Portable AC

wandererr

Adventurer
My wife has been asking me why there hasn't been a portable AC we can use in our trailer that runs on 12v. Did some searching and found couple that were an arm and a leg until the other day a Kickstarter campaign advertised itself on my FB feed. So I figured... Might be worth a risk. Figured someone else might be interested as well


Btw, had anyone ever did a Kickstarter purchase? Kinda intrigued by the process.
 

john61ct

Adventurer
Just use a $100 window rattler from Wally's and a big fat inverter that handles the startup, might need a soft start unit.

Or even better, do without, use good ventilation, keep moving to follow the 60's
 

Sweet5ltr

New member
My wife has been asking me why there hasn't been a portable AC we can use in our trailer that runs on 12v. Did some searching and found couple that were an arm and a leg until the other day a Kickstarter campaign advertised itself on my FB feed. So I figured... Might be worth a risk. Figured someone else might be interested as well


Btw, had anyone ever did a Kickstarter purchase? Kinda intrigued by the process.
Well, this is my experience from five or six years - 'glamping' with my wife using many different portable A/C units, as she won't camp without A/C. I would personally recommend a 10K BTU unit at a minimum. Purchase a small, 2.2 - 2.5kW inverter generator and move it far away from camp if you're 'off the grid'.

We normally stay in campsites that offer shore power, but our Honda e2200 will power our 10K BTU LG Portable (stand up) A/C for our tent. The nice thing about the Honda's are you can easily add a aux fuel supply, such as a 5-gallon jerry can, so no need to get up during the middle of the night to refuel.

The only 12V option would be the roof mounted Dometic RTX 2000 ($2,500+), 6.8K BTU (12V) which uses 19Ah on ECO mode. 200Ah of Lithium would get you around.. 6-ish hours of runtime at best, you would need to supplement with 600W+ of solar. Meanwhile, you could run the small 2.2-2.5kW inverter generator, with a 10K BTU portable or 13.5K BTU (roof mount w/ soft start) (120V) and have 4-6 hours of runtime for around $3 and feel like you actually have air conditioning.

I'm in Florida, so camping without A/C in the summer would be pretty miserable in many areas we go, where you can't expect a reliable breeze or cool night in a tent. Not many women want to sweat while they sleep on 'vacation'.
 
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john61ct

Adventurer
The only 12V option would be the roof mounted Dometic RTX 2000 ($2,500+), 6.8K BTU (12V)
Far from only, Cruise N Comfort is another, Isotherm makes one,

lots at higher V also, 48Vdc is a standard for the very expensive bigger ones designed for decades of marine use.

But not good value compared to a Wally window unit at $2-300
 

wandererr

Adventurer
Personally I would not be attracted to a partner that required aircon, but of course that is OT
We camped in Yosemite this summer and mid 80s turned into high 90s with no notice.. while I can sleep with no AC, I don't mind it ;)
Please, PLEASE don't use a generator in the backcountry or any "remote" campground. PLEASE! Just stay home if you need air conditioning. PLEASE!
I agree... Hence I'm giving this one a shot. Figure it charges up as I drive around and I get to use it at night. I hate the sound of a generator. Especially since most of them run like ********...
 

dbhost

Active member
My wife has been asking me why there hasn't been a portable AC we can use in our trailer that runs on 12v. Did some searching and found couple that were an arm and a leg until the other day a Kickstarter campaign advertised itself on my FB feed. So I figured... Might be worth a risk. Figured someone else might be interested as well


Btw, had anyone ever did a Kickstarter purchase? Kinda intrigued by the process.
Let's talk basic thermodynamics. For starters, you are not necessarily adding cool air, but rather you are removing the heat energy from one area, and must move it to another. This process involves compressing an energy absorbing gas, the compressed gas is passed through a condenser, and has air blown accross it releasing its heat load, this is done OUTSIDE of the space to be cooled. The big box outside of your house for example. The gas, at this point in a liquid form flows further along the lines through an expansion valve, sort of like a spray nozzle, that turns the refrigerant back into a gas, dropping pressures, and temperatures massively, the refrigerant is now COLD. It then goes through the evaporator. Air from the space to cool is blown accross the evaporator, where heat exchange takes place, the heat is pulled from the air, and goes into the refrigerant, where it cycles back to the compressor and the circle starts over again.

In this process, the compressor uses the most energy, the fans blowing the air accross the coils, condenser, and evaporator, are lesser, but they all pull a fair amount of energy.

To be blunt, you could in theory convert an AC to 12v, the amperage draw would be so massive, you would be pulling at minimum 40 amps. NOT something you would want to run that very long off of a battery setup.

So long story short, the tech isn't there for an effective, efficient 12v air conditioner system. Now there are some technologies that are not in production that MIGHT help out with this. Rotary compressors instead of piston compressors may require less energy, I really don't know for sure... And even at that point, how to make a rotary design efficient and reliable. They tried it with engines and failed due to the weak point, the apex seal. AC compressors are a similar problem...

Every single unit you see on the market that does NOT have one side inside, and one side outside of the space to be cooled, is NOT going to work efficiently.
 
D

Deleted member 9101

Guest
I'm in Florida, so camping without A/C in the summer would be pretty miserable in many areas we go, where you can't expect a reliable breeze or cool night in a tent. Not many women want to sweat while they sleep on 'vacation'.
I'm in Central Florida and agree 100%. Without A/C you can really only camp comfortably for 3-4 months a year. Another thing is the obnoxious humidity.
 

chet6.7

Explorer
If you need to run a generator, lowering the sound could be important. The guy in the video got 10db with some scrap wood, if the ground was soft I wonder is putting the generator in a hole would help lower the sound even more.
 
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Deleted member 9101

Guest
If you need to run a generator, lowering the sound could be important. The guy in the video got 10db with some scrap wood, if the ground was soft I wonder is putting the generator in a hole would help lower the sound even more.

Holes help kill sound....right up to the point where it starts raining...lol.

Honestly, there are no shortage of generators that are very, very quiet. We have about 10 of the small Hondas at my office and you can have a normal conversation standing right next to one with out raising your voice.
 

wandererr

Adventurer
Every single unit you see on the market that does NOT have one side inside, and one side outside of the space to be cooled, is NOT going to work efficiently.
Might not be most efficient but will work. I had AC work done in June at home and had to have the whole system down for 2 days. They brought in the indoor portable units that had exhaust going to the outside and they worked just fine. Not as efficient as the whole system big one on the outside but well enough.
Getting back to my original post: I'm talking about cooling down a trailer - a small one at that and sometimes being able to drop the temp by even 5 degrees in the evening is god sent ;)
G
 

dbhost

Active member
Might not be most efficient but will work. I had AC work done in June at home and had to have the whole system down for 2 days. They brought in the indoor portable units that had exhaust going to the outside and they worked just fine. Not as efficient as the whole system big one on the outside but well enough.
Getting back to my original post: I'm talking about cooling down a trailer - a small one at that and sometimes being able to drop the temp by even 5 degrees in the evening is god sent ;)
G
It's still moving the heat outside, away from the space to be cooled. it's just doing the majority of the heat transfer in the box inside, which yes, is not very efficient. I have one of those, a rare 2 hose model and it is still really inefficient. And even those are not going to run on 12v...
 

dbhost

Active member
If the issue is generator noise, IF you are allowed to run a generator at all, I use a 5K BTU window unit, rated at 3.9 amps max draw, and I run it on a Sportsman 1000w inverter generator that is already pretty quiet, I make a "quiet box" out of those foam floor pads for kids play areas and Gorilla tape. I have 2 gaps on the back side, one upper, one lower for ventilation and cooling. I try to keep the generator surrounded by bushes and other such soft surfaces, and it is whisper quiet in those conditions at 25', and inaudible in the next site over. I am fairly certain the sound of the AC itself is louder.

FWIW, I am in coastal TX and deal with a climate similar to what the folks in Florida are talking about...
 
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