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got to get ac in my van - Printable Version

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got to get ac in my van - rgs80074 - 06-09-2016

hello everyone,

I have a 97 dodge ram van b2500.

I live in florida (not a van dweller but love the idea) but I need to get some ac in my van.

I believe fixing the current ac system in the van (dual ac system) would be too expensive and vacuum tubes would need to be found and fixed to use the ac and why or what caused the electrical connections to melt the first time was it the wood wedged in it? why was the wood even there?

I just recently. had to purchase a new alternator and got rid of the one on that (worked just fine for what i needed until it went bad) was on it an 80 amp. the van calls for a 136amp alternator for the conversion van 80 for the base. Got the higher amp one when I replaced it think its actually 140amp but at the least its 136amp.

I'm thinking it would be cheaper, quicker, and easier to bypass the main vans ac system I can see it costing well over 500 to get this fixed just for parts alone and probably a good deal just to diagnose the issues to even be able to repair it.

what I want to do is get a window unit for the back window, i see vans all the time with them but never been able to ask anyone with one their setup. I have no solar or battery-back on the van(yet may in the future if i get all my crap together). So I am thinking I would have someone who knows what they are doing wire up directly to the battery to a power invert er. from there hook the ac system into it. I could be wrong but I think a 1500watt one would work but think i'd go for a 2000 watt one to be safe.

I also read a lot about a fantastic fan. Would it be a benefit to get one and have it installed as well? what kind of solar setup and battery would I need to be able to let it run (especially during the day) even when not using the van to keep it cooler before using it and have it shut off when i use the van and start the ac system.

perhaps in the future i could get more solar or better solar and panels to run things. for example say i have a 400watt solar system and 2 batteries (average size ones).
if this is hooked up to the inverter (can an inverter be wired for both solar and vehicle battery and be somehow not using the vehicle battery when the vehicle is not running?)

so if this was possible

how long rough estimate would the following run just assuming i am only using this one thing

5k btu window ac unit
the fantastic fan
normal house/shop fan
powering/charging a laptop


So the first thing I am looking at is just the hard wiring a inverter to the battery so I can use the window ac unit when the vehicle is running.

as time goes on possibly adding a bit of solar and battery if they would be of any benefit for short periods of use. I don't see myself needing to use them for more than 2-3 hours at a time.

Ryan


RE: got to get ac in my van - TMG51 - 06-09-2016

Short answer: not gonna work.

Longer answer: running AC off batteries is theoretically possible but requires a large set up of panels and reserves.

Longer-er answer: Although off grid AC is theoretically possible it has yet to really be demonstrated functioning 24/7 in a real life environment. When dealing off grid one must factor in weather and battery maintenance etc.

Final answer: get a generator or spend too much money on an experiment!


RE: got to get ac in my van - jimindenver - 06-09-2016

We can run a 5000 btu A/C when the sun is high enough with 750 watts of solar and 675 Ah of battery, just to give you a idea of what it takes.


RE: got to get ac in my van - Lost in the world - 06-09-2016

While driving, with a 140 amp alternator you should have no problem running a 5000btu window unit off an inverter. The more efficient ones pull around 500watts, which will be slightly less than 50 amps from an inverter on a 12v system.


RE: got to get ac in my van - Txjaybird - 06-10-2016

If a AC system isn't a possibility I'd certainly put in a roof vent, if possible.  While living in TX I drove and used for camping at the lake and on the coast a black chevy cargo van.......no AC......no insulation.....no reflectix.   

What saved me from becoming "southern fried" was a passive roof vent made for truck bed camper caps, and rear door windows that popped outward at the bottom.  When parked this still allowed a air flow in thru the windows and up thru the vent.  I always looked for a shady spot when possible.      TJB


RE: got to get ac in my van - TMG51 - 06-10-2016

(06-09-2016, 10:52 PM)TMG51 Wrote:  Short answer: not gonna work.

Longer answer: running AC off batteries is theoretically possible but requires a large set up of panels and reserves.

Longer-er answer: Although off grid AC is theoretically possible it has yet to really be demonstrated functioning 24/7 in a real life environment. When dealing off grid one must factor in weather and battery maintenance etc.

Final answer: get a generator or spend too much money on an experiment!

I misread your post in that you primarily want to run your window unit while driving. As was said yes that will work while driving. Just clarifying my response.


RE: got to get ac in my van - DannyB1954 - 06-10-2016

Keep in mind the starting current for any kind of compressor is much larger than what it takes to keep it running. That 5,000 btu A/c that runs at 5 amps at 120 volts may need nearly twice that much to start running. So plan on a system that can put out 84 amps at 12V for at least a few seconds, (1,000 watts divided by 12 volts).
I have drawn up plans for a similar system but using a 800 watt generator to power it. Normally that small generator would not run an A/c unit, but because the A/C would not run 100% of the time it might work, (this is in a camper with lots of insulation). The only thing the generator would power is a battery charger. The A/C would run off a battery and inverter.
I drew up a diagram and posted it at http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thread-How-to-Monitor-Battery-Charge?pid=204281#pid204281 post #14. click on the image and it will give you a larger diagram.


RE: got to get ac in my van - acfdexpo - 06-10-2016

I have been looking at this from a Canadian Rv manufacturer called Safari Condo.  This is built for the Express/Savana rear window.  I think it is about $700 after the exchange rate, but could be fabricated for much less.  I also like the idea of putting it in the door and hiding it behind a spare tire so it is not quite as noticeable. http://safaricondoacc.com/boutique/en/motorhome-accessories/removable-rear-air-conditioning-p112c35


RE: got to get ac in my van - Mobilesport - 06-11-2016

(06-09-2016, 11:09 PM)jimindenver Wrote:  We can run a 5000 btu A/C when the sun is high enough with 750 watts of solar and 675 Ah of battery, just to give you a idea of what it takes.

How much real estate does 750 watts of solar take up?
I have a picture in my mind that your roof is completely covered with solar , if so do all them solar panels create good shade?


RE: got to get ac in my van - rgs80074 - 06-12-2016

Hello everyone,

thanks for the replies.

yes my first objective was to get ac in the vehicle while driving.

the second part was dealing with down the road the possiblity of using solar and batteries.

how long with 675ah battery run the ac? how many batteries is that?

my eventual goal for non running ac wouldn't require the ac to be used for more than a few hours and very very likely the batteries would be fully charged.

but i had a few other things i wanted to run but don't think any of them (save possibly a refrig) would likely use much power

things in the future I might be looking at to run on batteries and solar (given if its feasible to do) can't use a generator becasue it would have to be located inside the vehicle and i don't think thats a good idea

5k btu window ac unit
the fantastic fan
normal house/shop fan
powering/charging a laptop
refrigerator


just curious how are those fantastic fan's powered.


as i said my first thing is to get ac in the vehicle while driving, driving in this high 90 degree heat with eh sun beating down is killing me. after an hour of driving I am total toasted for the day on anything else i would do.

the future stuff will be a while down the road as I have to get this stuff and then replenish my reserve funds before I do anything else and current vehicle repairs are tapping into my available funds.