Cheap DIY Air Conditioner

Introduction: Cheap DIY Air Conditioner

I built this completely with materials found around my house.
This is NOT meant to cool down a whole room, it just creates a nice cool breeze. 

Materials Needed:
Coleman Personal8 Cooler (or similar)
Small, cheap styrofoam cooler (usually under $10) will also work. 

3 PVC elbow joints, about 1/2 in. ID (around $1 each at hardware store)

Drill with bit same size as OD of PVC elbows

Computer fan (about $5 from radioshack)

12v transformer* (not sure where to buy these...)

6 empty gatorade bottles

Duct tape (about $10 from radioshack)

Extension cord w/ switch (not totally necessary, but nice to have)

Xacto knife

*transformer only necessary for a 12v fan, you can get a different one for different voltage fans of just install a plug if you have a 120v fan.

Step 1: Cut Hole for Fan

Put the fan up against the back of the cooler, mark with pencil around the outside of it, and cut out a square hole for the fan. Push the fan into the hole. A tight fit is good; it lets less air escape. 

Step 2: Drill Holes in Lid of Cooler

With your drill, drill 3 holes in the lid for the pvc elbows. Insert the elbows in and secure then with duct tape. 

Step 3: Gatorade Bottles

Fill empty gatorade bottles with water, and then freeze them. Once the water is frozen, remove them from the freezer and tape them together like a six-pack. You can modify this to compensate for different cooler sizes, my cooler just happened to fit them perfectly. 

Step 4: Hook Up the Transformer to the Fan

Pretty self-explanatory... you can just twist the wires together or solder them if you are really committed. 

Step 5: That's It! You're Done!

Put the frozen bottles into the cooler.

Turn on the fan and feel the cool breeze across your face...

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    6 years ago on Introduction

    I'm prepping to assemble a similar design. 12V, Solar panel to recharge the battery, single block container for the ice block, But also thinking of an idea, to prevent leakage/spillage. Awhile back, someone pointed me to 'Potassium Poly-Acrylate'. A crystal chemical, used in baby diapers to absorb liquid, and hold it in a Jell. the more water, the more the crystals absorb, and hold. (something like up to 64X their original size.) A cheap and large-crystal version, is available in Gardening supply, called Soil-Moist. It's mixed in with the potting soil, and reduced the need to keep watering more than once a day. The salt idea below, I hadn't thought about, but sounds like a great idea! Combined, the soil-moist will separate and shrink when frozen, but as it begins to thaw, the crystals begin drawing in the water, til you have a thick jell.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable, especially the tip about the gatorade bottles. Most other AC guides are structurally similar, but they all (?) instruct to add ice and water directly into the cooler. Keeping it in bottles really helps make the ice/melted water portable and lets you place the intake fan directly in the cooler.

    Something I personally did is make 2 sets of the gatorade six-pack, and keep one in the freezer. When one six-pack melts, I simply put it back in the freezer and switch it with the second one. By the time the second one melts, the first set in the freezer is already frozen and good to go. And again, the bottles make switching out the ice/water a LOT faster than if you just dumped it in the cooler like the others.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    a good improvment could be to add salt to the water bottles so after they've been froven they'll take alot longer to defrost


    11 years ago on Step 5

    For a Fan you can use a computer case fan alonge with a power supply from a computer also. So next time you are scrapping out your old computer save the case fan and switching power supply. That way you are only buying the pipe & duct tape for your air conditioner making it a cheep build. Regards, PG