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Old 07-16-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
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Road Shower upgrade prototype

I like the idea of the Road Shower - portable solar heated water supply on the roof rack. However, the base product has in my view a fatal flaw: the air pressure runs out long before the water runs out. (N.B. I have not used the CO2 bike pump approach and have no interest in having to use one and throw it away every time I want to turn on the water).

So depending on how full the Road Shower is when you pressurize it, you may get only fifteen seconds or so of pressurized water out of the hose. At this point even if all you want is gravity fed water, you have to take off the radiator cap or else siphon pressure will keep the water in the tank and you get nothing out of the hose.

Not exactly like carrying around an easily removable roof-rack mounted solar-heated backyard hose.

However, Boyle's Law tells us that 5 gallons of air at 12 PSI is a half gallon of air at 120 PSI, if we want to keep the Road Shower filled with pressurized air as the water is ejected. So, in order to have positive pressure until the water runs out I attached a 1 gallon air tank to the Road Shower, with a regulator between the tank and the RS to keep the pressure down to 10-12 PSI. (.5 gallons is right at the theoretical limit and likely will not work, since some air escapes with the water, etc). The tank can be filled with a bike pump.

Now she'll empty the water tank with good positive pressure all the way until she is spitting air. The final modified product will probably have a fixed 10PSI industrial regulator between the tank and the Road Shower, and no air gauge on the tank (you can tell the pressure when you fill it, either with the bike pump or a compressor). I plan to mount the tank to the Road Shower / roof rack using a bit of scrap steel; I'll post pics of the final product when I get around to it if there is interest.

Whether this violates the "don't pressurize it with a compressor" rule from the manufacturer is probably ambiguous, if you pump up the tank with a bike pump. In any case it is probably inadvisable to consider the water potable with this setup; but that isn't my use case. I think the water pressure is quite robust compared to an electric pump, but YMMV, don't try this at home, no children or animals were harmed in the production of this purely fictional story, etc.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:54 PM   #2
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Thanks! (For the info and the laugh at the end). Please post pics, there is interest. I'm planning a home build roof shower now. Not past planning yet though.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:51 PM   #3
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Depending on its power a small air compressor can pump in enough air at such a rate to pump out the water at a decent flow without the expense of a regulator. But, as noted, please start small and work up. The problem is that if you leave it running it while leaving the water off it could build enough pressure to detonate. Then everyone gets a shower in the campsite....

Another solution is to install a pressure relief valve. Some are adjustable, some just set at certain pressures. And generally cheaper than a regulator (some cheap regulators for air tools are out there, but dialing it in at low pressures can be tough, and I don't think some of these tanks, like the Road Shower, can take much pressure).

Seems like a lot of stuff to clutter your top with, but we'll be interested to see with what you come up with. I keep thinking about the eccotemp, which still seems like the best solution if you don't wanna mess with bags and tanks and stuff like that.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:50 PM   #4
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Why not just use a Facet Pump?
http://www.facet-purolator.com/cube-fuel-pumps.php
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Quote:
Originally Posted by BajaSportsmobile
Great question.

In my case, moving the Road Shower between vehicles means that an electrical solution is probably not as conveniently portable as a pre-chargeable pneumatic solution powered by a bicycle pump or compressor. But your mileage may vary, and for that matter there may be better ideas in general than the ones rattling around in my head.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:19 PM   #6
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_gendreau
And generally cheaper than a regulator (some cheap regulators for air tools are out there, but dialing it in at low pressures can be tough, and I don't think some of these tanks, like the Road Shower, can take much pressure).
The regulator on the prototype works OK, and IIRC it is a pretty crappy basic thing I had laying around the garage. I just dialed it up until the radiator cap started spitting and then rolled it back a little. But industrial fixed-pressure regulators (10 PSI) are expensive new, and getting a used one on eBay is dicey.

So the regulator is definitely the expensive/hard-to-get part of the "final design" I have in mind: tank, drain, schrader valve, air shutoff valve (so I can fill the air tank and it will hold pressure for a few days or longer without leaking out through the Road Shower), braided hose, regulator, fitting, and mounting bracket thingy.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype - Finished product

Here are some photos of the finished contraption. It is still bungee corded to the deck rail because the Wrangler hard top / roof rack is off and the SMB-ish thing I'm having built won't get here until the fall. I get decent-pressure water out of the hose for about four continuous minutes before she starts spitting air; and of course "in anger" we won't be just turning on the water and letting it run. With a bike pump you can tell the kids to air it up -- it takes about 150 pumps on a decent bike pump to get it to 120 PSI or so, which is probably how many pumps you'd have to make in stages to empty the stock Road Shower -- it's just that you'd have to do it over and over again 20 pumps at a time to restore the pressure each time it ran to zero.

Air compressor is better for adults, but it doesn't build character in the kids as well.

As expected, the fixed 10 PSI regulator was the most expensive item (besides the Road Shower itself), at about $65 new. For those who go the "full DYI" route (say with PVC pipe from Home Depot vs Road Shower) this is likely the most expensive item. I'd probably be happier with 12PSI but couldn't find one easily available. These things do pop up on eBay and Craigs List and can be gotten cheaper used, for those who are both more frugal and more patient than I.

The air tank fittings are sealed with permatex so you can fill the air/water on Sunday and then use it on (say) Thursday without having to unholster the kids + bike pump or compressor. After the air valve I used teflon tape because I'm lazy and impatient. The height is about two inches taller than the RS alone (the radiator cap is the highest point on the stock RS).





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Old 07-28-2013, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Bonus: in the winter you can fill the tank with CO2 and the tank with beer, and have a party! You'd have to be under say 45F, but the hose might be about the right size and that's about right for a pale ale. The shaking of the car would probably carbonate it in a day or so.

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Old 07-28-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Good stuff. This needs a few pics of a scantily clad model testing the theory and the design IMHO
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:44 AM   #10
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Re: Road Shower upgrade prototype

Probably need a lower regulator pressure for the beer solution. The dancing girl option is very appealing but tends to be very expensive to maintain.
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