Ducted AC

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Ducted AC

Postby greaper007 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:04 pm

Not really a foamie question, but the folks on this forum seem to be the mad engineers of the community so I thought I'd ask here. I'm still in the planning stages for my trailer, but my thought right now is that I'd to use a td and put a sleeping platform in the back of a minivan. We're a family of 4 and I love to save money by camping on road trips, but I hate setting up and taking down camp. I want a quick, all in one solution that's cheap, small enough to fit in an average parking lot and still gets 20+ mpg. So a camper/van is the best solution I can come up with.

Enough of that. I live in FL so I need AC. Putting it in the camper is easy enough, but I'd like to be able to duct some of that air into van at night. I figure I could use normal 4" flex ducting hooked into a window in the van. But I'm trying to figure out how to create a plenum from the window ac unit in the camper that can balance the pressure for the two locations. Has anyone done this/have any ideas? Thanks!
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby redbicycle » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:16 am

I can't help with the plenum idea but a low engineering approach would be to use rv sewer lines. They come with I 4 prong attachment at each end and you can mount a fitting on the vehicle and trailer. When not in use a watertight cap covers the hole. This will give you a pair of 3" runs in each vehicle. You could mount a 12volt computer fan in the van at the face of each house. One wired to pull and the other wired to push. This would move a good bit of air between vehicles.


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Re: Ducted AC

Postby KennethW » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:30 am

Air is hard to move thru ducts a long distance. Just thinking out loud . How about water? Two small radiators (heater cores) a tiny pump and a fan?
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby John61CT » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:01 pm

Putting electricity and a separate small AC unit where it's needed will be more effective, more reliable and ultimately cheaper than a Rube Goldberg / MacGyver DIY project.
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby working on it » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:43 am

John61CT wrote:Putting electricity and a separate small AC unit where it's needed will be more effective, more reliable and ultimately cheaper than a Rube Goldberg / MacGyver DIY project.
I'm a big fan of Rube Goldberg / MacGyver DIY projects, so I considered this set-up I considered, based on my basic trailer (as if I'd ever need extra sleeping room on top?).
Rooftop tent to utilize single airconditioner, shared with trailer.jpg
as-if set-up for foursome camping
Rooftop tent to utilize single airconditioner, shared with trailer.jpg (149.82 KiB) Viewed 711 times


But, if I had needed room for four, I'd have to put two people up top, preferably in collapsible RTT, like this Maggiolina. Pehaps something like this might work better for your situation than having to deal with plenums and ducting all over the place, strung several feet between trailer and vehicle?

Of course, I'd need to "redneck engineer" new ducting up to the RTT (and probably upsize the unit from 5k BTU's to 8k. And reroute my A/C's sideways exhaust routing straight out a louvered vent in the back, after re-configuring my galley/storage area, into a sealed back design, with access door, instead of the huge hatch it has now. And move my fishing-rod storage tube from top to sidewall. But, it would be possible....
Air conditioner exhaust ducting.jpg
current set-up for solo camping
Air conditioner exhaust ducting.jpg (177.97 KiB) Viewed 711 times
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby greaper007 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:54 pm

redbicycle wrote:I can't help with the plenum idea but a low engineering approach would be to use rv sewer lines. They come with I 4 prong attachment at each end and you can mount a fitting on the vehicle and trailer. When not in use a watertight cap covers the hole. This will give you a pair of 3" runs in each vehicle. You could mount a 12volt computer fan in the van at the face of each house. One wired to pull and the other wired to push. This would move a good bit of air between vehicles.


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I just redid the ducts in my attic so I actually have a lot of R6 Insulated flex duct laying around. It's essentially sewer hose but insulated, covered in a space blanket and relatively cheap.
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby greaper007 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:56 pm

KennethW wrote:Air is hard to move thru ducts a long distance. Just thinking out loud . How about water? Two small radiators (heater cores) a tiny pump and a fan?

Not a bad idea, but I'd like to use a small cheap window ac unit that could serve double duty for hurricane season (I live 4 blocks from the ocean and we've been known to lose power for 4 weeks at a time).
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby greaper007 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:04 pm

John61CT wrote:Putting electricity and a separate small AC unit where it's needed will be more effective, more reliable and ultimately cheaper than a Rube Goldberg / MacGyver DIY project.


Thanks for the reply. Maybe, but I have the flex duct, and there isn't a good way to put a window ac into a car without cutting holes or taking out windows. My central AC at my house moves air in the same way at much longer distances (I just spent the last 2 months redoing it..). I'm looking at moving it about 3 ft between the car and the trailer, that doesn't seem so far. And I don't really care about keeping my sleeping area at 75f, I keep my house at 80f in the summer, 85 would be fine for sleeping for me. I have everything worked out except for a a cheap, easy plenum.
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Re: Ducted AC

Postby greaper007 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:07 pm

working on it wrote:
John61CT wrote:Putting electricity and a separate small AC unit where it's needed will be more effective, more reliable and ultimately cheaper than a Rube Goldberg / MacGyver DIY project.
I'm a big fan of Rube Goldberg / MacGyver DIY projects, so I considered this set-up I considered, based on my basic trailer (as if I'd ever need extra sleeping room on top?).
Rooftop tent to utilize single airconditioner, shared with trailer.jpg


But, if I had needed room for four, I'd have to put two people up top, preferably in collapsible RTT, like this Maggiolina. Pehaps something like this might work better for your situation than having to deal with plenums and ducting all over the place, strung several feet between trailer and vehicle?

Of course, I'd need to "redneck engineer" new ducting up to the RTT (and probably upsize the unit from 5k BTU's to 8k. And reroute my A/C's sideways exhaust routing straight out a louvered vent in the back, after re-configuring my galley/storage area, into a sealed back design, with access door, instead of the huge hatch it has now. And move my fishing-rod storage tube from top to sidewall. But, it would be possible....
Air conditioner exhaust ducting.jpg


I like the idea, but $2500 is what I paid for my last car (I'm pretty cheap). Though when I lived in Denver some of the fancier gear junkies I knew had vehicle top tents and seemed to like them a lot.
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