Author Topic: cave cooling systems - CoolBot  (Read 1533 times)

Offline NimbinValley

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cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« on: July 31, 2013, 09:38:20 PM »
Hi all.

I am thinking of getting one of these ( http://www.storeitcold.com ) to add to a split system air con unit for my maturation room to replace a proper cooling unit.

Does anyone have any experience with them or information about them?

The testimonials on the website read very well.

Thanks.

NV.


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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 11:14:23 PM »
I haven't used one, but the idea is similar to what I and many other people have done.  If you have some technical know-how you might be able to do something similar with buying one.  With that said, though, this is an easy, if more expensive, solution.
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Offline NimbinValley

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 11:42:54 PM »
Thanks Mike.  Yes the story with this unit is that the algorithm that controls the device is well developed and stops ALL freezing issues often associated with home-made jobs.  I am hoping others will confirm this.

NV.

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 08:45:57 AM »
I know Oude Kaas has used this, to great success.  One thing I'm wondering about, is the air flow.  I think Jos experienced some issues this way, with too much airflow from the a/c essentially driving out flora from the space (I believe he rectified the issue, but haven't seen further discussion on this). 

Anyone using the coolbot? Can you talk about this issue of airflow - problems with flora development, or a non-issue?
- Paul

Offline John@PC

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 06:32:27 PM »
Although I don't have one from what I've read the Cool-bot is a good option for medium-sized aging enclosures (i.e. rooms) that can be cooled by a conventional A/C unit.  The problem with cheese caves is that you have high humidity combined with low temperatures, and that  high dew point will quickly ice-up the cooling fins of a conventional room A/C unit.  Cool-bot has a patented system to "de-ice" the fins periodically so the high humidity can be maintained at relatively low temperatures.

Paul:  Could it be the problem with losing "good" flora is from an invasion of "bad" flora in the A/C fins?  A room A/C unit doesn't "exchange" inside with outside air so there shouldn't be any positive pressure to drive out air in the room.   Bottom line I would think that your concern should be a "non-issue.".  Then again I would bow to those that have real experience with the CB.


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 11:11:14 AM »
I use a cheap but effective alternative to the Cool Bot. The problem is that most AC units will not cool below 60F. So the trick is to fake out the AC unit. That's essentially what the Cool Bot does. So all you have to do is keep the thermistor from the AC unit warm and it will continue to cool. So, I have placed the tip of the thermistor in a shop light housing with a low watt Compact Flourescent bulb. When my Ranco controler detects that the cave is too warm, it turns on both the AC unit and the bulb. Because of the heat from the bulb, the thermistor from the AC unit "thinks" that it is too warm as well, and the AC cools the cave down until my Ranco turns everything off. Again, warming the thermistor is essentially all that the Cool Bot does anyway.

I have been using this setup for almost 3 years now. It has operated flawlessly and cost less than $12.
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Offline John@PC

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 04:39:38 PM »
Ah, a wise man has wise ways (and saves money to boot).  If it's worked for you for  3 yrs. I would call that a successful experiment.  I've been running a two-stage controller on my cave with a 15W calendbra bulb for heating but have been on the lookout for a small wattage, inexpensive and non-breakable heater.  I've heard from a couple of people who don't like the "glass" bulb and this looks like a good alternative, and by the time you pay for the cordage, socket, and bulb the $ pretty much a wash.  I would like to follow up with you later Sailor about any details as we've had inquires about if our controllers can be used for larger enclosures and this looks like a good DIY project for people who have or want to use a simple thermostat (Ranco, Johnson Controls or ours) instead of a Coolbot.

That said, I wouldn't personally use a CFL or any fluorescent for this application.  First they are, well, efficient and what you need is heat, not efficiency.  I think you would find a 7 watt incandescent (or the aquarium heater) would provide the same heat as a 40 watt or so CFL.  Most important is if the thing breaks in an enclosed environment with exposed food you really have a problem.  It looks like you're using a guard that probably complies with OSHA regs., but there is typically around 3 to 5 mg of toxic mercury in the form of vapor that will be released and if it breaks in a cool environment the Hg could condense on cool surfaces.  Hopefully LED lighting prices will keep coming down and CFL's will go the way of the ozone hole (oops, looks like the ozone hole is as big as ever  :o!).     

Offline ArnaudForestier

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2014, 12:28:44 PM »
Thanks Sailor and John.  A very elegant solution, Sailor.  I'm constantly astounded at your ingenuity, fellas, wish I had it. 

Anyway, Sailor you've prodded me to look into this more.  $12 is certainly a bit more attractive than $300. :o

On another note, looks like copper is allowed in Wisconsin; inspired by Alpkäserei, thinking on a copper vat for down the road.
- Paul

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 11:38:30 PM »
Depending on how the cooling circuit works, you can trick the temperature sensor directly.  I use a window a/c unit that has a thermistor for detecting temperature.  With a thermistor, the resistance changes with changing temperature.  By putting a 24k-ohm resistor (if I remember right) in parallel with the thermistor, my unit thinks it's holding the temp at 86 degrees when it is actually holding it at 53.  Mine hasn't been running as long as Sailors, I think it's been just a few months shy of two years, but it hasn't had any problems.
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Offline Papaclaude

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 11:43:00 AM »
My wife has been using a CoolBot for about 8 months now, and it worked great last summer. To keep the "cellar" warm in winter, I used a bathroom fan hooked up to a thermostat, and it draws warm air from the basement. We had issues with humidity, but those are fixed now, too.


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Offline John@PC

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 06:38:42 PM »
Depending on how the cooling circuit works, you can trick the temperature sensor directly.  I use a window a/c unit that has a thermistor for detecting temperature.  With a thermistor, the resistance changes with changing temperature.  By putting a 24k-ohm resistor (if I remember right) in parallel with the thermistor, my unit thinks it's holding the temp at 86 degrees when it is actually holding it at 53.  Mine hasn't been running as long as Sailors, I think it's been just a few months shy of two years, but it hasn't had any problems.
That's one of the things I love about this forum because every now and then I have to hit my forehead and say "I could have had a V8".  Mike, if the A/C  uses a thermistor  you definatly can"offset" it with either an added resistor or if needed changing out the thermistor.   Not saying you found the holy grail but that could be a solution even simpler than Sailor's.  Definately worth follow-up.  Thanks.

Offline Morry Stu

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2014, 08:59:08 PM »
This is one minor problem with bypassing the temprature sensor and that is icing up of the head unit. Once its iced up it wont continue to cool as it cant draw air thru the cooling fins

You can get around it by installing a larger unit than required, this has the bonus of not having to work as hard or by fitting a seperate temp probe just in front of the cooling fins, so that when it ices up it will cut the cooling cycle but keep the fan running to defrost the cooling fins. Not exactly DIY but I had to do this to my beer fermenting room.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2014, 09:25:57 PM »
An undersized unit can definitely ice up. Can you explain how to connect/wire a second probe?
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Offline Morry Stu

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 02:04:57 AM »
Its not easy if you dont have a circuit diagram for the unit. You need to wire in the 2nd temp controller into the compressor cct. Old units are easy, just a simple relay on the compressor mot controlled by the thermostat. New units that use inverter motors are difficult to wire in.  Not an easy job to do if you have no idea about electricity and how an aircon works.

Offline John@PC

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Re: cave cooling systems - CoolBot
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 05:34:44 PM »
If I'm not mistaken that is what the CoolBot does (i.e. has a sensor that detects icing of the fins and shuts the unit off to defrost)??  Any suggestions about how much to "oversize" your a/c to prevent this (assuming you have decent %RH control)?