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Portable AC unit for in car use? Pages: 12

Bigrick31 on Fri August 28, 2009 12:56 AM User is offline

Year: 2000
Make: Ford
Model: Crown Victoria
Engine Size: 4.6
Country of Origin: United States

I no longer have an ac compressor in my vehicle and ive been thinking. Is there a way to get cold air into my car without installing an AC compressor under the hood? I have in my house a portable ac unit its not very big at all and does a great job cooling the air in my house. Im not 100% sure how the portable unit works but from what I understand is it draws in fresh air from outside which it cools (through coils and freon?) and the unit exhausts hot air outside. A car is not a very big space and i dont need to make it cold as winter inside my car so im thinking there has to be a way to make a small unit that can cool the air in my car similar to my portable unit in my house and be small enough to possibly fit under my dash maybe in place of or modify my heater box. anyone have any ideas?

newton5 on Fri August 28, 2009 2:46 AM User is offlineView users profile

This question comes up every so often.
The end result is always "It won't work" for many reasons.

Your 2000 CV has a very common 4.6L engine in it, why can't you mount a compressor in place of the original? If you've done some strange engine transplant, there is usually a stock compressor mount that will work with new hoses. Even if the pulleys have been changed, there are options.

NickD on Fri August 28, 2009 8:08 AM User is offline

Guess I am to lazy to tackle a project like that, modifications also create other problems and would certainly devalue the resale value of the vehicle. It takes a great deal of effort to get some odd 12,000 parts to all fit together to make a vehicle with all kinds of government restrains, driveability, passenger comfort, etc. Easiest out is to just fix it.

GM Tech on Fri August 28, 2009 8:35 AM User is offline

Had to throw this one in.....



-------------------------
The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

HECAT on Fri August 28, 2009 9:46 AM User is offline

Or this one...

roof top unit

Or this one...

side/trunk unit

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HECAT: www.hecatinc.com You support the Forum when you consider www.ackits.com for your a/c parts.

FLUSHING TECHNICAL PAPER vs2.pdf 

TRB on Fri August 28, 2009 10:11 AM User is offlineView users profile



-------------------------

When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

Bigrick31 on Fri August 28, 2009 2:13 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: newton5
This question comes up every so often.

The end result is always "It won't work" for many reasons.



Your 2000 CV has a very common 4.6L engine in it, why can't you mount a compressor in place of the original? If you've done some strange engine transplant, there is usually a stock compressor mount that will work with new hoses. Even if the pulleys have been changed, there are options.

What ive done is turn my AC compressor into an air compressor for my air ride suspension. Plenty of pics here of what ive done http://charactersclub.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=384.60

Theoretically if i just took a 1000btu unit and put it in my car with the help of a power inverter exhausting hot air outside through the firewall or something wouldnt that work? If that would work then I figure I should be able to get similar components to fit under my dash in a package that resembles the stock interior of my car.



Quote
Originally posted by: NickD
Guess I am to lazy to tackle a project like that, modifications also create other problems and would certainly devalue the resale value of the vehicle. It takes a great deal of effort to get some odd 12,000 parts to all fit together to make a vehicle with all kinds of government restrains, driveability, passenger comfort, etc. Easiest out is to just fix it.

Not looking for easy and im certainly not concerned of the retail value of a police interceptor just look how much weve devalued my car so far.

Matt L on Fri August 28, 2009 5:35 PM User is offline

Where can you buy a 1K BTU self-contained unit? The smallest that I've seen are about 5K BTU and certainly won't fit under your dash. Perhaps if you removed the rear seat back and vented the trunk lid you could do it. One more thing to consider is the capacity of your factory system. I would bet a lot of money that it exceeds 5K BTU/hr by quite a bit, but I suppose that any cold air is better than none.

The pic that TRB posted is an oldie but a goodie. I have always wondered if that was really just a photoshop job. The right tail lamp really does complete the package there, regardless of the legitimacy of the image.

Bigrick31 on Fri August 28, 2009 11:11 PM User is offline

Found a few on google shopping. Heres one on (auction site links prohibited, removed by moderator) and the dimensions of it are only 13.6'' W x 11.4'' D x 23.4'' H although you could get a much larger unit for the price they want for the 1000 btu units. Im not looking to match the output of my stock AC just something to cool the air to a reasonable temperature on the really hot days for the most part driving with my windows down is enough except for the days when it reaches 105 around where i live. Im almost tempted to take apart my portable unit just to see how everything works but then again id hate to be without AC right now. Can anyone at least explain how the portable units work in detail or at least point me to a website with the information of how they work and the internal components of one?

Edited: Sat August 29, 2009 at 7:42 AM by Automotive Air Conditioning Information Moderator

bohica2xo on Sat August 29, 2009 3:32 AM User is offline

Don't waste your time.

1,000 btu/h ? Not enough to cool your glovebox. Your CV had around 30,000 btu/h capacity from that compressor...

With an ambient temp of 105f, you either need to learn to love sweating, or put the compressor back to work squeezing refrigerant.

It would be MUCH easier adding a compressor to the engine bay than duplicating the well engineered climate control your car came with.

B.

-------------------------
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

NickD on Sat August 29, 2009 6:18 AM User is offline

Have to agree, dipping rag in a bucket of water and wrapping that around your head would be better than installing a 1K BTU unit. The water in that rag evaporating does have a nice cooling effect.

HECAT on Sat August 29, 2009 7:48 AM User is offline

I would seem that less work and cost would be involved to get a 12v air pump for the air ride system, or fabircated mounts to relocate and still belt drive it; and then restore the efficiency of the stock A/C.

-------------------------



HECAT: www.hecatinc.com You support the Forum when you consider www.ackits.com for your a/c parts.

FLUSHING TECHNICAL PAPER vs2.pdf 

Bigrick31 on Sat August 29, 2009 11:18 AM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: HECAT
I would seem that less work and cost would be involved to get a 12v air pump for the air ride system, or fabircated mounts to relocate and still belt drive it; and then restore the efficiency of the stock A/C.

12v air compressors are highly inefficient and take about 20 minutes to fill an empty air 10 gallon air tank from 0-150psi the setup i have now takes about 3 minutes. As for relocating a compressor trust me i spent a lot of time looking into that figuring out how to fab up a mount for a second compressor but im greatly limited with the amount of room i have to work with in that car. The 1000 btu unit was merely an example I was saying that the portable units com as small as 1000 btu again I know it wont cool the entire car but if your sitting right in front of a fan blowing cold air on you your going to feel a lot better than if you didnt have any fan at all. Could someone just go along with me for a minute hypothetically speaking if my idea could work how would i go about making something like this? I understand everyone trying to help but in the end whats it to anyone if i waste my time and money making an AC unit that sucks. I just want to know how a portable unit works In depth and how i could duplicate something like that in a car.

HECAT on Sat August 29, 2009 7:37 PM User is offline

It's a 110V compact window unit (complete A/C system) in a box.

You will need a DC to AC converter, alternator and wiring upgrade, vent the hot air, plug in, and blow.

However you do it, they require condiderable energy to run.

Ice water in a spray bottle and a cigarette lighter plug in fan will work too.

-------------------------



HECAT: www.hecatinc.com You support the Forum when you consider www.ackits.com for your a/c parts.

FLUSHING TECHNICAL PAPER vs2.pdf 


Edited: Sat August 29, 2009 at 7:40 PM by HECAT

NickD on Sun August 30, 2009 6:52 AM User is offline

I get the picture now, you AC compressor is now an air compressor so you want to install an awkward AC unit in lieu of an awkward air compressor. Don't know what kind of air suspension you have, my Caddy has both, but is using a 12 V air compressor to handle the suspension, it works fine. Also can buy a gasoline powered air compressor that would be probably less awkward to install than a portable unit. Or make your own combo air/AC compressor, similar to a dynamotor where they are jamming both a motor and a generator in one small box, connected in tandem with a common shaft.

Do you by any chance have one of these cars that jumps around to be a head turner? Can see a portable AC falling off with that, my head turner is running my dog on my trike, man, do the women smile when I do that, don't need a car that jumps.

Bigrick31 on Sun August 30, 2009 3:14 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: NickD
I get the picture now, you AC compressor is now an air compressor so you want to install an awkward AC unit in lieu of an awkward air compressor. Don't know what kind of air suspension you have, my Caddy has both, but is using a 12 V air compressor to handle the suspension, it works fine. Also can buy a gasoline powered air compressor that would be probably less awkward to install than a portable unit. Or make your own combo air/AC compressor, similar to a dynamotor where they are jamming both a motor and a generator in one small box, connected in tandem with a common shaft.



Do you by any chance have one of these cars that jumps around to be a head turner? Can see a portable AC falling off with that, my head turner is running my dog on my trike, man, do the women smile when I do that, don't need a car that jumps.

Lol no this car dosnt hop im not really into that. We just made it go as low as possible. Its got an 87 Jag XJS IRS and custom made lower control arms in the front. Im not trying to put one of the portable 110v units in my car more make something similar to the portable unit that runs off of dc current. My car has a fan that blows air when I set my climate controll to vent so i was thinking of modifying it to bring in fresh air to be cooled somehow and exhaust hot air out. Can you give me any more info on the Combo unit? I was wondering if that were possible for my compressor to do both? Heres a pic of my project car.






Edited: Sun August 30, 2009 at 4:12 PM by Bigrick31

NickD on Mon August 31, 2009 6:43 AM User is offline

Your car reminds me of what my old Continental looked like when the air suspension went flat or several motorhomes I looked at with leaky airbags, they all used electric air compressors to keep them up, readily available with plenty of air. Continental would add air to the outside air bags on a turn to keep it level, responded quickly, would look into that. If you want a combo air/ac compressor, would have to make your own. Air suspension has been around for a long time, plenty of stuff on the market, no need to use your AC compressor.

Bigrick31 on Mon August 31, 2009 10:04 AM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: NickD
Your car reminds me of what my old Continental looked like when the air suspension went flat or several motorhomes I looked at with leaky airbags, they all used electric air compressors to keep them up, readily available with plenty of air. Continental would add air to the outside air bags on a turn to keep it level, responded quickly, would look into that. If you want a combo air/ac compressor, would have to make your own. Air suspension has been around for a long time, plenty of stuff on the market, no need to use your AC compressor.

I had electric compressors 2 Viair 480 compressors if my air tanks were empty they would take about 20 minutes to fill. I like to mess around with the suspension a lot so i like having a lot of air at my disposal. The only electric compressors that can match that are the oasis compressors that cost around $1500. I have no intention of going back to electric compressors. Really Id like to know how those portable units are designed so i can imitate the design in my car sure it will probably be a ton of work but this kind of stuff is fun to me so the more challenging the project is the more fun it will be and even better is if I can get cold air in my car without my compressor.

NickD on Tue September 01, 2009 6:38 AM User is offline

Still feel you are thinking backwards, an AC system demands far more energy for operation than an air system with far more complications to install it. And why are you waiting to fill your air tank? Add a pressure switch and keep it filled all the time. These systems are normally always hot due to load changes and slow leaks and I am sure your air shocks are no way near the size of air bags used in a moving van trailer or in a large motorhome. Air volume and demand are the key factors.

A compressor like this would certainly handle your needs.



If installed properly with the proper controls, air suspension is not new, been around for a long time with many well designed systems on the market, you just have to do your homework.

mk378 on Tue September 01, 2009 9:16 AM User is offline

First for your question, a portable A/C is exactly the same machine as a window unit or car A/C system. The only difference is instead of actually mounting the condenser coil outdoors, the hot air from the condenser is directed outside through a duct. Air to cool the condenser can be drawn from inside ("single hose" unit), which is not as efficient as an outdoor mounted condenser because it is wasting air that has already been air-conditioned and sending it outside. A "two hose" unit is basically equivalent to an outdoor condenser. Warm air from outside enters through one duct, passes through the condenser, and the hot air exits through the other duct.

I totally agree with the others though that it makes engineering sense to use an engine driven A/C compressor and an electric air compressor.

If you had enough 120 volts available on board to run a portable A/C, you could use it instead for a big 120 volt air compressor.

A/C compressors are not well suited for compressing air. The problem is that air heats up considerably when it is compressed, refrigerant not so much. Air compressors always have fins on the cylinder(s) or even water jackets to dissipate this heat. Refrigeration compressors do not, they will overheat trying to compress much air. Also the line from the compressor to the tank needs to be metal to withstand heat. Any sort of heavy use is going to melt the rubber hose you have on your setup.

Your saving grace, the reason why you haven't burnt anything up yet, is as Nick noted, air ride systems really don't require a lot of air. You could downsize the air tank so it would fill faster. Also there's no reason the tank should become empty while the car is parked, must be a leak somewhere. Air only goes in and out of the suspension when the car is in motion and moving up and down. Just to hold it up while parked requires no air flow, unless there's a leak.

If you really need air at 150 psi, a two-stage compressor should be considered. Single-stage air compressors become really inefficient above 120 psi or so, and the heating problem is even more severe.

Edited: Tue September 01, 2009 at 9:19 AM by mk378

Bigrick31 on Tue September 01, 2009 10:31 AM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: mk378
Also the line from the compressor to the tank needs to be metal to withstand heat. Any sort of heavy use is going to melt the rubber hose you have on your setup.

Your saving grace, the reason why you haven't burnt anything up yet, is as Nick noted, air ride systems really don't require a lot of air. You could downsize the air tank so it would fill faster. Also there's no reason the tank should become empty while the car is parked, must be a leak somewhere. Air only goes in and out of the suspension when the car is in motion and moving up and down. Just to hold it up while parked requires no air flow, unless there's a leak.

If you really need air at 150 psi, a two-stage compressor should be considered. Single-stage air compressors become really inefficient above 120 psi or so, and the heating problem is even more severe.

Those rubber hoses i have attached to the compressor are hydraulic hoses that are made to withstand over 450deg temperatures are you saying my little compressor is going to get twice as hot as my engine? After 18" of hydraulic hoses I have 2.5' of steel braided air line that attach to my oiler and oil/water separator after the air has traveled this far it is no longer hot and it is quite safe to run plastic air line. I removed the AC components from my car and converted the compressor because I can live without AC and having a lot of air available at my disposal was more important to me than staying cold in my car not that im in any way opposed to AC I just picked air over cold air. Now if there is a way I can get a little cold air in my vehicle given the current limitations I have given myself then I would like to make an attempt to do so however if there isnt I will just deal with having no AC.

NickD on Tue September 01, 2009 11:37 AM User is offline

Could suggest a roof mounted RV unit and a long extension cord, or an Owen 4KW generator, but do what's important to you. Have level control on my Caddy, can stand on the rear bumper and drop it down about 5 inches, in seconds it's back up again. Have Air Lifts on my motorhome, don't dare use my tire chuck on those with a valve, suckers will jump to over a 100 psi in less than a second, so I set my regulator to 75 psi where it gives me a 3" lift to level it and use a standard tire chuck. I didn't fool adding a compressor, after sitting all winter, bags only lost about 3 psi, and I just want it to be level. I have about 5,000 pounds on those front wheels.

Each to his own.

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