DIY Air Conditioner Built from Cardboard

As a homeowner, if your air conditioning system isn’t working correctly, you take care of it by either calling an HVAC company or working…

Jeremy S. Cook
2 years ago

As a homeowner, if your air conditioning system isn’t working correctly, you take care of it by either calling an HVAC company or working on it yourself. If, however, you live in a college dorm, your options can be a little more limited.

After his room kept heating up due to an uncontrolled furnace, student-hacker Devon Crawford decided to make his own Arduino and cardboard “air conditioning” system that pushes cold air in from the outside to keep things cool. Electronics include temperature sensors and an Arduino, for controlling the speed of three fans for two temperature zones. An LCD is used to display the current temperatures and setpoints, and wiring is via a bare breadboard.

The most striking feature of this HVAC unit, though, is that the ducting is made out of cardboard and held onto the ceiling with hot glue. Additionally, control wires are duct taped in place, the aesthetics of which are likely lost on non-college students and resident advisors.

While he describes his setup as “sketchy,” he also notes that it does work quite well, certainly due to his location in Canada. Regardless of his location, it’s pretty amazing what you can do with limited tools and materials, especially considering that this is Crawford’s first Arduino project. Check out the build progress in the video seen below, or his code on GitHub.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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