…and were stuck with analog thermometers.
Now it’s the future. I’m an old burnout who hasn’t turned a wrench for money in 30 years. The twelve people on the continent who still wear wristwatches use analog, but the humblest kitchen has at least one digital thermometer I’d have killed for when I was repairing auto air conditioners.
Does that seem right to you?
This evening we’re testing a genuine custom-built Redneck AC Unit, made of a Styrofoam cooler, a cheap desk fan and a couple of plumbing elbows. The actual cooling element is a one-gallon jug of water, frozen solid.
Unfortunately the ambient temperature really isn’t very hot, so the most important question – will it make an unbearable room livable – is beyond us today. But we can at least get an accurate read of the output temperature, using this cheap roasting thermometer which was beyond the power of consumer technology when I was a strong young stud.
The procedure as shown in the AC repair manual was very simple. Turn the cooling fan to Low. Stick the probe of your (mechanical, analog) thermometer into a blower outlet and wait five minutes. The manual probably specifies less time these days.
And the verdict is…
Of course an auto interior is a tightly closed space surrounded by glass and exposed to really vicious sunlight. When you think about it, it requires one hell of an AC system to literally remain survivable with the windows rolled up. So maybe this isn’t so bad.
Right now it’s blowing on my back from about 8 feet away, and to tell the truth it feels kind of nice. Also the room temperature has dropped slightly in half an hour, with most of the windows open.
I’d love a chance to test it during a real June heatwave, but I don’t have one of those handy. But for this short test, the stars read…