AC solution for sleeping in the car

Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
33
Location
UAE
Hi,

Has anyone done a set up for running AC inside their car for solo camping on hot weather? Summer is coming up and I have been thinking about multiple set ups. I like to travel to some remote areas to do fishing and by night time I am too exhausted to do a 6 hour drive back. I would rather sleep it off till next morning.

What would work? for example: Large solar panel the covers the entire roof (replaces the roof rack) which charges big batteries that can power a very small AC for the cabin during the night, or maybe a generator that can power portable AC? I rather have an all electric system avoiding the need for a loud generator or carrying gas for it.
Any ideas would be appreciated. I think the people who have AC in their boats and RVs might know some nice setups.

Thank you
 

Mogwai

SILVER Star
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
1,523
Location
San Diego
Have never really looked into this even though I've thought about how nice it must be haha... that said, check this thing out, has a built in battery that will run it for 5hrs. Zero Breeze Mark 2

Most of the common RV units are powered by AC in which case you'd probably be better off w/ a small generator that outputs power in AC. If you found a DC unit, you could power off a large lithium battery and prob not need solar if you only intend to use for peak heat hours. Given the unit above (small battery) can last for 5hrs, you could assume a larger say 100aH Battleborn could power something similar for much much longer.
 

abuck99

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
3,731
Location
ATL
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
33
Location
UAE
For under $75- You can make your own swamp cooler: with an insulted cooler, a PVC elbow, some ice and a small 12v fan or USB fan.

Here's a ready made one:

View attachment 2297740

[/URL]
For under $75- You can make your own swamp cooler: with an insulted cooler, a PVC elbow, some ice and a small 12v fan or USB fan.

Here's a ready made one:

View attachment 2297740

Cool cheap solution. However it's very humid at night 100% RH is common, so it wouldn't work.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
33
Location
UAE
Oof - thats pretty high-
It's mostly because I am camping by the shoreline(after/before fishing) and in the summer it's already very humid and the humidity of the sea adds to it. It's very sticky and unbearable at night. An AC has a dehumidifying effect that I am also looking for combined with cooling.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2003
Messages
3,882
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
 
 
 
Well, if you have high humidity, as you say, you need a true AC. Maybe a PAC (the personal AC units that you hook to a window with a flex hose) would be the solution. They do draw close to 14A from 115VAC while the compressor is running. So, that's basically a 2kw generator (and fuel) to run it. Forget solar and batteries etc., unless you want minimal cooling for minimal time.

cheers,
george.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
33
Location
UAE
Well, if you have high humidity, as you say, you need a true AC. Maybe a PAC (the personal AC units that you hook to a window with a flex hose) would be the solution. They do draw close to 14A from 115VAC while the compressor is running. So, that's basically a 2kw generator (and fuel) to run it. Forget solar and batteries etc., unless you want minimal cooling for minimal time.

cheers,
george.
Yeah, I don't want to spend money on a solar+battery system that might not be enough and end up having to get a generator and a proper ac in the end. A generator will be useful for many other things and it will be a long term investment.
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
518
Location
San Diego
 
Have never really looked into this even though I've thought about how nice it must be haha... that said, check this thing out, has a built in battery that will run it for 5hrs. Zero Breeze Mark 2

Most of the common RV units are powered by AC in which case you'd probably be better off w/ a small generator that outputs power in AC. If you found a DC unit, you could power off a large lithium battery and prob not need solar if you only intend to use for peak heat hours. Given the unit above (small battery) can last for 5hrs, you could assume a larger say 100aH Battleborn could power something similar for much much longer.
Oh yea just a $1000 gadget, i guess its no big deal for all those 200 series owner:flipoff2:
 

Mogwai

SILVER Star
Joined
Feb 15, 2016
Messages
1,523
Location
San Diego
Oh yea just a $1000 gadget, i guess its no big deal for all those 200 series owner:flipoff2:
Bro if i had your skills and could build it, I would! Hmm.........

And no, I'm not spending $1k for personal AC, upon further review it is only rated for about 2,200 BTUs (compare that to a standard RV AC which is more ike 10k - 15k BTUs).
 
Joined
Jul 5, 2013
Messages
518
Location
San Diego
 
Bro if i had your skills and could build it, I would! Hmm.........

And no, I'm not spending $1k for personal AC, upon further review it is only rated for about 2,200 BTUs (compare that to a standard RV AC which is more ike 10k - 15k BTUs).
Haha, my remedy for sleeping in the heat is a costco sized bottle of baby powder, generous application to the obvious areas, open all the windows and hope for a breeze.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2003
Messages
3,882
Location
Sunnyvale, CA
 
 
 
Yeah, no magic here. If you want/need lots of BTU then it will draw a lot of power and a generator is the only option (or a long extension...).

2200 btu is likely ok for a tent, obviously it will be running a lot since the tent has hardly decent insulation :)

And yeah, it's a bunch of $ for that unit..

cheers,
george.
 

hoser

SILVER Star
Joined
Dec 21, 2003
Messages
10,138
Location
Bay Area, CA
 
 
 
Have never really looked into this even though I've thought about how nice it must be haha... that said, check this thing out, has a built in battery that will run it for 5hrs. Zero Breeze Mark 2
I remember that unit on Kickstarter. Initial reviews of the first model were horrible.

 
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
923
 
 
 
I wonder if it would be easier to rig up a temperature controlled remote start to run the car AC whenever it gets hot.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Messages
33
Location
UAE
I wonder if it would be easier to rig up a temperature controlled remote start to run the car AC whenever it gets hot.
I would imagine it would use so much fuel+ wear and tear on the starter + discharge the battery, since it would have to start and stop almost every 10 minutes. I have been researching and the only sensible solution it seems is to get a generator and hook a portable window AC to it. If you are in an area that isn't humid maybe a swamp cooler like @abuck99 suggested would be enough.
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
1,002
Location
Southern California.
 
 
Not bad at all for an RTT, need to research more, there are many forums discussing 1st gen and some good reviews to make it comfy, of course not cool your socks off... don't have time to read them all.

Best option I still think is 5k BTU wall AC with a Generator, but national parks don't let you run at night generators, BLM does.. so depending on rules where you plan to use generator may not be an option and may have to link into these, get ready to mortgage the house though its pricy!


 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
164
Location
North Carolina, USA
I have a 24 foot boat with a cuddy cabin. It the cuddy is a bit larger than a landcruiser. When "boat camping" in warm weather we will overnight in the marina. We have a 5000btu window unit we use to keep the boat cool. We run it off of shore power. It is more than enough to cool the boat down. It would cool the inside of a vehicle or tent just fine.
5000btu window A/C's are $99-125 at Wal-Mart. It takes 400-550Watts to run them, but alot more to start them. I installed a extra boost capacitor inside my window unit like this: Amazon product . With the boost cap in the AC it holds enough power to kick the compressor on without tripping the breaker on my 900watt quiet 4 stroke generator, or my 1500watt inverter. I can run the AC off of the mini super quiet generator, or by idling the boat motor and using the inverter.
This is the generator I use: Amazon product
The Boost capacitor is key. Without it the generator and the inverter will both shut down when the compressor in the AC kicks on, even though the AC uses less than 1/2 the rated power of the genset/inverter when running. I think a 2000watt or bigger would run it without the boost capacitor. but that's double the size/weight/expense/fuel consumption.

If you get a 100ft extension cord and make a collapsible plywood box with a vent to cover the generator, place it 100ft away from your tent or vehicle, you won't hear it in your car or tent over the sound of the air conditioner. Another silent option is to dig a hole and put the generator in it with plywood to cover it and throw the dirt on top. Leave some airgap for the exhaust to escape. The genset in the add will run 6 hours on a gallon of gas..............If your generator is not noticeable and doesn't bother anyone, or cause any problem, it doesn't matter where you are when you run it.

Forget about solar if you want to run aircon with a actual compressor. A "Swamp Cooler" may work for you in a hot dry desert type environment and run off battery/solar charge, but the desert is cool at night anyway.

In reality however, you don't need a air conditioner. If you carry one extra car battery and a small 400 watt inverter you can run 2X household electric fans blowing on high across your beds all night. You charge up the battery off the vehicle in the morning. You go to sleep on top of sheets in your skivvies and then about 2 AM you pull up a blanket because your cool. ......If you intend to sleep in the vehicle it is best to cover with a tarp with airgap between tarp and vehicle so the early morning sun is not bearing down on the sheetmetal. This will give you another couple hours before it gets too unbearably hot inside. We do this tent camping in June in the Carolinas which are hot and humid. It's comfortable in the tent till about 8:30AM then it starts getting hot, even with the fan.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2007
Messages
1,290
Location
Houston
 
 
In the past while researching, smallest 120v AC unit powered by a 2kw baby Generator. I guess a 1kw could suffice if you had a way to buffer the start up amp draw. The AC unit will be mounted on a rack with a duct that went over the vents which funneled the air to a hose...
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
164
Location
North Carolina, USA
Not sure how exactly how you plan on doing it, but If you use a 5000btu window unit and make a plywood window board and rest with a cloth skirt and a little carpet tape to seal it each night, it will freeze you out of the vehicle if you want it to.
 
Top Bottom