Mini Solar Air-Conditioner (a.k.a Swamp Cooler)

235,716

227

168

Published

Introduction: Mini Solar Air-Conditioner (a.k.a Swamp Cooler)

About: i like ice-cream.

Here's an Instructable to make a simple, cheap, and energy efficient air conditioner with basic materials, and should cost less than $5. How it works is evaporating water in the
A/C (air-conditioner) pulls heat away, making the inside cold. The fan sucks air through the A/C, making the air cold. The warmer it gets, the more effective this A/C gets.
And it's easy on your wallet!

The materials are:
-popsicle sticks (about 20)
-cooling fan from computer
-solar panel, batteries, or other low voltage power source
-cloth that absorbs well
-scissors
-hot glue and a glue gun
-water

Step 1: Cooling Fan... Meet the Popsicle Sticks.

You can get cooling fans free from computer repair shops and are in power supplies.
Once you find a suitable one (bigger ther better), stick six popsicle stick like the picture below.
You can trim the round ends with scissors if you want.

Step 2: Dress Up Time!

Now cut a few strips of the cloth that absorbs well (shamwow, towel, burlap...) like one of the pictures below Then cut using scissors four or more popsicle sticks so it's the same size as the base width . Glue the cloth strips onto the cut popsicle sticks. Then glue that on like the main pic. Attach another stick on the opposite side and glue the cloth onto it. The bottom pictures are examples.

Step 3: Dress Up Some More!

Glue another of these together (pic on the bottom). Then stick two popsicle sticks together like the two back ones on the first step. Glue it on like the pic shows and put another stick that's the base width size onto the other side. Streach the cloth across and attach it to the stick.

Step 4: Coveralls

If you have any extra cloth left, glue that on the sides. Remember: the more cloth, the better if there's easy airflow around everything.

Step 5: The End

That was the Mini Solar A/C! Ugly but works. Add water to the cloth with a spoon until it's all soaked up, power it up with a solar panel (one or two watts), batteries, or a low voltage power source, and cool your house. Make several of these or a large scale one to lower your power bill in the summer.
Check out my other ible' for electric fire.

Share

    Recommendations

    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest
    • Make it Move Contest

      Make it Move Contest
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    user

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.

    Tips

    Questions

    168 Comments

    Does this eve cool the room for a single degree ?:D

    I currently use a bucket of ice, a hole in mid, fan to push air in in top ice in middle

    water drops to the bottom. The air is 11 degrees but it's so small, Instead of a 80mm fan I might add a case fan but I'm too lazy to go buy a fan :D

    what is the specification for this mini solar air conditioner?

    its fabulous and solve my problem of mini model

    nice work dude

    It's solar-powered, so is low voltage & low current - why not just put the cooler fabric on so it wicks water & set it in a pan of water & let 'r rip? I put 1 in the pickup cab for the dog, (YES, takosjza, WITH shades & sliders, windows & vents open, in the shade...), in a suitable box, running off the lighter jack. Works better than the old system of a fan and a pan of ice water - he would drink the ice water, leaving just the fan, which was ok but not as good.

    Good idea if you want to learn the principle of evaporative cooling, but seriously, what's that fan going to move? 3 cubic foot an hour? even three cubes a minute. It might cool a washing machine box 3 or 4 deg, but it ain't going to do much for your bedroom.

    can i get its lab report? like the mechanism it works on

    how do you connect the fan from a power source? i pulled one out of an old computer(laptop) and the connecter is just a white plug....

    6 replies

    If there are two wires, Try putting a battery on them and switch the polarities if it doesn't work the first time. Good luck!

    what should i do if there are three :) there is one yellow one black and one red

    I am going to suppose the red is + and the black is -.
    The yellow wire is a ground or something. You don't need to wire it to anything but you can attach it to the black wire if you want. Good luck!

    Computer fans with 3 wires are usually digitally controlled. That third wire is where the motherboard sends its signal to tell the fan how fast to spin. Yay adaptive cooling!

    Just keep rotating the wires thru the various possible pairings. You won't hurt the motor or yourself. Experimentation is the best way to learn. :-)

    5v is what you need. If you're not too handy with electronics, try using 3 AA batteries, and attaching them to it in a linear sequence..
    Batteries should look like [+||||||||||-][+||||||||||-][+||||||||||-]
    It should say on the battery, but the positive end is the one with the nub, and the negative is the one without it. Make sure the ends are touching and using some packing or duct tape to keep them together. Then, use some wire to connect it to the fan. It should have two or three wires on it. Red or white are positive, and black is negative. If there is a third wire, like you said in the other post, it is ground. Those are typically green, or in your case, yellow.
    Ignore that wire.
    It should work when you attach the wires. If you would want it to be more powerful, you can most likely use four AA batteries to get 6 volts. It will be fine. Don't use any more than that, though.

    does the fan blow UP or DOWN into the cloth?

    3 replies

    down, where ever the cloth is

    Wouldn't this work better if the fan pulled air through the cloth? You'd have to seal everything offso the air was being drawn through the cloth. Also if you used a highly absorbant fabric and placed the ends of it in a pan of water wouldn't it tend to keep itself wet as long as there was water for it to soak up? To those who say this type of cooler won't work in high humidity I would mention that here, in Louisiana, we have high humidity most of the time and, before the advent of the air conditioners that use freon, evaporative cooling was used extensively. In some older towns you may still see the cooling towers on top of some of the buildings. Of course it was not as efficient as the freon type but it was all that was available and it made a huge difference from the outside, un-airconditioned air.

    Pushing air through works much better. Try blowing something over by exhaling, and then try to knock it over by inhaling. Which is easier?

    There is a company right now selling "water making" machines that work best in hot, dry climates. I don't fully understand how it works yet (currently studying it) but am wanting to design my own version of this for home use. I live in Florida (Gulf-side) and from what I can see this machine would work here too.
    I know it has something to do with De-humidifier and air conditioning condensation. I'm not soliciting info from other users or selling this product, just wanting to stir up some interest in our community for different design builds and open-source instructions for such a thing. ;)

    1 reply

    The only problem with that type of cooling unit is that it requires the hot dry air to evaporate the water in your system. Sometimes those units use a corrugated material that absorbs water. Air passes through the holes in it and that air evaporates the water soaked into it. The water that is evaporating cools the air passing through.

    I was in the USCG at a small boat station on Fort Myers Beach. We tried this type of cooler when turning wrenches in the hot engine room. Only problem was that with the HIGH humidity on the gulf coast, the cooling effect was minimal at best. Basically we used it as a $600 fan. These evaporative coolers wont work when the humidity is high (which is about 90% of the time on the Florida Gulf Coast).

    Hope that helps!