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Old 09-06-2016, 03:07 PM   #1
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Cool Air Conditioner re-do

Two years ago I replaced the hvac unit on my 35ft trawler. I bought a Dometic ecd16k unit from West Marine. Two weeks ago the air conditioner quit cooling. I had a tech to come and recharge the unit and he could find no leaks at that time. Two days later no more cool air. I removed the unit from the boat and we found that the heat exchanger or condenser, had a leak that went to the water circulation tubing. I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them. Also they have only one year warranty on parts and 6 mo. labor. I am currently trying to get another condenser, as the tech gave me the part number. For $400 plus shipping, and then to have an a/c tech install and recharge the system $? I wonder if just biting the bullet and buying a new unit would make more sense? At any rate I won't buy another Dometic unit. That includes marineaaaaaair and Cruisair.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:15 PM   #2
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I have had good luck with Mermaid.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:25 PM   #3
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I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them.
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I have had good luck with Mermaid.
That's an eye opener.....

As an aside, my Mermaid as been running for 25 years. When it finally goes, I'm going Ocean Breeze..
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:26 PM   #4
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Have you called West Marine to get their take? You may get lucky. On another thread, someone returned an item out of warranty and WM made good.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by waterfront View Post
"I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them."


That sure is an odd thing for a manufacturer to say, or admit.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:53 AM   #6
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"I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them."

That bit of info should be shared on every marine site in existance!
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:21 AM   #7
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Have you called West Marine to get their take? You may get lucky. On another thread, someone returned an item out of warranty and WM made good.

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Old 09-07-2016, 06:32 AM   #8
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I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them. Also they have only one year warranty on parts and 6 mo. labor.
Sadly, that really doesn't surprise me. Think that's been going on for decades outside the marine industry. Remember going with a friend in the early 80s to a large catalog store to get a "Deal" on two pump shotguns for his nephews. Think we looked though a half a dozen "new in the box" guns. Nothing that prevented the guns from working. Just seconds like nicked stocks or the front sight bead off center. Think that goes on a lot where the biggest retailer beats the manufacturer down on price and then the manufacturer dumps his seconds there. I can also see where a big retail chain is negotiating a price and the manufacturer says ok, but we shorten the warranty so I can save some cost. Warranties have a cost to the manufacturer. The chain retailer is only concerned about selling the name brand product at a better margin.

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Old 09-07-2016, 07:44 AM   #9
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Two years ago I replaced the hvac unit on my 35ft trawler. I bought a Dometic ecd16k unit from West Marine. Two weeks ago the air conditioner quit cooling. I had a tech to come and recharge the unit and he could find no leaks at that time. Two days later no more cool air. I removed the unit from the boat and we found that the heat exchanger or condenser, had a leak that went to the water circulation tubing. I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them. Also they have only one year warranty on parts and 6 mo. labor. I am currently trying to get another condenser, as the tech gave me the part number. For $400 plus shipping, and then to have an a/c tech install and recharge the system $? I wonder if just biting the bullet and buying a new unit would make more sense? At any rate I won't buy another Dometic unit. That includes marineaaaaaair and Cruisair.
I had the very same problem and paid a tech to replace it with the same brand. Less than five years later it failed with the same issue. The repair guy wouldn't stand behind it and neither would Dometic. I made the same decision not to buy from them again.

The technician (well known in my area) also told me an "untruth" when he claimed that nobody made an air conditioner with electric resistance heating instead of reverse cycle. My thinking is that resistance heating cuts down on compressor usage and wear by 50%. Also, both failures occurred during the winter when water temperature was near the lower limit for these units.

Research determined that Flagship Marine Marine Air Conditioning Systems - water, air and keel cooled. makes what I was looking for, would customize a unit to meet my needs, was priced reasonably, and would sell to me direct and ship a unit to me.

I installed the Flagship unit myself and it has been working fine for a couple years now. I am happy with my choice.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:45 PM   #10
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My Yachtair units have resistance heating. Unfortunately that company seems to have gone out of business a few years ago.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #11
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Mermaid Air Conditioning offers resistance heat as an option on some of their units.

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Old 09-07-2016, 10:39 PM   #12
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"I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them."

That bit of info should be shared on every marine site in existance!
First I'd make 100% sure that is a factual statement.
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Old 09-08-2016, 06:28 AM   #13
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"First I'd make 100% sure that is a factual statement."

It would not be a great surprise , the local JD lawn folks claim the JD units sold by the big box stores are an inferior version of their models.

True? Who knows!


"My Yachtair units have resistance heating. Unfortunately that company seems to have gone out of business a few years ago."

Most air cond assembly folks simply purchase almost all the parts from a mfg source and only the sheet metal they are mounted on is theirs.

Repair Parts should not be a big hassle .
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:56 AM   #14
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"I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them."

That bit of info should be shared on every marine site in existance!
Only if it can be confirmed (in writing). There is way too much BS posted on the Internet.

I would think it would be a poor business practice to manufacture inferior products and put your own brand name on them.
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:18 AM   #15
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Done all the time.

Manufacturer builds to a price point for the retailer.

Marine industry is not immune.

Neighbour was in the tool repair business. There were different Bosch hammer drills... he knew by glancing at it which box store I bought it from, and those ones were not repairable... All our tools are like this for a couple decades now.

The mass of "model numbers" for an apparently identical product also differentiates the warranties, and also prevents us from comparison price shopping/matching, as they are "not the same unit"...

If the unit model in your store of choice cannot be found elsewhere, you may reasonably suspect it has been specifically built for that retailer.

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Old 09-08-2016, 11:03 AM   #16
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I'd suspect electrolysis if condensers are failing. tube in tube (coaxial heat exchangers) are common parts in the HVAC trade. If you know how to recover refrigerant, cut, & braze copper, evac, pressure test, evac, and charge.. you don't need hvac techs
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Old 09-27-2016, 05:09 PM   #17
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Talking

To finalize the saga of the air conditioner re-do, I now have AC . I got the condenser coil from Dometic. I actually had to cut the aluminum housing for the condenser away from it. Bulled the old unit out and installed the new one. A friend in the ac business came over and soldered the new one in, pressure tested, and then recharged the unit. The housing was pop-riveted back together and the unit reinstalled. Two weeks have passed and all is still working great. Plan A actually worked !
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfront View Post
I called the Dometic tech support group, and was told that the units from big catalog stores (West Marine, Defender,etc. ) are not the same quality as units from them. Also they have only one year warranty on parts and 6 mo. labor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
"First I'd make 100% sure that is a factual statement."

It would not be a great surprise , the local JD lawn folks claim the JD units sold by the big box stores are an inferior version of their models.

True? Who knows!

Might sometimes be a salesman trying to present a reason to buy from him, versus from a big box store. Or a tech guy trying to 'splain why the warranty is different. True or not, perhaps not mattering in his/her mind at the time...


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The technician (well known in my area) also told me an "untruth" when he claimed that nobody made an air conditioner with electric resistance heating instead of reverse cycle. My thinking is that resistance heating cuts down on compressor usage and wear by 50%. Also, both failures occurred during the winter when water temperature was near the lower limit for these units.
FWIW, Dometic makes/sells a resistance heat option, too. It's just a bolt-on addition, as far as I know.

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Old 09-28-2016, 12:52 PM   #19
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"My thinking is that resistance heating cuts down on compressor usage and wear by 50%."

While this might be true the newest HW heaters for homes use heat pumps to heat the water with resistance heat as the backup.

About 1/3 the electric cost.
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:12 AM   #20
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"My thinking is that resistance heating cuts down on compressor usage and wear by 50%."

While this might be true the newest HW heaters for homes use heat pumps to heat the water with resistance heat as the backup.

About 1/3 the electric cost.
My mermaid works as a cooler (a/c) or as a heater (reverse cycle)....it works fine in both configurations but I never use it as a heater.
Much easier to turn on a hotplate and get silent heat. KISS
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