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glowplug Mon May 05, 2008 7:43 pm

I was talking to Todd today and the subject of my old ghetto camping A/C came up and how it may just work in a bus too. Summer's on it's way so maybe some of you might like to try it.

It's simple. I took an 18qt. (a larger one might work better) coleman cooler and removed the lid. I put in a baffle that went halfway down the center. I acquired a small radiator fan off a Civic from the junkyard and cut a plywood panel for the fan to fit in that covered half of the top of the cooler (to the baffle). Rigged up a low speed switch and a pair of battery clamps. I cut expanded metal to go over the other half of the cooler. Filled the cooler with ice, hooked up to a 12v battery, and Viola! A/C.

Ok, mine was very under-engineered but it actually kept my tent cool all night on more than a few occasions. I could fill it up with ice before bed, run it all night, and there would still be floating ice in the morning. I found out the hard way that the fan has to be blowing INTO the cooler on a lower speed than the fan normally runs . Otherwise, you wake up in a wet mess. Keep ice around, bring an extra battery (batteries outside the tent), and drain in the morning, and there you have it.

I'll probably make another one soon to put inside a vehicle (my yet to be found bus project?). Perhaps I'll integrate the fan into the lid to slow down the melt, a cig lighter plug, adjustable vents, and maybe even a dedicated battery w/solar maintainer. I'm even thinking of ways to make an intercooler type setup so I can turn the fan speed up and avoid the wet air.

My old one is long gone so I have no pics. When I make a new one I'll post. If anyone else is ghetto enough to try it out in a bus, let it be known. :) --Jay

VSarge Mon May 05, 2008 9:44 pm

Sidecar guys have been doing this for years BTW. Most have switched to dry ice as it seems to last longer. Works damn good tho!


hpw Tue May 06, 2008 3:03 am

Normal air is 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and only 0.035% Carbon Dioxide. If the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air rises above 0.5%, carbon dioxide can become dangerous. Smaller concentrations can cause quicker breathing but is otherwise not harmful. If Dry Ice has been in a closed auto, van, room, or walk-in, for more than 10 minutes, open doors and allow adequate ventilation before entering. Leave area containing Dry Ice if you start to pant and breath quickly or your fingernails or lips start to turn blue. This is the sign that you have breathed in too much CO2 and not enough oxygen. Dry Ice CO2 is heavier than air and will accumulate in low spaces. Do not enter closed storage areas that have or have had Dry Ice before airing out completely.

VSarge Tue May 06, 2008 5:36 am

True, forgot about that. Sorry. Most sidecars are open so that eliminates that problem.


drscope Tue May 06, 2008 6:08 am

In a tent or camping situation, the dry ice would just help you sleep better!

Mr. Electric Wizard Tue May 06, 2008 1:57 pm

I would really like to see a drawing or photo or something.
This sounds really interesting. :D

hpw Tue May 06, 2008 3:15 pm

VSarge wrote: True, forgot about that. Sorry. Most sidecars are open so that eliminates that problem.


I was quoting that for the confined spaces, like a tent

glowplug Tue May 06, 2008 4:04 pm

Ok, I don't have access to any good programs right now (paint will have to do) but here's a rough drawing of the first one I made years ago:

And, here's the kind of thing I've been tossing around in my mind:

There's no rhyme or reason for me to post this by the way. I was just telling a friend about it and we got the idea that it might work in a bus or westy. I just figured there might just be a few inventive people out there willing to take a crack at it. :)

Mr. Electric Wizard Tue May 06, 2008 4:40 pm

Looks promising!
Thanks 8)

myolbug Tue May 06, 2008 10:20 pm

I truly think you have come up with an ingenious little invention. I especially like the second one. I may have to try that. Good job!

Vanhag Tue May 06, 2008 11:33 pm

O snap! It's been done before!

Vanhag Tue May 06, 2008 11:35 pm

OR this

Mr. Electric Wizard Wed May 07, 2008 6:13 am

Vanhag wrote: O snap! It's been done before!

I wonder what the cost is for that one?
It isn't listed on their site anywhere.

bljones Wed May 07, 2008 6:19 am

zozo Wed May 07, 2008 6:20 am


Mr. Unpopular Wed May 07, 2008 7:14 am

How long did a 12v battery last you? How noisy was the fan? This could be the perfect thing for summer buggy ride/camping trips in Florida.

Vintage Split Wed May 07, 2008 7:29 am

or this

Mr. Electric Wizard Wed May 07, 2008 7:49 am

Mr. Electric Wizard wrote: Vanhag wrote: O snap! It's been done before!

I wonder what the cost is for that one?
It isn't listed on their site anywhere.

Holy Shit, this one's $839
I like to sleep cool, but not that much...

Russ Wolfe Wed May 07, 2008 8:11 am

I thought going camping was about getting away from city life. Like AC and phones.
I bet you take your cell phone with you.
A little sweating never hurt anyone. Helps you loose weight. Maybe that is why Americans are overweight. They don't sweat enough.

Mr. Unpopular Wed May 07, 2008 8:13 am

no, sweating makes you lose water, losing water helps you lose weight. I weigh 260 lbs, how much water do you suggest I lose to reach my "ideal" weight?

Yes, camping is about getting out and enjoying nature, but sleeping when its 78 degrees with 80% humidity is rough.

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