Experimenting with portable AC unit

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Setback

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Update. Running it now mid day sitting in a parking lot in the sun on a partly cloudy day. Van interior was 31% humidity and 91 degrees, ambient temp outdoors is 86. Ran it on high for about 10 min and got down to 80, switched it over to low and after about 30 min of running total, currently at 60% humidity and 77 degrees.

I'm impressed. Doesn't seem to be using too much electricity either, and I think my system can sustain it
 

Setback

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Be careful. Running it with low voltage can damage it. I have a 5500 Yamaha that runs a.c. and fregerator and still use my electric skillet
 

Malamute

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^Nice setup. I've toyed with the idea of doing that with my E150. I have a 900/700 watt LP generator and I'm not sure if that would be big enough for a 5000btu A/C. So part of the equation is paying $500+ for a larger generator.

Thanks. I don’t think it would either. Had a Honda 1000, wouldn’t run it now I run a Yamaha 2000 gen/inverter and it pushes that pretty hard, once it’s running it’s ok. It is the initial startup. If I run the air I don’t run anything else including my battery charger which is a pain. We usually try for shore power when its hot enough for the air. Save the genny for cooler weather.

It may help to get a hard start capacitor. It helped mine quite a bit. The new AC unit I bought in sept 2021 appears to have a better start capacitor than the older one did, i didnt have to add the extra one, it started fine on my honda on eco mode.
 

Jim D

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You mentioned temporary, but also mentioned cutting a hole in the roof to vent it, which sounds more permanent.

I looked into how to keep my vehicle cool with my dog and ended up with a small window AC in the right rear side window and small Honda Gen in a rear cargo box. Ive been using it for about 4 summers and am very satisfied with its performance. No permanent changes to the vehicle, but its secure and takes up effectively zero room inside. I set it at 61 or 62 degrees, whatever its lowest setting is and the dog stays quite happy, everything in the vehicle feels cold when I get back in.

I painted the outside part of the AC to match the vehicle color, I get a little less pointing and picture taking, but I really dont care much, as it works rather well and I can take my dog shopping or whatever around town and on the road I dont have to worry to go in and eat, use the facilities, shop, whatever. On Eco mode the gen uses about a gallon of fuel in 6 hrs to run the gen. Its also pretty handy to have power if I want to use power tools for projects. This is one of the best modifications to my vehicle Ive ever made.

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Hi Malamute :) I have a van I want to do something like this with. No, I'm not going to exterior mount anything on my receiver hitch. What I wan to do is build a van garage in my van and install a generator in it.

My question is, "Do You Keep The Lid On The Box Closed While Your Running Your Generator?". I'm going to pipe the exhaust out of the van but the generator motor produces heat and that heat should be vented and I'm wondering if your having any problems with heat build up and generator problems concerning the heat build up?.

As I stated I'm looking to do the almost exact same thing but I'm going to do it inside my van (van garage).

Thanks For Posting This :)
 

Malamute

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Mine has an oval opening in the bottom of the cargo box for air intake for engine combustion and cooling, and an exhaust vent on the side that handles both the engine exhaust and cooling air removal. Ive never opened the lid to run it, it does fine with the intake and exhaust openings described above.

If theres a link in one of my previous posts to the bushcraftusa forum, it has some pictures of the air intake and exhaust vents in the cargo box.

I would be very hesitant to have a generator inside the van. I think it would be difficult to 100% isolate the engine exhaust. The hitch mounted box works well and gives storage space to help de-clutter inside the vehicle.
 

Jim D

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Mine has an oval opening in the bottom of the cargo box for air intake for engine combustion and cooling, and an exhaust vent on the side that handles both the engine exhaust and cooling air removal. Ive never opened the lid to run it, it does fine with the intake and exhaust openings described above.

If theres a link in one of my previous posts to the bushcraftusa forum, it has some pictures of the air intake and exhaust vents in the cargo box.

I would be very hesitant to have a generator inside the van. I think it would be difficult to 100% isolate the engine exhaust. The hitch mounted box works well and gives storage space to help de-clutter inside the vehicle.
Thanks! I was wondering about this. I 100% believe you about the holes. I like it that you don't have to open the box to run your generator because I want to do the same inside my van.

I'm looking to do the same inside my van . I know many people don't agree with this but I ran into a person who did put his generator inside his van but he made side panels to open up. He told me to cut out some 6" holes in the floor of my van to vent it and that's what I will do. I'm happy that you told me too :). You telling me just supports the fact that holes in the floor will indeed work.

I already decided weeks ago the generator was going into my van and I was going to have to put an exhaust pipe extension through the floor also. I just had to find a proper way of doing so.
 

Malamute

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One issue you have to deal with is access to the generator to start it. I have to open the box to turn it on and pull the starter rope, let it warm up a minute and turn the choke off, etc, and you have to be able to fill the gas tank for it, none of which id want happening inside a vehicle. Mine is exposed and at a nice working level and I still often overlfow the gas tank slightly and other small annoyances that I wouldnt want happening inside the vehicle. I would not consider having it inside the vehicle at all personally. Im not sure why the reluctance to have a container outside for the generator, but it nullifies all the potential issues related to having it inside, beside the small issue of possibly being a fatal carbon monoxide hazard.
 

Jim D

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One issue you have to deal with is access to the generator to start it. I have to open the box to turn it on and pull the starter rope, let it warm up a minute and turn the choke off, etc, and you have to be able to fill the gas tank for it, none of which id want happening inside a vehicle. Mine is exposed and at a nice working level and I still often overlfow the gas tank slightly and other small annoyances that I wouldnt want happening inside the vehicle. I would not consider having it inside the vehicle at all personally. Im not sure why the reluctance to have a container outside for the generator, but it nullifies all the potential issues related to having it inside, beside the small issue of possibly being a fatal carbon monoxide hazard.
Thanks Malamute! I posted this on another thread about the generator I will be purchasing.

So far, and this may change but I decided on the "Westinghouse 4500 3700 Electric Start" generator. It has a "Remote Control Start". I can press a button on the remote and the generator will start from my drivers seat without me getting out of the van. It runs on duel fuel. I'm planning on running it on Propane inside the van. I will have to drill another hole in the van floor next to the propane tank because propane is heavier than air and any leaking propane will go outside of the van. It's safe. The carbon monoxide gas from the exhaust will be piped outside the van. This generator has an automatic "Shutoff" when carbon monoxide gas is detected.


This generator is state of the art and expensive. It only produces 52 dB's. It can run and charge my batteries with not to much of a problem. I'll never run it on gasoline in the van. Propane is safe as long as there's no leaks and the when the propane settles on the floor it can go through a small hole to exit the van.

This is why I'm researching before I build the van out. I want to talk to experienced people like yourself that can help me get it right even if I have to spend a lot more dollars to do so.
 
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