Looking for advice on portable cockpit cooling

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by 6t6, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    Looking at the MINI ICEBOX PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONER or the B-KOOL PORTABLE COOLING SYSTEM.
    Anyone with personal experience with one of these or some other systems would like to comment would be appreciated. And what about add-on ie: wireless, remote controlled etc.
    I'm in North Texas and it's hot 6 months a years.
    If this should be in Avionics and upgrades my apologies
     
  2. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    @Bob Stephens is the owner of B-kool and a member here. Maybe he can weigh in.
     
  3. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've got an old Arctic Air that I bought second hand. It works well enough. Since mine sits in the back seat, there's no real point in wireless or other remotes. Actually, the main reason we bought it was to run in the tent at Oshkosh. Last year it never got hot enough that we wanted to try it.
     
  4. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    You Americans are so decadent!
    Air-conditioning in a tent.
     
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  5. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I've got the B-Kool, happy with it. Other than the high end Arctic, they all work the same. Lots of ice, water as recirc coolant thru a radiator, and a high capacity fan in a cooler. There are DIY instructions on the web if you want to go that route.
     
  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It was my wife's idea.
     
  7. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    I used to have an Arctic Air and found it very useful in Florida. I would use a portable battery and run it in the plane during preflight. HUGE difference on that initial taxi out. I would freeze gallon water jugs and use that as "ice." I had an extended cord with a switch on it that allowed me to put it in the back of a Lance and control it from the front.

    Depending on your circumstances, you may find the weight to be an issue. You may find the physical space it takes up to be an issue. Maybe both. Maybe neither.
     
  8. RyanLikesFlying

    RyanLikesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Seems like an idea my wife would come up with too.
     
  9. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I made my own "air condooler" for about $100 using the same concept as the commercially available ones. Mine is comparable to the icebox one. It works crazy good for the hottest summer days. Just remember it's a heat exchange thing. For it to pump out ice cold air it has to be melting ice. I have mine wired with a toggle switch. I can power it with a cig lighter plug or I've got a small gel cell 12v battery that I can hook it to. That's nice to cool the plane prior to start-up without using the plane's battery. I can literally take my plane from 100+ degrees inside to the 70's in less than 5 minutes. Shortly after departure I can turn it off and save the ice for the landing / taxi to parking.

    They work great!!!
     
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  10. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  11. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Go visit @SixPapaCharlie and get his plans for a home made one.... as good as the BKool but lower cost.

    and @texasag93 might have one he wants to sell.
     
  12. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    .....or just get ya a Grumman ‘n taxi ‘n fly with the canopy open, utilizing that built in cooling fan up front.
     
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  13. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

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    You Aggies' Thanks!
     
  14. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have a BCool and it works well. Even south of Houston it will cool the cabin of my 177Rg while I am loading the plane. That makes a big difference when travelling in the summer down here.

    Cubes ice will last plenty of time to get you up to cooler altitudes and will still last long enough to land on short flights. Block ice lasted a full 10hour day with a fuel stop on a trip from Houston to Florida last July. The cubed ice cools the water faster so you get a quicker initial cool down but the blocks last forever.

    I keep water in the hanger fridge now so I start with cool water and make my own blocks using gallon tubs. Works great

    Gary
     
  15. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    Same here, had most of the parts so I just needed to spend $15 on a cooler. That was the hardest part, to find one that would fit perfectly in the back baggage compartment #2. :)
    The flex duct hoses can be directed at whoever wants to steal one. The portable 12V fan has a switch and I can also unplug it from the cigar lighter in my "center console".
    Easy to make.

    I agree, though, that the colder the air, the faster the ice melts. Especially if it is 120 in the plane, baking in the sun. So choose wisely when to use it. Most FBOs in the south will provide free ice, though, so you should not have trouble refilling.
     
  16. rtk11

    rtk11 Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I've got the B-Kool unit and per Bob Stephen's advice, wired up an external battery for it. (LSAs don't have a lot of extra electrical capacity.) The unit works well for my needs. Could I have made it cheaper? Sure... but Bob seems to have sourced efficient parts, and I don't mind supporting another aviator that helps to make flying in bubble canopy bearable.
     
  17. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    The home made ones out of an ice chest don't work for crap in high humidity.

    Does the B-Kool's addition of a radiator solve that?
     
  18. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The club has an Arctic. It helps, but don't expect it to be like the AC in a car.

    Typically we put enough water to cover the coils and a few frozen quart bottles of water. When you land, you've got some nice cold water!
     
  19. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends on the environment. I can taxi and fly with the Navion canopy open as well but sometimes with 100% humidities on hot days it can still be oppressive. Actually, I've got vents on the side of the cowl that blow a lot of air into the cockpit even with the canopy closed. I remember dropping down on approach into Myrtle Beach one day and going from a pleasant breeze to it felt like someone was hitting me with a fire hose of hot, moist air.
     
  20. Bob Stephens

    Bob Stephens Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yes
     
  21. Bob Stephens

    Bob Stephens Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Feel free to contact me at bob@b-kool.net. Or 928-300-4045

    Feel free to contact me at bob@b-kool.net or 928-300-4045. I can give you information on what we can and cannot do.
    Way too much to thpe here.

    BTW I used to fly out of NW Regional (52F)
     
  22. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I’m confused. My home made one is built with a radiator. I use it on the hottest humid days of the summer. It can drop the temp in my PA32 in just a couple minutes.
     
  23. 1RTK1

    1RTK1 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Here are a few pics of my homemade cooler. It cost about $80 if memory serves.
    Filled with plenty of ice it will only blow cold air for about an hour or so continuous on a hot day. Use it on the ground and during climb out then turn it off, back on during decent.
     

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  24. Steven Rivituso

    Steven Rivituso Filing Flight Plan

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    I could use some assistance with my artic air, it is popping my C206H circuit breaker. What type of external power source is everyone using and how long are the battery lasting.
     
  25. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    Hope this doesn't sound too negative, but based on my experience with these devices, you'd have to really put a premium on being "cool" for up to an hour in your airplane. Aside from the obvious negatives -- weight, cargo space eaten up, power source, etc., you're looking at a fair amount of work to get the unit into service. If it's hot out, you'll get plenty sweaty just setting it up in the plane.

    Then you have to empty it out again when you get where you're going, and repeat the process.

    It's not going to give you an A/C-quality experience in really warm climates. More like a moderate cool-down. Still plenty humid too, it's not dehumidified air like you'd enjoy with true A/C.

    I tried it a few times and gave up on it. As they say, "your mileage may vary (YMMV)."
     
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  26. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Take a door off! Problem solved
     
  27. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe the PoA hive mind can develop a fleet wide STC for a swamp cooler like was semi-common on cars in the 1950’s
     
  28. Barry

    Barry Pre-Flight

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    B-cool works good for me imo, and customer service is great. Also bought a small portable battery for it which lasts longer than the cooling would, saw it on a youtube video of a guy testing his (link). This way i could use while doing pre-flight to cool the cabin a little. It works fine plugged into my external 12v port though. Had bought another battery i thought would work, but didn't have enough amps to start the fans and pump, so watch that if you go that route.