I live in Southern California and getting in to your car after it has been sitting in the sun is only enjoyable for those that consider hanging out in a sauna while dressed in your finest Brooks suit a good time.
So I did some searching on the InterWeb thinking surely someone is selling a solar powered fan I can stick in my car so it will not be so hot when I get in. I did find a few solar car fans for sale, but they all have horrible reviews. So I thought it must be that they are using cheap fans and solar panels that are too small. I envisioned that if I used a quality fan connected to a large solar panel, it will keep my car cool, and surely others are looking for the same thing–I can sell it and make millions.
So now you know the dream, here is the reality: I took a high quality fan, mated with a large solar panel that covers the entire rear dash of my car, and left a data logger in my car to see how much it lowers the temperature. The result, I think I was able to notice a 2 – 3 degree difference. I say “I think” because day to day the outside temperature is different and you can not be sure if the difference is from the fan, a lower outside temp, or some combination of the two. The fan works, you can feel the hot air flowing out of the car. I guess it is just the laws of physics–the heat energy coming in from the hot sun is dwarfed by the amount of heat the fan can pull through the cracked windows.
You can see the pictures of what I put together below in case you want to give it a try. With a bigger panel and more fans, I am sure at some point you can get a decent reduction in temperature. Actually someone has already done this:
Look at features.
Here is what the Maybach does: “In sufficient lighting conditions, five rows of six silicon solar cells generate approximately 60 watts to power the vehicle ventilation fans, after the engine has been shut off. Solar module is included with the Electrotransparent glass roof package.”
If you are thinking, forget building a solar panel power car cooling fan, I’ll just get me a Maybach. Read all about these rolling luxury transportation systems here. I quickly came to the conclusion buying some extra Brooks suits to soak up the sweat would be a lower cost option.
Car fan running and off on alternate days
As for the millions I was going to make selling Solar Powered Car Fans, I guess I will live under the weight of my broken dreams and get back to work on my other side projects:
High resolution control room amplifiers
Used by some of the world’s top mastering and recording studios
(Pic of my engineering/test unit)