Bruce and Jean's Teardrop Trailer
Swamp Cooler

Swamp Mock Up 1
After seeing the swamp cooler that Larry Sorenson built for the Outback Teardrop, I decided to build one too. I found the Kar Cooler on the net and used it as guide for mine.  I had a couple of fans left over from the trailer build and I purchased  a 360 GPH bilge pump from a marine store.  I mocked up a demo from  a tupperware container to see how it would work:

My preliminary conclusions:

- 360 gph is *way* too big of a pump. 50 gph would be more like it. There's a Y bypass in the feed to the pads (its below water in the picture), part of the pump intake is blocked and its still way too much water. If I open the end of the tubes to the pads its about right. I think a channel across the top of the pad with holes in it would leak about the right amount of water.

- The pads need to be tight to the sides so there aren't any air leaks or air will just flow around the pads in the path of least resistance.

- Its 76F here tonight and there isn't much cooling going on. I need to try it when its hot outside. I can't tell much difference between the air from the cooler and just fans running. I'll try it with a thermometer tomorrow.
Swamp Mock Up 2

- The whole setup is drawing less than 2 amps at 14.1v (battery is on the charger).

- The plastic bin that I got doesn't cut very well. It fractures easily.

- There's no way I'd run this thing inside the trailer. The pads leak. Not a lot, just enough to make a mess. I'll need to duct it into the trailer somehow, probably a duct to the window for now.

- 200 CFM seems like its plenty of air. I'll make sure and switch the fans separately.

Swamp Cooler 3 Here's what I ended up with for the final model. I solved the flow issue by using drip irrigators to water the pads. Each dripper flows at 1 GPH so the pads stay wet with a minimum amount of water.  I kept the baypass since the hoses leak at the joints if I took it out.  I think it helps the pump prime too. I used hardware cloth to hold the pads in place as well as screen the inside of the fans (I kept sticking my finger in them). The pump has a hard time priming and I have to unscrew the connection at the pump to let it prime if the lines are dry. Its fine if there's already water in it.  I used a dremel  tool with a spiral cutting bit to cut the plastic  to prevent fractures.

Swamp Cooler 4
I experimented with the number of pads. I filled the box up with pad material and ran a dripper line over it. It didn't seem to cool the air anymore but it did decrease the amount of air coming out. I settled on just the two pads as shown.

The container I used is a file box from Office Depot. I probably should have made the pads smaller so it could hold more water but it will run at least 4 hours with the  1/2 gallon it holds now.  I left out the louvers since they didn't really do anything. I think the louvers were supposed to help with leaks and  this one doesn't leak like the mockup did. I can stick it inside the trailer  on a pull out shelf. It fits nicely in the sink so I have a place to stow it.

Does it work?

Well, cool air comes out of it and it cools the inside of the trailer when I stick it inside. We'll see how well it works the next time we go camping. 

Swamp Cooler 6
Version 2.1. I got another file box and moved the pads and fans around. It works even better with both fans on the same side instead of one on each end.

Swamp Cooler 6
It works really well when you drop in some ice but it still works with just water. I'm pretty happy with it. I can just stick it in the cabin but it gets pretty muggy in there unless I turn on the cabin ventilation fan to push some air out the window. That pushes my total amperage up to 2.5A.


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