cooling your tent or van

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

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:58 pm

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

this is better info on the bigger pump. .23amps. I like it cause it can be solar or hooked right to a 12 volt battery.
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Postby kman » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:44 pm

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

this is better info on the bigger pump. .23amps. I like it cause it can be solar or hooked right to a 12 volt battery.


I'm curious in what way that pump is superior to the Harbor Freight solar pump, for use in the 5 gal bucket coolers?

http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-powe ... 66093.html

At $13 including the solar panel, it's a tough buy to beat. But if there's some specific reason why you really think the silicon solar pump is better, I'd like to know so I don't waste $13.
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:49 pm

The hf pump is fine for the bucket cooler. The other pump has a higher head (5ft.) and more flow (80gph) for those that want to make a scaled up version. Sorry for the confosum. AND I didnt cut the cord on the hf pump to see if it could connect direct to a battery.
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Postby Talynt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:50 pm

if you're that worried about the voltage, just attach a voltage regulator (get em at radio shack). They take a higher DC voltage (say, 12 volts, 24 volts, etc) and turn it into a steady-ish 5 volts DC, or whatever its designed for.

I always try to make sure that the input voltage is 3-4 volts higher than the output, but the nice thing is that can fluctuate. Be sure to put a heatsink on it if you're running a ton of current, and that it's rated for the right number of amps.
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Postby kman » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:55 pm

FIGJAM wrote:The hf pump is fine for the bucket cooler. The other pump has a higher head (5ft.) and more flow (80gph) for those that want to make a scaled up version. Sorry for the confosum. AND I didnt cut the cord on the hf pump to see if it could connect direct to a battery.

Gotcha, thanks for the clarification. I can see how the bigger pump would be good for a bigger cooler (like your upgraded box cooler), but wasn't seeing why it was needed for the smaller bucket cooler. Answer: It's not. :)

I'm looking forward to getting this sucker up and running!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kman » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:05 pm

Ok, I picked up a bucket and lid, and a cooler pad today, so I've officially started down the path. :D

A couple questions if you don't mind, Figgy (can I call you Figgy?):

A few things I can't quite tell from your photos:

1) Any tips on where to find a little piece of shade cloth?

2) What's that little white strip of plastic... did you cut apart another bucket to get it, or is that an "improvise sump'in you fool!" sort of part?

3) Is there a particular size irrigation tubing you're using there? Standard 1/2" poly line, like they're selling at Home Despot? (in quantities no smaller than 50', yeesh) I'd imagine the ID of the tubing is actually somewhat important, get it wrong and the pump won't be able to do it's job correctly. I think.


FIGJAM wrote:Image

Image

Image

notice that the cthohe is above the pad. This stopped water leeking out of the holes in the side of the bucket when the water recurculates from the pump. Take a piece of irrigation drip line and a T to make a loop.

Image

Lay it flat an poke or drill small holes every 2ins. on the side toward the pad.

Image
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Swamp Coolers for Dummies

Postby barnz » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:07 pm

Figjam, I love the work you've done here, thanks for sharing all of your information.

I was wondering if you could do a new version of your original post, with pics and step-by-step, of a fully working system. Since I'm making requests, what I would really love to see would be links for purchasing all crucial parts (which as I understand are pump, fan, power supply, and possibly filter material) so that others of less technical capability (like me) would definitively be able to build a complete system. I understand that many of the talented folks on this board can make substitutions, conversions, and adaptations as they go, but the rest of us get hot in our tents too!
:)

Any chance of getting all this great learning and experience culled down into one bite-sized piece?


Thanks again, even for me, it's been fascinating following this thread over the weeks.
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:18 pm

8)
Last edited by FIGJAM on Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kman » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:12 pm

Thanks, FigJam... I'll see what I can do.

Barnz, I'll be sure to document my progress as I build my cooler. (not to step of figgy's toes)
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:19 pm

Dont worry about my toes......lol.......you may not be able to teach anybody anything........but they may learn something. I appreciate your help and responces. You bring up things that I miss because thier second nature to me, living here. Keep it up. :D
Last edited by FIGJAM on Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kman » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:47 pm

Ok. Oddly, the Home Depots in Los Angeles (at least the several around me and every employee I spoke to) don't sell shade cloth by the foot, just big rolls.

Fortunately, another local chain (OSH, very similar to a Lowe's) does, so that's one more part down.

Right now, my biggest issue is the fountain pump, only because I really want a packaged 100% solar pump. Apparently Harbor Freight has discontinued their pump, which would have been perfect.

It does look like eBay has a number of options that are reasonably-priced (under $30, at least), coming from Hong Kong, and possibly even one local seller that's somewhat reasonably priced ($30). I need to look closely at the specs and decide on what I want to do, though. I kinda prefer the local(ish) vendor's product on principle, but the specs are a little underwhelming. And that's one tiny panel.

This panel appears to have the best specs for the best price, but I still hate ordering from overseas... no recourse if there's a problem. I'd just go with the Silicon Solar pump that FigJam is using, but I'd need to buy a separate panel to power it, which I was hoping to avoid. Although at this rate I may as well pick up a 15w hard panel either run both the fan and pump off it directly, or wire it into my 45w Harbor Freight array and feed it off the battery like everything else.

This cheap little experiment suddenly got a lot less cheap. :(
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Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:57 pm

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

The pumps you listed dont have enough head. Try to order online from hf first. Yes its a tiny panel, but it worked fine in testing.
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Postby kman » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:37 pm

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

The pumps you listed dont have enough head. Try to order online from hf first. Yes its a tiny panel, but it worked fine in testing.


HF is totally out. If you try online, it'll say "backordered". I actually called the company and spoke to them, apparently the manufacturer decided not to make it anymore. So there literally are no more of these fountains, unless a retail store somewhere still has one collecting dust under a shelf. None of the ones near me do, though, I already checked...
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Postby kman » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:27 pm

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

The pumps you listed dont have enough head. Try to order online from hf first. Yes its a tiny panel, but it worked fine in testing.


The HF pump cites:

# Max. water lift height: 2.62 ft.
# Max. flow rate: 42 gallons per hour

The eBay pump I linked cites:

Max water height of pump: 66cm (2.16 ft)
Max flow quantity of pump : 150L/H . (39.62 gal/hr)

So yeah, you're right, not as powerful. It's fairly close, though... you think it's not enough?

I'll look for more options.
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Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:41 pm

capjbadger wrote:
GonzoRock wrote:
MrMurdock wrote:this could work as a pretty nice pump!

https://fountainmountain.com/product_de ... prodid=256


That's a 6volt pump... a 12 volt car battery will make it run twice as fast and may... destroy it. Would have to purchase and life cycle test it most likely to know and avoid failure on playa.


That runs on the batteries in the solar panel. You would not hook this up to a car battery.

-Badger


Click on this pump and scroll down to the specs. Notice that this 50gph pump drops to 11gph at 20", Thats the trickbag you have to watch out for.
They may pump that much water if they dont have to lift it, but in this case I want about 20gph at 20".
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Postby kman » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:52 pm

What about [img=http://cgi.ebay.com/new-Solar-Fountain-Pond-Water-Pump-Panel-Brushless-D89-/220634592505?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item335ed8b4f9]this one[/img]?

Max Flow quantity of Pump: 180L/H (47.55 gal/hr) (HF was 42)
Max Water Height of Pump: 80cm (2.62 ft) (same as HF)

$27 total. Don't like the look of the seller quite as much, but perhaps beggars can't be choosers.

Kinda makes you realize what an incredible deal that HF pump was! I'm seriously kicking myself for not grabbing one a week ago.

Actually, here's a US-based seller with the same specs as the HF unit:

# Max. water lift height: 2.62 ft.
# Max. flow rate: 42 gallons per hour

Looking closer, I think it IS the HF unit! (isn't that the same item #?)

I'm going to bid. We'll see. :)
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Postby FIGJAM » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:55 pm

THAT BE IT!!!! I recognize the box. hurry hurry hurry.......... :D :D :D

That even the price I paid for mine off the shelf.
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Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:53 am

How much water do you need for your cooler?

The bucket cooler uses 2gal. every 5 hours.

The box cooler uses 6gal. every 7 hours.

Ill bring 30gal. to run my box cooler for the week.

Plan accordingly.
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chiming in again

Postby stack » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm

I also ran into issues w/ power last year which is why I built my cooler the way I did. Probably repeating myself, but here's some info that I came up with. Hope it helps.

My cooler box was pretty much the same design as "V2.0" in this thread (fans mounted directly to side of box). It sat on a 5 gal water supply bucket that had a 12v pump on a float switch. This pumped water into a 2.5 gal water jug that sat on top of the cooler box via an old hose (I bought at the thrift store for $1 and cut to size). The water then drained thru the cooler pads and back into the supply bucket. When enough water filled the bucket, the pump came back on and filled the upper water jug repeating the cycle.

This design was kinda last minute for me, and if I had to do it again, I would combine the lower supply bucket and cooler box into one unit. I think it could be adapted to use two 5 gal buckets even.

Because the pump only ran when the supply bucket was full, and turned off when the float dropped (magically it was right around the same time the upper jug was full) this drastically reduced the time the pump was on greatly reducing the draw on the battery.

I used 4 100CFM computer fans that drew .35 amps each (found here: http://www.surpluscenter.com/item.asp?U ... e=electric) Its probably not gonna push as much air as that big fan, but they'll draw a lot less power and it easily cooled my 8' hexayurt. I also used 1 of the same fans as an exhaust fan on the top of the yurt, so I guess technically i had 5 of them running all at once. (There are some other DC powered fans on that site, so look around if those don't work for you).

A float switch is super easy to make from a $4 part from radio shack, spare pvc pipe, some duct tape and a plastic soda bottle. Learn how here: http://reefworkshop.com/DIY_floatswitch1.htm Seriously, mine looked super rinky dink but worked fine.

I used a 12v pump from harbor freight: http://www.harborfreight.com/500-gph-bi ... 66094.html which draws 1.9 amps but really only ran maybe 5 mins an hour if that.

I was able to charge my battery while the system was running durning the day from a 60 watt costco kit. I think my system draws less than 2 amps per hour, so a 24 watt 12v solar system should run it.

In regards to the whole gray water/used ice chest ice topic. If you put your ice in big freezer bags, and then into the ice chest, the ice probably wont get contaminated in your cooler and will be safe to put in the swamp cooler when it melts. This is what we did, and never used anything but melted cooler ice after the initial fill. I think we probably used about 3 gals a day max.

I wouldn't use gray water in the swamp cooler, that's kinda asking to get sick.

anyway, good luck to everyone, wish I this thread was around last summer as there's some great info and designs in here!
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Postby kman » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:16 pm

Great info, Stack, thanks!

Do you by chance have any info on the noise level and RPM of those fans you used? I might just stick with the one I found, since the output is nearly the same, the price is nearly the same, the power draw is the same, but mine is specifically whisper-quiet at 19db. I like the idea of sticking one up near the peak of the yurt, though, for constant low-draw ventilation. Did you have a filter over it to keep dust out, though? Gee, I wonder if a simple piece of cotton t-shirt cloth would work better than an AirCon filter would for that...

I got the solar fountain pump, so I don't have to worry about the power draw of the pump, but I do like the idea of auto-filling the bucket via some sort of float... I'll have to noodle on a design that uses a simple gravity feed to fill a lower bucket from a higher-placed water source as needed, an easy-to open valve might do the trick. Otherwise I'll just check the bucket once or twice per day to make sure there's still water in it.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:29 am

Good info Stack.

The combined amp draw of the 5 fans is 1.75 for 400cfm?

Medium speed on the endless breeze is 1.61 for 500cfm.

Kman...If you use a top tank you need a bigger pump to lift the water that high.

I dont think T-shirt would work for a filter, but you should have some pad leftovers that will. :)
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Postby ConnieH » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:02 am

kman wrote:I got the solar fountain pump, so I don't have to worry about the power draw of the pump, but I do like the idea of auto-filling the bucket via some sort of float... I'll have to noodle on a design that uses a simple gravity feed to fill a lower bucket from a higher-placed water source as needed, an easy-to open valve might do the trick. Otherwise I'll just check the bucket once or twice per day to make sure there's still water in it.


What I plan to do is get a second bucket and put it on a pedestal next to the cooler bucket, higher than than high water line of the cooler, attach a hose from reserve to a float inside the cooler. Seems simple, I'm hoping it works...I think this is basically what you are talking about. I don't see the need for a bigger pump since the cooler essentially remains the same, just with the addition of the float.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:21 am

How high are you going to have to pump the water to get it into your resivour bucket?

Test the pump by putting a 4ft. hose on it and with the pump running see how high it pumps the water and how much.

The higher it has to push the water the less gph it will move.

Hes useing a 500gph bilge pump. Theres a BIG difference.

Just want you to be happy with your creation. :)
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Postby ConnieH » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:03 am

I won't be pumping any water into the reserve bucket, it'll just gravity feed the cooler bucket and we'll top off the reserve bucket as needed with cooler water, or whatever water. My boyfriend has me nearly convinced that if we run the reserve line through a filter and put a few drops of bleach in the reserve tank, that we can use grey water. I'm still a bit squeemish about the idea, but warming up to it.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:13 am

Thats a great plan. I misunderstood.

I think the bleach will take care of any bacteria.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:04 pm

8)
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Postby capjbadger » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:21 pm

"The type of bearing used in a fan can affect its performance and noise output. Most computer fans use one of the following bearing types:

Sleeve bearing fans use two surfaces lubricated with oil or grease as a friction contact. Sleeve bearings are less durable as the contact surfaces can become rough and/or the lubricant dry up, eventually leading to failure. Sleeve bearings may be more likely to fail at higher temperatures, and may perform poorly when mounted in any orientation other than vertical. The lifespan of a sleeve bearing fan may be around 40,000 hours at 50 °C. Fans that use sleeve bearings are generally cheaper than fans that use ball bearings, and are quieter at lower speeds early in their life, but can grow considerably noisier as they age.

Rifle bearing fans are similar to sleeve bearing, but are quieter and have almost as much lifespan as ball bearings. The bearing has a spiral groove in it that pumps fluid from a reservoir. This allows them to be safely mounted horizontally (unlike sleeve bearings), since the fluid being pumped lubricates the top of the shaft. The pumping also ensures sufficient lubricant on the shaft, reducing noise, and increasing lifespan.

Ball bearing fans use ball bearings. Though generally more expensive, ball bearing fans do not suffer the same orientation limitations as sleeve bearing fans, are more durable especially at higher temperatures, and quieter than sleeve bearing fans at higher rotation speeds. The lifespan of a ball bearing fan may be around 63,000 hours at 50 °C.

Fluid bearing fans have the advantages of near-silent operation and high life expectancy (comparable to ball bearing fans). However, these fans tend to be the most expensive. The enter bearing fan is a variation of the fluid bearing fan, developed by Everflow.

Magnetic bearing or maglev fans, in which the fan is repelled from the bearing by magnetism. "


Take a look here http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews ... sefans.php
The information is near the bottom of the page.

Apparently a rifle bearing can be loosely described as having a continuous groove (rifling) on the bearing shaft that keeps a constant flow of oil to extend the bearing life.

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Postby kman » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:24 pm

FIGJAM wrote:Im doing another bucket cooler for the cab of my truck and going to try this little larger fan. Its 8" across.

http://store.nzxt.com/product_p/fan-200.htm

Whats a rifle bearing?

I see the attraction, but...

Looking at the numbers, it's pulling .7 amps for 166 cfm.

Wouldn't it be better to run two of the CoolerMaster fans I linked (.35amps each, so .7 total) and end up with 180 cfm instead for the same power draw?

Although perhaps power is less of an issue in a truck.
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:00 pm

8)
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answers to questions

Postby stack » Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:44 pm

kman: I have no idea how loud those fans are. You could hear them of course, but I'd say they were about as loud as a typical box fan on low.

I didn't use a filter for the exhaust fan, rather I mounted the fan on the outside of the roof while building the yurt. I kept the piece of board that I cut for the hole and used tape to fashion it into a door that I would close sealing the hole when not in use. The fan keeps dust from entering the yurt when its running. If I didn't have a fan up there I would tape another filter over the hole.


In regards to the pump I used, it was overkill for the system, but I already had it. Not sure how a fountain pump would work. I guess its a trade off of how long is it on vs. how much power does it draw. I would try it though!
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