Swamp Cooler Successes? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-27-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
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I take my 1979 Trillium 4500 out to the Nevada desert each summer for the Burning Man festival.

I want to solve two problems:
1) Cool the air with minimal power
2) Create some pressure in the interior so that dust infiltration through my louvers is diminished.

I've been looking at the TurboKool RV swamp cooler, 16 pounds, 4.6amp draw. Fits over the existing fan hole. 22" wide, 34" long, and 11.5" high. Uses 2-4 gallons of water per day at full run.

Has anyone had experience with swamp coolers?
How do you get water up to the cooler?
Power?
Any help would be...er...helpful.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Has anyone had experience with swamp coolers?
How do you get water up to the cooler?
Power?
I have used Swamp Coolers in both a stationary Mobile Home and a Travel Trailer. Burning Man would be the perfect venue for one; my 5000 BTU air conditioner would not function there.

[b]#1

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(These were taken with a cheap crappy Chinese camera, sorry)

My Fiber Stream had a Coleman RV Evaporative Cooler installed when I bought it.
Picture #1 shows what are actually [b]2 hoses hanging down from the cooler, which are anchored to the side of the trailer. One hose has a male "Garden Hose" coupler and the other hose has a female "Garden Hose" coupler. These ends were supposed to be connected together when I was traveling. I found it best to have the cooler drained while on the road.

When I parked at a campsite, the instructions said to uncouple the 2 ends from each other and attach the female end to a hose connected to a water faucet and leave the male end dangling. Turn on the water faucet to fill the tank in the cooler until the excess started to flow out of the dangling hose. Then you turn off the water faucet, disconnect the cooler hose from the faucet hose, and reconnect the 2 trailer hoses back together. If I remember correctly, the cooler's tank held about 4 gallons.

The cooler's rotary dial switch had these positions:
  1. Off
  2. Pump Only
  3. Low Cool
  4. High Cool
  5. Low Fan Only
  6. High Fan Only

Unlike when running an air conditioner, where you keep ALL windows closed, when running an evaporative cooler you have to open just ONE window a little bit, in order to allow the air to circulate back outside. Preferably this open window is across the area you most wish to be cooled (like the bed) from the cooler's location.

Initially, run the cooler on Pump Only for 10 minutes to get the excelsior pads good and wet. Then switch to one of the Cool settings.

(My schedule says that I have to stop typing [b]now. To be continued...)
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
(My schedule says that I have to stop typing [b]now. To be continued...)
Where was I?

[b]Oh, yes:
Initially, run the cooler on Pump Only for 10 minutes to get the excelsior pads good and wet. Then switch to one of the Cool settings. The fan will run in the down direction only, drawing air in thru the cooler and humidifying it making it feel cool as it blows into the trailer. The 1 open window (preferably on the far side or end with respect to the cooler's location) gives the draft an escape route from the now pressurized cabin, which it will need to complete the air draft cycle. It doesn't have to be open very much; just a crack. All other windows must be closed tight.

Here is where the RV version differs from the Mobile Home version:
The Mobile Home version has a 1/4" water supply line permanently plumbed thru a float valve (like the one in an old house toilet tank) to feed the supply tank in the cooler. This replaces the hose system from my last post. As the water tank empties, it is automatically replenished.

In the RV version with the hoses, there is no float valve; and during extended operation you risk running the tank dry. You have to learn how to monitor your water usage and reconnect the hose to a supply when the dank is drained.

In picture #2 you see a gray conduit on the left side. Inside it are the 12 volt DC wires that powered the cooler's "sump pump" and Fan motor, coming from the kitchen wall light fixture. My Fiber Stream has a single shell and is uninsulated. In your Trillium you could run these wires behind the ceiling insulation/ensolite/rat-fur or whatever it is that you actually have. At the top of picture #2 you see 2 black spots: 1 is a 12 volt DV fuse holder, the other is the 6-position rotary dial switch I mentioned earlier. The black rectangle is a cover plate to access the drain hose. A previous owner added the little plastic spigot to the right that is connected to the drain hose. This is how you drain the tank in the cooler (highly recommended) before moving the trailer.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:52 PM   #4
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Since I do not camp in the desert very often, and do travel to humid climates, the Colman Evaporative Cooler was not useful to me.
I removed it and gave it to a friend of mine in El Centro, CA.

I replaced it with a Fan-Tastic Fan.

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Old 06-27-2009, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
I've been looking at the TurboKool RV swamp cooler, [b]16 pounds, 4.6amp draw. Fits over the existing fan hole. 22" wide, 34" long, and 11.5" high. Uses 2-4 gallons of water per day at full run.
The weight listed is for the cooler hardware alone. 4 gallons of water will add 34 pounds to that weight on the roof.
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