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Air Con - Evaporative Coolers


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I am planning a trip to France (first time) and want something to cool a camper. Was looking at installing an extraction fan, but was advised to look at a cooling system called Viesa see http://www.coldchain.com/pksel.asp?CatID=21&PkID=102 There is also a similar system called ByCool Camper by Webasto see http://www.vehvac.co.uk/motor-home/webasto-bycool.htm


An explanation of how these systems work is given in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporative_cooler


The advantages of these systems are that they can be used when wild camping as they can work of a battery overnight. The disadvantage is that they will not work in high humidity and they also raise humidity in the camper.


I would appreciate feedback from anyone who has experience of using these systems and especially in France.


Thanks in advance,

Cathal, Ireland.

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You don't say where, or when, you're going, but although it can get very hot almost anywhere in France during the summer, it isn't all hot, and nor is it always hot.  The general humidity is quite high, especially near the Atlantic, and to a lesser extent the Mediterranean, coasts.

My suggestion would be to try before you buy, by which I mean try France without the cooler.  Yes you get sticky nights, but not all the time, and you do acclimatise - a process that isn't generally helped by using coolers.

You may have noted that one of these coolers has a power consumption rated at 4A @ 24V, which equates to 8A @ 12V, the other quotes consumption varying between 0.8A and 8A, but doesn't seem to say how consumption is controlled.  My guess would be that the hotter and more humid the conditions, the harder the unit works, and so the higher its consumption.

If this is correct, assuming around 8 hours of use overnight, you'd need some 64Ah of battery capacity per night for the cooler alone.  To this add lighting, and any other 12V loads.  To be able repeat the process the next night, you'd need to put that much power back into your battery, so would have to run the engine, or a generator, for sufficient time to achieve that during the following day. 

I don't want to rain on your parade, but I think the idea that you can just "use these overnight" will be dependent upon your having very large 12V battery capacity.  I'm not competent to advise on the actual storage capacity of the batteries you'd need, but I believe the useful capacity of the average battery is not much above half it's nominal capacity, depending upon the rate of discharge.

It therefore seems fairly clear to me that you'd need additional battery capacity substantially above the normally fitted 85Ah or so, and possibly a generator to keep this charged while static, and/or a very large area of solar panel.  All the above will come off your payload - and will also cost you quite a bit.

I've been visiting France as a camper for well over 20 years, and I can honestly say that apart from a few nights, usually before a thunderstorm, I have always been able to sleep for most, if not quite all, of the night in about the same comfort as in UK.  However, I do try to pitch to benefit from late afternoon and evening shade, so that things aren't still "cooking" at bed time and, if the night is really hot, we just say up longer and get up later the next day, and if that doesn't quite work, adopt a siesta after lunch.

I hope this helps.

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if you is looking for a cool camper us woould start with the vw t5. lots of body kits available to get it just rite for you. utherwise visit dusseldorf show for the latest cool stuff. the continentals tend to be more into sports and fun stuff than us brits.



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