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Old 07-14-2014, 12:05 PM   #1
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Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

This is still in the 'learning project' stage.



Open front PH window and screen. Install optional cardboard protector:



Place window sill:





Set cheap Wal-mart air conditioner on sill:



UNFINISHED: place magnetic weather fly and foam insulation where needed.

Place partition over AC:



... and enjoy cool air.

Preliminary considerations:
* Tilt AC up and back to remove, to drain water
* Make all edges that get near PH fabric curved, sanded, and silky smooth. No pointy bits.

Advantages:
* Cheap - < $200 total investment, if it breaks, just stop at Wal Mart and get another one
* Effective, especially if you normally close off a 'cargo area' of your sporty like us that doesn't need cooling
* Quick install (< 2 minutes)
* Not permanent - take it when you need it, leave it home when you don't, no redneck look while driving awesomely badass sportsmobile around.

Disadvantages:
* A bit bulky, but not as bad as I thought it would be
* Only works with pop-top up
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:56 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

Incredible job done

looks professional !!
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:01 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

Brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:03 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

Very nice. I've been thinking about the same idea for awhile. I'm glad someone did it! The only reason I can't is because I have an older PH with no zip out screen and I just haven't had the heart to cut it up. I suppose I could sew in some velcro maybe. Anyway, kudos. Very nice. Let us know how it works long term.

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Old 07-15-2014, 12:42 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

Thanks guys. I'll post an update after I've got the tweaks done. At 90 degrees and humid outside this had no problem maintaining a cool 72 degrees and dry inside, with no foam insulation, and the PH bed raised so that the entire interior space had to be cooled. The AC is a 5000 btu unit, the smallest/cheapest one widely available, easily run off of a Honda 2000W generator.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:49 PM   #6
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

My van is an RB and storage space is at a premium. I would love to see your ideas for storing all of this away. I know the air conditioner itself is a big box you have to put somewhere, but I'm curious what you've come up with to store the PVC frame, wooden pieces, etc.

Thanks
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:09 PM   #7
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

The PVC and wooden sill are not too large, and right now the PVC comes apart since I didn't glue every joint. That stuff can mostly be crammed under the gaucho where my removable table paraphernalia is stowed beside the house batteries and inverter. The AC itself and the panel are the big items.

My Sporty is not a standard layout, nor does it have any built in "utilities" other than 110AC, so what I do there may not apply. We have four captains chairs in the "road trip changes into a tiny sitting area or mobile office" area up front, and partitioned off storage behind. Since we needed a house battery box anyway there is a three place jump-seat gaucho on the passenger side of the storage area; but there are no side windows back there. The big panel just slides in behind the gaucho seat back for travel, taking up effectively no extra space.

The driver side storage wall is just L-track that I put on myself after delivery; I have a roughed out shelf/storage thingy there now, but basically I don't have anything permanently installed that doesn't need to be permanently installed. So right now the AC itself sits on a shelf on top of the wheel well, next to a tiny shop vac that I leave in the van.

But storage in more comprehensively equipped sporty's may be problematic.

I'll try to upload some more photos at some point, when I have my own setup/usage more finely tweaked, but probably not for another week or two.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:16 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

Also based on how things seem so far, it might be possible to get away with a significantly smaller sill. There just has to be some way for the sill and partition to play nice together.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:24 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

Nice solution her.

But for me European, I definitely don't understand why all of you American guys need so much AC !
I'm not use to those and don't miss it, even in high 90ies...
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:11 PM   #10
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Re: Cheap and easy penthouse air conditioner prototype

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.
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