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 Roark » Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:51 pm

Its a pdf doc I downloaded. I am on the ipad and dont have it available but will find the URL and post it. You might find it interesting. :)

As I recall the context of that 6-7% was in the form of a loss compared to the best-case theoretical scenario.

From memory the average swamp cooler reaches about 85% to 89% efficiency. Of the 15 to 19% lost, 6 to 7% was due to an uninsulated pan, and the rest was due to the heat input of the motor and pump.

A back-of-the napkin calc however does not show this to be in the ballpark. A 1/3rd horsepower motor draws about 300 watts (1023 btu). A typical recirc pump draws about an amp (340 btu) for a total of 1360-ish btu. Add-in that 6-7% for uninsulated loss for another 680-ish btu and you have about 2040 btus of lost cooling capacity. If we figure this loss to be 13% of our total output,(overall system eff is 87%, splitting the difference here) then total cooling output would be 15,692 btu. That cant be right. Its LOW.

Realworld specs on a commercial unit are 4.3 amp draw, 4500 cfm, and a 25F drop with 5 gph used. Just calculating the theoretical btus gives you 36,935 btus at 100% efficiency. That is off by half. Not even close. If we assume the advertisements are right, that 4500 cfm with a 25F drop would take 135,000 btu. Again, a huge disconnect.

I think I need to go beat myself with a psychometric table and see where the errors are. :) i'm just confusing myself here...

Edit: BINGO! I found the motherlode. See: http://www.piec.com/formulasdef.htm
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:48 pm

I don't know all the science.

I'm speaking strictly from practical experience, so I'm not hampered by facts when I start a project! :lol:

Your example is for a full sized cooler and the heat from the motor and pump may affect efficiancy.

For all practical purposes, the fans and pumps we're useing here are creating so little heat that it is effectivly 0.

My point here is to keep this so simple that anyone wanting to build a cooler won't be discouraged by fiddeling details.

The fact that they report a 25 degree temp change makes me suspicious, as my thrown together designs consistantly get 30. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:34 pm

i know using grey water from food use isn't recommended... but how about using shower water? would the soap suds affect anything? i think i might make my space smell nice :)

how are people securing the endless breeze fan to their boxes? is it heavy?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby unjonharley » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:41 pm

esmeralada wrote:i know using grey water from food use isn't recommended... but how about using shower water? would the soap suds affect anything? i think i might make my space smell nice :)

how are people securing the endless breeze fan to their boxes? is it heavy?



You shower to get the crud off your body.. Why would you want to spray it back into your air.. Dead skin and stuff like that start to rot with in hours.. Your tent could smell like a dead person..
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:49 pm

good gravy, what do you smell like when you shower?

i was just thinking of shampoo water and stuff..esp since its filtered..
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby unjonharley » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:50 pm

esmeralada wrote:good gravy, what do you smell like when you shower?

i was just thinking of shampoo water and stuff..esp since its filtered..


What would one smell like, out dancing in 95 degree weather.. A human shades there skin every 7 days.. The paper in the porta pots is not that great ether, along with coating of dust that gets every where.. And I do mean every where.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:56 pm

ehhh yeah. i see that point.

can't expect these to fix all playa issues...but it comes darn close :D
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Mon Jan 14, 2013 6:31 pm

esmeralada wrote:i know using grey water from food use isn't recommended... but how about using shower water? would the soap suds affect anything? i think i might make my space smell nice :)

how are people securing the endless breeze fan to their boxes? is it heavy?


Some use brackets, bungees, or tape.

I used 100% clear silicone caulk and have'nt had any problems.

That being said, the one I built for the farmers market to keep thier veggies cool, the fan vibrated loose while they were towing it to thier camp.

Bike trailer, no shocks, bumpy playa, 2 miles! :roll:

http://www.fantasticvent.com/products/endless_breeze/endless_breeze.html
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Shaolinskunk » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:07 pm

Figjam thanks for posting this! I read through several pages but didn't see it asked anywhere...would making it out of a cooler help any? I'm sure not everyone wants to chop a cooler up but if I have an extra and could make it similar to yours would the insulation and really cold water make a big enough difference? Thoughts please-
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:55 pm

The insulation will make so little difference that it's not worth considering.

Keeping your unit light and portable are much bigger plusses.

The physics of a swamp cooler make a 30 degree reduction in temperature about as good as it gets.

I get that with all my designs. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Shaolinskunk » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:33 am

Noted :)

Thanks again-
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Shaolinskunk » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:28 pm

Hey fig...did you use the same pump on the box as you did the bucket? I found the one on harbor freight but the other link just takes you to a solar site. Also what type of battery will survive out there/do you use?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:11 pm

The pumps I like are dicontinued.

The HF solar pump is just enough if there is full sun.

Any 12 volt fountain pump that puts out about 80GPH and uses less than 500Ma is good.

I have a 105AH AGM battery to power the cooler, lights, and stereo that usually lasts all week.

Costco has a 115AH battery that runs about $90.

Mine are $240! :shock:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Shaolinskunk » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:04 pm

Does the hf pump even need sun if you're running it off a battery? 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Rice » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:09 pm

Shaolinskunk wrote:Does the hf pump even need sun if you're running it off a battery? 8)

Stating the Obvious:

"Solar Pump" - would need sun :shock:
"Battery Powered Pump" - would need a battery

If there is no sun, this device may not be necessary...
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby TT120 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:38 pm

If you're going to use a battery to run it, make sure you get a 12 volt DC pump. There are some 110 volt AC ones out there and 6 volt pumps ususlly come with the solar panel fountain kit.

I got this one from E-Prey and it works perfect. It draws just over .5 amps.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-DC-Solar-Po ... 9747331%26
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:51 pm

fig.. you used the paper clip or wire for the tubing in the bucket cooler, but what did you use to drill the holes in the pvc pipe? the holes look uniform, i assume some sort of drill bit? thanks :)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Shaolinskunk » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:00 pm

Rice wrote:
Shaolinskunk wrote:Does the hf pump even need sun if you're running it off a battery? 8)

Stating the Obvious:

"Solar Pump" - would need sun :shock:
"Battery Powered Pump" - would need a battery

If there is no sun, this device may not be necessary...


Solar power is 12v so are the batteries we are discussing so I assumed this was a 12v pump which COULD run off a battery :roll: I found one I think will work for me though.... Thanks :mrgreen:
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:59 pm

Shaolinskunk wrote:
Rice wrote:
Shaolinskunk wrote:Does the hf pump even need sun if you're running it off a battery? 8)

Stating the Obvious:

"Solar Pump" - would need sun :shock:
"Battery Powered Pump" - would need a battery

If there is no sun, this device may not be necessary...


Solar power is 12v so are the batteries we are discussing so I assumed this was a 12v pump which COULD run off a battery :roll: I found one I think will work for me though.... Thanks :mrgreen:


The HF pump dors'nt have a battery backup and IS 6 volt.

For drilling the holes in pvc, I used a 1/16th bit. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby aresvalles » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:37 am

Figjam & all,
I just wanted to thank you and this thread for ruining my Burning Man experience! After reading this thread and making my own cooler, I set up my hexayurt and cooler on Monday. When it got hot Monday afternoon, my wife and kid and I took a nap and slept through Burning Man. Thanks a lot!

In reality, we were well rested throughout the week, thanks to the Figjam Cooler. We brought our 9 month old daughter to the playa and\ I was afraid we were going to have to leave early if the little one couldn't get comfortable. We were comfortable the entire week, almost too comfortable. We had to remind ourselves that Burning Man was out there beyond the yurt walls and it was soooo nice inside, we had to worry about being too comfortable and missing everything. Great problem to have.

I used the suggested pump, the Endless Breeze fan and the Costco 115 Ah battery and we never ran out of juice. We even ran the fan on 2 and 3 for a few hours at a time towards the end of the week with no issues. I can't thank you enough, it made all the difference. Cheers! See you at home.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:09 am

WARNING!!!

Don't hibernate at burning man!!! :) :) :)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby missprism » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:36 pm

lovely! what kind of box is that?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Koumori » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:16 pm

A long overdue Thanks to Figjam. Bucket cooler worked like a charm for my 6 person tent. As I built it outside my apartment building, my neighbors and my roommate thought I was nuts.

The first day I had to turn it on to sleep a little longer, a gasp from my companion came from the tent "OH MY GOD, I'M GOING TO MARRY YOU FOR THAT!" That made it worth it alone. :lol:

This year I'm bringing a bigger tent, maybe a yurt. Project Box Cooler is on for this summer! thanks again for posting all of this and making it easy for the rest of us.
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby unjonharley » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:32 pm

You guys keep up this nice stuff to the Fig. He will break his arm patting himself on the back..

If you want to do some thing nice for him.......... We can get together on the playa and piss in his cooler.. That way he can have happy dreams of a golden shower..
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:05 pm

I think they're called a-kool-aids unjon, but I've never had um before, so I can't be sure. :?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Earthwalker » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:00 pm

We'll have a MH, a tent at the back of it, and a minivan. In which would you put the bucket cooling contraption? I would think vanmaybe because the cool air wouldn't escape. But, while it would be good for napping, I don't really want to spend time hanging out in a minivan

Thoughts?
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:18 pm

A common misconception is that you are trying to trap the cool air in the space.

With these coolers you want them to completely replace the air every 1 to 3 minutes.

You can even have it setting next to your chair blowing on you and be perfectly comfortable during the hottest part of the day.

I demonstrated this all week at my camp and collected 100 hugs! 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby Earthwalker » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:26 pm

Thanks Figjam! I'll be building one a few months down the road so I'm sure I'll have more questions, assuming they're not already answered in this huge thread!
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:32 pm

PM me if you don't find what you're looking for. 8)
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Re: cooling your tent or van

Postby makingaswampcooler » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:56 am

I want to get a battery powered pump and I see the recommendation for "Any 12 volt DC fountain pump that puts out about 80GPH and uses less than 500Ma is good."

Does anyone have a specific brand and model recommendation for a pump?

Also, does anyone have a recommendation for a good low end battery to power all of this? I like the idea of a cloudy day option...

This is the best tutorial I've found on the internet for a swamp cooler - I super appreciate it!! Thx!!! -Emily
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