Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Teardrop Trailer (Hunter Shadow): How to Cool It?

I Am Soliciting Ideas on How To Cool My Teardrop

I have a Hunter Long Shadow Teardrop Trailer. It's been great, and I love it, but there have been times when it just gets to hot and stuffy! I am eager to hear ideas from Teardrop owners - specifically those with Hunter Shadow Teardrops who have actually made the modifications. I tried contacting Phil, the man who made the Teardrop in Idaho, but the number I had for him is no longer in service. Also, it seems from some internet chatter I have read that Wiltrek is no longer making the Hunger Shadow Teardrops. Does anyone know different or have a contact for me? If so, please write to me at fitzsimmons_mike at hotmail .com


The Fan

Yes - I did purchase the trailer with the fan/timer ventilation system. But I have some problems with it:

1) Power. The Dayton Electric Model 4WT36 fan runs on 12V and draws 0.57 and therefore dissipates 6.8W. Although that doesn't sound like much, I don't carry a car battery in the trailer as Phil suggested. In fact, I swapped out all the high wattage light bulbs in the cabin and hatch compartments with LED strips. I am now able to go weeks, reading every nite for hours, with a small 12V 12Ah SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery. This battery is less than 1/3 the size and weight of a car battery. My lighting is also significantly improved over the high wattage bulbs that came with the trailer.

2) The fan works only when you set the timer and turn it on. That is, during the day if the trailer is out in the sun, the fan does nothing for me. Same when you are sleeping.

3) The fan will draw air through the windows and the doors (if open). There is still a large area inside the cabin, toward the front ceiling, that doesn't really seem to get recirculated.

So, as you can see, I don't really use the fan and I am somewhat surprised this was sold as a "solution" to cooling the trailer.

The Windows

I don't really want to modify the doors/windows as they lock, are nice, and I guess I just want to leave well enough alone. I did make some screens to cover the doors and often sleep with those open. However, where there are bear problems (quite often where I camp) I am getting less and less comfortable with leaving them open at night. Even when open, they don't seem to cool off the ceiling area which seems to collect not only heat but also the used air (CO2) I expel while sleeping.

Air Conditioners

While I have seen some nifty small air conditioning solutions (the best was a small AC unit that swung over on a manufactured arm to cover a window opening), I don't really want to have to haul an AC unit, a generator, and extra gas - none of which I need to mess with today.

I also don't want to rely on any solution involving ice. I have enough trouble just keeping my coolers in ice while camping for days and sometimes weeks in the wilderness areas.

So What's left?

One helpful idea might be to get a tarp to cover the Teardrop in those campsites where the sun hits it. This is a good low cost solution, although I do worry about wind when I am not around if it blows like it did this summer in Colorado.

So it seems what is left for me is to put an air vent (locking hatch type) in the roof of the Teardrop and possibly an inlet in the bottom as well for increased convection. I have located the support cross beams in the ceiling by examining the staples on the wood trim. The cross members are 12" apart, so I could make a 2x2' square hatch on top. It would need to be curved to fit the existing roof-line. I am dying to talk to anyone who has successfully accomplished such a modification! Please send me an email: fitzsimmons_mike at hotmail. com

Thanks in advance for any helpful ideas!


Anonymous said...

Hope you found a workable solution by now. If not, look into a ceiling mounted fan. It really does help to pull all the "hot air" up and out of the small space. Also, a deep cell marine battery will last longer than a similar sized car battery, so you can actually get a smaller one to suit your needs.

the_fitzman said...

i ended up buying two of these vents:

9x9 inches. i haven't had time to install them yet, but they should work fine. only time will tell how durable this solution will be. a bit nervous about it, but i had to do something.

wrt batteries: i prefer the smaller and lighter sealed lead acid batteries (SLA). i have replaced all the teardrop bulbs with LED's and one SLA lasts me 3-4 weeks, and that is reading every night for a couple hours. i don't use the battery for anything but lighting.

Jason C said...

I just bought this same model teardrop. The previous owner installed a bypass switch on the exhaust fan so it will stay on without the timer. Also, a DC powered 6 inch fan works well to cool the top front of the cabin you spoke of and uses almost no power.

How did the vents you bought work out?

the_fitzman said...

Hi Jason, just curious - did you get a used Hunter Shadow? Yes, the fan helps, but as I said I use a small sealed lead acid battery (SLA) and while those fans don't use alot of power, I prefer to keep the battery just for my LED lighting, and I can go weeks on one battery doing that. I haven't installed the vents yet (I bought 2). I am optimistic they will help a great deal, but a bit anxious about cutting holes in the roof. I'll be doing the job soon - next couple of weeks.