Ran some tests on the modified 12 volt Coleman Cooler in the first weekend of July.
It just happened to be one of the hottest weekends in our area. Afternoon day temps hovered around 28*C or 81*F and it was a dry heat. Living on the West Coast, I’m just not use to that type of heat. I’m so glad the lake is nearby and I can go for a swim to cool the core off.
To power the fans and the cooling Peltier module, I pulled out the old 60 Watt Frankenstein solar panel I made a few years ago. It was easy to set up, but it may not produce another amperage for the Peltier module. But this was for testing only. Hooked it up with some basic alligator clamps and switched on the power.
For testing the temperature inside the cooler, I used the refrigerator/Freeze thermometer from the Frost King Ice Box.
Starting temperature was at 80° F
At 12:17 (high sun) Checked the cooler. It read to 70°F. Not really impressive. So I repositioned the solar panel to get maximum sun.
3:30 pm – The thermometer read 80*F. What, back to the starting point? Could it be the lower solar output. The fans were turning, but not enough juice for the Peltier module.
5:00 pm- No change, 80°F. Almost no sun in my location (It was hiding behind the trees)
What I did next, was hook the modded Coleman Cooler right up to four, 6-volt deep cycle batteries. The batteries would produce the amperage required for the Peltier.
7:00 pm- Slightly cooler by 2 degrees, but that could be due to the ambient temperature.
The end result: Not a total fail. Some upgrades will be necessary to get it running properly. I would conclude the bottleneck is the size of the wire/fuse on the power plug. The wire and fuse set up was taken from a DC power vacuum for a car. Judging by the size of the motor, it only needs an amp or two to make it run. A YouTube reader suggested a power cord from a heated seat mat or DC heater fan. They are rated at 8 amps, which will provide the necessary amount of power to run the Peltier cooling module. I’ll keep my eyes open for one at my local recycle center and then make another video.
This is part 2 of the Removing the Cooler Gizmo from an Electric Coleman Cooler series. The hot and cold fans are upgraded to a more efficient model and some changes were made to the wiring.
The original plan was to put it into the old 1920’s ice box, but, after a second look (and persuading from my spouse), I decided against the idea. With the summer starting to set in, I decided it would be more beneficial for cold drinks.
This video took some time, had to scavenge through the bone pile of computer parts for fans.
Music credit: Omission by Huma-Huma, YouTube Audio Library
This video starts with another treasure found at the local recycling center. In Canada, residents can take bottles, cans, plastic and cardboard into a township recycle center. It’s a volunteer program and unsupervised. It’s a real plus for homeowners who miss the weekly pickup by the city.
On the flip side, many residents use the unsupervised recycle centre to dump off garbage. I can think of a few reasons why, but one of them is the cost to dispose of garbage. In the spring, I took in an old door, melamine shelving, and other stuff. The total weight was 88 lbs and it cost $15.00. What a rip-off, last year it was only $6.00. So, many people don’t want to pay and drop it off. The sad part, the landfill also has a section for free drop off of electronics, batteries, paint cans and more. It’s too bad that people are not aware that their stuff and be properly disposed of at no cost.
So, when I arrived with my bag cans and parked my car, there was a plenty of microwaves, big TV’s, plant baskets, and junk spread around the dumpsters. I spied a dirty cooler at the back of a pile and thought about Solar Burrito’s portable stereo in a cooler hack… hmm. I turn it over and notice it’s in good condition and has a motorized fan to keep the contents cool. I brought it home and looked up the model number on the internet for specs. Found out it was a PowerChill 40 Quart Thermoelectric Coleman Cooler and retails for $149.00 (Canadian funds). It also includes a device called a Peltier module. With the aid of a fan, a large aluminum heatsink, and a Peltier module, it can cool the inside temperature to 4°C or 40°F. The cooler was designed to be connected to vehicle 12 volt DC power plug. As you drive, to your off-grid property, it keeps food/beverages cool while in transport. It’s a clever invention for long distance driving.
Unfortunately for me, a scraper, had cut the 8-foot long cord for the copper strand cord. I went online for a replacement cord and found a PDF manual claiming the PowerChill cooler unit requires 12 volts DC at 8 amps. That is a fairly large draw of power to run 24 hours a day. (It works out to 2,300 watts!) No low setting, the fans are running full blast all the time. When not hooked up to a running car, it would drain a standard battery quickly. I can back up that claim with an experience. When we first purchased the cabin, it didn’t have a refrigerator. We couldn’t afford a propane fridge and lived out of coolers for a year. Eventually, we picked up a Mobi-Cooler on sale from Canadian Tire. The plan was to load it up with food at home, drive the 4 hours to the cabin and then attach it to (2) 12 volt, 70 amp hour deep cycle batteries. It didn’t work. We were lucky to get 12 hours out of the batteries before they were completely drained (and eventually killed the batteries). Those were the learning days.
A repair could be done to the cooler. I have plenty of wire in my stash of electrical parts. I could rig up a DC cord power cord, reseal the cooling unit and flog the cooler on Craigslist for $60.00. The extra money would be appreciated for household bills, but where the fun it that! Why not take it carefully apart and see if it can be used in another location. If it doesn’t work out, I’m back to plan A.
I really wanted to check out how the unit actually works and use in the 1920’s Frost King Ice Box refrigerator. (We currently use the icebox to store beverages and vegetables.) With the fan/module/fan rig on the back, running via two 60 watt solar panel, it should bring the temps down a bit. I think it would be a fun project.
#coolerproject, #colemancooler, #powerchill