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Old 08-03-2013, 12:42 PM   #21
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City: Southern Maine
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Vessel Model: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
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Rick, Welcome! It's great to hear from another Prairie 36 owner!

The boat once had a split system with two compressors and three expansion units that I'm sure worked great, but the guts had been ripped out by a PO, leaving only the registers, thermostats and lots of wire and hose. One expansion unit was over the fridge, and one in each berth.

I ended up going with two 15,000 BTU Dometic systems. One went under the v-berth where one of the old expansion units was, and I used the same intake grill and one 4" duct to a diffuser over the stb side berth. I put a Y on the 6" outlet of the Dometic and ran a new 4" line to a diffuser just to the left of the steering wheel in the saloon. All this was accessible from the stowage area forward of the lower helm station.

The second unit went in the bottom of the stowage area at the bottom of the steps down to the aft cabin. From there it wasn't too hard to run one duct up to the saloon, to the right as you enter the port doorway, and another on the port side of the aft cabin.

None of these are ideal locations, but it's what I could do with what I had. It takes both units to keep the saloon cool on a really hot day, but then the berths get too cool. I hope that getting some shading on the windows and doors helps that in the future. A fan to mix things up helps a lot too.

The two seawater pumps went along the little shelf that the stbd fuel tanks sit on. The breaker panel was already wired for two compressors and I even go to re-use a couple of the wire runs, as well as the two through-hulls for the discharge water. Right now both systems drain to the bilge but I'm working on upgrading to shower sumps for the two showers, so these will eventually go there.

I looked around at other Prairie 36's on the market late last year and early this year. Did you just buy it?
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:57 PM   #22
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Thanks, I'm glad to have found this forum. We've had her since 1998. I belonged to various other Prairie/Atlantic forums over the years which have all seemed to fizzle out. I've done many many repairs/upgrades over the years, so hopefully I can add something useful to the community.

The PO (original) didn't order her with AC so I'll have to start from scratch. The electrical panel does have the 2nd service for AC but I haven't yet traced out the cable runs, etc. I'm going with marine units and your placement is similar to what I had in mind. I'm thinking a 16k unit for the salon/forward cabin with the unit in the closet forward of the helm. The return will be in the companion way and a vent on the helm "shelf" and one on the closet wall facing forward. The aft cabin unit (probably 12k) will go in one of the two lockers on the port.

I hope to do most of the work myself except for drilling the holes in the bottom, I'll let my fiberglass guy do that!!

Cheers,
Rick
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Old 09-09-2020, 06:46 AM   #23
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Vessel Name: Betsy Lee
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Bumping an old thread for more information on your 36 Prairie A/C installations locations.

We have to replace both the original units on our sister ship 37 Atlantic and we don't have many options for placement and ducting using the newer all in one units. (The current current split compressor / air handler system has a terrible configuration too.. as both supplies and returns are within inches of each other )

CaptTom - If I follow your previous comment, did you use the bottom of the closet on the port side of stair access to the aft bedroom? Our closet has has a lower shelf built in over the engine exhaust run so I don't know if a unit would fit. Would you have any pics of your install?

Our layout is galley down so we don't have any built in cabinetry in the saloon and the forward head is in front of the lower helm.

Rick - anything to share on how and where your install completed?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:52 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneeDeep View Post
CaptTom - If I follow your previous comment, did you use the bottom of the closet on the port side of stair access to the aft bedroom? Our closet has has a lower shelf built in over the engine exhaust run so I don't know if a unit would fit. Would you have any pics of your install?
Yes, that's where I put one unit. I don't recall if it was inboard of the exhaust hose or above it. I added a shelf above the AC, which is easily removable to give access to it. This location allowed me to run short ducts to both the aft cabin and the saloon.

Right now my problem is the long run for the cooling water from the thru-hull in the engine room. I added a new thru-hull for the outflow, but the long inflow hose still restricts it more than I'd like. It's fine in New England, but I think I'll want the full flow when I get to warmer climes. Much as I hate drilling yet another hole in my hull, that's on the list of winter projects.
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