cooling your tent or van

Swamp Coolers, Cooler Management, Dry Ice, Misting Systems, and just plain how to beat the heat.

Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Irreverent Moniker » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:38 pm

I built one and it worked ok. I think my ducting was too narrow and it hurt the efficiency, though.

My monkey hut ended up working so well, that by wednesday the cooler had moved out of my area and over to keep our camp's stereo equipment from overheating
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:28 pm

RECAP!!!

The basic idea for the bucket cooler is just a smaller version of Yellowdog's cooler made from a rubbermade garbage can.

An evaporative cooler will reduce the tempature by 20 to 30 degrees.

Keep in mind that there is more than one way to skin a cat. (WARNING! DO NOT SKIN A CAT, IT WONT HELP THIS PROJECT AND WILL IRRITATE YOUR PUSSY!!!)

All the ideas that people came up with on this thread are a perfect example of radical self relience! (Bravo!!!)

Get a 5 gallon bucket and lid.

Have your trained mice naw some holes in the bucket, or use a hole saw, or 50 caliber sniper rifle. (Honey badgers wont work, they don't give a shit!)

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Find some cooler pad.

I like duracool pads.

http://www.simsupply.com/Items/426741

If your area does'nt have them, find a national chain DIY hardwear store and see if they will order some for you.

This may save you shipping cost. I use home depot.

Cut the first pad 33 1/2x13 inches.

Roll this pad into a tube and silicone or hand stitch the seam.

This will give you a tube 13 inches tall.

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Because the bucket tapers out towards the top, you will not need to line the bucket with shade clothe.

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Cut a second piece of pad 24x13 inches and roll into a tight tube.

You wont need to seam this one.

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Sleeve this inside the first tube.

The reason for the double pad is to have a wide space to set the drip line on and adds more evap surface.

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1/2 inch Drip irrigation line works ok to soak your pads, but poly hose is more flexible and you can buy it by the foot.

I like the T connectors that fit inside the line. I cut the ends of the T shorter so I could keep the holes in the line close enough together so there wont be a dry strip on the pads.

This hose is 3/8 inch.

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The holes in the line need to be uniform for an even flow on the pad.

Drlling holes works, but I found that heating a piece of wire melts a nice, more uniform hole.

I used a piece of 10 gauge copper wire.

Heat the wire with a torch, or the burner on your stove, then press through the line.

Sliding the wire in and out till it cools will make a happy hole! (Don't even think about it Yggy, this is serious!)

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To pump the water through the line, buy a pump.

This is the solar pump.

http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-powered-fountain-pump-66093.html

I like this pump instead because if it's cloudy, it will still let the cooler work.

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http://www.siliconsolar.com/replacement-12v-solar-pump-p-103.html

The 3/8 inch line fits this pump perfectly.

Nice even flow of water.

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When the lid is put on, the line will be pinched between the lid and the pad, so it wont move around.

FANS!

The key to a good cooler is a powerful fan.

CFM=cubic feet per minute.

http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l2/g36/c435/list/p1/Fans-12_Volt_Fans_by_CFM.html

I used this one.

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/12959/fan-859/Delta_120_x_38mm_High-Speed_PWM_Fan_-_19048_CFM_AFB1212SHE.html?tl=g36c435s1108

It uses more power, but makes the bucket cooler very effective.

Calculate the cubic footage of the space to be cooled, then get a fan that will replace the air inside the space every 3 to 5 minutes.

I use a single fan cause it suits my design perfectly.

Cut a hole in the lid of the bucket to mount the fan.

I put mine on the bottom of the lid to keep the unit compact and to make ducting easier.

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Any 120mm fan will fit inside the top of the pad tube.

I spliced the wires from the fan to the wires from the pump. (both are 12volt)

Then ran the wire out through one of the holes in the side of the bucket.

Now with the lid on the bucket, I used a 4 inch septic line connector gooped to the lid over the fan.

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Now you can use 4 inch septic line to duct the air into the space to be cooled. You don't need to glue these piceces together.

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These parts are at the hardwear store.

Outside temp!

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Air temp coming from the cooler!

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Water temp inside the bucket!

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This cooler uses 2 gallon of water every 5 hours.

It uses about 1.45amps per hour.

My 105AH deep cycle battery will run this cooler for 47 hours before needing to be recharged.

So running 4 or 5 hours a day, it will let you nap in the hottest part of the day, all week without recharging the battery.

If you need more cooling than this, build the box cooler.

You will need to vent the air out of the space for circulation.

HAPPY NAPPING!!!
Last edited by FIGJAM on Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Re:

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:29 pm

Last year people tried to make the bucket cooler do more than it was ment to do, with moderate success.

The main problems seemed to be a powerful enough fan and how to duct the air into the space.

My box cooler worked great and I never use anything but the low speed on the fan.






NOW INTRODUCING THE UNICOOLER!!!!!!!


No duct work needed!!!

Build a box 17wx30hx9d.

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If you cant build a simple box, try to find something waterproof with roughly the same dementions or this.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001PMI25M/bestprice2010a-20

If you can find something that does'nt have tapered sides it will work better.

Cut a hole for the vent cover. ($11.00)

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Cut a hole for the fan. (Endless breeze fan $60-$80)

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I used 100% clear silicone caulk to stick these to the box.

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The vent louvers are facing down and into the box to keep the water channeled toward the inside.

I got some angle trim and siliconed pieces to the inside of the box to act as a pad retainer.

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This is the pump.

http://www.siliconsolar.com/replacement-12v-solar-pump-p-103.html

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I had to cut the 90s shorter to get the straight pieces closer together, but you can stagger the holes in a single piece to get the same effect.

The pvc just lays on the top edge of the pads.

Then I went to the bin (16489-j "junk" subheading A "awsume") and found some handles.

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8)

Then make an air tight lid.(figure it out)

Finished cooler looks like this.

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I call it the universal cooler cause you just shove the pad side against any opening in a tent, bus, travel trailer, yurt, or playpod and it will cool up to 3000 cubic feet of space. You can even set it on a table outside for use.

Add some foam stickon wheather stripping for a good seal around a window.

Fill it with 7gals. of water for 8hrs. of cooling. So once a day depending on how much you use it.

105ah battery will run this all week on low.

You may have to recharge if you use medium or high speed on the fan.

I'm confident that this will cool even a school bus without useing a genny and its a lot quieter than an air conditioner.

As always I'll try to answer any questions you may have.


HERE'S TO A MORE COMFORTABLE BURN!!!
Last edited by FIGJAM on Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Re:

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:30 pm

YURT ALERT!!!

Ok you dont have to have a yurt, but I liked saying it. Swamp cooler 2.0.

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I made the box out of some left over material from my tube surround. I dont remember what its called, but its water proof and light. Fiber glass or plastic panels will work if their thick enough, but if you are patient, look in the thrift stores for a plastic or lexan display case with roughly the same dementions. 15x15x24in. Then you wont have to build a box.

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The endless breeze fan is awsome. I thought I had a problem with it, but it turns out that I reversed the connection which made the fan run backwards, so it wasnt pushing much air. Now I can feel the breeze from 10ft away when its on low(1.18 amps 250cfm) medium 500cfm 1.68 amps, and high is 900cfm at 2.50 amps. Great for a 12 volt fan. The cheepest price new that I found was $60. Mine was a display and I got it for $25.

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1/2in. pvc and three 90s and a cap.

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The feed line was a little small till I put a short piece of pvc in the 90. with a little sillycone, its perfect. No need to glue the other pvc parts together.

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By folding the pad instead of cutting individual pieces, It gets a snugger fit. The piece of strap keeps the pad snug at the front of the cooler. This is needed because if your fan is real strong, it will try to vacume your pad away from the sides. The pad retains its shape real well, so folding the inside corners is perfect.
The black tape is there because I got a little high on the sides with my holes and you want all the air to be drawn through damp pad.


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Im waiting for the little bit stronger pump so I can test, but it should work fine...........FIGJAM........Oh .....check rv places to locate this fan. I sillyconed all the joints on the box exept the lid and this unit holds 6 gal. of water. Theres room for a case of pbr in the bottom. I have to check, but I think the water temp when running is close to 40 degrees. Unite dry wieght 13 pounds.
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Re: Re:

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:32 pm

The pumps just arrived! I installed one on the new cooler and I cant think of any way it could be more suited to this purpose.

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It uses .23amps and has a built in filter. Cost $14.95. Heres a pic of the pad to give an idea of how porse it is.

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If you want your controls to be inside your structure cut the box with an extention where you will attatch the fan. this is how I set mine up.

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I didnt need an extention. I tried it without the shade clothe first. When I had just the pump on there was minor leaking untill I turned the fan on low and the leaking stopped. If I sand the holes it may stop that entirely as any little snag tends to direct a small leak. And now the best part.....

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The cooler on low (1.4 amps with the pump) is setting on the desk in the background and is about 4ft. away, but I couldnt get a good pic of the temp with the cooler in the shot. But damn AM I EVER HAPPY HAPPY WITH THIS THING...............FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGJAM!!!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:33 pm

Any questions? 8) 8) 8)

Oh, if I was doing the "2.0" I would use the vent panels on the three exposed sides.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby The Bee » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:20 pm

My bucket cooler was less than optimal this year. I had it outside my van with about 3 feet of ducting going up into the side window of the van. The problem was that my fan was not powerful enough, the ducting was too long, and the cooler was on the sunny side of the van so the cool air warmed up quite a bit before it got into the van.

Solution for me would be to build a platform to hold the bucket at the same height as the van window so the duct only has a few inches to get into the van.

The biggest success for me this year was adding a layer of camo-cloth on top of the van. That really kept the internal temps lower than in previous years.

One benefit of having the bucket cooler was that it generated a lot of convo. At one point a county sheriff stopped on his ATV and asked if he could get some information. Of course, I was suspicious as hell, and said, "maybe." But he laughed and said he was interested in the bucket cooler, so I gave him a detailed explanation. He said it was his first burn. It was a really good encounter with LEO and helped me adjust my attitude toward them.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby alicecarol » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:12 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I will give this a try for next year!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby The CO » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:09 am

Within our camp we had mixed results. Mine worked well enough, kept a cool breeze blowing & acted as a humidifier in my tent.

The biggest issues for some of the others (we had 6 in camp!) seemed to be underpowered fans. One had some filter issues, but once we solved them it worked well.

I'm thinking a uni-cooler would be great for our GP mediums. Hmmmm....
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:21 am

The CO wrote:Within our camp we had mixed results. Mine worked well enough, kept a cool breeze blowing & acted as a humidifier in my tent.

The biggest issues for some of the others (we had 6 in camp!) seemed to be underpowered fans. One had some filter issues, but once we solved them it worked well.

I'm thinking a uni-cooler would be great for our GP mediums. Hmmmm....


Now that you have made one and got it to work, you have a better understanding of how a swamp cooler works.

Now you can create your own design, scale up, or whatever your imagination can come up with.

Bravo!!! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby wimala1 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:16 pm

hi figjam!!

just wanted to pass along a huge thank you for all your posts, the pix, the advice and the countless questions that you answered.

my swamp cooler was AMAZING!!! it let my son sleep as long as he needed in the day. it was also nice to just pop in the tent for a cool down after riding out on the playa. my solar set up worked like a charm and my camp nice, nice neighbor was a sweetheart to take my battery for further use in his oh so cool diesel winnebego.

i was thrilled with being so cool and out of the sun - between my monkey hut, the sunblocker tarp and the swamp cooler; life was good!!!

thank you again for your help and i hope your burn was a good one!!!

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:09 am

You're very welcome! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby zupermike » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:52 am

So my bucket cooler kicked some major ass this year. Thanks so much FIGJAM.
With the cooler running I usually slept until about 11:30am and one day I even slept until 4pm! Since I camp in a truck tent I also attached the bucket to the top of a ladder so the air has less distance to travel. My cooler has two fans, one in the lid and the other and the end of the duct.
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I slept with the duct end with fan attached about 6" away from my head.
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One thing that I believe also really helped was that I added a layer of space blanks between the tent and the rain fly. This blocked out just about all of the light which cut down on the heat a lot.
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I also built a power pack with a 105aH marine batter, power inverter, battery charger and outlets cut into a toolbox.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:12 am

Very nice!

Love the home made power pack! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby andreas97 » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:43 pm

So, I wanted to share my experiences, and also my THANKS to all of you for the great forum, and of course to FIGJAM for starting this whole thing and being fucking awesome.
Sorry I didn't get to meet any of you, but I ended up being so caught up with going with whatever whim struck me that I didn't really go to any "scheduled" events. So I didn't get to the meet and greet thing.

I was on playa for a total of 20 days, and the unicooler ran... probably 18 of them.
The first day the yurt was up (I did an H13), I ran the smaller bucket cooler... it was something, but it was pretty clear it wasn't going to do much for the whole space, so I'm very glad I didn't just do that.
Once the unicooler was up and running, though, it worked great.
The design I went with was based around the rectangular trash can posted earlier in the thread.... an endless breeze... the silicon solar pump.... and running off our camp RV's power (with my 85 watt solar panel added temporarily to the system to more-than-offset what I was using). Ran a DC line into the yurt and used a harbor freight charge controller as a distro box to power the lighting, swamp cooler, and other DC stuff.
One thing I'll say right off, silicone alone will not hold the endless breeze in place for very long to a flexible vinyl/whatever trash can. I had even roughed-up the edges I was adhering to, but it was off soon enough.
I ended up using contact cement on-site and then using extra silicone I brought to seal any gaps. That held the whole time after (and the whole drive back to MA).
I sealed the unit to the inside wall of the yurt using cardboard cut to size and tape. This was a pain in the ass to get right, but it held the whole time and didn't have any (noticeable) air leaks. The hole in the yurt wall for intake air I covered with a furnace filter. I knew the cooler itself would be filtering out playa, but, running so long, I figured I'd give it some help... plus it made cleanup a lot easier and I could just not care if any dust storms came up. Only one really did. I ended up having to change the filter after about 8 days, and vacuumed out the second filter a few days before we broke camp so I'd get a little more life from it.

I had brought a secondary computer fan to mount in the wall of the yurt up high to suck out the hottest air, but found this to be useless, and just took it out and used the (filtered) hole as a passive air outlet.
I had a second filtered hole on the opposite side of the yurt... so it was basically a T... with the cooler blowing in, and then doing a T out to the high and low outlet vents. This worked very well, and most of the time I only used the "high" outlet, for obvious reasons.
I ran the fan pretty much 24/7.... and turned on the pump when I wanted cooling. (Usually before I left for a shift in the morning.)

It worked very well! It's certainly nothing like air conditioning.... the humidity it adds, on some days, made it more comfortable to sit outside in the breeze.... but some days it was wonderful. It was definitely wonderful the mornings I had off and could sleep in late. It kept the space very dust-free, as well, due to the small positive air pressure.
The biggest and best part was the beer cooling ability. :D I didn't have to buy ice the whole time I was there.

The smaller bucket cooler ended up not being used.... I'd offered it up if anyone wanted it, but it really wasn't very hot this year, and during the day, nobody was at camp anyway. So it hung out as my small auxiliary backup.

One thing I did do, after 10 days or so... was borrow some bleach and drop half a cap full into the water reservoir... nothing was getting nasty, but since it was being used for so long, I wanted to be safe rather than sorry. That amount will kill most things, but doesn't smell like bleach, so that worked well for peace-of-mind.

So yeah, I'd say it was a success!

PS: I took a couple pictures of the inside of the yurt, but they came out like crap, so I don't think they'll be of much use to anyone. If I can make them usable, I'll post if anyone is interested.

PPS: Oh right, water usage.... I brought a 55 gallon pickle barrel and filled it up in gerlach on the way in. That lasted the whole time with... I'd guess about 10 gallons left over.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:12 pm

FANtastic!!!!!

Something I had'nt considered was that the plastic on those trashcans might not let the silicone do it's job.

I ran a BIG bead of the silicone around the outside square of the fan, then pressed it into place and let it cure for 24hrs.

Have'nt had any issues.

Thanks for posting your results!!! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby ygmir » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:34 pm

on another note:

Just to show how popular your stuff is, FJ, I saw (but was not in a position to stop to recover) one of your "design" buckets for your coolers, laying along side 34. Looked just like the bucket design you used, and, it was orange.

so, enough of them were made, it seems, that someone even lost one on the way home.

you have my admiration, and respect.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:53 pm

Thank you sir, that means a lot to me!!! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby wimala1 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:20 pm

i don't know how to post a picture, but if you can select this link it is of my swamp cooler, dc charge controller, solar panel & monkey hut. just wanted to share


http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 259&type=1


http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 259&type=1

hope these work,

tanya
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:21 am

wimala1 wrote:i don't know how to post a picture, but if you can select this link it is of my swamp cooler, dc charge controller, solar panel & monkey hut. just wanted to share


Image

Image
hope these work,

tanya


I tried, but I'm not getting the picture either. :?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby elKay » Thu Sep 29, 2011 11:20 am

We used this fantastic thread as our guide while building our swamp cooler. Thank you! We really wanted to be comfy, so we made it big and it worked really well. But I have to say that, coming from the hot and humid midwest summer, I did not find the need for a swamp cooler at all. It was a little warm inside, but outdoors, under the shade- It was such a weird feeling to have shade feel cool, and when taking a hot outdoor shower, the instant cold. Your western climate is my new favorite thing.

Evaporation is wonderful. I loved learning about swamp coolers, and building ours- but when we come back next year, we will be leaving the swamp cooler at home.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:51 pm

Just remember that this was not a "normal" year for the weather.

If you were stuck inside the trailer because of a 8hr white out, you may have enjoyed your cooler more. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby elKay » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:58 pm

Oh, yeah. I had not considered that.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby HandJamMasterC » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:37 pm

While my wife raved about the swamp cooler this year at Burning Man ( and slept in until 1 or 2 pm every day because she was cool ), I decided to modify it and try and make it work even better.

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Seems to get better air flow now. Here is the solar panel array ( I added a pump ) - it mounts on 7 feet of 1/2" pipe strapped to my carport, and I can turn it to stay at the perfect angle to the sun ( it's just mocked up on the driveway here ).

Image
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:38 pm

Beeeeeeutiful job!!! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby yellowdog » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:06 pm

Figjam, you are a genius! Thank you for noticing my original posting of the gargage can swamp cooler(invented by my friend Amber) and for improving and unleashing the concept onto the imaginations of other innovators. I will make a huge effort to meet you in 2012. Please allow me to treat you to a cocktail or nine! Perhaps we should have Swamp Cooler Social?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Packoderm » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:11 pm

This thread is so slow loading. It moves up every time I scroll to the bottom.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:39 am

Packoderm, I think it's all the pics on the page.

Yellowdog, could'nt have done it without you! 8)

The last 2 years people have wanted to do the social, but I'll have to bring an adaptor cause I used regular wall plugs on my coolers. :lol:
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

"If I can't find an answer, I'll create one!!!"

Fuck Im Good Just Ask Me
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FIGJAM
 
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby unjonharley » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:33 am

My daughter thinks I should have a NASCAR cooler suit attached to a Homer swamp cooler on the trike..
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FireTommy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:37 pm

The fan I have is that one from FrozenCPU and I have to be that guy and ask...which wires are what? There are 4, and my mind is only able to handle 2! :?:
....like a dingo in a maternity ward....
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Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Go the F*ck to Sleep

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