Very busy weekend! Well, at least Friday night and Saturday.
So Friday I hooked up the whole electrical system:
Saturday I finished installing the A/C in it's box. As you can see, I put foam all around the perimeter where the plywood lays.
As you can see, we had already prepared the plywood panels for the bed platform. It's 1/2" thick. I put hinges on the panel over the air-conditionner. This allows me to easily access it to open and close the hatch in the floor.
Finally, I took the van out from the garage. Since my garage door is really low, it's a whole ceremony! I had to deflate all the tires (don't worry, it's old rims and tires dedicated to this task). Then I added pails of rocks inside. I put all the "real" rims and tires on the bed for weight, etc...
Then, once the van is out I put on the correct rims and gave it good wash!
After that big day of work, it was testing time! So at around 9, I started up the A/C and shut all the windows and got ready for "bed". It was the perfect night for a test. It was one of the hottest days in summer this year (I'm kind of wondering how I managed to work in that temperature all day... :blink: Must have been the adrenaline!)
It worked, for a while, it started at 35oC (95oF) and went down to 29oC (84oF). After that, it started going back up.
The area in the back of the A/C was burning hot.
But it's not the end! I'm stubborn and I'll make it work!
So time for plan B:
These fans are 115V and draw 0.5 amps so they were easy to hook up to an extension and plug (this will do for now). I'll look into a relay hooked to the A/C's internal fan once I have this system dialed in.
I made a shroud out of plywood to install it on the grill (it fits right into the studs used to keep the hatch cover closed). I made both fans pulling fresh air from outside and pushing it inside.
Test #2 It's 5pm and still a very warm day at about 90o outside.
Results: Bah! Not great. It reacted pretty much the same as the original test. The area behind the A/C was once again very warm.
Test #3: I switched one fan to pull warm air from the box and pushing it out... Basically creating circulation.
Still the same. But at least the area behind the A/C wasn't as warm. At this point, I'm wondering if it's impossible to cool down what is basically a "Solar oven" in these conditions (windows closed, sun beating down and one of the warmest days of summer).
I will try it out again tonight. Hopefully the outside air will allow it to cool down. Anyways, I'm not expecting it to cool down during the day in those conditions.
The ideal scenario would be: at night, it's 27oC (80oC). The A/C manages to cool the van down to 22oC (72oC) at which point, the thermostat, set at that temperature, stops the A/C and allows the condensor cool down for a while. Let's say 1/2 hour later, the van warms up a bit and the A/C starts up again for 10 minutes. Cool down. At one point, the air outside gets cooler and it makes it easier for the A/C to do it's job.
If this still doesn't work, plan C is to put two fans right up against the condensor. What do you guys think? Also, should they be "push", "pull" or one of each? Any help is appreciated.