diy solar

diy solar

Shipping Container solar AC

Ok, let me put it out this way.

Your container gets hot in the sun, and any AirCon just moves heat from where you don't want it to where you don't care. So, throwing a 12k BTU aircon in the wall between the 2 sides would remove 12k BTU's from the battery room and put it in the warm side every hour.

Personally I think putting a 12k BTU heater into a shipping container that's already getting cooked will overload the condensor really quick and get the warm side unbearably hot. Aircon units get less and less efficient as the temperature rises on the condenser up until they just shut down all together.

Exausting out the floor makes for a negative pressure system so you'll need to not only get air up in there but also get that fresh air to the aircon unit.

The best thing you can do is the minisplit idea with the condenser unit outside and keep that excess heat out of the container all together.

Next best option is a freestanding portable dual hose aircon in the battery room and duct it right to the floor. There are nice heat pump units with a tube-in-tube design so they don't try to suck fresh air from the space creating a negative pressure issue. Keep the 2 sections completely seperated and insulated.
 
Last edited:
The Costco Mideast [edit Midea] portable is inverter and dual hose.
 
Last edited:
The Costco Mideast portable is inverter and dual hose.
Yeah I’m looking at it. A bit more expensive but it might be the way to go. Wish they had a 10k or 8k btu unit. 12k might be too much for the victron 12/1200 pheonix. Might need to pick up a multiplus 2000 to make all this work. I’m planning on adding a 48v system in the future and was trying to hold out with the existing 12v inverter I have.
 
I’m going to be setting it up in my house first. If I can find the watts meter plug in thing I have, I may be able to find starting watts.
 
I was considering this unit here for a bit but I think I will be going a different route. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B535XW9K
it has some advantages past the obvious being a 12v.
using r134a, you should be able to rent the equipment from your local auto parts store and assemble/charge it yourself. I think mine even offers free rental with a refunded safety deposit.
it is also a mini split design which as stated before is decently efficient. You can even dig a cave under the container and mount the condenser to the bottom assuming you dont have a rain issue.

Actually a bit interested in this as I'm planning to build out a 40ft hc as a field office/temp living quarters, which will be cooled.
like a cool setup. I’d love to see pics of the panel attachments.

I’m in the process of super insulating my conex. Mylar with spacers, 5” polyiso on the roof and 2.5” on the walls, tyvek to keep cool air from leaking to the hot walls, and 5/8 fireguard sheet rock. all on the first 10’. That will be a little air conditioned room for the solar stuff. The rest of the conex will be lightly insulated and a little hotter.

I decided to get the Midea portable unit from Costco. Just got it. Hole in the floor seems like better security. The thing is a beast as well. I’m going to run it here for the summer and see if it is reliable. And costco returns policy gives me a lot of peace of mind. Cheaper than a split and easy install through the floor.
how did this come out? I'm interested in your choice on wall insulation methods.
my plan on mine is to make a foam cutter and fill the convolutions with styro, then drop down 0.5 sheet styro or maybe tyvec or similar foam. from there a moisture barrier, 1.75 deep studs with rockwool smashed in between and capped off with sheet rock.
I understand the air gap but I'm interested what the differences are between that and the low density foam, just effort of cutting it to shape?
 
Sounds like a cool setup. I’d love to see pics of the panel attachments.

I’m in the process of super insulating my conex. Mylar with spacers, 5” polyiso on the roof and 2.5” on the walls, tyvek to keep cool air from leaking to the hot walls, and 5/8 fireguard sheet rock. all on the first 10’. That will be a little air conditioned room for the solar stuff. The rest of the conex will be lightly insulated and a little hotter.

I decided to get the Midea portable unit from Costco. Just got it. Hole in the floor seems like better security. The thing is a beast as well. I’m going to run it here for the summer and see if it is reliable. And costco returns policy gives me a lot of peace of mind. Cheaper than a split and easy install through the floor.

View attachment 146967View attachment 146968
Hi, how did your A/C and insulation turn out, any updated images? Regards
 
Still working on the finish out details. There were some delays and it’s getting to be hot enough that I can’t work out here anymore. I’ll try again this fall.
 
I’m going to be setting it up in my house first. If I can find the watts meter plug in thing I have, I may be able to find starting watts.

I think you are talking about the portable one, but if anyone wants to know my midea 8k U-shaped window unit is around 400-500w at full blast, and closer to 300w in low fan/ECO mode. I'm sure it uses less if it just has the fan going but I haven't checked that.

In regards to shading, I aways wondered what would happen to my attic temps if I mounted a tarp on the south side of my house (away from the street so no one sees) that had a 6-12in air gap to allow airflow but shaded a huge section of my black roof all day. I have to think that would be a lot easier to do with a container.
 
Hey there! You have quite the setup in your 20ft HC shipping container in the Southern California Desert, and keeping your solar equipment, especially those batteries, cool in those scorching temperatures is crucial. Your plan to create a separate, cooled space within the container by constructing a wall and installing an 8k BTU window AC unit for the back 8ft is smart. It's an effective way to focus on cooling where it's needed most without worrying too much about the front 12ft of the container. If you ever need additional storage or a different shipping container setup,
Reported for spam. And really? Dropping keyword rich anchor text on a site which will have nofollow links within user generated content? Go back to SEO school.
 
I have two 20’ containers. We used Tiger closed cell spray foam to seal up the inside after tension fitting 2x4 wall and ceiling framing and wiring. Sealed it up with drywall, etc.

We mounted a window unit into the front (wood framed) wall. We set the front wall back a couple of feet to allow us to close up the original container doors.

Doing it over again, I would put a mini split in instead of the window unit. I have a z-wave plug monitoring energy usage now and it uses 764w during hot days (105-115F). The container is fairly well shaded under oak trees.

We have a 230v 12k mini-split on a 18x12 shed that uses less than half of that.

Here is a comparison of how the window unit performed yesterday (high of 90F!) versus Sept 5 (high of 109F). Peaks yesterday for the window unit were 669w...but, the run times were way shorter as you can see.

Hope this helps.

IMG_4793.jpeg

Container-ac-sept13.png

Container-ac-sept5.png
 
Update

So I ended up using 2” closed cell foam panels to insulate the back section of my container. I use magnets to hold the panels in place as well as create a small air gap off the steel walls to hopefully help a bit with thermal bridging when the sun beats down on the container.

I sealed all the seams with tape and spray foam. I then erected a 2x4 wall to seal off the room. Rockwool was used to insulate the wall and 1/2” plywood sheathing.

I got a 2 in 1 exhaust tube portable 10kbtu inverter air conditioner. The tube was a weird shape and I didn’t want to cut the hole to fit it in the floor so I only cut a 6” whole for the exhaust portion. I already had a 4” hole cut in the floor with a 4” inline fan so I directed that intake directly at the intake of the air conditioner. Not the best but it works right now to solve the negative pressure build up.

The room stays 15 degrees cooler than outside temps. I’ve tested in 105 degrees so far and that’s without a door installed in the wall yet. I just had some plastic draped over the door opening.

I also picked up a multiplus 12/2000 to handle the air conditioner load a bit easier.

I’m still considering a mini split as I think it will work much better but want to test this set up through the spring as it warms up again. I’m also in the process of some kind of awning or shading for the sides of the container.

Anyways. Here’s some pictures.

IMG_3999.jpegIMG_4025.jpegIMG_4026.jpegIMG_4027.jpegIMG_4029.jpegIMG_4030.jpeg
 
@SoakedUp , you said “ I used 4x4s on the ends of the container bolted down at the corner iso attachment points. ”

Were those commercial ISO connectors like Domino Clamps or did you DIY something to attach the 4x4’s ?

Here is the Domino stuff for example :

 
Update

So I ended up using 2” closed cell foam panels to insulate the back section of my container. I use magnets to hold the panels in place as well as create a small air gap off the steel walls to hopefully help a bit with thermal bridging when the sun beats down on the container.

I sealed all the seams with tape and spray foam. I then erected a 2x4 wall to seal off the room. Rockwool was used to insulate the wall and 1/2” plywood sheathing.

I got a 2 in 1 exhaust tube portable 10kbtu inverter air conditioner. The tube was a weird shape and I didn’t want to cut the hole to fit it in the floor so I only cut a 6” whole for the exhaust portion. I already had a 4” hole cut in the floor with a 4” inline fan so I directed that intake directly at the intake of the air conditioner. Not the best but it works right now to solve the negative pressure build up.

The room stays 15 degrees cooler than outside temps. I’ve tested in 105 degrees so far and that’s without a door installed in the wall yet. I just had some plastic draped over the door opening.

I also picked up a multiplus 12/2000 to handle the air conditioner load a bit easier.

I’m still considering a mini split as I think it will work much better but want to test this set up through the spring as it warms up again. I’m also in the process of some kind of awning or shading for the sides of the container.

Anyways. Here’s some pictures.

View attachment 177640View attachment 177641View attachment 177642View attachment 177643View attachment 177644View attachment 177645
If I get a few of these and insulate them, I’m going take a track saw and cut the foam to completely fill the ribs because of condensation. And then apply another layer to get as much coverage on the metal as possible.

Or have them spray foamed.

Not really pertinent to your location, just more of a PSA to those of us in more humid and colder climates.
 
That looks great. Nice workmanship. Those new conex floors are pristine.

Strangely, my conex is already full of carp. And the floors are muddy. Weird. ?

On shading the outside, any barrier with an air gap will make a big difference for direct sun. Like the old safari land rovers. I was thinking of metal roofing attached with magnets on the sunny side. Should stick and it would take a heck of a wind to get underneath. Or a mixture of magnets and adhesive so you could mount and let it cure.

Also, if I didn’t mention earlier, Henry’s elastomeric cool roof paint is great on areas exposed to sun. The metal goes from too hot to touch to cool enough to lay on.

Anyway, well done.
 
@SoakedUp , you said “ I used 4x4s on the ends of the container bolted down at the corner iso attachment points. ”

Were those commercial ISO connectors like Domino Clamps or did you DIY something to attach the 4x4’s ?

Here is the Domino stuff for example :

I looked at the dominoe clamps. Very nice but to expensive for what they are. I bought 1/4” thick 4x4” metal plates, drilled a 3/4” hole in the middle and put them inside the corner castings of the container. I then laid the 8ft long 4x4 post on top of the corner casting. I then drilled a hole in the 4x4 post to line up with the metal plates inside the corner castings. Stuck a large bolt with washers through and tightened it down real tight to cinch the 4x4 post to the container. It worked extremely well and is very secure. My solar array is attached to it and has survived 60mph wind storms so far!
 
That looks great. Nice workmanship. Those new conex floors are pristine.

Strangely, my conex is already full of carp. And the floors are muddy. Weird. ?

On shading the outside, any barrier with an air gap will make a big difference for direct sun. Like the old safari land rovers. I was thinking of metal roofing attached with magnets on the sunny side. Should stick and it would take a heck of a wind to get underneath. Or a mixture of magnets and adhesive so you could mount and let it cure.

Also, if I didn’t mention earlier, Henry’s elastomeric cool roof paint is great on areas exposed to sun. The metal goes from too hot to touch to cool enough to lay on.

Anyway, well done.
I was actually thinking of doing the exact same. Just needs a little air gap between the sun exposed material and the actual container wall to break the thermal conductivity
 
What did you use for that vent hole cover? Looks good.

And I gotta ask, where is your big pile of junk? I’ve never seen a conex so tidy. ?
 
I used insofast shipping container insulation; did not do cost analysis but works well. We put additional insulation over the insofast.
 
What did you use for that vent hole cover? Looks good.

And I gotta ask, where is your big pile of junk? I’ve never seen a conex so tidy. ?
I had some left over metal wire screen from another project. I cut it to shape then found a 6” plastic hvac duct connector on Amazon. It fit the AC exhaust perfectly and keeps any larger insects like scorpions, tarantulas, and mice from going up the hole.

My OCD gets the best of me when it comes to junk and clutter. I’m a bit of a minimalist
 
I’m also in the process of some kind of awning or shading for the sides of the container.
Shading the outside is smart!! Other folks have reported that insulating the *outside* of a container is more effective than the inside.
 
Shading the outside is smart!! Other folks have reported that insulating the *outside* of a container is more effective than the inside.
Yeah, putting the thermal mass of the container inside your insulation envelope with an external radiant barrier means the internal loads are lower peak and less total energy.
 
I used insofast shipping container insulation; did not do cost analysis but works well. We put additional insulation over the insofast.
I’ve been looking at that stuff. I just hate paying near spray foam prices for what amounts to the same stuff they make disposable bait coolers and foam padding for boxes out of. I get that it also provides sheathing attachment, but I wouldn’t try hanging inverters from it.

Thus my idea of cutting my own XPS panels to fit…either with a table saw or track saw. And then framing out with 2x3s, 2x4s, or heavier gauge metal studs, possibly adding some rock wool in the cavities. Then 3/4 ply (attachment points anywhere) followed by 5/8 Sheetrock (fire barrier).

I wouldn’t do the Sheetrock a space without all of the electronics. Probably go down to 1/4 ply in containers that were going to be conditioned space only and shelving units used.
 
Last edited:
Is foam in place insulation Urethane, vs. foam in place packing material is Styrofoam?


Maybe that could be done, with plywood form and plastic sheet for mold release?
Or if you could roll container so insulating a horizontal surface, dispense and level with a screed.
Would want covered with fire retardant material, however. Maybe glue on sheetrock.
 
Shading the outside is smart!! Other folks have reported that insulating the *outside* of a container is more effective than the inside.
It’s those damn metal walls. When the sun hits them they get really hot. On the plus side, if any mold does grow on the inside the direct sun on the container will heat the walls up to a temperature that will most likely kill any mold growth. Mold is pretty rare in my area though with only 5” of annual rain, high winds, hot temps, and very dry weather. Most of winter, like right now, humidity is only 10-20%
 

diy solar

diy solar
Back
Top