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Old 08-17-2007, 04:16 PM   #1
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Handyman Project - Portable Air Conditioner

Iíve got a little project Iím going to build just to see how well it works. Itís a portable air conditioner. Itís based on an idea I saw on the net. The ideas start simply and get more complicated.

The simplest version is to have copper tubing mounted to the back of a fan and use an aquarium pump to push ice water through the copper tubing. The tubing cools the air and the fan pushes the cold air forward.

A more complex version uses an insulated chest, a radiator (small automotive heater core), bilge pump, and ice water to blow cold air. It was able to cool a 95 degree car, in weather with a heat index of 108, down to 75 degrees in 5 minutes. The unit had an output of 65 degree air. The ice lasted for nearly an hour.

Using that design, but on a much larger scale, you can build a room unit with a box fan and a larger radiator and larger ice chest. If you use milk jugs and 2 liter bottles to freeze water, you have reusable ice packs that can easily be changed as needed.

Very interesting. Iím going to try this on a small room shut off from the rest of the house and see how well it works.

Hereís a rough drawing of the concept.

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Old 08-17-2007, 07:56 PM   #2
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Carry on my man it sounds like a great idea as I am one of those females that dont perspire I SWEAT.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:34 PM   #3
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How about this one.
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmcgrew
Carry on my man it sounds like a great idea as I am one of those females that dont perspire I SWEAT.
If the larger version works as well as the small version I read about, and I can work out efficiency by, say, adding a second bilge pump to carry the return water through ďdecorativeĒ copper tubing to release heat before return to the ice bath, it would be a simple matter to construct a case of stained oak or mahogany with brass and copper trimmings that looked good as well as actually worked. This could be a very interesting project.

I didnít know there were so many people in these nice historic homes that were faced with dilemmas of no duct work thus no central airÖÖand no desire to detract from the beauty of their home with window units. This will be my new hobby! Since I work with many different kinds of Engineers (Mechanical, Electrical, Metallurgist, Chemical, etc), I have a wealth of resources to tap once I get to the point were the design is solid and efficiency needs to be improved. I have to admit, Iím concerned about condensation on the radiator, but Iíll tackle that when it comes.

Granted, these arenít perfect solutions, and require as much work as stocking a fire place (restock the ice packs with new ones from the freezer), but a little relief is better than none. If it works, Iíll give away the first 3 or so units (to the wonderful DC patrons that have inspired me of course) for testing and debug, and then Iíll become an independent business man and sell these puppies!

YeahÖ.such a dreamÖ.such a dream!
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Old 08-17-2007, 08:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
How about this one.
LOL!

I might have to try that one!

I actually thought of using window units in various configurations. The problem with the unit in this example is that it will only reach a minimum low level of cooling. Very inefficient because it is always working hard to remove heat from outdoor air. So if the unit can remove 20 degrees per cycle, and the outside air is 100 degrees, it will always blow 80 degree air…but if the return air was cabin air, the temp on return gets lower and lower, and the area gets progressively cooler instead of hovering at the temp of outside air minus the power of the unit.

I’ve explained this concept to my DW 100 times when I see her griping about her car AC not getting cool only to find out she has the vent set for outside air and not cabin recycle!

I had considered a setup where you could put a large window unit in an attic or under the house and use two ducts, one for exhaust of cold air, and one for room temp return air, to make a small room hidden unit. But that requires some duct work and plenty of hidden space….and a way to deal with draining condensation.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:52 PM   #6
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Better get with it, 40 plus people have died recently in the midwest heat wave.So even if you invent your first unit that is not icy cold you would still have something that makes the heat bearable.
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:56 PM   #7
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Check this out.Ice keeps New York office towers cool - CNN.com
also google new york city buildings cooling off with ice
Maybe you can get some ideas
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Old 08-17-2007, 10:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmcgrew
Check this out.Ice keeps New York office towers cool - CNN.com
also google new york city buildings cooling off with ice
Maybe you can get some ideas
Excellent! Thanks for that.....maybe this will work after all!
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