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Old 07-06-2005, 08:29 AM   #1
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Offbeat A/C cooling question

Got one perhaps some farmers on here might be able to answer.

We have an egg business and use a pickup truck with a bed cap on it to transport eggs. We've been told that in order to sell to a certain area, the eggs must be transported at a temp of 45 degrees.

My first thought was to pickup a 13,500btu rooftop A/C unit and put it up on the bed cap. Keep in mind the space we are talking about cooling is the size of a Ford Ranger pickup bed (enclosed). Anyone know if this beast will do the job (power issues and insulation aside)? I know I can darn near hang meat in my Airstream with a 15k BTU unit, but am not sure this will do the trick. If anyone has any suggestions other than this that might work and is fairly inexpensive, I'm all ears!

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-2005, 09:03 AM   #2
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Eric, I don't think you should have a problem with this size. BTU wise you got lots of horsepower for a very small area. My only fear would be the potential of icing over the coils. Obviously these units weren't designed to be refrigerators. Many self defrosting refrigerators have a heater to melt the ice which accumulates on the coils. That cycle comes on automatically every x hours.

In your situation you will probably have a lot of humidity to deal with, and very cool temps on the intake side. A perfect combo to bring about ice.

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Old 07-06-2005, 09:17 AM   #3
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A "better" solution?

Eric, down here in Florida the florists use a small refrigerator box on the back of their mid-sized pickups (rangers, Tundras, etc). The reefer unit will keep the interior of the box around 40 degrees, and it runs off a compressor on the truck engine. You could probably pick up a retired reefer box for a song, and then mount it on your pickup. I have a friend that recently retired from the egg distributing business, I will ask him what solution he used, if you wish.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:39 AM   #4
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Do you have an extension cord long enough?

If you plan to "transport eggs" you will need to supply clean 120v AC, about 2500 to 3500 watts on start up, to the rv aircon. Where is the power going to come from?
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:53 AM   #5
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When did you become a farmer??? Decided to "get away from it all?"
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Old 07-06-2005, 05:08 PM   #6
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Well, it's not really for me, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express.

In all seriousness it's for the grandfather (but he's family now) . He has a farm and I help out when I can. I know the situation isn't the best using an RV A/C unit, heck I am not even sure his 2000 watt inverter is gonna work and even if it did, not sure if the compressor would last. I just know he's gotta get the pickup bed down to about 45 degrees. The total transport time is about an hour.

I'm not happy with the RV A/C idea, but I'm just plain out of any other way around telling the guy he's gotta fork over an arm and a leg for one of those truck type ThermoKing units.

Still open to any other suggestions.
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Old 07-06-2005, 05:34 PM   #7
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It depends on the customer. If the customer is fussy about the transport temperature, you better go to the conventional, engine driven, reefer.

If the customer is less fussy and just wants the eggs 'cool' when received, then give the A/C a try.

The best evaporator temperature you can get with R-22 is 38F. That doesn't give you much temperature difference to maintain 45F. It will be tough to keep the coil from frosting up if it's humid.

I sold a 20 ft reefer truck a few years ago for $2000. There are plenty of cheap, old reefer units out there if you look.
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Old 07-06-2005, 06:34 PM   #8
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You'll need 150 to 200 amps of 12 volt power to run the inverter. Even then, will it handle the start up current? Very doubtfull. My 400 watt cheapie inverter will not start my Airstream's fridge and it is only rated at 1.8 amps. Plus, will the Coleman tstat go down to 45 degrees? Doubfull. Best bet is a reefer unit made for the application.
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:15 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info...I too thought it a long shot with an inverter. I'm gonna search the web for some fridge trucks. Thanks again all!
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Old 07-06-2005, 08:25 PM   #10
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This is right up my alley. I'm a fleet manager for a local meat company. I sold our last used truck a 1989 Chevy C-60, Diesel, 12 ft box, with a thermo king reefer to one of our customers for $1,000. The truck only had 252,000 miles on it and ran like a top. We greatly outgrew it's size and it mostly sat around for a few years only seeing occasional use so it was time for her to go. The guy I sold it to used it for 2 years ,very lightly, and sold it for $2,500. You ought to look for something like this because I think you would be throwing away $$$ to try to refrigerate a truck cap.
Another option is the smaller refrigerated body that actually slides into your pick-up truck bed. The condensor and fan are mounted on the box while the compressor is under the truck hood. These can be found rather easily, and are much cheaper than a self contained reefer unit. The units that we use on our meat trucks (New Internationals with 20 ft box) are over $14,000 new. They are microprosser controlled Carrier Transicolds, and are powered by Kubota 3 cylinder diesel engines.
Good luck.
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