DIY - Compact Air conditioner for Chameleon

evilalive

New Member
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to this forum, while I lived in a hotter area of the globe, thus to allow me to kept cooler species like M. Jackson, I'd made this earlier. Hope you find it interesting:D

Vol 1: Conceptual

Everyone knows that Air conditioner is the best solution to combat heat impact for chameleon in summer. However, having only one or two cages of chameleon and serve by air conditioning for entire ‘room’ seems not very cost effectively and waste of energy. So, idea of constructing a mini/compact air conditioner has come to my mind back in 2003. With try and error, I have attempted several cooling method, which includes solid states cooler component known as “the Peltier Effect”. But none of them can give me a satisfy result.

Vol 2: Hardware Selection
With that, cooling using compressor type was adopted – While selecting the hardware, both compressor size and power consumption was put in consideration. On a very odd occasion, a small ice-cream freezer was spotted. Thereafter consult with A/C installer, modification of this unit could be made.

Original Ice-cream freezer


Vol 3: Test and Modification

To modify the existing unit and achieve the expected result was not easy. As cooling capacity and heat load has to be make balance. Questions like what volume of R134 cooling agent should recharge to the compressor become critical. Too much agent will leads to damage the compressor while too little agent will shorten life-time of the unit.
To balance the agent between vapor and liquid stage while achieve heat exchange, size of the cooling coil were concerned. Long story short, all problems have been finally overcome with many tests and re-test.

Mini cooling coil parts


Vol 4 : Temperature Control

Since there is no temperature control from the original freezer, to maintain a constant temperature output control of the device. Externally control circuit/equipment was used. With simple cable/circuit integration, this issue is easily overcome.

Vol 5: Power Consumption

As mentioned before, one of the concerns of having 24 hrs A/C may leads to high operation cost. With final setup of the unit, the overall power was only ~200W with compressor is put in operation. Thus, with compressor is idle (target temp is achieved), only few watts is utilize.

Vol 6: Conclusion

Cost of making/modifying this unit was high (you can buy a 3/4 hp A/C with only HK$1000=US$130 in these days), but I really enjoy the whole process and achieve my own idea of building the smallest and low cost A/C unit for my beloved chameleon……

Final setup with ordinary reptile cages


Compact unit with only size of ~ A3 paper.


Cooling Compartment


Evil
 

Jordan

New Member
Got to say you kicked that problem straight in the butt. Do you get any condensation in the cage? I would assume that is what the bins where for that you left the equipment in. Just was unsure if you had any when it was coming into contact with the warm, humid air.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
How long have you had this set-up on a chameleon?
Have your chameleons ever developed respiratory problems in this set-up?
What are the temperatures in the cage? I don't see a basking area...is there one?
(I don't live in a hot area, so I'm just wondering how it works.)
 

evilalive

New Member
Got to say you kicked that problem straight in the butt. Do you get any condensation in the cage? I would assume that is what the bins where for that you left the equipment in. Just was unsure if you had any when it was coming into contact with the warm, humid air.
Woo, good observation Jordan. Condensation does occur in the cage. Also, in consider to maintain certain humidity level due the "cooling effect". I left it drip back to the cage. Also, auto mist system is put in operation to ensure the cage won't get too dry. Regarding the "bin", are you meaning the planting pot that I put inside the cage? Guess, I'm too lazy......:D for easy plant replacement though:p

How long have you had this set-up on a chameleon?
Have your chameleons ever developed respiratory problems in this set-up?
What are the temperatures in the cage? I don't see a basking area...is there one?
(I don't live in a hot area, so I'm just wondering how it works.)
Hi kinyonga,

I made this unit in Jan 06 and have been put in operation since end of April. To avoid Meru. Jackson in developing URI, I do use a PC fan inside the cage to enhance overall ventilation. The A/C was set to maintain cage temperature between 24 - 28 deg C depending on the outside temperature. Basking lamp was not provide in the summer as I left a small section of the cage open while hot air from outside can diffuse into cage to create a "hot" zone.:D

So far, my pair of Meru. Jacksons were still looks great since I got them from Oct 05. Therefore, the unit does help me in keeping them healthy at a "lower" cost on electric bill.
 
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