Keeping your rabbits cool

Keeping your rabbits cool during a hot Australian summer can be difficult, so I had to come up with a 5-star solution for ours.

Version 1IMG_1050

This was a very simple setup. It consisted of 4 parts

  • Bucket
  • Pump
  • PC Fan
  • Solar Panel

The principle was to have water splashing up in front of the fan and blowing into the rabbit cage. It wasn’t too bad, but not ideal.

 

Version 2

This was a bit more complex but could function as an Evaporative Cooler ( or Swamp Cooler for people in the USA ) for other purposes.

 

  • Bucket with a lid IMG_1652
  • Empty M&M’s bucket
  • PC fan
  • Tea Towel or similar fabric
  • Pump
  • Pipe
  • Glue
  • PVC Pipe
  • PVC 90 degree angle
  • Solar Panel

 

Build Process

 

  • Cut the bottom off the M&M’s bucket
  • Cut a matching hole in the lid of the bigger bucketIMG_1651
  • Lay the towel around the outside of the big bucket up near the top so you have space for water to sit in the bottom.
  • Draw a line either side so you know the width of the towel
  • Remove the towel and drill decent size holes between the two lines all around the bucket
  • Get your flexible pipe and plug up one end
  • Glue the pipe around the top-level of all the holes you just drilled and run the unblocked end down to the bottom of the bucket
  • Cut the pipe to size and attach the pump
  • Using a pin or similar, pierce holes in the side of the pipe so water sprays towards the middle of the bucket
  • At this point, it is a good time to test the plumbing IMG_1655
  • Put a bit of water in the bucket to cover the pump and power it either with a 12v supply
  • You should have water spraying into the middle of the bucket from all the holes. Adjust any that are not spraying enough
  • Empty the bucket and dry it all
  • Next glue the top and bottom of the towel inside the bucket. If the towel overlaps, cut it to size, or if it is not long enough you will need a second towel. The key is to make sure there are no gaps so all the air goes through the moist towel
  • Attach the fan to the M&M’s bucket, then attach the M&M’s bucket to the lid
  • Connect the pump power to the fan power and put the lid on the bucket.IMG_1666
  • You can then attach the PVC angle pipe to the top of the M&M bucket. I put screws in the bucket into the PVC pipe to hold it
  • Once it is all dry you can put some water in the bottom of the bucket and power it up
  • If you want to direct the airflow into something like a rabbit cage, it is easy to attach a length of PVC pipe to the 90 deg angle
  • You can either power it with a 12v power brick, or solar. If you  use a power brick, make sure the mains power side is waterproof.
  • The advantage of solar power is that you don’t need timers for night-time. The sun goes down, the fan turns off. The disadvantage is that it can still be quite hot at night.

IMG_1649 IMG_1653 IMG_1654 IMG_1650

 

Upgrade

An upgrade to the rabbit cooler to fix the night-time problem was a small battery backup.

I purchased a cheap solar battery charger from eBay and a 12v UPS battery.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Solar-Panel-Charge-Controller-Battery-Regulator-Safe-Protection-20A-10A-12V-24V-/381592177755?var=&hash=item58d8aa8c5b:m:m4jC7g9H77-GcwOu36UhlDg

It was a simple method of connecting the solar panel to the charger, the battery to the charger, and the cooler to the charger.

I chose a small battery so it would only run for a few hours after the sun went down.

This setup worked perfect but I overlooked one key issue, water.

It was all enclosed in a waterproof box with rubber seals, but to get the cables in and out, I drilled holes. That would have been fine if I then sealed around the cables, but I forgot to. After a few months of it working fine, I noticed it was no longer running. I opened the box to find everything corroded and swimming in water. Fail.

So, for now, I have the panel connected back up directly to the cooler. Maybe I will get around to rebuilding the charger.


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