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 FIGJAM » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:15 am

Keep your ice in big ziplock bags to keep it from being contaminated.

After using it to cool your food, use it to cool YOU! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby grenadine » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:46 pm

Thanks Figjam, just wanted to introduce you to Vanilla Ice, the swamp cooler! I'm going to probably get a stronger fan and better venting, but for my first time out it did a fine job of keeping my tent bearable.

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby kstlfido » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:18 pm

Finally home!

CoolerCon was great! Thanks all that showed up in our Pimp Your Bike area to exchange cooler ideas. A big thanks to sjs for putting it together!

And a HUGE thanks to figjam for spreading the word and getting us all into swamp coolers!

Report- My box cooler worked like a dream, more than I expected. An unexpected benefit was how it also removed virtually all the dust from the air, even in a duststorm. Added with the positive pressure from the cooler, I had a virtually dust-free yurt all week.

Data on the hottest day-
Outside- 94.3 F (in shade, of course), 22% humidity.
Inside- 68.5 F (!!!), 45% humidity.

Proper exit venting in imperative. I had two 10" x 20" vents w/ filters and one 5" x 5" 'flap' to release air. Without these, inside the yurt started to feel muggy.

I used meltwater extensively. But only meltwater w/ NO meat juices. I did put a teaspoon of bleach in a few times during the week to be safe.

Water usage was 2-3 gallons a day. I kept fan on low for most of the time, only going to high intermittently.

Cooler bottom and pads did accumulate some dust, but very little to what I was expecting. No caking or mud layers.

It also made an excellent cooler for drinks!

I'll post picks when I find some..

THANK YOU for the inspiration! Coolers are a WIN WIN WIN on the playa!

-Kent
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby captain mcguiver » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:59 pm

Nice meeting you Kent. Yes, your Yurt felt extremely cool and was pretty dust free.

In my box truck I could run my finger across a surface and not find playa dust, up till about Thursday when my feet dragged most of it in.
I can say I was the cleanest I have been in 10 years of BM. Pretty amazed at what the cooler, and a rug int he truck did for keeping me clean all week. Never a tent again. Maybe a Yurt.

Got home with the two gifted store-bought coolers and one of them just leaked water when you turned on the evaporative part. Pulled it apart and found that a section of the water feed hose had melted or caught itself on the fan motor. Replaced that part of the hose with extra BM parts, and I got the second swamp cooler working! Been using it here. It's been like 94F and the cooler has been cooling the house down rather well. No need for AC. The fan rocks on these too. Probably a tiny bit better than the Coolbreeze fan. If I didn't have these guys, I would probably be trying to run my 12v Cooler in the house. I've daydreamed about a truck installation. :P
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:52 pm

Make a 120 volt version for the house.

Box fan from walmart and an ac pump from HF and you know the rest. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Jackass » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:46 pm

A GFI outlet wouldn't hurt either...
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Adi052 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:59 pm

Dude, you are my hero du jour. I was trying to think of a way to build something along these lines and it hadn't come together in my head. I will gladly steal your design.
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Re:

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:40 am

swampdog wrote:Dude, you are my hero du jour. I was trying to think of a way to build something along these lines and it hadn't come together in my head. I will gladly steal your design.
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Where does the heat go?

Postby captain mcguiver » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:05 pm

So on Esplanade around 4:30 they had an ask a physicist booth. Of course I waited my turn and brought up the subject of swamp coolers and the ol' "where does the heat go?" question we couldn't get straight at cooler con. Anyway, after about 20 minutes all I got out of the conversation was something about the change of states of water to vapor "taking" the heat.

A little more research and I got the clearest answer I could come up with:

heat cant go, it is a form of energy and can only be tranformed into other types of energy. the heat energy is transformed into kinetic energy in the water molecules.


So basically, everything is cool, the only thing changing is the water to water vapor which "takes the heat" and leaves us with cool air and cool water.

I guess it makes sense. Hope that clears some things up for some of you who cared.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:07 pm

I think I remember the term "phase change"?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Snow » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:16 pm

The simplest way is to think of boiling water. When you boil water to make steam (a phase change) it takes heat to excite the molecules enough to cause a phase change. Same think happens when you evaporate water, it takes heat to make it happen. This heat comes from whatever the water is "on" this case the air (to keep it simple). thus the evaporation cools the air and also increases the humidity (and density-but thats a tangent). Same thing happens when you sweat, a dog pants, or you pour rubbing alcohol on your skin.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:26 pm

I knew it was magic all along. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Noboundaries » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:16 am

Thanks for Figjam for the ideas and the original design. Worked great but we took a bit of a different route for their use.

I built two AC Bucket swamp coolers because we were going to be taking a quiet gennie anyway (Champion 2000 watt inverter generator). The gennie runs for 9-10 hours on one gallon of gas on the econ setting (550 watt output). Had to modify the bucket design and make it a double level evaporator due to the AC factor and size/depth of the cheap ($15) AC fan. One of the swamp coolers was for evaporating greywater and the other for tent cooling using meltwater. Even though the tent cooler worked great, put out 185 CFM airflow at 68 degrees at 20% humidity into a 460 CF tent, we were actually more comfortable taking our siestas in the afternoon breeze under our white monkey hut laying in our anti-gravity chairs (the white MH always stayed cool to the touch, even during the hottest part of the day). Consequently we ended up just using them both for greywater evaporators to the open air, not for tent or closed space cooling. We had a giant funnel with a screen filter in it to catch food particles/hair/etc that we threw in our trash before we loaded the evaporators. Playa dust didn't make any difference at all.

One of the evaporators had a 92 gph pump and the other a 252 gph pump. The smaller pump evaporator could evap about 3/4 gallon per hour and could draw the water down to about 1/2 inch in the bottom bucket. The 252 gph pump version was evaporating twice as much due, probably due to better element saturation but could only draw the water down to about 1 1/4 inches before it started sucking air. We were evaporating 3.5 to 4 gallons of grey water a day so the gennie only ran for less than two hours a day. Typically we waited until the RVs around us turned on their LOUD generators in the afternoon before we turned on our quiet one. Couldn't even hear ours with the RV generators running.

We ended up bringing about 1.5 gallons of greywater home. Next year I'll add a third level to the evaporator, putting the larger pump in a small sump that will maximize the water catch, leaving only a cup or less of unevaporated greywater.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:06 am

Another mild year heat wise. 8)
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Re:

Postby sharpstick » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:27 am

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


i avoid harbor freight. that incredible deal isn't so good when that POCC(piece of chinese crap) dies midweek on the playa. maybe get two for redundancy. how good does that deal look now?
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Re:

Postby sharpstick » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:31 am

FIGJAM wrote:Thats a great plan. I misunderstood.

I think the bleach will take care of any bacteria.

that's fine if you don't mind the smell. no personal experience, but i've heard stories . . .
i have very clean cooler water since i started loading my ice into gallon ziploc bags, also any open perishable food, either in bags or sealed containers. now what water does seep into the bottom of my coolers is fresh and clean, although a bit dusty.
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Re: Re:

Postby unjonharley » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:10 pm

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


i avoid harbor freight. that incredible deal isn't so good when that POCC(piece of chinese crap) dies midweek on the playa. maybe get two for redundancy. how good does that deal look now?


Anyone else try a HF pump :?:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:35 pm

The Harbor Fraight solar fountain pump is OK for the bucket cooler and I have'nt had any reports of failure, but any cloudiness or dust on the panel and they quickly become inefficiant. :|
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby sharpstick » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:50 pm

FIGJAM wrote:The Harbor Fraight solar fountain pump is OK for the bucket cooler and I have'nt had any reports of failure, but any cloudiness or dust on the panel and they quickly become inefficiant. :|

YMMV. HF products in general are inferior. I've had too many defective products from them to consider the savings worth it. Chinese factories can make good merchandise, but they only bother to when they are contracted by a real brand name who has to stand by the products and requires the quality.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Noboundaries » Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:51 pm

Both the pumps mentioned above in the coolers used for grey water evaporators were HF pumps. Grey water was, well, grey water, though filtered to remove particles, and there was a ton of dust in the evaporators. The HF pumps worked perfectly all week. I had one spare 92 gph spare just in case. It is still a spare.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:57 pm

If you build the taller evaporator you will need a pump with more head. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby usurpedus » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:26 pm

i wish we could find a premade container with the ideal 15x15x24in dimensions for the unicooler
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:38 am

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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Canoe » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:04 pm

Couldn't get dura-cool pads at HD Reno this year.
Manager of section said they stopped reordering them (and other cooler parts/supplies) partway through the summer, so they're usually long gone by mid August.

Lowe's in Fernley was another story. Pads & rolls in stock. Photos taken on Sept. 3rd.
duracool sm.jpg
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby HandJamMasterC » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:30 pm

I've replaced my Harbor Freight solar pumps ( the solar panels were too small and dust sensitive ) with this - Remote Controlled Solar Water Pump Kit with LED lights - 211GPH

http://www.1000fountains.com/remote-con ... 16614.html

Wow, does this thing move the water. Plus, it's remote controlled. I had to increase the plastic tubing size to get the increased flow. Should work really well, plus the battery back up and bigger solar panel is awesome. :D
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:14 am

hi! figjam, i am so looking forward to trying the bucket cooler.

question 1) what is the best way to cut the hole in the lid to place the fan? will just a box cutter do?

question 2+) i am a total idiot when it comes to batteries. can someone please? explain in the simplest of terms how to get power from a battery to the pump and fan? what equipment is needed? do you have to solder?

MUCH appreciated. MANY thanks!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:29 am

Yes a box cutter will work.

The easiest way to connect to the battery would be alligator clips.

I spliced the fan to the pump wire by just cutting the wires, twisting them together, and sealing them with shrink tubing.

This leaves one long cord to go to the battery. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:25 am

Perfect! Thanks!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Roark » Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:27 am

While researching the physics needed to evaporatively cool a 30 foot dome, I found something I would like to share. The total cooling effect is 890 btu per pound of water evaporated. A gallon of water is 8.3 lbs. So for the folks who are getting a gallon per hour of evaporation, you are creating 7,400 btu of cold. :)

Put another way: Figjam's V2.0 is creating the same amount of cooling as a small A/C unit from Homeless Despot.

Pretty impressive.

Something else to throw into the communal hat for when Figgy gets the itch to experiment again: insulate the water reservoir. The heat gain into an uninsulated reservoir accounted for 6-7% of overall losses in an experiment at the Univ of Idaho.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:39 pm

Roark wrote: The heat gain into an uninsulated reservoir accounted for 6-7% of overall losses in an experiment at the Univ of Idaho.



Can you link that experiment?

Outside air temp of 98 degrees.

Cooled air comeing from the bucket, 68 degrees.

Water temp in the bucket, 58 degrees.

Where does the 6-7% lose happen?

I've never seen a manufactured evap cooler with any insulation of any kind, and I've seen MANY brands.

A 30 degree drop in temp is optimim according to the charts in this thread.

Adding extras to the design just adds to the cost of a simple to build project.YMMV 8)
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