A modified evaporative cooler for solar camping - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-09-2015, 03:36 PM   #1
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Exclamation A modified evaporative cooler for solar camping

Okay, so I have been studying up on solar powered cooling options and a/c's just use too much power...so I have been looking at evaporative cooler designs both manufactured versions for retail sale as well as many diy projects...they all basically are the same principal, a water tank pumping water down a cooling pad with a fan circulating air over the pad being cooled by evaporation...

I am looking to improve upon this concept and here are my thoughts and observations...

First, these work well in dry climates like Arizona, but not so well in humid areas like here in Georgia...so why not dry the air being cooled first or heat the water before pumping it to the cooling pad? Or even better yet why not both? Logic tells me warm water will evaporate faster, and drier air will cool faster with the evaporation process...so, obviously, I don't want to use batter power to dry the air or heat the water as this will tax the battery system...but what about building in a solar box onto the evaporative cooler with cooper coils for water to pass through and warm up before trickling down the cooling pad? And on top of that air flow could pass through the same solar box to dry the air as well before being passed over the cooling pad?

Second, all the evaporative coolers use outside air cooled and pumped inside...what if, instead of using the outside air, you circulated inside air back to the evaporative cooler through a return to the solar box to get a truer and constant lowering of inside ambient temperature?

Third, what if you added a thermostat and logic boards to the equation to speed up or slow down the air flow and/or water flow depending on the temperature of the circulating air, the humidity in the air, and the effects of the solar water warmer/air dryer box?

It just seems to me there should be a way to build a more elaborate evaporative cooler that can perform more like an air conditioner using a fraction of the power consumption used by a/c....maybe even a hybrid unit combining both the evaporative cooler and an a/c unit? Use the cooler and cycle the a/c unit on less frequently but enough to really provide good cooling?

Anyone got any thoughts to my ideas?
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:16 PM   #2
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Well, I don't mean to be negative, but the laws of thermodynamics are hard to get around. To dehumidify, you need to cool and drop out the water. This is how an air conditioner does it. The other approach would be to absorb the water in something like a silica gel. This typically is not fast, and would saturate quickly. Once saturated it would have to be cooked at a high temp to dehydrate again.

Heating the water would defeat the cooling process. You would end up with warm moist air. Not ideal.

Recirculating the air would only work if you did in fact dry the air again, after the evaporative cooling had occurred, (see above).

Everything you have suggested would result in more energy consumption.

Sorry.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:25 PM   #3
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Okay, points well taken, and thank you for the reply...so do you have any ideas on how I could use solar energy to remove humidity from the air before passing through the cooling pad?
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:06 PM   #4
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"Swamp coolers" don't work very well anyplace with high humidity. Last time I was in Georgia (deep south?) my close were soaking wet just from walking across the street. No evaporation at all.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny M View Post
Okay, points well taken, and thank you for the reply...so do you have any ideas on how I could use solar energy to remove humidity from the air before passing through the cooling pad?
The method of cooling is evaporation. Just like sweating. You can move more air, like sitting in front of a fan. The heat is lost when a molecule of water, that is warmer then the rest, jumps from liquid to gas, carrying that extra warmth, and the energy of phase change with it. Once the air is saturated with water, this cooling stops. The only way to get it out is to reverse the process. That is cool the air, (or scrub with desiccant). The desiccant would be great, but it can only absorb so much, so fast. You would have to carry tons of it.

So the short answer to you question is to get enough solar cells to run an air conditioner. Maybe about 2000 watts. I suppose that in time this will not be so costly.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:27 AM   #6
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Solve this issue with an extremely affordable solar solution that will work in high humidity and heat and you will become rich beyond your wildest imagination. Then you can paint a picture of a Boler on the side of your luxury motor home and private Jet just to remind yourself of those fiberglassrv camping days.
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Old 04-10-2015, 03:35 PM   #7
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They make an RV swamp cooler but it is not cheap.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:51 PM   #8
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We cool with a swamp cooler in central California. The secret to using one is high air volume. As long as you can keep the pads wet the more air you blow through them the cooler. When traveling I have been known to put a damp thin beach towel over the intake side of a box fan blowing in the window. If you could find a way to keep the towel wet.....

Just an idea

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Old 04-12-2015, 07:36 AM   #9
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How does a dehumidifier work? Might be some clues there. I suggest super insulating the camper. More on that in my reno

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Old 04-12-2015, 10:32 AM   #10
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It works like an air conditioner by cooling a coil and the cold coil collects water out of the air and between cycles, the water fills a container. When the container gets full, it powers down the machine. You can also connect a hose to run the water elsewhere instead of filling up the container. I use one in our camper and drilled a hole in the floor where the hose connects and drops the water under the camper. It only runs when the humidity gets to the turn on point meaning, it does not run full time. Keeps mold away from inside the camper in the off season.
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Old 04-18-2015, 11:34 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the good information & replys...I am still trying to think of a way to come up with the perfect energy efficient a/c for a small fbrv......now after looking at youtube videos I am trying to figure out how to make a magnetic powered a/c vent that will also serve as a dc generator to power the lights...
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:46 AM   #12
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Sail boats use windmills to generate DC voltage.
As far as a cheep way to cool your egg, try a fan.
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:37 AM   #13
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A lot of the ideas that the OP is trying to perfect already exist, but usually only in places like the International Space Station (that just got it's first Espresso Maker this week) where $$$$$ is not a primary consideration.


Energy = Energy, you can't create it without using some from some other form.


The first plane I ever flew in (A Late 40's(?) Taylorcraft), had a smaller propeller powered generator hanging between the landing gear, worked great, as long as you were above 60 MPH and, if you weren't, you were busy solving that problem anyway.....
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:27 AM   #14
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A bicycle generator. And you had to peddle harder.
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