Air Conditioning for Ute Canopy

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 15, 2023 at 20:22
ThreadID: 145245 Views:1358 Replies:10 FollowUps:13
I'm wondering if anyone has ever installed an air conditioner in a ute canopy, or have any ideas on ways I can make this work?

I have just bought a new Hilux and will be installing a canopy on the back for my 4 dogs to travel in. We frequently travel long distances (12-14hrs in a day) from Broken Hill to Sydney, and as our summers frequently reach 40-47 degrees, they will need some kind of cooling system. I feel like the rooftop systems seen on caravans will be too heavy for a fiberglass canopy.

(Im not after whirly birds or simple fans, I am interested in a proper air conditioning systems/units only. I plan to insulate the canopy to help keep the temperature stable.)

I have spoken to a few air conditioning 'specialists' (I use that term loosely) who just looked at me blanky and said they couldnt help me, so my current lines of enquiry are truck sleeper cab air conditioners (however most are too bulky) and talking to some hotrod people who have had entire air conditioning systems installed separately as they cant fit under the bonnet. I have no idea how to install one myself so will need a qualified person to supply and set it up/
I am considering the zerobreeze mark 2, but would rather not have to keep changing batteries that only last 3 hours

It must be able to run while driving, but ideally would also like it to be able to hook up to dual battery, solar and/or 240v power so that I can run it while parked and keep the canopy cool (at least for a short while) while camping.

I have never found anyone who has successfully AC'd a canopy, but surely I cant be the only person in Australia with the idea... Any ideas would be appreciated, or suggestions for reliable AC specialists in either Sydney, Mildura or Adelaide.

thanks for the help!

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Reply By: Ozi M - Sunday, Jan 15, 2023 at 21:08

Sunday, Jan 15, 2023 at 21:08
This mob have a small unit, might be worth talking to them for some ideas

https://www.coolzy.com/au/recreational-vehicle-air-conditioner/
AnswerID: 642627

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:28

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:28
Thankyou! Ill have a look into it!
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FollowupID: 922236

Reply By: nickb - Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 00:46

Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 00:46
I've often wondered this myself, it's only a small space to cool so shouldn't be too hard. The Zerobreeze uses only 240W so will easily run from the car, will even run off a dual battery for a few hours too.
I would imagine hard wiring to the car would be easy enough so no need to change batteries all the time.
Looks like it might take up a fair bit of canopy space, how big are the dogs?
Most of the caravan ones are 1000W+ so a big draw on your 12V system.
AnswerID: 642628

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:30

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:30
Dogs are bordercollies so id like to keep it as compact as possible,.
Ive just read some poor reviews of the zerobreeze so think i'll stear away from that, but ill look into other brands. Cheers
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FollowupID: 922237

Follow Up By: qldcamper - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 09:20

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 09:20
You wont get much cooling for 240 watts,
Imagine trying to raise the temp of the same space by 25 degrees with only 240 watts of heating.
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FollowupID: 922262

Reply By: Griffin - Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 08:37

Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 08:37
I've got a unit that I removed from my HiAce which was previously used as a wheeelchair transporter in Japan. If it's suitable you're welcome to it if nothing else turns up.
AnswerID: 642630

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:34

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:34
Thanks Griffin. That is a very kind offer. I presume a unit attatched to a HiAce would be too bulky or heavy for a canopy, but would be interesting to know what you it had on it ..
cheers
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FollowupID: 922238

Reply By: tonysmc - Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 09:04

Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 09:04
Hi Mel, Many years ago I was looking at buying a Hilux which happened to be an ex Customs vehicle. (I think now know as Border force?) It had an air conditioning unit or second evaporator in the back of the ute for their sniffer dogs. I was impressed that they did that but the car didn't suit me. I didn't look into how it was done however I was led to believe it ran in conjunction with the cabin unit, so the car would have to be running to operate. So while I know it can be done, as you want it to run A/C while you are stopped I think the Zerobreeze would be a good option and with a dual battery you should be able to charge it while driving.
The Hilux was in Darwin. Possibly give ABF up there a ring?
AnswerID: 642631

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:37

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:37
Thanks, good idea! Living near Broken Hill im almost as far away from any border forse as possible haha but i wonder if AFP would have any information for me... they would have to have AC in the back of paddy-wagons or in their dog squad vechicles.

cheers
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Reply By: Gusthebus - Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 13:37

Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 13:37
I've seen ages ago where they had a pipe connecting cabin to canopy a swore it worked. I thought it was in a patrol forum, had a bit of a look but couldn't find it. Stumbled across something in a navara forum " mods for dog transport canopy with fixed windows" should take you there. I'm sure it can be done, good luck.
AnswerID: 642633

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:39

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:39
thanks. i spoke to an air conditioning specialist/auto elec about the possibility of doing that, and he said even if i upgraded the AC system under the hood, because it is a new vechicle the sensors and all the electrics would flip out if I tried anything like that. That was my first thought...
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FollowupID: 922240

Reply By: Gbc.. - Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 15:20

Monday, Jan 16, 2023 at 15:20
The holden colorado police and AFP twin cab divvy vans with the fibreglass 'pod' on the rear are air conditioned. If you can get a brand name off one it would get you a fair way toward a result. I worked with them in the past.
AnswerID: 642634

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:40

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:40
Thanks thats a great idea. I might stop into the cop-shop next time im in town and see if i can have a perve on one of their vechicles.
thanks
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FollowupID: 922241

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 07:32

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 07:32
Just thinking outside the square a bit!

The ARB Canopy has an internal frame option, which I have on my vehicle, so extra weight on the canopy should not be much of an issue.
The fibreglass is about 6mm thick and quite strong.

Bill


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AnswerID: 642637

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:41

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2023 at 19:41
oh i didnt think about that. I just assumed that it would be too weak for a unit that could be up to 20kg.
I havent baught the canopy yet, so i will have to look into load ratings and internal frames to see if that might be an option. thanks!
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Reply By: Stevemac - Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 18:01

Thursday, Jan 19, 2023 at 18:01
I think the dynamic load rating on ARB canopies is 100kg. ie: on the roof.
AnswerID: 642681

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023 at 22:32

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023 at 22:32
That is a lot more than I would have guessed… do you know if that is just the canopy or with an internal support system?
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FollowupID: 922322

Follow Up By: tonysmc - Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023 at 23:41

Wednesday, Jan 25, 2023 at 23:41
Hi Mel, That would be with the internal support. From ARB website below -

"As ARB canopies have a strong internal structure, they have two weight ratings – dynamic weight (weight the canopy can carry when your vehicle is moving) and static weight (weight the canopy can carry when the vehicle is standing still).
The dynamic weight of ARB’s canopies with internal supports is approximately 100kg, while the static weight is between 350kg and 400kg."
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Follow Up By: Mel2 - Thursday, Jan 26, 2023 at 06:24

Thursday, Jan 26, 2023 at 06:24
Thankyou! I must have missed that but when I was looking into it! Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Spoonman - Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 at 17:32

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 at 17:32
Have done plenty of automotive fridgie stuff (for ag equipment).
A fridgie with a clue should easily be able to add another evap and valving. refrigerant, maybe oil, fan (depending on the car - I'm looking at you Ford).

I used to grab them from the wreckers from the massive 7+ seater SUVs getting around that have 80000 zone climate control.

Depends on your appetite for home brew solutions - there's going to be fine tuning; you'll probably break something more than you would OEM.
AnswerID: 642745

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 at 18:25

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023 at 18:25
Living remotely, im usually pretty good at DIY and teaching myself how to fix things, but i just cant get my head around air conditioning and the electrical side of it...

Thanks though. We have a bit of ag machinery here so ill have a chat to our machinery mechanic and see what he knows. Hes fixed the AC on our loader and one of the utes so he knows the basics at least.


cheers
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FollowupID: 922366

Reply By: Pepper - Monday, Jan 30, 2023 at 20:02

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 at 20:02
This week i was camped next to a bloke that had installed a small air cond purchased from bunnings in the rear of the canopy of a gu patrol.

About 300mm x 300mm and cost roughly $350 ran off 240v and through an inverter from battery..

If you have email address i will send photo..
AnswerID: 642764

Follow Up By: Mel2 - Monday, Jan 30, 2023 at 20:07

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 at 20:07
That definately sounds like a possible soultion and i would really appreciate some photos if you have them. My email address is m.adams1991@hotmail.com

thankyou
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FollowupID: 922384

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