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Old 30th June 2021, 22:34   #1
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Default How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Because of Covid and also cost issues, I have been thinking of sleeping in my Polo during my travels. For several months of the year, this will be impossible without the aircon running. I had asked VW whether I could run the aircon from a solar-powered battery when the engine is off. They said the aircon does not turn on when the engine is off. I am guessing this is because the compressor is run mechanically by the engine and not by an electric motor. Is there a workaround? Will appreciate help with this.
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Old 1st July 2021, 06:40   #2
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Default re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

It'll be too complicated. There are computers modules to control the AC compressor, fan blowers, and condenser fan. These will need to be able to run individually without engine power. Also, car ACs are not for stationary applications. They are made to run with flowing air.

You're better off trying to get a portable battery + fan for sleeping in the car.
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Old 1st July 2021, 07:43   #3
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Default re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Quote:
Originally Posted by vox_alienus View Post
Because of Covid and also cost issues, I have been thinking of sleeping in my Polo during my travels. For several months of the year, this will be impossible without the aircon running. I had asked VW whether I could run the aircon from a solar-powered battery when the engine is off. They said the aircon does not turn on when the engine is off. I am guessing this is because the compressor is run mechanically by the engine and not by an electric motor. Is there a workaround? Will appreciate help with this.
If you want to sleep in the car, It is better to keep the engine running to switch on the AC than to go for any modifications. At idling, a small car with 1.2 lit engine would consume around 0.6 to 0.8 liters of petrol per hour.

This translates to around Rs. 60 to 80 per hour. One doesn't (and can't) sleep in the car for 8 hours. It will be for 5 to 6 hours, so it shall cost Rs. 300 to 500.

I have tried sleeping in the car few times; it has another problem. For safety against possible AC gas leak, one needs to keep the windows slightly open. This invites mosquitoes as well as the other insects inside the car.

Instead of having 4 - 5 hours of sleep in the car at Rs. 300 to 500 and that too in an uncomfortable position, it is better to roam around and find out a cheap hotel. You will spend a few hundred more but you will have good 7 - 8 hours of sleep, you can use the toilet and have a bath too. To take care of covid, you can sanitize all surfaces where you need to touch, like buttons, door handles etc.

Last edited by Rahul Bhalgat : 1st July 2021 at 07:46.
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Old 1st July 2021, 08:01   #4
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Sleeping in the car comes with way too many issues, dude! India is a crime-infested country, especially at night. God forbid something happens to you or your family. Then, you might also suffer health issues from sleeping in the car several nights. As Rahul said, just check into a cheap hotel if budget is a problem and be comfortable. You could also have a barter with friends where you stay at their place out of town, and offer them a bed in your home when they are visiting your home city.

Don't know where you are thinking of travelling, but outside of the big cities, there are dirt cheap hotel options available.
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Old 1st July 2021, 08:16   #5
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

I hope above replies clearly imply that not only it is not recommended but also not possible or viable. Better options are also suggested.
But, if you are still keen, following pictures may be considered to deter you from this option.

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Not for serious consideration

Last edited by Amrik Singh : 1st July 2021 at 08:38.
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Old 1st July 2021, 08:33   #6
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Quote:
Originally Posted by vox_alienus View Post
Because of Covid and also cost issues, I have been thinking of sleeping in my Polo during my travels.
Pros and cons for sleeping in the car:-

Pros:-
1) Avoiding hotel stay, prevention for Covid.
2) Saving on some money.

Cons:-
1) You have to keep the car running and there is a chance for CO poisoning. See various articles online and YouTube videos.
2) Major security issue. This can tempt someone to rob you.
3) It is uncomfortable to sleep in the car, even with seats full down. With few hours of disturbed sleep, you will be anyway lethargic after you restart driving. 8 hours of sleeping in the car vs 5/6 hours of sleeping in a decent hotel is quite different.
4) For safety, you will have to keep the windows slightly down, which can attract mosquitoes and other insects. And once they are inside, it will get very irritating.
5) Stationary car at a irregular location with engine on and out of state number plate can attract cops at night, who are on their rounds. There will be unnecessary questioning which may lead to nothing but "chai-pani" in the end.

Last edited by ruzbehxyz : 1st July 2021 at 08:35.
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Old 1st July 2021, 09:16   #7
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Default

Thanks, all of you, for pointing out the issues. Indeed, it looks like hotels/homestays are a much better option. Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amrik Singh View Post
I hope above replies clearly imply that not only it is not recommended but also not possible or viable. Better options are also suggested.
But, if you are still keen, following pictures may be considered to deter you from this option.


Not for serious consideration
This is nice. Will have to consider.

Just kidding.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 1st July 2021 at 09:40. Reason: Merging back to back posts. please use edit option when replying.
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Old 1st July 2021, 09:45   #8
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

One of our members has done this on trips in his Safari. (not able to recollect the member's name). Per his posts, idling for the duration of sleep, with a/c on. The windows a little open so that he is not stuck with recirculated air.

A/c with engine off ? No can do.
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Old 1st July 2021, 12:22   #9
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Never sleep in a car with the air conditioner on as there are far too many incidents where the occupants have passed away due to poisoning. Like others have said try finding an affordable room by planning in advance and searching for the same on google etc. It is way better than sleeping in your car. Get apps related to hotels, rooms, accommodations installed and carry a room sanitizer to sanitize the room once you get there.
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Old 1st July 2021, 12:29   #10
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Quote:
Originally Posted by vox_alienus View Post
Because of Covid and also cost issues,
Covid:
Purchase some cans of Aerosol based Sanitizer.
Spray them liberally in the air, inside your hotel room.

Alternatively, buy a portable fogging machine (Rs5000 max).
Use the fogging to completely sanitize your hotel room.

Cost Issues:
Due to the covid situation, almost all hotels are available for cheap prices.
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Old 1st July 2021, 13:29   #11
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Much cheaper to just park in a 24x7 petrol pump and keep the engine running all night with the A/c on. I've done it and its fine. But wont be possible to run the A/C without the engine on. I did keep one of the rear windows a tad down for fresh air.

But yes, I would only do this if I had challenges finding a hotel, else a hotel is always preferable to get a good nights rest.
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Old 1st July 2021, 13:43   #12
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalvaz View Post
I did keep one of the rear windows a tad down for fresh air.
Can't we just use the 'fresh air' mode in the AC instead?
Is it really required to open windows if the fresh air mode is used?
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Old 1st July 2021, 15:34   #13
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishek46 View Post
Can't we just use the 'fresh air' mode in the AC instead?
Is it really required to open windows if the fresh air mode is used?
My thoughts exactly.
The first thing which jumped to my mind when I read open windows was mosquitoes (and other assorted nocturnal insects). An open window could also mean a safety risk. I have seen enough movies where they sneak in a wire with a loop at the end and pull up the door unlock lever.
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Old 1st July 2021, 16:04   #14
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishek46 View Post
Can't we just use the 'fresh air' mode in the AC instead?
Is it really required to open windows if the fresh air mode is used?
I believe its always better to have some fresh air coming in from an open window, just in case there is some problem with the air conditioning, and too much carbon monoxide builds up. I just open the window a crack, so no security risk really. And I do make it a point to park in a well lit area of a petrol pump, where I also give the staff a tip and request them to wake me up on time. They usually oblige and pay attention in case of any issues.
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Old 1st July 2021, 16:11   #15
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Default Re: How to run the aircon when engine is off? I want to sleep in my car

I have slept many times in the car in past years' during peak summers, because of the fantastic electricity supply situation in UttaM Pradesh.
It wasn't as expensive then, because fuel was cheaper, but it is important to keep windows open a wee bit to avoid CO POISONING.

By the way, which would be the best car, say within a 25 lakh on road bracket, for 2 people to sleep in with max. possible comfort?
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