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Old 02-21-2014, 09:30 AM
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Default Low Power Air Conditioning

Going off grid here in Texas poses one huge challenge: It's difficult to sustainably generate enough energy to run an air conditioner. I may have found a fix for that. Not a total solution but at least a workable way to cool off.

Youtube video of DIY AC

Regardless of the energy source, a BTU is a BTU so freezing a block of ice still requires a fair bit of energy production. The benefit of an ice block is that can be created in a freezer which requires a far lower current draw than even the smallest air conditioner.

This little AC unit is not going to cool a room but you may recall that astronauts were able to keep cool on the moon with a suitcase sized AC unit. The secret: Only cooling what really needed to be cooled. This bucket contraption could be aimed directly at a bed, or even a "tent" over the bed, thereby concentrating the cooling in a far smaller area than if one cooled a whole room.

This idea will get tested this summer.
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:31 AM
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How very interesting.
Remember the old pics of guys sitting in front of a block of ice with a fan blowing?

A/c's here have to struggle(as you say) doing double duty.
Cooling while pumping tons of water(humidity) out of the air.

I like the old fashioned window coolers but there's the humidity.
But thats the South fer ya!!:
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:17 PM
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Probably more difficult today since A/C compressors are sealed as an assembly with the motor but...

Seems like one potential solution would be to run the A/C compressor off a gasoline or diesel stationary engine.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Seems like one potential solution would be to run the A/C compressor off a gasoline or diesel stationary engine.
If you were going to do that you'd be better off to just run a generator
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:32 PM
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The fan/ice idea might be fine for the desert SW but not effective where there is already high humidity & adding more from the ice.
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Old 02-21-2014, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by HuntingHawk View Post
The fan/ice idea might be fine for the desert SW but not effective where there is already high humidity & adding more from the ice.
Actually, that's one of the benefits of the system in the video. Note that the guy uses a frozen gallon water jug. Moisture is removed from the air as condensation on the jug (just like a "real" air conditioner.) After each use, there will be water in the styrofoam container.

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Originally Posted by chrisser View Post
Seems like one potential solution would be to run the A/C compressor off a gasoline or diesel stationary engine.
I suppose this depends upon how one defines "off grid." Hauling fuel for a genny isn't my idea of "off grid." Fossil fuels are simply a different grid from which to draw power. Fossil fuel is a great way to get through overcast weather, I just don't view it as a regular solution.

Air conditioning is a luxury I don't want to give up in the name of self sustenance but I can compromise. Moving to a cooler locale is an option but not likely. Climate change (we're getting cooler) will help a little.
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