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Refrigerated Dog Bed

Ahoy-hoy,

My first post on Instructables! Anyhow, we own a 10-month old Great Pyrenees and live in the drought stricken and warm Southern California climate. As summer approaches we have been looking at options to help keep her cool and we haven't had the greatest of luck with cooling beds available on the market, our Coonhound tore up the first one as a 50 lb pup during his first summer.

I was thinking about potentially re-purposing an old mini-fridge coolant system into a cooling bed. My very initial thoughts are as follows:

1. Salvage working mini-fridge
2. Disassemble cooling system
3. Create bed surface using sheet metal (our Pyr won't sleep on the any of the multiple plush beds available to her, only concrete or dirt)
4. Create mount base for bed, ideal scenario would have a force sensitive switch that would only turn on refrigeration unit when dog is on the bed.
5. Thermally attach refrigerator expander coils to the underside of the bed, most likely via solder but could bolt together with thermally conductive paste
6. Rig up an enclosure and support structure for the compressor, heat exchange coils, and electronics.

I imagine the bed surface resembling the weight scales at the vet but with some provisions to attach a padded fabric cover.

Things to be addressed:
1. Ensuring proper temperature regulation...she has a thick durable coat but don't want to over due things. Temperature feedback shouldn't not be too much of a hurdle using an Arduino or using the existing "twisty-turny" nob in the fridge
2. Properly disassembling the salvaged fridge, don't want to unnecessarily release the refrigerant and defeat the whole purpose
3. Make this thing sturdy enough to survive the wear and tear of one and/or probably two 85 lb plus dogs

Is this too far fetched (no pun intended, my dogs aren't retrievers)? Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Rich 

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Todorollup2 years ago

I have the same problem because I live in the southerm Spain and I have a Mastin español. I go to read the all post for make life easier my dog.

richardwdyer (author) 2 years ago

Thanks everybody for the recommendations! I like the idea of adding some mass to the system and it would cool over night and I could set it up on a timer to turn on during the mid-morning or early afternoon. I live in the San Fernando Valley so condensation isn't too much of a concern as the air is pretty dry relative to the west side and ocean communities. As for the TEC option, it is a workable solution but I am concerned about the durability as the dogs are big and young, i.e. they will end up playing and wrestling on the bed and therefore the concrete embedded heat pipe option may be more robust.

Thanks again for you time and consideration. I would consider this a success for my first post!

When I finally put something together I'll be sure to document and share!

crapflinger2 years ago

if they pyr likes to sleep on concrete directly, you could mount the cooling stuff directly to a concrete block...or inside of it if it's the cooling tubes from the mini fridge.

could actually probably get some decently low temps out of a setup where you do like a reverse in floor heating system. embed a coil of pex (or similar tubing) inside of a 2"-3" slab of concrete, then circulate some form of liquid through that tubing. I'd say you could use automotive coolant like a radiator...but....not next to doggies. so something that's pet safe, but would also allow the liquid to carry more heat away from the slab than just straight water. then run that coolant loop through some form of cooling system (like the minifridge or something).

caitlinsdad2 years ago

Mini-fridges aren't too energy efficient. When you mount the coolant coils below the metal surface, you might want to fill the back with a cement or mortar to give it a thermal mass like a big rock to stay cool. I don't know if you will have any condensation problems, there may be humidity in the air from the ocean breeze if you are close. Good luck.

Kiteman2 years ago

It might be easier, especially if your dog prefers sleeping on harsh surfaces, to fix a bunch of peltier tiles* to the underside of a metal plate, with heat sinks** on the other side of the tiles, and mount the whole thing on blocks so that a row of PC fans*** can blow air over the heat-sinks.You may want to enclose the sides to encourage air to flow through the heat sink fins more efficiently.

Cooling won't be instant, so, rather than a force-sensitive switch, rig it with a thermostat and a timer, to maintain an attractively-cool surface.

--

*Random Ebay example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEC1-12705-Heatsink-Thermo...

**Random Ebay example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/90x90x15mm-Aluminum-Heat-S...

***Random Ebay example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/STARTECH-9-2cm-PC-Computer...