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Old 02-19-2015, 10:01 PM   #1
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Default The Future of AC Systems?

After first reading about them elsewhere, I came across an air conditioning system for a commercial truck cab on the Webasto site called, "BlueCool." When the engine is running and the truck is going down the road, it freezes a water/graphite matrix storage core. They explain:

"After the engine is turned off and the BlueCool temperature and fan speed controls are set, a chilled coolant mixture is circulated through the storage core by way of a high-efficiency pump and then transferred between the air handler in the cab and the cold storage unit."

http://www.webasto.com/us/markets-produ ... /bluecool/

Here's a video:


[youtube:249rwqpd]osO2lUKNCJU[/youtube:249rwqpd]

This system was designed to run off batteries when cooling, not a generator and not an idling engine. According to them, the system can cool for up to 10 hours before needing to be recharged. They also have a hybrid model that can freeze the storage core using shore power or the truck's engine. I can't find any info on how long it takes to freeze the storage core. Other companies manufacture similar products. They're called APU systems but I can't find what "APU" stands for.

With solar, it would seem to make more sense to try and run this kind of system rather than an air conditioner that was designed to run off of a generator.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:14 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

That is similar to what the marine refrigerator manufacturers do with the "cold plates" in the coolers and frigs. They sense when they have charge voltage and speed up the compressor to freeze the storage plates, and then go in to low power use mode when the sense only batteries, using the cold stored in the plates. Works well, I hear.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Look at the spec sheet on the link.

up to 10 amps
weighs over 300 lbs.

Looks bulky. Needs 4 batteries.

No magic bullet here.

??????
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Auxiliary Power Unit

There might actually be a weight savings with the BlueCool Hybrid unit if it replaces an Onan generator and a rooftop air conditioner. The BlueCool Hybrid seems to come with an inverter charger in addition to the air conditioner. 20A outlet so 2,400 watts - plenty for a B van.

4 batteries required.

Quote:
It provides the long duration cooling and hotel load capabilities of a diesel powered auxiliary power unit without engine idling, diesel particulate filters, or dedicated deep cycle batteries.
It looks like it is meant to maintain an already comfortable temperature:

Quote:
The BlueCool system is not designed to cool down a hot cab and sleeper
http://techwebasto.com/redirect/bct_main/BCT010819B.pdf

If you could count on 15A or 20A from solar it might work out for a parked van when not plugged in.

But, as wincrasher pointed out, it is bulky so might not fit under a B van.
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Any idea on comfort from ice cooling it hot humid weather?


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Old 02-20-2015, 05:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Since some of the RV makers are going to dual alternators; maybe one of them will do a custom underhood AC pump setup. Or run a 120v generator off the engine? Anything will be cheaper than a Cummins Onan.

http://www.vintageair.com/
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher
Look at the spec sheet on the link.

up to 10 amps
weighs over 300 lbs.

Looks bulky. Needs 4 batteries.

No magic bullet here.

??????
Given the number of gallons of fuel that fleet operators must use to run idling engines in thousands of trucks, there's a lot of economic pressure to make things like this better, smaller, lighter, cheaper and more efficient. Because of this economic pressure, major improvements are likely to happen very, very quickly. Remember the first cell phones? They were the size of a brick and weighed as much. Now you can slip one in your pocket.
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

AC on an RV uses a huge chunk of electricity, so generators and solar systems have been developed to run them. Instead of making these systems more and more powerful, I think that it's time to think outside of the rooftop AC box. That's why I posted the info about the new coolers. They're far from ideal right now, but as I said earlier, they're likely to get much better quickly.

Below is a photo history of RV rooftop air conditioners. They may have gotten slightly smaller and somewhat more efficient, but they certainly haven't changed much. (The top four photos are from camping-canada.com and the last one is from Advanced-RV.)

Attached Images
File Type: jpg RV AC History.jpg (364.8 KB, 679 views)
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

The problem is that RV roof systems suck the least compared to other options. I did some research a few days ago, and threw in the towel on a permanent unit... my Transit conversion is going with a Coleman Mach 8. The biggest problem is repairs. In theory, if a compressor breaks, it should just take a replacement and one is back on the road. However, in reality, there are few service places for the permanent A/C installs (which make it almost impossible to have one fixed if time is of the essence.) Rooftop A/C units tend to be replaced, which is more expensive... but fairly quick, assuming the unit is a standalone, ductless model that can just be dropped in and bolted into place.

Of course, the best A/C unit are the through the window models, which are seen on some of the older vans, because they are relatively inexpensive and work quite well... but those are impossible to put into any Euro style van.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

I personally don't see the "hard to repair" argument against choosing a split system.

First of all, I don't consider an air conditioner to be a critical system. If I had a failure, I am confident in my ability to somehow survive the trip without it. This is especially true given how infrequently we end up using our van's AC in our travels.

Secondly, if you are willing to repair via replacement, then I really doubt that you will have much difficulty finding somebody to do, say, a compressor swap for you. There are automotive AC places everywhere, and I see no reason why any of them would have and difficulty doing a swap.

Thirdly, in my experience AC failures of any kind on properly installed systems are rare events. Can't remember the last time I had an issue with any vehicle.

For these reasons, I remain enthusiastic about retrofitting a split system in place of our ridiculously noisy roof system.
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Old 02-21-2015, 07:45 AM   #11
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Here's an interesting 12v portable/internal option that also does heat: http://www.u-gofresco.com/en/ Youtube video (45 seconds in):

A couple people on the Promaster Forum are going this route. Haven't heard any reviews yet.

This is my first post. Glad to finally get involved with the discussion. I'm still debating doing a DIY camper or going with a Travato or similar.
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Old 02-21-2015, 12:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Welcome to the forum jbxr7

That is an interesting unit. This PDF - http://impianti.autoclima.com/pdf/en-72.pdf - indicates 3,250 BTU cooling which doesn't seem like much when compared to a small window type A/C at 5,000 BTU or 11,000 & 13,000 BTU roof top air conditioning unit.

It might work well enough though if sectioning off areas in a van.

RV manufacturers may try these Dometic 7000 to 14000 BTU units: http://www.dometic.com/USA/MS-9629-Truc ... hr-No-Heat
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Old 02-21-2015, 06:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

I own something similar to this. I bought it a number of years ago for cooling my garage in the summer.

The unit I have is awesome, and works well. I have considered putting it in the B for use this summer. In my Pleasure-Way I have the two twin beds and between them is a night stand. I could take out the night stand and replace it with the portable AC unit. During downtime move the AC to the front of the van and vent out the passengers window. All I would need to make would be a cover for the window so the vent host could blow outside.

The unit is also a heater, fan and dehumidifier.It might not work for everyone, but it should work for me.
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Thanks for the welcome... it just dawned on me that I'd like to have the most flexibility: able to go full-time, not have to follow the weather, and able to be off-grid a couple days at a time. So, I'm leaning towards the most efficient AC... looking forward to hearing more about systems like the Webasto Blue-Cool.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:36 PM   #15
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
Of course, the best A/C unit are the through the window models, which are seen on some of the older vans, because they are relatively inexpensive and work quite well... but those are impossible to put into any Euro style van.

Why? Cut a hole, install. Hook it up to 110VAC. Shouldn't be any different from any other van.
Trick is to make it look like it's NOT a bubbafied kluge.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:00 PM   #16
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Default Re: The Future of AC Systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NLRevell
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlts22
Of course, the best A/C unit are the through the window models, which are seen on some of the older vans, because they are relatively inexpensive and work quite well... but those are impossible to put into any Euro style van.

Why? Cut a hole, install. Hook it up to 110VAC. Shouldn't be any different from any other van.
Trick is to make it look like it's NOT a bubbafied kluge.
The problem is that the vans are unibody sheet metal construction. If I hung an A/C through a window, the van's door may not be able to take the weight. This is why Roadtrek has gone with a system that welds on the hitch receiver, so the spare tire looks like it goes on the rear door, but actually doesn't.

Of course, nothing is impossible. There is always cutting a 3 inch hole and mounting a portable A/C unit and having it exhaust through that.
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