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 theox » Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:12 pm

yeah! and if it's about 5% humidity and a 100 on the playa i think the chart showed the same output. this was actually really fun building this. thanks again, fig
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby fea » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:09 pm

Hey Figjam, do you have any pics or instructions on wiring the cooler? I have zero electrical skills, but I do follow direction well. :?

I have the pump, the fan, a solar panel, deep cycle battery and current controller adapter thing. I just have no idea how to wire it. Any information you can offer is hugely appreciated. :oops:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:41 pm

As far as the pump and fan go, if you bought the pump I recommended, it comes with clips to connect to the battery.

You can splice the fan into the pump wires, or add some wire to the fan and clip it to the battery too.

The solar panel isn't something I know enough about. :?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby fea » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:54 pm

Really? I can just splice into the fan or pump wires.....I could probably also perform surgery on my last two brain cells, but I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to begin that venture either..... :P Apparently I am going to have to start stalking people at the local electric store for a crash course. Now don't you feel bad that some people's lives are about to be made miserable?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:02 pm

Not in the least!

What do you think this thread is all about! :twisted:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby fea » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:09 pm

Oh good! I'll tell you all about how I tortured them - Fun!!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:27 pm

Just take it a step at a time.

If you have your battery, touch test the wires from the pump to the battery.

Red is + and black is -.

If the wires on the fan arn't color coded, cut the connector of leaving as much wire as you can.

Strip an inch of insulation off each wire and touch test 2 wires at a time to the battery.

It will only run when you get the right combo, then mark those wire + and -.

Then you can add enough wire ti clip them right to the battery, or be a real pro and splice them into the pump wire.

Whichever you're more comfortable with. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby fea » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:57 pm

Figs, you're not just good, you're the BEST. I think I'm just gonna stalk you instead. :lol:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby tatonka » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:24 am

GA of wire , very small at pump and fan , I have some old jumper cables ( smaller dia than normal ) to come fom the batt.
Should I use a relay between them?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:52 am

I guess, but I don't have relays or fuses or anything between my coolers and battery.

3 years with absolutely no issues. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby tatonka » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:59 am

FIGJAM wrote:I guess, but I don't have relays or fuses or anything between my coolers and battery.

3 years with absolutely no issues. 8)


thanks again :)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby peaceoflove » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:59 am

Hey Figjam...
I've read many, many, many of the replies on this thread...but still need a bit of guidance before I (aka my boyfriend who has been roped into the project) gets started. My original plan has been the bucket...but around 4am when I should have been studying for my chem final, I realized perhaps the unicooler or box would be better suited for my shelter. I have one of those white plastic sheeting/pvc domes, ~1500ft3..it's gotten me through a few years but mirrors a sweltering death sauna after sunrise. Yuck.

I read a few pages ago a similar post about a yurt, where you suggested to duct the bucket design over the sleeping area. I do not think that will work for my dome...so should I go for the uni/box-cooler? Or do two buckets? This swamp cooler is going to be the main focus of my next two weeks, so I feel up for the challenge of either design. My bf is in charge of exact logistics, we just need to decide on the style before we jump in. Suggestions?? MUCH THANKS. We live in the depths of NM, swamp cooler central...have a feeling supplies/test runs will be in our favor...

<3
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:04 pm

The box is best for large areas. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby peaceoflove » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:33 pm

Thanks! I will keep you posted...
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby ck94901 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:51 pm

I'm working with friends to make 4 of Figjam's swamp cooler...after reading through this long but informative thread, we still have some questions about the wiring. Help...?

** we are electronic novices ** :D

1) After splicing the pump and fan wires together (inside the bucket), how do you reattach the plug? And what kind of plug should we get?

2) I've read comments about people wiring incorrectly and not having the max power - what is the bottom line skinny on avoiding this?

3) Is there a trick to making sure you have the fan mounted correctly - I was planning on just going off the original photo of the fan mounted to the lid.

4) Do you HAVE to have a duct running air out of your tent? Or can you just set the cooler outside with a duct in? Any tips on best length duct for max. efficiency?

THANK YOU!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:03 pm

I don't know what plug you mean.

There are several ways to connect to the battery.

The easiest is alligator clips. (They come with the pump that I recommended)

The pump will run no matter which way you connect it, but one way will pump twice as much water.

I think blue is - and brown is +.

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The shorter the duct coming in the better.

No out duct, just open a window enough to allow for the incoming air from the cooler. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby dj_shuze » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:29 am

Hey, Figjam -

1) The Harbor Freight pump does not (now) come with alligator clips, as you've mentioned in the last couple of posts. The one I bought from Harbor Freight this week has only a little push-on end that connects to the solar panel. I note that it is also (now) 7 volts, not 12, which requires some voltage conversion. (I strung together a bunch of things that are all car-charger accessories.)

The water outlet may also have changed; 3/8" tubing would not fit on the inside (too small), nor outside of the water output. So I'm going to use the little plastic risers that come with the pump to lift the water column. I can mate those risers to the inside of 5/8" o.d. vinyl tubing immediately before the T connector, and (also) use the 5/8" tubing for the ring. (I tested; the pump _can_ lift water using the 5/8" tubing, but it loses some pressure at the top because it's lifting a heavier water column. The pressure doesn't drop much around the ring at the top, given that the pump is not "lifting" this water.)

I confirm that I purchased the pump you have in your post.

2) I note also that the orange Home Depot project bucket I bought appears different from yours. See attached photo, and look at the configuration of the reinforcement rings at the top. I suspect Home Depot uses different manufacturers either over time, or over different parts of the country.

Since this appears different, can you please confirm the height of your bucket? Mine is 14 3/8" (without lid). If it's different than mine, I probably need to adjust the height of the cooler pads. I _assume_ the principle on cooler pad height is:
- Inner pad goes full height, from bottom of bucket to touch the bottom of the lid;
- Outer pad is a bit shorter, roughly by 1-2x the vinyl tubing diameter. (Maybe 1" shorter?)

I'm very bummed that I couldn't find a supply of cooler pads here in Massachusetts before I need to put my bucket in my shipping tote (to go in the semi trailer headed to the Playa.) I'm going to have to build that last part on the Playa, and hope it all works. Wish me luck.

I note also that your fan supplier was out of stock. I found the same fan here: http://bit.ly/136f7N0

I note that making the bucket holes as pretty as the ones in your photo took about 15 minutes with a utility knife to clean up the ragged bits after using the hole saw. ;-)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:53 am

There's been a lot of confusion about the pumps.

In the original post I posted a link for the HF solar pump for people that wanted solar.

Right after that I posted the pump I liked, which is the one I use and is a 12 volt pump that can be hooked up to a solar panel or straight to the battery.

The water output on my pump fits the 3/8 ID tube snuggly, which goes to the T connector.

If you put just one of the risers on that came with your pump, will the 3/8" tube fit on that?

The pump may have a problem filling the 5/8" tube.

The buckets are the same hight.

Make your outer pad tall enough so that the drip ring acts as an O-ring gasket between the top of the pad and the lid of the bucket.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Sassi3 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:22 pm

About to connect my 12V battery Fig Jam inspired swamp cooler. Fingers crossed.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:00 pm

Sassi3 wrote:About to connect my 12V battery Fig Jam inspired swamp cooler. Fingers crossed.



That was over an hour and a half ago!

Are you still alive!!!! :shock:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:41 am

My picture stats show that the swamp cooler photo views have just surpassed 2,000,000! :shock:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby TT120 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:19 am

I didn't mess with any plugs or anything to hook up my cooler. I just spliced longer wires onto my pump and fan and then just twisted them together and hooked them to the battery with the screw posts on the battery. Easy, cheap, and simple.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:39 am

zacktly! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby peaceoflove » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:23 pm

Figjam-
What are your thoughts on making a unicooler with an Endless Breeze fan on the lid, facing upwards? I want to use a bin/box that is similar in size to a cooler or storage bin, with two air vents on one of the long sides, but am having difficulty finding one that is deep enough. This is for my dome that is ~9ft tall in the middle... Will this work? No big deal if not, I still have other options and have not ruled out building my own box...it would just be so much easier to find a pre-made structure. Thanks
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:38 pm

The unicooler only has pad on one side.

The box cooler is also known as a side draft cooler and has pad on 3 sides.

Nothing wrong with the design you want to do, but how are you going to duct the air into the space being cooled? :shock:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby peaceoflove » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:47 pm

I am going to do the unicooler design, pad on one side but do two pads side by side...just have the fan pointing upward instead of on the opposite side as pads. Had not thought about ducting, this design literally popped up within the past hour and wanted to talk logistics with you first. If the unicooler is located inside my dome, do I need to duct? This is all new to me, advice is greatly appreciated :-)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:55 pm

That will work, but you'll be sending all the nice cool air straight up.

If you were in an insulated space that might be ok, but I think it would be better to blow the air across the space.

If someone needs a quick cool down they can sit in front of the cooler for 5 minutes to recover. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Sassi3 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:34 am

Oops. Forgot to check back in. Yes! It works! I live in NY, and had to get it on the container for shipment to the playa.

The fan did not work the first time but I just switched the wires, and it worked perfectly.

I used a deep cycle wheelchair battery. From what I have read it will work for about 5 hrs for 7 days. As a back up I purchased a cigarette lighter adapter, and will use that if my battery gets full drained, and I can't find anyone to charge it for me.

For cooler pads I used Aspen pads. I would not use that option again because I had to trim it down and it is very moopy, and the stuff they line it with really does not keep it in check. I have a messhy material I use for dress making that I lined it with and then ziptied the two layers with it. I also used zip ties to mount the fan to the lid.

For wire, it was recommended by my local shop to use thermostat wire which has 5 wires. I just assigned 2 to be positive and 2 to be negative. Used electric tape to seal my wires.

To connect to the battery I used alligator clips and it worked great.

I was scared that I was going to blow myself up, so I took it outside for it's maiden voyage with my fire extinguisher placed about a foot away. It worked really well. I was amazed.

I purchased an extra pump because I did not think the tiny pump that arrived would work, but water came pouring out of the halo.

The drill bit to make the holes in the bucket was oddly one of the biggest expenses aside from the battery.

For me the hardest part of the whole set up was getting the tubing onto the t-connector, but I heated up some water and soaked the ends in it, then inserted pliers into the tubing and opened them inside to stretch the tubing. I still had to struggle to twist the tubing on, but I got it eventually.

The hot wire works best for the holes in the tubing. I tried to use my Dremel, but the tube moves around too much. With the wire you get precise placement. I used a piece of a metal hanger for the wire.

Thanks Figjam and all of the other people who posted.

Now to find a Reno dealership for Hexayurt panels.

See you in the dust,
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:38 am

8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Canoe » Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:09 pm

peaceoflove wrote:...If the unicooler is located inside my dome, do I need to duct? ...

I may have missed something in the posts, but I didn't find what kind of dome you have. Just to be clear here, the unicooler, like the others, and every swamp-cooler, takes in hot dry air and and outputs cooled moist air. A unicooler is installed against a wall, drawing hot air from outside the shelter and blowing it's cooled air into the shelter. It can be located on the inside or the outside of that wall, as there is a single hot air intake fitler.
  • If your dome is not sealed, as in the dry outside air blows through all the time, then the unicooler, or the others, can sit inside and run the same way they'd run if they were sitting in the open.
  • If your dome is sealed, then the swamp-cooler will have to be against a wall to get it's hot dry outside air (or you'll have to duct that in - much easier to be against a wall). It will also need an exhaust vent so the incoming cooled swamp-cooler air can displace and push out the air already inside the dome.
Have you a photo of your dome, or someone else's of the same design?
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