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Portable Air Conditioner Unit
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wolfej1
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:26 am    Post subject: Portable Air Conditioner Unit Reply with quote

Hello

I am looking to replace my hillbilly AC unit in the front window setup and have been seriously considering a portable unit. Therefore I am putting out the request to hear from everyone who has used one in their Westy.

What model

Pros - cons - general opinion advice etc...

I would think others could benefit from this valuable feedback as well Very Happy

Thanks
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3konas
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm also interested in what people use or have tried.

I've been looking at this swamp cooler:http://www.swampy.net/wb.html

Anyone try one of these?
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Sir Sam
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3konas wrote:
I'm also interested in what people use or have tried.

I've been looking at this swamp cooler:http://www.swampy.net/wb.html

Anyone try one of these?


I don't have one of those in particular, but I have a very similar model, its about 15 years old now, but still works fine.

It's small and portable, and works will in dry climates, most of the places I go are hot and dry(colorado utah arizona), so the evaporative cooler is a great thing to have.

Mine is 12V and about the size of a 24" cube. Pour water in and keep it fairly level and your good to go.
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914 mike
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If someone would come up with a portable 12V ac unit that could be powered by a solar set up while people were camping, I would by stock in that company because they would sell the hell out of those things.

Any engineering type people know if it could even be done?
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Blood Loss
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6' Portable Misting Stand (on bottom of page)
http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/mist.shtml

Requires NO electricity.
Does require one gallon of water per hour from a garden hose, at normal tap water pressure.
Cools your whole campsite.

Less than 20 bucks.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

914 mike wrote:
If someone would come up with a portable 12V ac unit that could be powered by a solar set up while people were camping...


If it could be done, it would be done by now.

I just rigged up MY hillbilly window unit for this summer to hang from the luggage rack. I like that it stows/travels IN the luggage rack and it's always out of the way until I need it (everything stores in a medium-size rubbermaid tub).

Similar to Terry Kay's setup:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

(apologies to Terry Kay - check his excellent site: http://community-2.webtv.net/VanStuff/VanagonWestfalia/)

If I'm thinking of the same type of "portable" unit (...cabinet on the floor w/rollers? ...exhaust ducting to the window, right?) I'm not sure you should put it up on the rack unless you can find a case for some protection, I think. Otherwise it would be in the way inside the van much of the time. It's probably bigger than the window unit for sure, so stowage is more of an issue. Or...???

I'm happy with the window unit when we need it - even in place & running I don't mind blocking the driver's door. In our weekender (w/o swivel seats) we usually just pile shoes & towels in driver's seat until we pack up & go anyway...

Keep cool!

PS - Swampcooler is OK as noted (important disclaimer early on the page: "for DRYER climates") but would be worthless to me here in Minnesota. At higher humidity levels I'd get marginal cooling, plus the "benefits" of even MORE humidity and condensation inside the van overnight.

HOWEVER: it's certainly helpful if you're in a fairly dry area and truly in the boonies (no plug-in power). Here in MN we get by with personal battery-powered fans for hot weather off the grid.
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Sir Sam
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

914 mike wrote:
If someone would come up with a portable 12V ac unit that could be powered by a solar set up while people were camping, I would by stock in that company because they would sell the hell out of those things.

Any engineering type people know if it could even be done?


You would need a massive solar panel to drive a even modest size AC unit.

For example, lets say your cars AC system needed about 3hp to run(which is kinda low, 5hp might be more realistic), that 3hp = 2,200 watts!

So when your talking about a 80watt solar panel for $500, its pricey!(plus you need a place to put all that stuff!).

You would be better off getting a chainsaw or maybe weedeater engine, and coupling that to your existing AC system(you would need a small engine capable of running at an approrpiate speed and with enough torque to drive the AC compressor unit at that speed. Mount it up with a good exhaust and intake and you might have a passible AC system in the van, could be noisy unless you used a pretty good muffler.

EDIT::
Also, here in colorado we have very high solar radiation(about a mile less of air to penetrate). On a very bright sunny day, midday the solar radiation maxes out at about 950W/m^2.(lets call it 1000 for sake of argument)

Now the best solar panels come in at about 30% efficient, so that means that in a square meter, under the best light conditions possible in the middle of the day you will get about 333 W/m^2.

That means to drive a 1000 watt AC unit you would need about 3 square meters of solar panels, during the best time of the day.(about 32 sq-ft)
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Sir Sam
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhaavers wrote:
PS - Swampcooler is OK as noted (important disclaimer early on the page: "for DRYER climates") but would be worthless to me here in Minnesota. At higher humidity levels I'd get marginal cooling, plus the "benefits" of even MORE humidity and condensation inside the van overnight.


Exactly, even in marginally humid places I think they can be worse than nothing at all. Humidity sucks!
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SouthOlive
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just bought a http://www.walmart.com/ip/Royal-Sovereign-ARP-9009TL-Portable-Air-Conditioner-9-000-BTU/10983097

I chose this model since the dimensions seem to fit my seldom used rear closet. I haven't finished yet, but the plan is to install a return air grill on the closet side, open the closet door for air discharge, and run the exhaust hose to the engine compartment with a backdraft damper. I'm in the process of removing the closet now, so I'll let you know how it goes.
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3konas
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[/quote]I don't have one of those in particular, but I have a very similar model, its about 15 years old now, but still works fine.

It's small and portable, and works will in dry climates, most of the places I go are hot and dry(colorado utah arizona), so the evaporative cooler is a great thing to have.

Mine is 12V and about the size of a 24" cube. Pour water in and keep it fairly level and your good to go.[/quote]

Thank you. Glad to hear you've had great results.

Colorado, Utah and Arizona are some of place I would be using it, dryer climates. They have models for humid locales that start off using ice and they say no need to leave windows cracked, well until the ice melts.

Need to figure out why when I quote, it doesn't appear in a box.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3konas wrote:
Need to figure out why when I quote, it doesn't appear in a box.


3konas: just use the "quote" button at top right of each post in the thread - it'll give you quotes automatically.
You can edit the quote once you're on the "reply" page
.

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vannygun
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes original Content removed Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vannygun wrote:
I have never understood it when people say a car A/C compressor uses about 3-5 HP. The electric motors(hermetically sealed) in house A/C, say a 5 ton unit are only 3/4 or less HP units. The condensor fan and evap fan are usually 1/3 Hp or up to half horse each. On a car the evap fan and the radiator(condensor) fan ar not even 1/4 horse power. I did mainly residential units for about 6 years and have been an HVAC/R tech in the Air Force reserves for 15 years and have seen units from all over the world so to me these numbers don't make sense. I didnt do much automotive A/C work over the years but those numbers seem to be a bit high.


I think the difference is more about how they are designed to cycle. On your car you want the AC system to come out and pump a lot of heat very quickly. To keep the system from pulling that much all the time the system cycles on and off pretty quickly.
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wolfej1
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this thread is going south quickly....... Sad
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91VanagonCaratWeekender
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Newbie on Van AC Reply with quote

Forgive my ignorance, as I am a proud new member....Thinking of how to air condition my van overnight (while it is not running)...looks like I need some serious electrical work, inverters and/or converters and a portable AC unit that requires 5000 watts start-up power...???
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wolfej1 wrote:
this thread is going south quickly....... Sad


Lol not really, its going off topic, but not south. Cool
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Californio
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In adapting a small home AC with inverter, I'd be concerned about the road vibrations destroying it in short order. (OK, offroad vibrations...) Better IMHO to go with an RV-type rooftop unit (Coleman etc.) even though they're pretty big for the luggage rack.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SouthOlive wrote:
I just bought a http://www.walmart.com/ip/Royal-Sovereign-ARP-9009TL-Portable-Air-Conditioner-9-000-BTU/10983097

I chose this model since the dimensions seem to fit my seldom used rear closet. I haven't finished yet, but the plan is to install a return air grill on the closet side, open the closet door for air discharge, and run the exhaust hose to the engine compartment with a backdraft damper. I'm in the process of removing the closet now, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Nice compact unit!

Are you going to run it on shorepower of off a small generator?
Let us know how it works out.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Are you going to run it on shorepower of off a small generator?
Let us know how it works out.


Shore power for now. I actually bought the 11000 BTU unit, but the dimensions are the same. I have the rear cabinet out now and will post some photos soon.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Newbie on Van AC Reply with quote

91VanagonCaratWeekender wrote:
...Thinking of how to air condition my van overnight (while it is not running)...looks like I need some serious electrical work, inverters and/or converters and a portable AC unit that requires 5000 watts start-up power...???


Best information indicates this is ONLY possible with shore power...read the posts, guys!
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