Instructables

Build a Discreet USB Air Conditioner with a Brita Pitcher

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Last summer, the office AC stopped working. This is Los Angeles and outside temperatures were over 100 degrees. I had to do something to cope with the heat. Then I had an Eureka moment. I can make my own AC unit. But the problem was how can I use a homemade ice powered AC unit without looking like a total idiot at the office? I thought to myself, if I was to make a home made ice powered AC unit, it needs to be: portable, discreet and easy to maintain.  Thus, I came up with the idea of using a Brita Pitcher as the housing for my home made AC unit. It's portable. I can just pick it up by the handle and take it where ever i need it.  It's discreet. The Brita Pitcher on my desk just looks like a Brita Pitcher. Not some sort of wacky contraption on my desk. And finally, its easy to maintain.  When I'm done using the Brita Pitcher AC unit, I can just pour out the icy water at the sink. I can also wrap up the power cable inside the top compartment of the pitcher.

Best of all, once I no longer need the AC unit, i can just stick in a new Brita Filter and use the pitcher like any old Brita Pitcher to filter water.
 
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Step 1: Supply List


To do this project, you will need:

Old Brita Pitcher (not Pur)
Computer fan that can fit into the top compartment of the Brita Pitcher
Power source (battery pack, 12v computer source, USB)
2 Paper Clips
4-5 Index Cards
Philips Screwdriver
Small Pliers
Wire Stripper
Spare molex connector (optional)
Scotch tape
MimArt9 months ago
I think the best part of this project is that it is 'discreet'! One could have this on the desk at work and just tell people, 'oh yeah, I drink a lot of water', and jumble up the cord with other cords on the desk - we all have some, don't we? I like also that the air stream is concentrated and directed out the spout of the pitcher - I don't always want a/c or blown air all over, but on my face it can be refreshing.
Infinitevortex10 months ago
Wow, great idea! Love it!
chipper352 years ago
Down South, we call these "swamp coolers" -- when I was a kid, a few neighbors had HUGE ones in their living room windows! They were cool (if you sat RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM!) They made your house humid, though!
Syncubus2 years ago
Another alternative would be using waterproof plastic, rather than index cards. Think: soda bottle. (Either a bottle with a diameter large enough to fit the fan, or a sheet cut from a 2-liter bottle wrapped around the fan)

Another Another alternative (*giggles*) would be driving the fan using dual USB cables (for +10v rather than +5v)

Finally, a warning: Don't use dry ice, which besides being cold enough to possibly break the pitcher, melts into carbon dioxide. You don't need that much CO2 blowing in your face.
Warning:
Do not power the fan with dual USB ports. See above post.
imjasonc (author)  Syncubus2 years ago
thanks for looking.

great ideas!
foolios2 years ago
Can I wire this for two usb ports for more power? Just add another usb cable end wired to the same red and black that the other two are already onto the fan wires? Or will that cause a short?
foolios foolios2 years ago
EDIT:
As far as I'm told you can't 10v mod your fan with 2 USB ports from the same power supply or you'll blow out your ports since they share the same ground.
opanaligan2 years ago
how many hours can last?
imjasonc (author)  opanaligan2 years ago
depends on your room temp and how much ice you put in.
Coliflower4 years ago
How would you do this using a normal plug and not a USB cable?

Great 'ible, by the way.
Get one of those gadgets that let you plug a USB device into a ordinary outlet — http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=usb+wall+charger
@Coliflower You can always purchase an adapter, such as the ones used to charge a USB device using AC from the wall.

Example:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dynex%26%23153%3B+-+Dual+USB+Universal+Wall+Charger/2525266.p;jsessionid=993655103F83E09D91159497D7B6EDD9.bbolsp-app02-02?id=1218332540505&skuId=2525266
imjasonc (author)  Coliflower4 years ago
thanks for the comment. regarding your question, that depends on the fan. the fan i am using runs on 12VDC. so if i want to get the max fan speed without destroying the fan, i need to find an AC adapter (spare one from an old cell phone might work) that will output no more than 12VDC. then just wire in the fan to the ac adapter.
ERIK G2 years ago
an excellent way to stay cool here in the texas heat,awesome project...
ttaylor103 years ago
Where does the air come out?
imjasonc (author)  ttaylor103 years ago
the air comes out on top where you pour out the water, the spout. you take the flap off and install a hood over the hole to redirect air towards you. to improve cooling ability, one can tape off the gaps between the plastics, use more ice or use a different fan.
Duckism4 years ago
how much could these few ice cube cool?
imjasonc (author)  Duckism4 years ago
its better than you think it would because the air is being channeled towards the ice. you could always use more ice.