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DIY - portable 12 volt air conditioner
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:19 am    Post subject: DIY - portable 12 volt air conditioner Reply with quote

Hi Volks,

Being it's the middle of winter, naturally thoughts turn to air conditioning.

Like many van people, I am torn about AC. Mine does not work. I'd love to reclaim the storage space over the lower bed, and am really tempted to pull the evaporator. I'd also like the damn thing to work, but the project to bring it back to life is daunting and expen$ive. I digress . . .

I found this DIY project on the interweb awhile back, and thought it might be useful for someone. I have not tried this, but I am tempted. Of course the cubic air volume in a van is greater than a truck, but it still might be worthwhile.

Warning - Venturing into instructables.com will turn into several hours of marveling at sharing, ingenuity and resourcefulness. So, only visit this site if you have a lot of time on your hands. That's why I posted this on a Saturday morning Very Happy

http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-12V-Air-Conditioner---Cheap-and-easy!/

(If the link dos not work, do a site search on <portable air conditioner>. The pages can take a long time to load.)
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VisPacem
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject: Re: DIY - portable 12 volt air conditioner Reply with quote

climberjohn wrote:
Hi Volks,

Being it's the middle of winter, naturally thoughts turn to air conditioning.

Like many van people, I am torn about AC. Mine does not work. I'd love to reclaim the storage space over the lower bed, and am really tempted to pull the evaporator. I'd also like the damn thing to work, but the project to bring it back to life is daunting and expen$ive. I digress . . .

I found this DIY project on the interweb awhile back, and thought it might be useful for someone. I have not tried this, but I am tempted. Of course the cubic air volume in a van is greater than a truck, but it still might be worthwhile.

Warning - Venturing into instructables.com will turn into several hours of marveling at sharing, ingenuity and resourcefulness. So, only visit this site if you have a lot of time on your hands. That's why I posted this on a Saturday morning Very Happy

http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-12V-Air-Conditioner---Cheap-and-easy!/

(If the link dos not work, do a site search on <portable air conditioner>. The pages can take a long time to load.)



Howdy Very Happy

First of all, I am sorry for this poor dude with his electric Ford Courier. He probably never goes anywhere beyond the horizon, 3 to 12 miles or so on a good day. I also feel sorry for that poor chap driving nothing significant in his crate other than batteries AND as some Planet Earth Citizens will no doubt declare, killing our dear beloved piece of dirt when it is battery replacement time. All that acid and lead have to go somewhere. Green Peace to the rescue pleeeeeease.
But well boys and their toys.

But at least those muchachos have a sense of humor:

electric 1979 Ford Courier pickup..........................

for heat, and some, ours included, feature a powerful gasoline-burning heater.

yes gas-o-line. ouaaaaaff ouaaaafff


Now please smile Twisted Evil
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Prflyer
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have thought so many times on simply putting a sailboat (Marine) AC unit set up and just plug in at the camp site or an electrical generator, wonder if anybody has done it?
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your talking about the marine deck hatch 5000 btu drop in unit?

It won't work on the pop top of a Vanagon Campmobile.
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Last edited by Terry Kay on Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:08 pm    Post subject: Re: DIY - portable 12 volt air conditioner Reply with quote

VisPacem wrote:
All that acid and lead have to go somewhere.


As long as you recycle them they will be recycled into new batteries.
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austinado16
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the hoses that fail in the vanagons, so the fix is to remove all of your a/c hoses, take them to a hydraulic shop and have your ends "rehosed." It's in expensive.

For best performance, replace the reciever/dryer.....also inexpensive.

You can get green viton o-rings from your local NAPA.

The air powered vacuum pump from Harbor Frieght used to be $10. Buy one, buy a set of A/C gauges, and suck the system down for an hour or so to boil out all the moisture. Then shut down the gauges and vac pump, and let the system sit for a couple hours and see if it holds a vacuum. If it does, you're golden. Ram in some Freeze12 and a couple ounces of Ester 100 synthetic oil, and you're back in business.
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1621
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John - you started this thread, now you must build one and report back to the rest of the Vanagon community. The burden is on your shoulders! Very Happy
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dixoncj
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what I know of this idea. I read a post about the Articair before my wife and I went XC in our westy. My westy had functioning ac. But at night,I thought there might be times we'd get pretty hot. Rather than messing around with all this Arcticair gadgetry, I simply got our big 30 gal cooler, filled it up with ice, set it on the stovetop and clamped the lighter plug 12v oscillating fan we bought at a truckstop to the edge of the cooler. We camped outside of DC on a hot, humid night and all I did was turned the fan on 'stationary' so that it blew over the ice and then onto me and my wife. It kept us pretty comfy. Two issues - as the ice melts and "settles", it can be noisy. And the other is that the more air you blow on it, the quicker it melts. A hard,direct stream of air can melt it quite quickly. Absolutely this idea would not work in a moving, vanagon on a hot, or even warm day. At night, with enough ice - three big bag minimum - it will keep you cool. An alternative might be a big blok of ice. That would keep it quieter. But not provide as much cooling "surface" for the airflow.
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Prflyer
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Kay wrote:
Your talking about the marine deck hatch 5000 btu drop in unit?

It won't work on the pop top of a Vanagon Campmobile.


I did think about the hatch units at the beginning but no, a regular AC unit for any sailboat or any boat for that matter (just had sailboats Smile)

let me look up a set up and post, they are quite small and will fit any cabinet
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carterzest
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1621 wrote:
John - you started this thread, now you must build one and report back to the rest of the Vanagon community. The burden is on your shoulders! Very Happy


Posts without pics suck Wink My garage...Your dime(after 1621 and I install the Roof Vents and I install my 2nd battery, yandina and extra cig outlet for my new Garmin....Oh, and wash my windows-my new years resolution Very Happy ).
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things here in this discusssion.

First, the cooler / fan mounted evaporation cooler.

What your doing is buiding is an inexpensive swamp cooler, and in humid area's they just add more humidity to the air.
If it's muggy, it's just gonna be more muggy.
You might feel the fan picking up some cool air right at the end of the cooler, but in reality your adding more moisture to the already overladen air.

Second; Marine AC units come in three varieties.
fixed, water cooled evaporator's, plain old home window unit's that somebody jerry rigged into a hatch or saw cut hole in the cabin, or a drop in hatch unit that can only be used when the yacht is at it's mooring.
( If the boat had a gen set I suppose it could be used while under way--but the hatch units are unsecured, and won't stay put)

I'd like to see the marine unit your talking about---
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

carterzest wrote:
Oh, and wash my windows-my new years resolution Very Happy


LOL - Yet another resolution that may never be met! Laughing
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mr_vanagon
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made my own version of the instructable ac unit (and posted about the idea about a year or so ago Smile ) I made mine using a smaller cooler and a heat exchanger from a transmission cooler kit from FLAPS. I cut a hole in the cooler lid a bit smaller than the exchanged coil and mounted the coil over that. Then I mounted a pair of computer case fans on the outside to draw air out of the cooler. As long as you make a vent in the cooler it works pretty well. I have never used it for any length of time but it worked pretty well in the half hour test I did in my driveway last summer in southern IL.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go for more than a half hour on the test.

Wait till about mid noon in July August in Carbondale--then flick the cooler gizmo on.

First I'd contact your local florist prior to testing the unit out.

You'll have a bunch of spagnum moss to be unloading outa the Van.

Tell the florist you deliver--- Laughing
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

austinado16 wrote:
It's the hoses that fail in the vanagons, so the fix is to remove all of your a/c hoses, take them to a hydraulic shop and have your ends "rehosed." It's in expensive.

For best performance, replace the reciever/dryer.....also inexpensive.

You can get green viton o-rings from your local NAPA.

The air powered vacuum pump from Harbor Frieght used to be $10. Buy one, buy a set of A/C gauges, and suck the system down for an hour or so to boil out all the moisture. Then shut down the gauges and vac pump, and let the system sit for a couple hours and see if it holds a vacuum. If it does, you're golden. Ram in some Freeze12 and a couple ounces of Ester 100 synthetic oil, and you're back in business.


Mssr. Austinado,

This does offer me some encouragement. Thanks for the step-by-step!
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John,

It all sounds good on paper, but your first going to have to undertsand the basisc's of AC operation.

It isn't difficult, just awfully time consuming--especially in a Vanagon.

P-Mail me--I might have something you might be interested in.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep, no doubt, it's a full day or 2 of work, maybe more if it's your first time, or you don't have a lot of wrench spinning experience. But, you're accomplishing a couple thousand dollars worth of work for under $500, including buying the gauges, vac pump, and freon/oil.
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markz2004
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although this thread is 12v specific - here is a good link to AC in general.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=292488
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want an add on unit, try this;

http://www.dcairco.com/DC4400.html

Also using hydraulic hose to replace high pressure A/C hose is asking for trouble. There is a BIG difference between the two and it is far far better to do the work right the first time by having the hoses made right with fresh material that will last.
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Terry Kay
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yo-

Who ever suggested using hydraulic hose for AC line?

Real Big no-no---
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