The purpose of this Instructable is to create a personal air conditioner for outdoor use. The 'cool' comes from an ice/water reservoir stored in a thermos. Copper tubing is used as a heat exchanger, a small water pump moves the ice water and a small fan distributes the cool air. The entire system is run from a solar panel from Brown Dog Gadgets. An off-the-shelf USB Y connector can be used to connect the components so that no soldering is needed.

Step 1: The Thermos

Any insulated cooler can be used. It should be portable and ideally have a pouring spout at the top to allow the copper tubes to go in an out without a lot of drilling. The same spout can be used to collect any condensation on the copper coil and add that water to the reservoir.

<p>Is it possible to use a peltier cooler with a large heatsink on bottom to keep the water cool?</p>
It is possible but would have the following issues:<br>1 - You need a waterproof way to get one side of the cooler exchanging heat with the water and the other side open to the air<br>2 - Peltier coolers use a lot of power. This would need a large power source or be plugged in.<br>3 - The amount of cool = the amount of heat generated so for the amount you cool the water, you dump that much heat out the heat sink - near you.<br>The total amount of cooling could be increased by:<br>1 - Maximizing the amount of water (bigger thermos, filled higher)<br>2 - Making the water colder - Maybe add salt while in the freezer?<br>3 - Use dry ice in the water?<br>4 - Use a block of ice - maybe freeze it with the coil in it and then add some water prior to use so there is water to pump around?<br><br>I haven't tried any of these.
It is not really an air conditioner. It is a water cooler or swamp cooler as we called it as a kid. An air conditioner is a closed system using a coolant like freon. They work quite well in dry air locations. Best one I have seen because it is a closed but renewal system!! Great idea and Instructable.
<p>Definitely an air conditioner--why criticize anyway? Great project that cools via heat exchange into an ice/water reservoir (with no reliance on evaporative cooling). Nice instructable!</p>
<p>Actually it's much more of an &quot;air conditioner&quot; than a swamp cooler. A swamp cooler cools the air by evaporating water, and subsequently adds moisture to the air. This is just as &quot;closed&quot; as a conventional air conditioner system and even removes moisture from the air. </p>
The title provides a more intuitive understanding to its purpose for the typical person than 'Personal Solar Swamp Cooler'. Also, the design is a closed system and although the water doesn't go through compression cycles like freon, it exhibits a temperature change by exchanging with the cold water reservoir. A swamp cooler, I believe adds water to the air. I suppose this is somewhere between the two. Thanks, you are forcing me to learn more. According to Wikipedia: &quot;An evaporative cooler (also swamp cooler, desert cooler and wet air cooler) is a device that cools air through the evaporation of water. Evaporative cooling differs from typical air conditioning systems which use vapor-compression or absorption refrigeration cycles. &quot; So, I guess this is neither, in truth.
<p>What size tubing is that and what length did you need for what you have? Is that a 120mm fan?</p>
<p>Sorry for the delay in answering. I used 1/8&quot; tubing - thick walled. You could probably increase the diameter a bit since my water going back into the reservoir is still pretty cold. I used an 80mm fan but the cooling would be better but probably noiser with a 120mm. I bought a coil of 25' of tubing and just unwrapped from that so I don't know the length. You could lay it out with string if you wanted to measure it. </p>
<p>Awww, thats awesome. I'm glad our 5W Solar Panel treated you well.</p>
Very, very nice. Thanks for sharing.
<p>It's a bit little ironic, a solar powered air conditioner.</p>
Quite possibly, but you will notice that I didn't have to include irony in the basic costs. It came for free.
I agree with you. I think I will build one for my camper!
<p>Cool! =D</p>
<p>Sorry! I see that in the posts below!</p>
<p>how much did you spend on parts to make this?</p>
<p>Great Instructable! Makes me wish I had air conditioning! ;D</p>
<p>Certainly for a larger space and extended cooling, you could scale this up - maybe use a mid-sized cooler and larger fan, larger diamter copper tube. I got the original idea from someone who did this for their home with a full sized ice chest and a pedestal fan.</p>
<p>This looks like it should work for a small teardrop trailer as well. I think I have a project for this weekend. :-) Thanks for a great 'ible.</p>
<p>This could also be a great idea for a tear drop trailer! Cool the inside down a bit on a hot day:) I like the sun idea...good job buddy!</p><p>Cheers!</p>
<p>Roughly, how much did this cost to make?</p>
<p>New prices: solar panel $30, thermos $8, fan $10, pump $6, tubing $10, InstaMorph $2, Y cable $3. The solar panels could be cheaper ones off ebay or scrounged from solar yard lights since the exact voltage isn't too much of an issue. You could also do away with the solar panels and run it off of 4 AA batteries (rechargeables would be better since the voltage is a bit lower). The thermos was a $1 garage sale find. The pump could come from a garage sale fountain. The tubing should be copper since you want a good heat exchange. The fan could be any 5V PC fan, just take the guard with it.</p>
<p>since it is usb powered you could also run it straight off of an unused usb port on your computer and stay cooled off while surfing on www.instructables.com</p>
<p>I wonder if it would help to add some salt to the ice water to lower the temperature.</p>
<p>Remember that there is only a fixed amount of energy (or lack of?) in the ice so if you drop the water temperature I think the ice will melt faster but the coil would be cooler. As per Ev's version, you could add bottles of frozen water to the ice/water slurry and drink them when they thaw some. You could also exchange more cold by using larger tubing with more coil windings, a larger pump or faster fan but all that melts the ice faster too.</p>
<p>I've made one like yours, </p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Too-Hot-Remove-heat-from-your-body-with-the-Back-/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Too-Hot-Remove-hea...</a></p><p>It could run on a solar panel. It cools your skin directly, not the air then your skin. </p>
<p>Nice. I didn't find it when I searched prior to writing mine. I like the way your tubing routes so that it never crosses over itself.</p>
Great instructable! On a day hot enough to use it, how long does the ice last?
<p>Honestly, I haven't done enough testing on that. That is the plan for this summer. But, the thermos should keep it from losing much cold and the flow rate is pretty low on the water. Also, it is easy to recharge with some ice. It is a real tradeoff because the cooler you want to feel, the less time you have. You can't really AC the whole world around you, just your personal air stream, although it might help in a tent or confined space.</p>
Clearly written and informative. I like the use of USB power. You will be able to use a phone charger or other non-solar power source should you encounter an extra warm evening.
<p>@arlod2, yup, a wall charger was how I was testing it since the weather wasn't cooperating. You can also use one of the portable phone chargers with Lithium Ion batteries in the evening.</p>
awesome post

About This Instructable




More by nords:Testing and Debugging (Stuff They Don't Teach You in School) Glass Engraving - Fun and Easy Large Metal Knitting Needles  
Add instructable to: