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Old 08-20-2005, 12:37 PM   #1
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Location: Mojave Desert
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I wanted to provide some feedback on a new TurboKool evaporative/swamp cooler I installed on my 27' Winnebago Brave last weekend.

When dry camping, I wanted cool air without the expense, noise & fumes of an A/C-generator combination. This was brought to a head when I stayed a couple of nights in the Cottonwood Cove no-hookup campground in NV. Their quiet-time night hours meant one hot motorhome at about 1am. I cannot sleep when I am sweating, so I needed a method for keeping the bedroom cool using 12 volts.

The hot dry air here in the southwest responds well to evaporative coolers, and a quick www search turned up the TurboKool unit, which had promise. This post probably doesn't apply to you if you live east of the Rockies :-)

It installs over an existing 14" x 14" vent hole. Just remove the lid and crank, and you are looking at your new TurboKool installation point. I like this feature, as I think this will keep rain water out.

Installation was a bit more involved than I expected, but part of that was my trying to figure out what to do. The instructions are a bit vague, and the black/wht pictures are grainy & lousy. Electrical and water hookups were straightforward, with the hardest part figuring out where to tap into the coach electrical & water system. For $616, I would expect detailed directions with high-quality color photos. A DVD would be a great touch. I emailed Ben Bachman at one point, when trying to figure out how the "Qwest" fitting worked, and he responded almost immediately, both by email & phone. The Bachman's seem like GREAT people. In total, I probably spent 10 hours getting the TurboKool installed, working at a leisurely and careful pace. Knowing what I know now, I could probably install it in 1/3 that time.

Workmanship and attention to detail on all of the parts is top-notch. It came with all parts needed for a professional-looking installation.

The register has louvers to close off the unit during winter & other periods of nonuse. Unfortunately, the grate seems pretty restrictive to me. I noticed quite a bit more airflow without the grate, so I'll probably modify it (open it up) a bit to allow it to flow better.

It does a wonderful job of keeping the back/master bedroom very cool, so from that standpoint it was a success and well worth the money and installation time. However, one unit is not even close to being sufficient to cool the entire coach, but that was frosting on the cake for me, as it cools the bedroom extremely well. A second unit in the front may have enough cooling ability to cool the entire coach, but I think I can live without it.

I've not had any water slosh in, although the instructions indicate you should shut the water supply off & run it for a few minutes before driving over bumpy roads with sharp turns.

At $616, it's a bit pricey, but I think it was WELL worth the $$$.

http://www.turbokool.com has lots of info on the units you could want. If you want to know more or see pictures on my rig, indicate how I can contact you & I'll send pictures of the unit & how it installed on my rig.

dave
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Old 08-20-2005, 12:37 PM   #2
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Location: Mojave Desert
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I wanted to provide some feedback on a new TurboKool evaporative/swamp cooler I installed on my 27' Winnebago Brave last weekend.

When dry camping, I wanted cool air without the expense, noise & fumes of an A/C-generator combination. This was brought to a head when I stayed a couple of nights in the Cottonwood Cove no-hookup campground in NV. Their quiet-time night hours meant one hot motorhome at about 1am. I cannot sleep when I am sweating, so I needed a method for keeping the bedroom cool using 12 volts.

The hot dry air here in the southwest responds well to evaporative coolers, and a quick www search turned up the TurboKool unit, which had promise. This post probably doesn't apply to you if you live east of the Rockies :-)

It installs over an existing 14" x 14" vent hole. Just remove the lid and crank, and you are looking at your new TurboKool installation point. I like this feature, as I think this will keep rain water out.

Installation was a bit more involved than I expected, but part of that was my trying to figure out what to do. The instructions are a bit vague, and the black/wht pictures are grainy & lousy. Electrical and water hookups were straightforward, with the hardest part figuring out where to tap into the coach electrical & water system. For $616, I would expect detailed directions with high-quality color photos. A DVD would be a great touch. I emailed Ben Bachman at one point, when trying to figure out how the "Qwest" fitting worked, and he responded almost immediately, both by email & phone. The Bachman's seem like GREAT people. In total, I probably spent 10 hours getting the TurboKool installed, working at a leisurely and careful pace. Knowing what I know now, I could probably install it in 1/3 that time.

Workmanship and attention to detail on all of the parts is top-notch. It came with all parts needed for a professional-looking installation.

The register has louvers to close off the unit during winter & other periods of nonuse. Unfortunately, the grate seems pretty restrictive to me. I noticed quite a bit more airflow without the grate, so I'll probably modify it (open it up) a bit to allow it to flow better.

It does a wonderful job of keeping the back/master bedroom very cool, so from that standpoint it was a success and well worth the money and installation time. However, one unit is not even close to being sufficient to cool the entire coach, but that was frosting on the cake for me, as it cools the bedroom extremely well. A second unit in the front may have enough cooling ability to cool the entire coach, but I think I can live without it.

I've not had any water slosh in, although the instructions indicate you should shut the water supply off & run it for a few minutes before driving over bumpy roads with sharp turns.

At $616, it's a bit pricey, but I think it was WELL worth the $$$.

http://www.turbokool.com has lots of info on the units you could want. If you want to know more or see pictures on my rig, indicate how I can contact you & I'll send pictures of the unit & how it installed on my rig.

dave
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:14 AM   #3
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Great review!
We used a swamp cooler in our house in Arizona and in dry climates they are a very effective alternative to air conditioning. I'm surprised the RV manufacturer's haven't made this an option for people who travel out west a lot.
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:44 AM   #4
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Great review Dave! Also was nice getting the personal brief on the installation before your off-site. What do you think the amp draw is per hour of operation?
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Old 08-21-2005, 01:49 PM   #5
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Glad the info was useful! You'd think this would be an attractive option out west, especially for dry campers. The amp draw is only listed as "maximum - 4.6," so I assume that's per hour. I ran it all afternoon a few days back to test it (with my new dual 6V batt setup - thanks for your tips!) and it didn't seem to phase the batteries in the slightest.

I also installed a cheap Home Depot mister system on my awning yesterday, connected to my outdoor shower, and it's working like a champ. It cost $10 and comes with easy-to-use clips for mounting. The tees that hold the spray jets look flimsy, but as long as it gets me thru Labor Day that will suffice. I think it would definitely shorten the life of the water pump if used regularly, because it cycles on/off about every 10 seconds (the pump cycles on/off with the TurboKool about every 30 seconds). It took me all of 15 minutes to install. Ready for Labor Day weekend and the Colorado River!

dave
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Old 08-23-2005, 11:16 AM   #6
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Hi David,
Glad it works for you. Don't bring it to New Orleans and expect cooling though. The swamp air here eats swamp coolers for breakfast.

We just spray Tabasco sauce on our awnings... makes the rest of the world cool by comparison.

Walt
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