Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ultimate Hacking Guide for portable AC Part 1

         Anyone following my blog knows that I don't really like the heat. One of the items that I had planed for in the trailer and the reason for the large 840 watt of solar panels was for a smaller air conditioning unit that would be able to run off of the solar. However because I just assumed millions of these ACs were manufactured by great companies like LG - that the unit would be operational, but I was sadly disappointed. Really since the start of the project I have been looking around for alternatives to provide air-conditioning for the trailer. Looking around I have seen some people that have come up with some really great ideas on how to turn smaller air conditioners for other purposes, then their standard uses - therefore the title hacking an AC. Below is the first link where you can get more detailed info. I will also post some of the pictures here, but for now many thanks to Shadow Catcher and his great work. Please go see his complete link below.

AC Hacking a Figidaire 5000 BTU

By Shadow Catcher » Fri Jun 10, 2011 6:36 am

I just completed the adaptation of a 5,000 BTU Frigidaire to work with Compass Rose. This was actually a very inexpensive process as I used a close out Frigidaire 5000 BTU that I picked up end of season at Lowes for $50. I had an adapter made to handle a 4 inch ducts by one of the local heating and air conditioning contractors. I had originally thought of using a rather fancy digital thermostat but found that making it play well with the air conditioner was not going well, plus every time it was unplugged I would lose all the settings. What I ended up doing was pulling the thermostat out of the AC unit and mounting it and on off switch in a RadioShack project box. 

Wiring is very simple because with a thermostat all I'm doing is looking into the existing wires that control the AC unit, and the power switch basically interrupts the off, cool, fan speed switch. 

I figured that the unit would be on high cool all the time, or off as I am pushing air through 4 inch flex duct. Control wires are connected using Anderson power poles and run through the air intake duct. 
The ducts run through four-inch Marine deck plates in the side of the trailer. 

I ended up having a serious problem with the initial set up and that was icing and the discussion of that is much later in the responses on page 3. The solution however was quite simple, I added in a 4" marine bilge blower rated a 240 CFM and this has taken care of the problem. The pictures are at what 
is currently the bottom of this first posting. I do need to refine how this goes together and I will edit the final solution. My feeling is that I can reduce the speed of the blower and the noise produced and now that I know that it works shorten hose and route wires neatly and efficiently. 

This is the electrical guts, VERY simple, Note the absence of the thermostat.

I found a second link from the same forum by Don 
who converted a single hose unit into a 2 hose unit. 
Please visit his link below for more info.

Don used a cake pan for his simple conversion

Now stay tuned for my solutions, as my trailer is much bigger - 
and I am trying hard to mostly stay with solar.....
the solution is also a little more complicated , who would have thought ?


  1. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually recognize what you are talking about!
    Bookmarked. Kindly also discuss with my website. Portable AC

  2. This one is the best for me ... this Portable Ac is very easy to move from one side to another and it also have good cooling cappcaity

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    Determine if you are eligble now!


Please leave your thoughts, I am always looking for new ideas.