The Layout

The time spent laying out where everything will go on your ice chest air conditioner is critical, as you can’t undo a hole once it’s cut in the lid of your new $80 cooler. The old adage “measure twice, cut once” really applies here, as there’s nothing worse than cutting a hole for a blower, only to turn the lid over and realize that there isn’t room to center a radiator underneath it.

I’ve taken to cutting out pieces of cardboard the size of blowers, radiators, motor controllers, and whatever else is going to be mounted on the cooler lid so I can place them on both sides of the lid to see how it’s all going to fit. Once done, I then outline the item in pencil. After measuring to make sure everything’s symmetrical, I then carefully cut on the inside of the lines (enlarging a hole is easy, reducing one is pretty much impossible).

FCII TopbWhether one surface mounts heat exchangers or countersinks them into the cooler lid depends on the lid characteristics – especially thickness. The build I’m currently working on required countersinking nearly everything to do it right, so I’ve had to make a ton of holes in this lid – the majority of which I did with a razor knife and straightedge (tedious beyond belief).

In my opinion, this is the worst part of building a Frankencooler. From here, it’s a matter of mounting all the components in their places and doing the respective electrical and plumbing connections – something I find a lot less nerve-wracking. Cimg5508.jpg

11 thoughts on “The Layout”

  1. Looking good! What’s the extra box hole going to be used for? Ever think about using peltier devices to keep the water cooler longer?

    1. Thanks, Rob. I think using the chip would be more trouble than it’s worth as the hot side would need to be on the exterior of the cooler.
      The big hole on top is for the battery box.

      1. I thought the same thing at first but when the water is very cold and the peltier cooler is on and running the heat sink doesn’t really have a chance to heat up. When my bigger peltier unit comes in I will test it and give you my results. The only issue I can see is that they are power hungry and wouldn’t really work running on battery power unless you would use twice the size battery pack that you will be running probably on your new design.

  2. I’m considering building a cooler for a 4 passenger plane . Three questions. Does the system drain water when in use ? On the small one radiator system , what is the Amp draw at 1/2 power setting? When will the component package for the small system be available . It’s “out of stock “ on the website ?
    Our flights are generally 1.5 hours in duration. At altitude when there is no need for a/c ,can either the remote switch or wired switch design tun off both the pump and blower as the cooler will be in the baggage compartment About a 5 ft reach from the pilot’ seat .

    1. Hello David,

      Beyond possible minor condensation gathering on the radiators when in use. there is no appreciable use of water when the cooler is running.

      I don’t know what 1/2 blower speed amperage is – they are rated at 2.5 amps each. The 12V pump is rated at 1.5 amps, the 24V pump used for 18V and 24V systems is less. I consider a single blower setup at 5 amps, dual blower at 7.5 with 12V power and pump.

      For your setup, I would suggest using a remote control and a 12V – 9V step-down module instead of variable speed motor controller for the blower(s). 9V produces a near optimum blower speed (fast enough to move good air, not too fast to raise outflow air temps due to poor heat (cold) transfer). The remote would turn the entire unit on and off. It can be powered with power plug or battery. In every application, the pump should be wired for full power. The alternative is using the motor controller on a short lead to control the cooler in the rear.

      My overseas shipment of heat exchangers was delayed and I’ve been using my remaining ones for dual blower package sales, but I do have the components in stock for either AIR single blower package should you want one. Email me at fr***********@co*.net and I’ll change my inventory for the one you want so you can place an order.


    2. David, I currently have an Icy Breeze that I use in my DA40, but I am not satisfied with its cooling. Have you built the Frankencooler? If so, how is it working in your plane?

    3. David, see my post below. You can friend me on Facebook. Unfortunately, there are over 20 pilots with your first/last names on the FAA site.

      1. Let’s do a youtube face off in a plane comparing the differences, I’m building one for an A36.

  3. Several comments about building one for your plane! I have researched many and this Frankencooler sure has caught my interest! Living down in Texas, it sure gets hot, so I’m also considering building one for my Cessna 182. David, Sanford or John, did you build one for your plane? If so, how did it work?

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