100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

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

100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby asr9754 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:15 pm

Has anyone seen or tried this?:
http://www.westernharmonics.com/MiniCooler.html

It's marketed as a pet cooler, but has a solar fan and solar pump. No batteries, it would just turn on when the sun comes up. It's a prefab box, should be easy to attach to an RV window or pipe into a tent with a duct tube.

Just curious if anyone has tried it yet.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:51 pm

Thier pad is only 8"X8".

This makes me suspicious about thier claims.

23 degrees cooler.

I get 30 degrees cooler.

Add a 50 watt solar panel to one of my designs and get 900 cfm compared to thier 300 cfm! 8)
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby asr9754 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:49 pm

Hey FigJam, where is your design of which you speak? Searched your posts, but there are 1,000s, man! Thanks for the input.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:49 pm

The last full recap is on page 51 of "Cooling your tent or van".

All 3 designs are on that page! 8)
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Mojojita » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:50 pm

Figgy's designs work very well - we have a couple of them for the yurts and I want to build one for the RV this year.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:33 am

I'm also interested in a 100% solar powered cooler design. I've seen references to the possibility in the other threads but so far I haven't seen a fully realized project.

I would be willing to sacrifice some efficiency to go 100% solar. I found a 10w panel + 4" fan package here for $120:
http://www.amazon.com/CDT-F14-Solar-Pow ... =Solar+fan

Any thoughts?
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:01 am

If you want a total solar system, Handjamaster built his own using this fan and 2 Harbor freight solar pumps. (needed 2 pumps for enough water supply)

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200514348_200514348?cm_mmc=Google-pla-_-Alternative%20%2B%20Renewable%20Energy-_-Solar%20Heating%20%2B%20Ventilation-_-25367&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=25367&gclid=CI_rl6WOsbUCFe1AMgodlBcAkQ

There are lots of solar pumps to choose from.

https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4PRFB_enUS492US492&q=solar+fountain+pumps#hl=en&tbo=d&rlz=1T4PRFB_enUS492US492&q=solar+fountain+pumps+with+battery+backup&revid=1111325084&sa=X&ei=3WQaUcWAJo602AWJhYCYDg&ved=0CEsQ4QIoAA&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42261806,d.b2I&fp=7b390c4dfcfadd05&biw=1360&bih=614

I tried to make my designs as cheap and easy to build as possible, but my way ain't the only way.

Hooking a 50 watt solar panel to any of my designs would also work.

The main thing is to have fun, and be cooooool. 8)
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:21 am

Thanks FigJam!

Some quick research turned up this potential combo of 10" RoadPro fan and 15w solar panel:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001JT ... PDKIKX0DER
http://www.harborfreight.com/15-watt-12 ... 96418.html
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:24 am

That fan looks like an "o2 cool" and testing shows that they don't move enough air.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:29 pm

FIGJAM wrote:That fan looks like an "o2 cool" and testing shows that they don't move enough air.

Ah thanks, good to know. Any data on this fan? It's apparently very popular with boaters:
http://www.caframo.com/marine/marine_pr ... ate747.php
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Feb 16, 2013 5:28 pm

No data other than I don't see how you would adapt it for a cooler. :?
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:59 pm

FIGJAM wrote:No data other than I don't see how you would adapt it for a cooler. :?

Good question ;)
Hmm... maybe mount it on the inside of the box, hanging upside down? e.g. similar to this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C4FRl9S-j4 (skip to 1:20 to see how it's mounted)

Btw, I'm slowly coming around to the idea of using a battery for some things... but the elegance of a cooler that would start itself up automatically in the morning when the sun comes up has a strong appeal to me :D
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:06 pm

Found some stats on the Caframo 747 fan: it reportedly moves 210 cfm while using .59 amps on high. So it seems to push a bit more air than most computer fans, while consuming about half as much power.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Token » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:05 pm

CFM alone is meaningless. You need to compare flow volume AND pressure to gauge performance.

The power of the fan is more accurately represented with the pressure it can produce at the specified CFM. usually expressed in mm-H2O.

A 100 CFM fan with low mm-H2O number will choke running through all that water soaked cloth.
A 100 CFM fan with high mm-H2O number will fly like an eagle.

Now go geek out and do your homework.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby regentswift » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:20 am

I'm trying to do the same thing: build a "Figjam cooler" without need for a generator.

I bought this pump: http://www.harborfreight.com/solar-powe ... 66093.html

This might be a stupid question, but do you think that the solar panel that runs the pump would be beefy enough to handle the fan, too? Could I just splice it in, or would it kill the pump? Or am I completely barking up the wrong tree?

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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:43 am

That panel is just enough to run the pump, and then only if kept in total sunlight.

I don't bring a genny to the playa. :?
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby regentswift » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:21 am

FIGJAM wrote:That panel is just enough to run the pump, and then only if kept in total sunlight.

I don't bring a genny to the playa. :?


Figjam, since you're the expert on these, what do you use to run your fan? In the other thread, it appeared to be a 12v battery. What do you use to charge it? What kind of panels do you use?

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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:12 pm

I don't use panels, and I don't normally have to charge my battery.

I run both my pump and fan from one battery, plus some LED lighting and my radio.

With the Costco 115AH deep cycle battery ($90), you can run the cooler 5 or 6 hours a day for 7 days without having to recharge. 8)
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:52 pm

Ok, I've managed to build a classic Figjam-style bucket cooler that has been happily running for the last few days via a 30 watt solar panel :D

photo.JPG


I used one of the pumps mentioned in the other thread (lightobject 3.8L 12V Mini DC submersible):
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002PB ... UTF8&psc=1

I used the same fan that figjam uses (Delta 120 x 38mm High-Speed Fan - 190.48 CFM AFB1212SHE-CF00):
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8556/ ... -CF00.html

Then I picked up this 30 watt panel by Aleko for $60!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A2W ... UTF8&psc=1

Looking at the specs of the fan and the pump, it makes sense that the 30 watt panel is able to drive them both under direct sunlight:
Fan: 1.25 amps
Pump: .5 amps
1.75 amps x 12 volts = 21 watts

One tip I have for others is to think carefully before deviating from figjam's design. For example, the fan he uses is expensive for a reason. It is a serious hot-rod PC cooling fan. You can save money with a standard or salvaged PC cooling fan, but you will be sacrificing air flow significantly.

Also of note is the fact that the circumference of the fan blades is pretty much an exact match for the inner diameter of the 4" septic connector pipe that he recommends for ducting the air from the bucket. It makes for an elegant fit; just be sure to take the time to make the hole in the lid closely conform to size of the pipe.

Thanks Figgy! :D
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby hippyDdoc » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:00 pm

Sharkie, thats a fuck'n bomb of a figjam cooler. Now I gots to find ya on the playa and hopefully you can gift some of that coolness.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby sharke » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:14 pm

Thanks hippyDdoc! :D
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Canoe » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:31 am

sharke wrote:...
Looking at the specs of the fan and the pump, it makes sense that the 30 watt panel is able to drive them both under direct sunlight:
Fan: 1.25 amps
Pump: .5 amps
1.75 amps x 12 volts = 21 watts
...

The current specified by the link is 1.71A operating current. The fan + pump is 1.75A.
Fortunately, you don't have to lift the water far.
Watch out for having the bucket on the ground if you're trying to flow the air up high, say to a van or RV window. Depending on your shelter, you may have to raise the bucket up to around the same height as the hose goes into your shelter, particularly if there's some cloud.

Another source lists a 30W Aleko mono panel as 2.8A max in full sunlight. As long as it doesn't get too hot, you may be getting your full draw of current.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:45 am

Hey FIGJAM, do you think my completely-open-to-the-rear (or should I say "stern") Land Yacht would benefit from a FJ cooler? It could be pretty powerful, I've got plenty of 12VDC and 120VAC and a pretty good water supply. But do I have too much ventilation for it to be effective?
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Canoe » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:33 am

Seen enough photos of people outside with a swampcooler blowing cool on them.

And then there's always this:
cooler-suits.jpg
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:04 am

Sure Capt.!

There are restaurants here with patio's that use them outside.

You'll need to make the unit bigger if you want to cool more than one person at a time.

I would go with the box design and up the dimentions to 3'x3'x4' with plenty of pad area on 3 sides of the box and capable of holding about 10 gallons of water with enough "lip" so the water can't slosh out while the yatch is moving..

This fan ought to do the job. (2400 CFM!)

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200514348_200514348?cm_ven=natural&cm_cat=netconcepts&cm_pla=Google&cm_ite=
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:45 pm

I switched to a new 211 GPH solar pump with battery backup and a remote control - this year the wife will be sleeping in, in cool comfort - 100% solar powered !!

http://www.1000fountains.com/remote-con ... 16614.html
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby HandJamMasterC » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:52 pm

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200514348_200514348?cm_ven=natural&cm_cat=netconcepts&cm_pla=Google&cm_ite=


That's basically the fan I have. I don't believe it comes close to the rated CFM - however, it works well enough to cool a 3 person backpacking tent under a carport, and that's all I need it to do.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:35 pm

Hmm... I could put in a cooler that big but it's too much interior space to give up.
I'm sure I would need a huge one because the interior isn't far from completely open-air.
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:47 pm

Ha!

I thought you were talking about cooling for the outside deck!

What's the cubic footage inside the cabin?
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Re: 100% solar swamp cooler, no batteries!?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:12 pm

I dunno, 4 or 5 hundred cubic feet I suppose, wide-open at the rear.
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