Advice for rubber tramping with no AC (1 Viewer)

Lee Larson

Newbie
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Dec 22, 2019
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29
Location
Little rock
Hello, im curious about what other people do, and have done in the past traveling in a van with a dog, with no working AC. Im considering eventually buying an rv roof mounted AC, but thats alot of cash and a ways away. Iv slso considered installing a roof vent to help release the heat. Also thought about getting 2 solar fans. . . Any ideas are welcome, just keap in mind low income. . . Iv got a 1988 dodge ram van b250, with a conversion kit. At the moment im thinking about installing a 40 dollar roof vent, maybe one that has a built in fan, and rigging up a tiny solar panel to it, like a tiny tiny solar panel, with a solar fan to push the heat around. Im not really willing to straight up convert it jnto an rv, because i like the freedom to pick up hitch hikers, or csrry more freinds. . Off subject but iv got a bedside walker toilet for obvious reasons, and im going to buy a portable camp pump sink, and il strap it to the wall. . . So i dont want to straight up convert my van, i like the freedom of multiple options
 

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Groundscore

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Aug 13, 2019
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38
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Southern Arizona
A roof AC unit is going to need power, and that will need to be from a generator or shore power. If you're off-grid or in a parking lot shore power probably won't be an option, and generators are noisy and aren't cheap. Work on keeping the heat out by insulating your windows and get a small solar setup with a fan or two. The roof vent will really help to vent the heat out.

If you can, travel with the seasons and try to stay out of high heat areas, and be sure to keep plenty of water on hand for yourself, and of course your furry travel companion
 
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Lee Larson

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Dec 22, 2019
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Little rock
Thats what i was thinking, insulate the windows maybe reflective silver bubble wrap, some roof solar pannels.. . Etc. The only problem is i will be traveling to extremely hot areas. I do AMTGARD which is boffer fighting with foam weapons. But i could get a tent for that. I really dont want to rely on a generator for shit. . But i guess if i do shit right i could possibly crash on a couch or two while traveling around state to state sword fighting. Maybe il just try to save penny's and shit to try to fix the actual ac.
 

mouse

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Joined
Oct 22, 2017
Messages
87
Location
Dallas
Snowbird to where it's cooler (latitude or altitude). Increase ventilation. If in low-humidity areas, run a swamp cooler. Shadecloth.
 

Sameer

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Dec 11, 2016
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95
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Southwest
Honestly it is more about elevation than traveling north and south. The temperature drops above 3 degrees for every thousand feet in elevation. Check out the temperatures for Flagstaff, Arizona for the Summer. 7300 feet. Having air conditioning is tough. The only practical way to run it is when you are driving. Unless you have a massive power supply you can't expect to have air conditioning when parked or camping. Don't even consider solar to provide cooling.
 
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Lee Larson

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Dec 22, 2019
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Little rock
Yeah, i spent a fww years in the mountains in Oregon, Chiloquin, and Klamath Falls, so im familiar with the elevation, where inwas on bly mountain was about 100ft short of a mile. My main concern is dispersing the heat for my dog. I can take the heat, but i caee about my dog. . I think iv got it figured out maybe. Im thinking about maybe 1 or 2 solar panels with a solar generator, and 2 solar fans and a roof vent with a fan. 2 fans to push heat, and the vent to suck it out. Im also looking at small wind turbines, but idk if it would hold up on the roof. . It would be bad ass to have a small wind turbine that generates power while driving.
 
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Lee Larson

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Dec 22, 2019
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Little rock
Im mainly trying to find a way to provide some comfort for my dog in the day when i have to go shopping
 

mouse

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A panel or two and a roof vent will do the heavy lifting of evacuating the hotter air. Solar generators do work but are a convenience purchase, very expensive for what they provide. And, as they used to say on SNL, they are neither solar nor generators.

Wind turbines have proven to be generally impractical for vandwellers, as they require mast heights and mounting structures we cannot easily achieve.

Luckily, devices do exist for charging while driving: battery isolators. They can be quite inexpensive. The combination of isolator+solar charging is mutually reinforcing and doesn't require much solar, even in Oregon.
 

Sameer

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Dec 11, 2016
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95
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Southwest
I like the idea of a wind turbine while driving. I think our solar setups are the same. It's just impossible to provide enough energy for cooling. You worry about your dog like I do. I follow the weather and take advantage of the elevation. I don't know where you go with your various gigs. Moving in the van shouldn't be a problem 60 miles an hour and all the windows open. A wet towel on the seat so the evaporation will provide enough cooling for the dog to be comfortable. When will you drive through places like Needles my dog lays on the towel. Things like that help. Make a ice chest cooler or buy one and point i to the dog if it's really hot. Things like that are a temporary fix. Travel with the weather as best you can. Actually dogs can take elevated temperatures better than we suspect.... The best advice I got on the subject was this. Dogs live in places like Phoenix during the summer. Even outside in the shade. I'm in Yuma today and know that there must be a million dogs here and during the summer it reaches 118 degrees. I really like all of your ideas.
 

Sameer

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Everyone should have a battery isolator with their solar setup. They are very very cheap. I know we're talkin about the heat, but even during the winter they are necessary. Before leaving for Yuma where I am today I was in Ehrenberg. 4 days literally no sun from cloudy skies. A quick trip into Blythe and a flip of the switch. The round trip charge my batteries.
On the other subject we just have to face facts because it is just impossible to generate enough green energy to provide cooling. The only alternative is a gasoline generator and literally a cheap air conditioner that you could use while parked.
 

SneakyWeasel

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Nov 22, 2019
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54
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Okanagan, BC
I have solar panels on the roof and a vent near the ceiling in the rear which has a large 12-24v computer fan acting as an extractor. The fan is hooked directly to my solar panels so, when the sun rises, the fan automatically turns on and, when it sets, the fan turns off. There's a switch inline to turn it off for the winter. The roof is also insulated with 1.5" polystyrene board and the walls with 1.5" rockwool.
I've lived in a vehicle for about 34yrs and have found this setup to work well, so well that I have no qualms about parking in the sun during the summer when it gets 110+F. A high mounted 12v computer fan can also be utilized to move the hot air near the ceiling towards the vent fan.
 
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Lee Larson

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Joined
Dec 22, 2019
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Location
Little rock
I have solar panels on the roof and a vent near the ceiling in the rear which has a large 12-24v computer fan acting as an extractor. The fan is hooked directly to my solar panels so, when the sun rises, the fan automatically turns on and, when it sets, the fan turns off. There's a switch inline to turn it off for the winter. The roof is also insulated with 1.5" polystyrene board and the walls with 1.5" rockwool.
I've lived in a vehicle for about 34yrs and have found this setup to work well, so well that I have no qualms about parking in the sun during the summer when it gets 110+F. A high mounted 12v computer fan can also be utilized to move the hot air near the ceiling towards the vent fan.
What kind of solar panels did you use, and what brand of vent fan have you found to be exceptable, if affordable. .
 

SneakyWeasel

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I have 6x100W generic monocrystalline panels and Unisolar 63W amorphous panel with 2 MPPT controllers. I need this much, if not more, to get any kind of decent power during our 'wet coast' BC winters. The fan is a Bosch unit I bought as surplus. The fan can get a bit noisy, especially during high noon with the panels at full voltage & the batteries charged, but it only cost me around $7. I have another fan I bought as backup, which is abt 5" and made for cooling small engines, that moves a gawdawful HUGE amount of air.. but is correspondingly noisier. It was about $15. If I were to use that 1 I'd probably build a baffle out of foam for it since my vent is right beside my bed.
 

CaptainShawn

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Nov 23, 2015
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Victoria B.C. Canada
Lived and traveled in a 1989 b250 for 2 years before I got the rv this year. No AC in ethier. The van I had 2 100 w panels on the roof and a house battery runing 1 or 2 12 volt car fans you can get at walmart or any auto parts store for 20 bucks makes a big difference. Vortex makes a fan insert for 50 bucks you can get at camping world fits in a rv vent total your looking at around 80 bucks makes a huge difference.
 

Matt Derrick

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@Lee Larson i have 2 of these battery powered fans that recharge on usb and they are lifesavers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FFWG0I8/?tag=squattheplan-20

one charge generally lasts 8+ hours on the lowest setting and they're so powerful you'll rarely need to crank it up above that. if you go the extra mile and buy a battery bank, you're guaranteed to get as many hours as you want (assuming you keep recharging the battery bank). you can usually get a decent battery bank that recharges via usb for around 20-40 dollars.
 

AyeAaron

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Nov 26, 2019
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Seattle
I have some 80watt batteries that are charged off my inverter, total load is pretty light according to the gauge, so I'm not overly worried about running my car battery down

USB fans can use very little power, and basically run all day on one of these batteries
When it gets hot I'll probably have two or more running

I also keep my phone, laptop, and keyboard charged pretty easily on these. The 80watt battery charging quickly as I drive around for errands

The only thing I cant do with these which I'd like to do, is power a cooler / fridge

Otherwise my power needs are easily met this way and the inverter + batteries cost about $100 together
Have used one of these things since my hitchhiking days
 
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Deleted member 13433

I deleted myself
@Lee Larson... check this out, I'm trying to make heads or tail out of this part of your original post: "...with no working AC"

Does this van have AC that does not work, or is this a van that was ordered without AC ???

Because if it has AC, is it possible to just get that going ??
Maybe it just needs to be serviced, or a new [used] compressor ??

Only asking because I got an 84 Ford E-350 diesel van, that has AC in the front and rear, and while it does not work, if I was to start using that van again - I would most certainly get it serviced/repaired because that thing is like an oven inside unless the windows are all down/popped open, and even then it's hot.

It's one thing if it's a person choosing to travel in a non-ac vehicle, it's another thing if a dog has to endure that as well.

I only mention this because here in CT, which experiences now three solid months of oppressive heat and humidity in the summer, lots of dogs die of heat exposure in cars, even with the windows cracked open.

My dog begins to suffer once it hits the mid 80s outside, and once it hit;s the 90s [temps taken in the shade] she won't even leave the house.

If you don't have AC, which I kind of find hard to believe a van like yours would have been ordered without it, then you really got to get airflow going, and heat transfer somehow, but if it's hot outside then it's going to be hot inside, and without AC there is nothing you can do that will truly improve matters for your dog.

This is a sincere comment, I'm not trying to be mean or anything, I'm just concerned about your dog, as a fellow dog person myself.

I hope you can figure out something that will suit you both well, especially since you state it will be boiling hot where you go.

Good Luck !!
 
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Lee Larson

Newbie
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
29
Location
Little rock
Ita a 1988 dodge van, the ac component has been removed, hoses, wires, its all gone. And im having a ton of issues with it so im most likely going to have to sell it. I love it in everyway except all the constsnt work snd money i dont hsve yo put into it. Im mosr likely going to have to settle on a truck or car. . . . Theres not many vans in my price range, i was homeless not long ago and my job is inconsistent. . . . . So im always broke as fuck and stranded. . . Sorry for the rant im super stressed out
 

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