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Old 07-20-2012, 09:04 PM   #551
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Re: Hal The Van

regarding the portable a/c's (sorry for side trackin)

i found this:

http://www.climaterightair.com/
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:20 PM   #552
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
i found this:

http://www.climaterightair.com/
Since it sits outside you'd have to place it on a hitch carrier but at 50 pounds the smaller unit would be doable. Of course it would mean cutting two holes in the back door.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:08 AM   #553
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
Originally Posted by WVvan
Quote:
i found this:

http://www.climaterightair.com/
Since it sits outside you'd have to place it on a hitch carrier but at 50 pounds the smaller unit would be doable. Of course it would mean cutting two holes in the back door.
You could always modify a rear window for it. That way in the non A/C seasons the van would just look normal when you reinstall the regular window. You of all people could come with something. You also could duct in in the floor someplace out of sight. The seceret is how long could you use it with batteries and an inverter.

Cool (pun intended) idea though.
That Rex must be one special dog to get an air comditioned dog house.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:39 AM   #554
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Re: Hal The Van

it is pretty neat. i wonder if the smaller one can overcome the same temp delta that the larger one can. assuming it is installed in an appropriately sized area. they dont list those stats for the smaller one.

i wonder if installing it in the rear area where the spare goes would work. so instead of a "basement" storage box, put this there. then just add two holes for the hoses somewhere.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:22 AM   #555
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Re: Hal The Van

Quote:
I wonder if installing it in the rear area where the spare goes would work. so instead of a "basement" storage box, put this there. then just add two holes for the hoses somewhere.
That might work if you yave an EB but depending on how much and where you drive it might not last down there. It would hang down quite a bit and at least the back side would have to be completely open for air movement. These things are not designed to be mounted to a moving vehicle. Road grit and grim, oils and other fluids from the road, rocks and other debris will surly shorten its life span.

They only have a one year warranty and my bet is they would try to get out of it if the unit was all beat up. They also clearly state no parts are available except hoses thats kind of weird, unless they only repair them in house.

They must be reverse cycle A/C since they offer heat as well as cooling unless they have small electric heating strips. I didnt notice that last night when I read about them. Thats a cool feature for sure. They are a great idea and look well made I am sure they might work (although it might be a bit small to cool a whole van) but I for some reason just dont think they would do well driving around with them outside a van.Inside while driving sure but mounted outside especially under I just dont think so.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:52 PM   #556
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Re: Hal The Van

they show them on a trailer so i would think motion is ok but you would definitely have to protect it for sure...perhaps an installation that utilized the "basement" space but not to the full depth...sort of lower it to a good compromise of protection and clearance (departure angle). in my build, the bed goes across the back of the van by the doors. i could see these units protruding a little higher than the floor and boxing around it or something. i would certainly protect the underside with skidplates and such..

lots of engineering involved for sure just to make sure the installation itself doesnt compromise the ability of the unit to do its thing...

but man it would be so neat to see if it would work. im considering biting the bullet and just having an rv a/c like a 9000 btu coleman polar cub installed. the portable unit will suffice for now but stowing it daily is getting OLD... makes me wish i planned ahead more and incorporated it into the build...
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:20 PM   #557
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Re: Hal The Van

Some floor work.

I had originally replaced the front floor mat with blue diamond flooring. Over time I've found two problems with it. It's hard to keep clean and worse, slippery when wet.


So out with the old and in with the new. First pull up the blue diamond.

The EZ Cool insulation was installed two and a half years ago but has held up remarkably well. No need to replace it.


Use newspapers and masking tape to make a template.


Use the template to cut out the new front flooring. It's indoor-outdoor carpet I bought at Lowe's. The carpet comes off a six feet wide roll which is a perfect size for the front floor. It cost 62 cents a square foot so total cost was around $23.


It's been installed for a few weeks now and I've really taken a liking to it. To help it hold up I bought Husky Liners from JC Whitney for $79. When the package arrived I found it didn't come from JC Whitney but was drop shipped.


They are a molded style with high sides




I specifically bought this style since it's molded to fit this hump in the drivers side foot well.




At first I thought the high sides would be a problem but I'm getting used to them. Might still do a little trimming.


With the cargo area flooring in place and now a new carpet for the cockpit floor it's time to add a transition piece to cover the difference in floor levels.


Use cardboard to make a couple templates to find what looks to be the best fit.


Get out my sheet of 16 gauge steel.


Cut strip of steel 4 foot long by 2 inches wide.


Clamp the steel strip to the edge of my work table.


I can't add a 90 degree angle to a piece of 16 gauge steel this long but I can do a lesser angle. Use a welding clamp to work my way down the strip and start a bend. Keep going back and forth with the clamp.


Checking the angle as I'm bending.


Test fit. I made the strip wide enough so I could easily run wires under it.


Add a notch so it will clear the back right edge of the drivers seat. Then paint.


After a couple coats of paint screw it into place. The screws that hold it in place only go into the wood flooring. Not the metal layer below it.


That's it.

Lately I've had an audience while working on the van.


But not to worry since Tiger never takes his eyes off of them.


If they get too close he'll have to take them down. After all his name is "Tiger".
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:36 PM   #558
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Re: Hal The Van

Upgrading the Blower Motor Controls

Last year I did a write-up about HowTo Install New Blower Motor. At the time I noticed that my "Blower Motor Resistor" was in need of replacing. Here's the resistor.


A new resistor was around $25. Instead of replacing the resistor I started doing some research with an idea in mind. Start with a schematic of the A/C-Heater system electrical.


I read that the Blower Motor Resistor is part of the speed control for the blower motor. The Front Blower Switch has four positions. Hi, Med Hi, Med Lo and Lo. The way it works is that when the Blower Switch is in any of the lower three settings, resistors are added to the electrical circuit that powers the blower motor. The resistors convert some of the power flowing through the circuit into heat which in turn means there is less power to make the blower motor rotate so it spins slower.

When the switch is in the "Hi" selection the resistors are bypassed and all the power goes directly to the motor so it spins faster than the other selections. Conversely when the switch is in the "Lo" position then all of the resistors are included in the circuit so the motor now turns the slowest. I'm sure there's a more technically correct way to describe this but hopefully my version is clear enough. It's not like there will be a quiz later, thank goodness.

While this system has it's advantages there is one big disadvantage I can think of. Since the resistors are converting the electricity into heat they must be cooled. This is done by placing the resistors just downstream from the blower fan in the air ducting. This way whenever the resistors are being used they are also being cooled by the fan. But what about when you're using the Air Conditioning? That means you might be burning gas to produce electricity that's being converted into heat inside the ventilation system which is just that much more work the air conditioning compressor has to do remove that heat and again you're burning gas to produce that extra work.

Didn't know this before and if this was a regular van I would have just replaced the Blower Motor Resistor and from now on only run the fan on "Hi" when the A/C is on. But since this is Hal The Van I started looking around for ideas and got one from Erik at BadgerTrek. Erik wrote the he had replaced the stock blower motor control with a Maxx Tronic 30 Amp PWM DC motor controller. PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation and it's a more energy efficient way of controlling DC motor speed. With this unit in place of the original controller Erik is able to run the blower from the house batteries when camping. This gives him powered ventilation without having to cut a hole in the van for an extra fan.

I don't know how Erik wired his system up so from here on all the ideas, either good or bad, are mine. Here's the unit I bought. I just checked on-line and it looks like it has been replaced with different model. It cost about the same as a new Blower Motor Resistor.


I'll probably mount the Maxx Tronic board within the dash so need to open it up and look around. Here's how to open the dash. There are two screws above the instrument cluster and under the top edge of the dash. Remove these.


Use something thin and flat to pry forward the edge of the instrument cluster from in front of the center cluster.


Once it pops open, pull the right edge of the instrument cluster away from the dash.


Then reach in between the two instrument panels and pull the center panel forward till it starts popping out. Take you time so not to crack it.


Work your way around the center panel.


I also removed the dog house before I started.


Got it all pulled free.


Remove the wires from the back of the cigarette lighter and the power port.


That leaves the sub-panel with the heater and A/C controls. Don't know the the official name is so I'll just call it the Climate Control Console (CCC).


Use a 9/32 socket to remove the CCC.




Then use a 1/4 socket to remove the vent selector switch from the CCC. This switch has vacuum lines attached. Unplug the other three wire connectors from the back of the CCC.




continued -
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:32 PM   #559
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Re: Hal The Van

Upgrading the Blower Motor Controls - Post #2

This is the potentiometer (pot) on the Maxx Tronic circuit board. The pot controls the motor speed. After opening up the dash I see that I won't be able to mount the circuit board directly behind the CCC. I'll remove the pot from the circuit board and solder on wires between the pot and the board. This allows the pot to be mounted away from the circuit board.


Here is the power connections on the circuit board. They are labeled "G", "-M", "+M" and "+12V".


I haven't tested the control module yet so after desoldering the pot and rewiring it I temporarily wired up the motor controller to the blower motor.


Here's the plug for the blower motor. The PWM controller board worked fine.


With the exposed electrical connections on the motor controller circuit board I can't mount it directly inside the dash. Have to first make an insulating plastic case. Build it out of scrap acrylic pieces.


There are two large heat sinks on the circuit board so I added a small fan that will draw air through the case to aid with the cooling.


Next add a small latching relay. This relay serves the same purpose as the ones I used in the radio circuit previously posted about. It allows the fan circuit to be switched with a momentary switch.


Vent holes to help with cooling.


Added a relay so the full fan amperage doesn't go through the selector switch. The switch will just power the relay.


The completed unit.


Now that it's been built I know how much space is needed inside the dash. Look around for a place to mount it.


This fits the bill. It's the metal "shelf" that sits above the engine and is directly forward of the dog house. I've already used a spray cleaner on the shelf. It wasn't near this clean to begin with.


Test fit.


Want to mount the control module in it's plastic case so that it's held securely in place but still be able to remove it if it needs servicing. So decided to make a mounting plate from a piece of the Webasto fuel pump shield. This piece was leftover after I shortened the shield to fit the new greywater tank. Using a vise and pliers to bend it into the shape I want.


Use VHB tape to mount the plate to the shelf. VHB is a acrylic foam tape made by 3M that claims to be strong enough to act as as alternative to screws. So consider this to be a semi-permanent installation.




Use cable ties to secure the plastic case to the mounting plate. I can snug up the plastic ties pretty tight so the case doesn't move and if I ever need to remove it just cut the ties.


continued -
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:08 PM   #560
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Re: Hal The Van

Upgrading the Blower Motor Controls - Post #3

Here's the CCC on my workbench.




The two halves are held together by plastic tabs.


This layer of clear plastic is used to spread the illumination from the two light bulbs across the width of the CCC. It will shine out through clear places, like where there is lettering, on the covering sheet.


The next step took a bit of pondering since I'm making this up as I go. Had to decide both how and where was the best place to mount the potentiometer (pot) from the control module to the CCC. Thought of a bunch of different ways to position the pot and power the blower motor but finally decided to replace the current blower motor switch with the pot and install a selector switch in the switch panel below the radio. Since the fan can be powered from the house batteries I'll add a LED to indicate when the fan is on.

The indicator LED will extend through the front of the CCC so need to know the size of the hole to drill. Looks to be 3/16".


I started using a red LED ("Hal's Eye") for the indicator then later changed over to a more benevolent blue LED.

To clear space for the LED do a little surgery on the clear plastic with a Dremel.


Drill a hole through the front half of the CCC for the LED.


Test fit.


Also do some more surgery on the back half of the CCC.




To keep the LED forward enough to protrude through the front half of the CCC once two halves are snapped back together I built a small acrylic base.


Next work on the pot.


The stem on the pot is shorter than on the blower switch so it will be mounted to the inside of the front half of the CCC instead of to the rear of the back half.


To use the original blower motor knob I had to remove the internal metal sleeve and do some filing.


Because the electrical contacts on the pot are exposed I wanted to add insulation. Used Liquid Electrical Tape I bought at Lowe's




Wire up the LED. It's slightly out of focus but there is a resistor connected in line with the LED. The resistor reduces the voltage so the LED doesn't burn out.


Here's where I changed over to the blue LED.


continued -
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