10 thoughts on “Build your own air conditioner”

  1. mArNiAc – the out put would be warm if not hot due to the heat exchanger so unless you like warm beer it wouldn’t work so well. if it was me i would put a second coil in a small chest freezer and have a closed loop with a small pump.

  2. GADzooks what an inefficient design! First, $75-$100 in copper tubing. Second, no fins on the tubing, so VERY inefficient heat (cool in this case) transfer. Third, no control over coolant flow (speed) (yes, a $5 valve could fix this) – meaning that the outgoing water is either much too hot or (more likely) much too cold. Fourth, water is an inefficient media for heat transfer. I’d suggest alcohol cooled by dry ice ($10 worth would cool you for hours, and you could re-use the alcohol), with a VERY slow drainage. And the water just drains? So the ice won’t last very long.

    I have a “phase change” vest that I use in the heat when getting ready to drive my race car. Freeze the cool packs and they keep your torso at a very comfortable 58 F for two hours, as opposed to ice that would keep your torso at an almost unbearable 32 F for just 20 minutes or so. Twenty minutes in the ice chest and they’re fully charged again. About $80 nowadays, I think.

    Race drivers often use “cool shirts”, designed and sold by a friend of mine, Rich Schaefer, who has now passed (but company still exists of course). But you need to have access to a 12 volt battery, or 120V AC (wires in either case), and ice/water mix. Another friend has an ice water tank and cool shirt in his race car (plus a pump of course), which keeps him cool inside the car. He’s a scrawny guy, so needs the extra ballast to reach minimum weight anyway. But still a limited time of coolness. . .

    Why, yes, I AM an engineer! Thank you!

  3. Gah! Durn it, it’s in my head! Why not have a pot of ice water, with a fan blowing over it? More efficient and much cheaper, I would think. Well, in an enclosed space.

  4. ChrisInAtlanta – blowing air over open water probably would not be very effective in cooling in a humid area like the midwest–or Atlanta.

    • Quite right, Tim. I wasn’t clear enough. I meant an un-insulated, perhaps metal, bucket, filled with an ice/water mix, mostly ice at first. So the fan would be blowing over a cold item. This wouldn’t cool very much, but probably as much as the fabricated radiator design shown.

  5. Air Conditioners are really necessary if you have allergic rhinitis and some other respiratory conditions “

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