Portable HVAC Test Unit – How To Build A Thunderstorm Inside A Shipping Container!


One of our customers approached us back in January 2018. They needed us to design and build a portable rain test unit for their HVAC units.

They needed it to deliver a thunderstorm’s worth of water over a 15 minute period. We christened it The Deluge.

The portable HVAC testing unit has been built inside a 20 ft shipping container.
The Deluge being loaded onto a truck.

The Deluge had to be portable but also large enough to properly cover the HVAC. The customer chose portability in the end, which was the purpose for this project. To meet these requirements it was decided to build The Deluge into a 20 foot high cube shipping container. Can’t get much more portable than that!


What’s Inside?

The container was divided into two sections by a wall. In one section was a control room that housed the pump, filters, electrics and control elements, and in the other section was a spray room. The spray room housed the water storage tank and spray system.

A massive double bi-fold door was cut into the side of the container, to allow the HVAC to be positioned inside. From beside this door the operator had controls to turn the spray system on and off, and view the measured volumetric flow rate.

Viewing and access windows on the portable HVAC testing unit.
The bi-fold doors cut into the side of the container.


Changes On The Run

As with any large job the customer’s requirements changed and we accommodated these changes:

  • They needed to be able to operate the HVAC unit during testing and so penetrations were put in the wall and cables run to allow this.
  • It was also decided it would be convenient to be able to use this for multiple models of HVAC, and so more cables were run through the wall.
  • Connections were also provided at the control panel, so the operator could control the HVAC units with their computer.
Control panel on the portable HVAC testing unit.
The control panel.


The Outcome

This project was unusual and presented plenty of new challeneges, both for us and the customer. But was nothing we couldn’t handle and was one of the most exciting jobs we have undertaken.

We employed the services of many local businesses for painting, protective coatings, electrical work and so on.

The end result was one very happy customer!


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