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 theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:55 pm

Can we just change the name to:
The Figjam Thread
?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Mar 10, 2012 7:54 pm

But it's not about me Fishy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8)

(If it was, it would have died on page one.)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Bursha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:13 am

Great design Figjam!

I'm a first time burner this year and i'd like to make one of your bucket coolers. Im on a budget though, is it possible to use a cheaper battery? Does it have to be the more expensive deep cycle battery?

I humbly await your further instruction.
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Re:

Postby Bursha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:34 am

FIGJAM wrote:Went to hf and bought this........

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

it works great for this size cooler.


So this solar panel eliminates the need for a deep cycle battery right? How do you splice the fan into this? is there an on/off switch?

Sorry so many questions, but im a newb to this.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:10 am

The panel will only run the pump.

What size space are you going to try to cool?

You will need a battery for the fan, but if you get a less amp houred one you may need to recharge sometime during the week. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby VultureChow » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:54 am

FIGJAM wrote:The panel will only run the pump.

What size space are you going to try to cool?

You will need a battery for the fan, but if you get a less amp houred one you may need to recharge sometime during the week. 8)


Since you're answering questions, I think I'll get in on this. What if I want to chill a 50 sf (300 cubic foot) space. Just during morning sleep hours.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:04 pm

For 300 cb, ft. the bucket will work well as the totel air exchange will take place every 1.110 minutes with the 190cfm fan. 8)

I'm always ready to answer questions! :D
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Bursha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:11 pm

I'm trying to cool a 6-8 person tent only. I saw some small, low cost 12v batteries at Frys (1.4AH, 4.5AH & 7AH), would these run the fan sufficiently for a few hours per day? Then i could use the solar pump to run itself.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:33 pm

The fan for the bucket cooler uses 1.25amps, so 7ah would be about 3 hrs. before recharging.

A regular car battery is about like a 50ah battery.

Watch craigs list and maybe you can get something cheap that will get you through the week.

OR run the cooler from your cigarette lighter in the vehicle, then start the car every other day and let it idle for an hour to recharge.

5 gallons of gas should be enough to do this. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby B the B » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:46 pm

Dude thats alot of work. Just rent a RV!!!!!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Bursha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:48 pm

I stumbled across this link online. They use your link as a reference, but are instructing to use the smaller batteries like i found at frys. What do you make of their design and claims to run a 1.6A fan for 5 hours using a 1.2AH battery?? I just want the cheapest, yet functional version for my $.

http://robotfun.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/swampcooler/
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Canoe » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:46 pm

Bursha wrote:I stumbled across this link online. They use your link as a reference, but are instructing to use the smaller batteries like i found at frys. What do you make of their design and claims to run a 1.6A fan for 5 hours using a 1.2AH battery?? I just want the cheapest, yet functional version for my $.
http://robotfun.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/swampcooler/

For starters:
  • their instructions grab any ol' 12VDC computer fan. That's been tried, and results are less than optimal. There's a reason The Figjam Thread recommends a particular fan: the air it will actually move through the filter for the power it takes.
  • their pump uses 500mA, Figjam's recommended one uses 300mA.
  • filter media - many will cool, but the blue one tolerates playa dust and doesn't break off anything than can become MOOP.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:58 pm

I'm not sure how much she knows about lead acid batteries. :?

Shes running the pump and fan from battery power which is what I do.

Power consumption is right at 1.5amps per hour.

Lead acid batteries have the longest lifespan if their not discharged below 50%.

Divide 7 by 2 and that is your usable amp hours.

Divide that by 1.5 and that's how long you can run your cooler before the battery needs to be recharged.

She said she ran her cooler for 5hrs. on that battery, which means shortening the battery life by 50% to 80% because she's completly discharging her battery.

She does'nt say how she's recharging. :roll:


Then she states that they do use a deep cycle battery in camp for lights, music, and the cooler that lasts all week.


Give it some thought and PM me if you need help. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Bursha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:15 pm

Thanks Fig for the clarification! it sounded a little too good to be true. I think im gonna stick with your original design, with the addition of the HF solar pump, and just run my fan off the deep cycle battery. I'm trolling craigslist for some low cost deep cycle batteries. Man those suckers aren't cheap!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:18 pm

Best bang for the buck I've seen so far is 115AH from costco for $80. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Bursha » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:48 pm

Is that a current price? I don't have a costco membership but for that deal i think i can round someone with a membership up. Thanks for the tip!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:30 pm

Power seemed to be the big question last year, so here's a few tips.

The 115AH battery from costco for $80 is a very good buy for what it is, but it is a lead acid battery.

I don't know the life expectancy on that.

The battery I use is a Deka 105AH AGM (absorbed glass mat) that I only use for BM.

The acid is in the mat, so even if a corner gets broken off, they don't leak.

They can be stood on end, on their side, or even upside down, it does'nt matter.

Mine stays on a control charger when not in use. (BatteryMinder)

I don't discharge below 50% and with the mantainance charger should last 10 years.

They cost about $240, BUT if you keep an eye out you can find factory seconds for half that price.

Mine were factory seconds just because they did'nt have labels.

I have 2.

One for my camp lights and cooler, the other for my swiss army ashtray. (trike with bells and whistles and a 30 mile range with one of those batteries.)

If I run the trike alot, I may have to hook my jumper cables to the trike battery and idle the truck for an hour to recharge.

That's how I manage Burning Man without a generator. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Bursha » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:20 pm

Thanks Fig! Yeah, i was doing some research online and found that AGM is generally listed as the best type. Where could one find factory seconds for sale??
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:41 pm

Call all the battery stores you can find, like battery plus, battery depot, things like that.

Check with solar power companies.

My local battery store owner happened to "know a guy" that could get factory seconds by the pallet load.

If the search is not worth your time, the battery is still cheaper than a generator.

Bigger camps that use alot of power need generators. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby geoffgn » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:21 pm

Does this unit need to be covered so it doesn't get dust in it during the huge dust storms on the playa?(dust+water=mud)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:26 pm

No.

The dust is continualy washed out of the pad by the pump and precipitates into a layer of silt in the bottom of the cooler. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby geoffgn » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:31 pm

Thanks! I'll build one for BM this year. Come by and have a COOL martini at Mohammeds Mini Martini and Erotica camp
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby garyt » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:36 pm

Thanks FIGJAM and to everyone else who has given so much feedback on this. The battery pack in a toolbox is definitely very cool and I'm stealing the idea! :twisted:

My one question would be water. I try to fit everything into my 4 door sedan. If its running about 2 gallons/day, that is about 14 gallons a week. I'm planning on being there for about 3 weeks this year and that's a lot of water to carry(space and weight) just for cooling. I guess I can refill at gerlach but was just wondering what would make it most efficient? I was thinking of connecting the fans and pump to my arduino with a temp sensor to only have it turn on if it gets warmer than I can tolerate. Not sure how much water will I save with that.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:25 pm

Keep your ice melt water clean and use it in your cooler. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby HandJamMasterC » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:08 am

I use my ice chest water. Had more than enough last year !! Especially since we run a wine and champagne bar - too many coolers worth of water to use !
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby sjs » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:51 pm

Hey all, I'm about 6mo behind on posting an update about how my Figjam-inspired cooler worked last year. My design consisted of two of the Scythe fans mounted in parallel on top of the 5-gallon bucket lid. They fed into PVC tubing:

Image Image

Which in turn could be directed into a tent:

Image

or into my customized Tyvek suits for cooling while you sit outside:

Image

I was getting a 20-30 degree drop (ie: upper 90's outside, and just below 70 coming out of tube). This made it comfortable (even cold) in my tent, and quite lovely for sitting in the suits.

Other ingredients:

Improvements for this year:
The biggest problem I had was that the holes in the bucket compromised its structural integrity, which combined with the weight of the PVC pipes on top caused it to bend in that area, thus causing water to more easily flow out of the bucket and make playa mud. This year, I'm going to try something more rigid like a sports drink cooler or just a regular old rectangular cooler (maybe one with wheels so I can wheel it around).

Looking forward to seeing what others are experimenting with!

[Edit: forgot to mention that I went with the PVC tubing after trying several other options, including different flexible dryer duct approaches. I found that the airflow was much reduced with the dryer ducting or anything that introduced significant bends or other air resistance. A smooth and straight path for the air was best, and even the 90-degree bend in the smooth PVC seemed to slow down air flow.

On a related note, I had sealed up my tent from the outside by sewing the rain tarp into the tent itself. When I first directed my cooler air into the tent, it "inflated" like a bouncy castle but as a result the air flow wasn't as good. I ended up partially unzipping my tent door (as you can see in the photo above) to allow for air flow... so somewhat counter-intutively, having a not-entirely-sealed tent was cooler. Likewise, the Tyvek suits have elastic in the wrist and ankles, but I found more cool airflow once I cut the elastic out of the wrists (left them in the ankles).]
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby tantoo » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:22 pm

One more question...does the solar panel from the pump put out enough power to run both the pump and the fan? I've gotten it to work that way, but once I add water it fails...!?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:47 pm

If you're talking about the solar pump from HF, no.

The panel is just for the pump, so you will need a seperate power sorce for the fan, whether it's another solar panel or a battery. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed May 23, 2012 6:54 am

Was just checking the availability of the fountain pump for the coolers and they don't seem to make it anymore! :(

I will post as soon as I find a replacement.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed May 23, 2012 7:31 am

OK, here it is, but there is a delay in shipping. :?

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