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So I live with my cousin in Oregon, and the apartment complex doesn't have any type of air conditioning units in the apartments. We went to Goodwill and Salvation Army trying to find a good (working) air conditioner that didn't hum like a typical fan (i have a thing against loud fans, don't ask) and came back empty handed. I went to my trusty Instructables.com (yes, you all may take a bow) and searched out DIY air conditioners, and came back with http://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-12V-Air-Conditioner---Cheap-and-easy!/  (shout-out to CameronSS). Now, it's not gonna be used in a car, but in an apartment, so some ingenuity goes a long way to a cooler place. 

Small notice: I will be as discriptive as i can, but this 'ible is a free-for-all type design. What I mean is, the container you use will determine the fan size, type, and amount of extra stuff/cutting you'll need. Also, this is now done This is the edit. This second fan IS be the main photo source for this project. I didn't think about writing an 'ible until AFTER i finished up. Sorry :)

Now, onwards to the meaty bits after the jump
 
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Step 1: Materials are needed...obtain!

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Ok, so this step will be quick...


Obtain in one form or another the following:
1. Ice chest. You determine the size. I used a small (approx)10-inch one. Let's put it this way, i can fit 4 standard water bottles in it. 
2. Cutting utensil (my cheap self used a handy pocket knife, until I have my dremel tool back, I'm resorting to caveman style)
3. Fan. Again, this is based on your needs, as well as the size of your container. I chose a set of 80mm ThermalTake fans. They are amazingly quiet, and 27CFM for the low noise is decent. 
4. Freezable/refreezable products. I picked up a few refreezable icey blocks. They were a dollar apiece, how could I say no?
5. A power supply/wall wart. My fans needed 12v. Again, do I have to repeat myself as far as your personal setup will vary? Pick a wall wart that will make your fan run properly. I dug one up from an old set I had. You can probably do the same. 
6. Patience, and safety! I am not responsible for you exploding, mutilating, biting, scratching, punching, or otherwise assaulting, defacing or marring yourself, or anyone or anything else. You  assume your own risks.

Enjoy, and now, please continue safely :)

Step 2: Hack into it!

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Firstly, go and make sure your cold objects are in the freezer, or are on their way there. You don't want to finish, go to try it, and have nothing cold to stick in there. I'll wait......
.....
........
...................ding!



Mark out a circle on the inside of the lid. Trace the rotation of the fan. Take a marker and follow the inner edge of the curved part... I have no idea how best to explain it. I'll borrow a line from CameronSS "Next, you will need to mark the inside of the fans and cut out"..."circular holes" EDIT: view the photos attached. 

You'll have two pieces of plastic with a gap between them, so be expecting to cut twice. What I did was after cutting out the inside hole, I punched marker points into the polar points (North East South West) of the top, then aligned the fan once more, drew another circle, and cut it out.

The hole may be smaller than the true diameter of the fan. This is ok. You don't need perfection unless you are a perfectionist. If so, by all means, take your time. I won't wait this time though, sorry.


Following this, you need to mark out some holes and drill them in the top for your fan mounts. Those screws that came with your fan will be put to use soon. So. mark out in one way or another, and drill out, or melt, or engrave, or whatever. Just get some holes through those pieces of plastic, properly. Now, I was a stickler for hidden wires, so my extra wiring ran into the lid itself into that gap. I cut a smaller space from where the air hole is and stuffed them up there. I also made a small hole for the wiring to run out the bottom, as seen in the pictures. I would advise you do the same, if possible. 

Whatever you do, don't mount the fan yet! you still have work to do

Step 3: Electrically inclined

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So, take that power wart you obtained in your own special way, and lop off the end of it. Run it through that hole we made in the last step specifically for this wiring. Trim back the wiring (I'm going to assume you've attached wires together) and twist the wires from the fan (cutting the end off if its a molex connector as needed) to the correct polarities on your wall wart. Typical wall warts have one wire of the pair marked. This marked one is usually the power line. The solid one is usually the ground. Test with a multimeter prior to connecting them, and NEVER NEVER NEVER touch them together when it is plugged in. I won't emphasize that enough. 
I soldered, so if you are doing soldering, I won't explain how to do it. Do it the way you know how to do it. Electrical tape it afterwards to prevent shorts and potential fires. 

I soldered my connections together, and tested it before finally mounting it down with the screws. After testing, go ahead and mount 'er up, and meet me on the last step.

Step 4: Finalizing

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So, you've tested it, mounted it and it looks decent, right? Good... now time to chill out, literally. Grab those frozen packets or blocks or whatever you had frozen, and stick 'em into the container. Try to get them closer to the fans, but not close enough where if it falls over, you have a weird explosion/mess from ice particles and fan shards. Be sensible. Review my pics in the first step for how I aligned my Icey Blocks. I put them nearest the fan so they would provide the maximum chill. If you did one fan like my original design. Set the chest on a smart, well thought out side, and pop open the lid just a crack to allow air into the air conditioner, otherwise, where are you getting your air? 

Prop it up, power it on, and chill out! If you have comments, please leave them.. Please don't criticize me horribly. I'll help anyone who asks, so ask away!


BTW! First Instructable!!
leozzito3 years ago
Why did you put the fans in opposite sides? I mean, one is flowing hot air inside the container and the other one is flowing the cool air outside. I think in this way the ice will last less time.