the part #s pictured below will help you find it. :)

Image

Image

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:05 pm

Air conditioning service places do evap too.

Try calling a few for their source of pads.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by unjonharley » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:26 pm

\\

Those pads look a lot like the ones I use in the big 50gallon koi/coy fish filter..

I use the blue on the outside coil and a charcoal on the inside..

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Mojojita » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:40 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Did you try sanding the box to rough it up? 8)
Oh yes, and slightly scoring it with a razor knife. It has just been one of those projects that proves murphy's law.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:46 pm

unjonharley wrote:\\

Those pads look a lot like the ones I use in the big 50gallon koi/coy fish filter..

I use the blue on the outside coil and a charcoal on the inside..
Look similar, but probably quite different. Filters like that aren't designed to assist with evaporation.

We're not talking about large amounts of money, so until/unless you have time to directly compare side-by-side (and do actual full-scale tests), I'd get the real thing, personally.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:07 pm

Mojojita wrote:
FIGJAM wrote:Did you try sanding the box to rough it up? 8)
Oh yes, and slightly scoring it with a razor knife. It has just been one of those projects that proves murphy's law.
Check your pm.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by Ratpick » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:34 pm

Hey there, I'm almost done with my custom swamp cooler. Should be awesome. I used a swamp cooler for a season in my house and read through all these DIY articles on bucket and box units. Then I decided to build this. It's a 34" plastic storage chest with car heater/ac fan. A lot of learning involved in crafting, and if I did it again it'd be totally different and probably way easier. I tried to make it big enough to adequately cool full 8' hexayurt and have room for cool storage of booze and food. Check out some pics (which may look funny cuz I'm uploading to some new site for hosting from iPhone and can't size anything down so just turning sideways)
Image
Image
But here's my question:
Have any of you used recycled grey water in swamp cooler? I'm thinking it needs to be filtered and then sit with bleach til no more smell before going in cooler. Am I right? Should I pour through charcoal filter in that process somewhere? I'm sorry if this is something that's been covered but tried researching and didn't find this specifically. I read some about the multitude of ways people evaporate off grey water. Well, I built an evaporative cooler that should go through plenty. Just don't want the cool air smellin all nasty.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rubymermaid » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:00 pm

This is a link for dura-cool

https://www.simsupply.com/casearch.aspx ... =dura-cool

FIGJAM, your link didn't work for me and I was searching duracool rather than dura-cool. All my materials have been procured or are in transit. It's a waiting game now.

PS when I went to my local Home Depot in Southern California they had no idea what a swamp cooler, cooler pad, or dura-cool were and they asked at least 5 co-employees.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:22 pm

This is the company that makes them if you want to try ordering direct.

http://www.dialmfg.com/Pads%20&%20Rolls.html
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:24 pm

rubymermaid wrote:This is a link for dura-cool

https://www.simsupply.com/casearch.aspx ... =dura-cool

FIGJAM, your link didn't work for me and I was searching duracool rather than dura-cool. All my materials have been procured or are in transit. It's a waiting game now.

PS when I went to my local Home Depot in Southern California they had no idea what a swamp cooler, cooler pad, or dura-cool were and they asked at least 5 co-employees.
Woodland Hills used to carry it (that's where I bought mine last year), but no longer does. North Hollywood carries it. Van Nuys carries it. Hollywood probably carries it, since they're a big store, but I haven't confirmed yet.

Just call and ask them to check stock on SKU 515-190. Don't depend on minimum wage earners to actually know every product in their store. They can check stock on the computer, which is generally way more reliable than asking whoever you're able to flag down on their way to a smoke break.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by The CO » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:59 pm

I've been fine tuning my setup the last couple days, and have settled on a dual pad setup. The outer layer is the dura-cool type pad (different manufacturer) and the inner layer is 1" dense cell foam, like what you find at a craft store. The combo seems to be producing the best results for me so far.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rgk » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:06 pm

I have some questions about powering the fan and pump. It looks like the pump has its own solar panel, which is great, but to power the fan I will need a power supply. Seeing as how I'm in the middle of nowhere, I assume I will need some sort of battery. That's great! I have a charged car battery sitting around, taking up space. So my first question is:

Is it possible to power a fan using a car battery?


I tried googling this question and came up with this on Yahoo! Answers:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 034AAydZXe

The guy talks about hooking up silicon rectifiers to the circuit to drop the voltage, as car batteries have slightly over 12 volts, and it's the higher voltage that will fry a computer fan, not amps (he says). Wikipedia tells me that a car battery at 100% has 12.65 voltage, but the guy said that each rectifier should drop the voltage by one volt. So would that drop the voltage too low? Can I get a rectifier that will drop the voltage by .65 volts?

My second question is:

Is it safe to run a fan (and possibly a pump) on a car battery? (I'm pretty sure it's the sealed kind with vent caps)

I took my .25 amp computer fan out of my computer and hooked it up to the car battery, and it worked, but the wires got hot pretty fast. Do I risk a fire hazard by hooking up the fan to a car battery?

Is it hazardous to have the battery where people will interact and sleep? If it's not too safe to have it in the tent where people will sleep, is it safe to have it outside the tent and run cables in?

I really like this solar panel I saw someone post in the previous page:



My third question is:

Do you think if I hooked up THAT solar panel to the car battery it would
a) power the fan
and b) charge the battery at the same time?
c) if not, will it charge a car battery at all so that I don't drain my amp hours over the course of a week?

I'm not THAT concerned about draining the battery, because it's from an old car. Draining this one is better than buying a brand-new, deep cycle battery.

My fourth question is:

How sealed does the structure have to be in order for the swamp cooler to be effective? My tent is hardly sealed. I am hoping to put up the rainfly and drop some fabric from the bottom, then attach that to the ground, to form a semblance of a seal. It's no yurt, but money is tight. I'm trying to make do with what I've got. Hopefully I'll be able to build a Figjam swamp cooler and a Galaxy Hut for me and my camp.

Thanks very much!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by AQUARIUSatBRC420 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:16 am

I am building a small swamp cooler every similar to the original Home Depot bucket design first posted by Figjam. I have a 4" 3.5amp fan rated for 220 cfm (made for venting gas fumes out of a boat before firing the engine). And I have an old kitchen trash can and a water pump. Also some evap material similar to the moopy Aspen Snow Cool (now I'm thinking of trying to get my hands on DuraCool after reading the posts). So my question is, I plan on putting the swamp cooler just outside of my hexayurt and duct the cool air inside and I am wondering if the omnipresent dust will tend to clog the swamp cooler material over time. If so, do I need to be rinsing out or swapping out the evap cloth on a daily basis?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by honers » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:47 am

I love the bucket cooler design but I am curious whether that would be enough for us to cool a 16' diameter Yurt or whether I need to go with something more like the Endless Breeze design. Thoughts?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:05 am

honers wrote:I love the bucket cooler design but I am curious whether that would be enough for us to cool a 16' diameter Yurt or whether I need to go with something more like the Endless Breeze design. Thoughts?
I think you'll be happier with the unicooler.
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Re:

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:11 am

FIGJAM wrote:Got this straight from Yellowdog:
yellowdog wrote:water does not get soupy at all. it precipitates out and falls to the bottom, making a thin deposit on the bottom. We change out the pads every year to maximize airflow, because they do turn playa-colored at the air holes, but don't by any means stop up. I can't really tell a difference before changing or after, but I figure two years without changing is risking a decrease in airflow, and I just don't want that. Tnks for spreading the cool!
He built the cooler I based the bucket cooler on and has been useing his on the playa for years. :)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:25 am

rgk wrote:I have some questions about powering the fan and pump. It looks like the pump has its own solar panel, which is great, but to power the fan I will need a power supply. Seeing as how I'm in the middle of nowhere, I assume I will need some sort of battery. That's great! I have a charged car battery sitting around, taking up space. So my first question is:

Is it possible to power a fan using a car battery?


I tried googling this question and came up with this on Yahoo! Answers:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 034AAydZXe

The guy talks about hooking up silicon rectifiers to the circuit to drop the voltage, as car batteries have slightly over 12 volts, and it's the higher voltage that will fry a computer fan, not amps (he says). Wikipedia tells me that a car battery at 100% has 12.65 voltage, but the guy said that each rectifier should drop the voltage by one volt. So would that drop the voltage too low? Can I get a rectifier that will drop the voltage by .65 volts?

My second question is:

Is it safe to run a fan (and possibly a pump) on a car battery? (I'm pretty sure it's the sealed kind with vent caps)

I took my .25 amp computer fan out of my computer and hooked it up to the car battery, and it worked, but the wires got hot pretty fast. Do I risk a fire hazard by hooking up the fan to a car battery?

Is it hazardous to have the battery where people will interact and sleep? If it's not too safe to have it in the tent where people will sleep, is it safe to have it outside the tent and run cables in?

I really like this solar panel I saw someone post in the previous page:



My third question is:

Do you think if I hooked up THAT solar panel to the car battery it would
a) power the fan
and b) charge the battery at the same time?
c) if not, will it charge a car battery at all so that I don't drain my amp hours over the course of a week?

I'm not THAT concerned about draining the battery, because it's from an old car. Draining this one is better than buying a brand-new, deep cycle battery.

My fourth question is:

How sealed does the structure have to be in order for the swamp cooler to be effective? My tent is hardly sealed. I am hoping to put up the rainfly and drop some fabric from the bottom, then attach that to the ground, to form a semblance of a seal. It's no yurt, but money is tight. I'm trying to make do with what I've got. Hopefully I'll be able to build a Figjam swamp cooler and a Galaxy Hut for me and my camp.

Thanks very much!
Yes you can run the cooler from a car battery, they are equal to a 50ah battery so it will be good for about 20 hours before you need to recharge.

I run my pump and fan direct to the battery and nothing gets hot or fails.

I don't think the battery will off gas enough to be a hazard in a tent.

Seal the tent up and leave a small exhaust vent so the air can circulate. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rgk » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:20 am

Thanks very much for the quick reply, Fig!

Now to find a way to properly seal off the tent...
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:41 am

Walmart has a spray on fabric adhesive that I like.

I would use some old tee shirt material cut to size and if you set up the tent it will be easy to apply.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by rgk » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:15 am

Oh! Also, can I use that solar panel I linked to in my previous post to charge a car battery?

Thanks!
The best rule for not being devastated by change or loss, is to only bring something you can accept being ruined, and then be happily surprised if it isn't. -- elorrum

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by FIGJAM » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:43 am

I'm still learning about solar, but it could'nt hurt.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by kman » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:52 am

FIGJAM wrote:Walmart has a spray on fabric adhesive that I like.

I would use some old tee shirt material cut to size and if you set up the tent it will be easy to apply.
Will that adhesive hold up in the heat? Many don't. Tent fabric will get pretty hot during the course of the day... every day.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Post by brian_kadence » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:29 am

So I've been reading through this Topic for a few weeks, trying to get a grasp on building one of these bad boys. Let's just say I'm good with the arts & crafts, but a little slow on the uptake when it comes to electronics and the like. Me and technology have our issues.

I would love to build a bucket cooler for my tent. Last year, camping was great. Built a great shade structure, but when it came to the tent it was sweltering by morning, and being the light sleeper that I am... I was up every day at 8am having gone to bed at 4am/5am that morning. I was dead tired and it shot my immune system back in default. I was looking to avoid that this year, hopefully by making tent sleeping more comfortable and A LOT cooler.

So, that being said. I'm a little worried about how to power the cooler? It seems one needs a large 12volt deep cycle battery, which from my research shows me they can cost a couple hundred dollars. Are there any cheaper alternatives... or any versions of this cooler that can run off/on over-the-counter batteries or a combination? I won't be using a car to charge any batteries on the playa.

Basically I'm looking to build an evaporative cooler I can create myself and possibly keep inside my tent. Are FIGJAM'S plans far too elaborate for someone like me?

Thanks everyone. Your creativity and compassion astound me, and keep me bright. See you all soon.

-Kadence

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