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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kulcar from Sonray Review

I received this product for the purpose of this review. All opinions states are my own and may differ from yours.
Our next review is for the Kulcar solar powered car ventilator system from Sonray. You know how hard it is to do a review of an item that runs on solar power when the weather keeps turning horrible whenever I have the time to do the actual review? Eventually everything lined up for me to try out the unit. Though the sun never lasts.

As you may or may not know from a past article, the air conditioning in my vehicle needs to get a boost of refrigerant each summer. The A/C Pro worked great to get things going again but it still can use a little help. Even with a perfect air conditioning, when you return to your car after it sits in the parking lot all day at work/shopping, it is going to be hot. 

Kulcar Setup

The way the Kulcar works is you set it up in your car's window when you park your car and go into work, or the mall, or wherever you'll be for a long time. When you return to the vehicle, the Kulcar will take the edge off that initial rush of heat when you reenter the vehicle, and thus cool down much more quickly when you turn the A/C back on.
Initial setup requires you to cut down a rubber strip that acts like the buffer between the Kulcar and the rest of the window top. One side is precut. The other side you must cut to the right length. After cutting, you only need to raise and lower the window to position the Kulcar perfectly. Then, just adjust the position of the solar panel so it points towards the sun. You shouldn't leave it in the window while driving though, so you'll only want to set it up if you're staying somewhere for at least a couple hours.
Here's what the unit looks like in my truck where the sun is directly overhead. This brings up an important point. One unit was not sufficient to cool the truck down. There's more on the other side. 
Dual Kulcar Units Installed
Dual Kulcar Units Installed
One unit can handle a small vehicle. Two units work well for a larger, family size, vehicle. Three is necessary for an SUV where you have that large cargo area in the back. Obviously, that adds to the setup time when you first arrive at  your destination, and breakdown time when its time to leave, too.
I found this graph to help show the temperature differences the Kulcar can create, with and without a unit in the window. The graph shows temperatures in Celsius. I'll convert to Fahrenheit for you. Let's say the day starts at 77° F outside and grows to 97 1/2° F over the course of the day. Without the unit, the inside of the car can get to 194°. With a single unit, in an appropriately sized vehicle, the inside temperature can peak at just 125°. With two units, that can drop to just 112°. Obviously, the bigger the vehicles, the higher the temp. And, it is important to note that they won't keep the vehicle cool enough to leave a pet (or child) in the vehicle. It just won't grow so ridiculously hot.

The graph also shows that at 150°, harmful gases are emitted by the plastics from the 
dashboard and car seats. How much and how harmful is subject to debate (Toxic Benzene in Parked Cars), but the fans in the units can help remove those gases, even if the temperature gets too high.
The look from inside
My experiences with the unit are still up in the air. I've had a bad streak of weather to really try out the unit heavily. Whenever I had the time to try it out, the weather would change or we had a string of thunderstorms. One day I wanted to use it, we even had a tornado nearby. The key thing to get the most out of the unit is you have to have your car parked outside regularly for long periods of time in the sun. If that works for you, you'll get the most out of the system. I'm not sure if Boston is the best place for using it. Perhaps the midwest, Florida, Arizona, Texas, or southern California where the sunny season is much longer would be better for it. At $89 / unit from Amazon (regularly $129), you really want to get your money's worth.
The thing I liked most about trying this out though is it taught my son about solar power. After a while, he finally understood that there was no battery in the unit. The only thing I wish it had was an on/off switch. If the unit is in the sun, no matter where it is located, the fan will be on.
*Read my Disclosure

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