W e l c o m e t o T h e F i e l d L a b
fun project # 1 The Pepino Swamp Cooler.
Pepino is Spanish for cucumber - as in "cool as a..."
It gets really HOT in the desert. I've been told that you aren't considered a local until you have spent the entire summer out here. In early June of this year, we started getting daytime highs in the 110 to 115 range. Although temps tended to fall into the mid 80's at night then, it sure is hard to go to sleep when the inside temperature is still 90 plus. After 4 nights in a row of going to sleep in a wetted down t shirt only to wake up at about 3 AM to wet it down again - I decided to do something about it. I searched the web for a cheap/simple solution that didn't involve ice chests and fans. No luck... So knowing basically how evaporative (swamp) coolers worked, I designed one that would take the edge off of the summer heat.
First I built a small prototype to test the theory - it worked ok but only slowed the temperature rise inside my little hut. I doubled the fan and water flow and low and behold....IT WORKED! Not just kind of worked but REALLY worked. Using only about 2 watts of power from my solar charged battery bank and about 3 gallons of precious rainwater per day, the temperature stays below 80 degrees inside no matter how hot it gets outside! The beauty is I figured it out in only 3 days. Since then, when it is too hot to work outside I just come in, cool off and work on the computer.
Not only does the unit cool my interior space - it also provides a constant flow of fresh air into the building. Keep in mind, my unit is designed to cool a well insulated space under 150 sq.ft. in a very dry climate. For more free info on how to build one, check out my sets at flickr...
or email me with questions at the link on the "me!" page.