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Old 06-30-2021, 12:11 PM   #1
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RV ac advice sought

Seaweed needs a "real" ac versus the wall-banger I've been using for several years. I picked the new (to me) 13.5k btu unit from Dometic. The one I chose was lighter weight (70 pounds) than the standard version that is over 100 poundss. Another bonus is that it fits between the two Bucky solar panels.

So I ordered it from http://rvpartscountry.com

Deep breath... tale of woe follows.

The bottom half (controls) arrived fine. The upper part, along with the heating element (missing that part) was dropped off. The box was open. Plastic that normally covers the unit was under it. Item arrived on its side. All four sides of the box said THIS SIDE UP with arrows.

Nope. My concern was that this thing sat on edge for the entire transport and vibration killed something inside. I'd paid for extra insurance to make sure there were no problems. Company wanted pictures. In process of doing that something was rattling inside.

They did accept the return. I have not received a refund. Yet.

So...

#1) Do I attempt to purchase a duplicate, or get one (if possible) from http://rvpartscountry.com ? I do have the serial number so they cannot send me back the same one even if they remove whatever rattled.

Do I look for one from another seller?

IMPORTANT to know. The 13.5 is being discontinued, replaced with a 15k. The price for the compete 13.5 (albeit broken) was $900. I've been quoted $1400 for the 15k and am not certain that includes the inside controls.

So, do I continue with what is essentially an obsolete unit... IF I can even locate same? Do I wait for Dometic to get the 15k in stock (possibly August)

I do not know the footprint of the 15 version. If it is wider it won't fit between the solar panels. ARGH.

So what should I do? At time of ordering I did not know the 13.5 was being discontinued. The 15k is $500 more, though I do not want to be penny wise and pound foolish.

What would you do if you were me? And thanks for reading this.
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:53 PM   #2
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I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but have you considered a mini-split system? They tend to be less expensive and more efficient than an RV unit. The mounting considerations are of course different. Something like this, 12,000 BTU, 120V AC for around $600 and you could potentially order a unit shipped to your local home improvement store to eliminate shipping issues.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/AUX-AUX-12-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 06-30-2021, 02:07 PM   #3
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I know this isn't exactly what you asked, but have you considered a mini-split system? They tend to be less expensive and more efficient than an RV unit. The mounting considerations are of course different. Something like this, 12,000 BTU, 120V AC for around $600 and you could potentially order a unit shipped to your local home improvement store to eliminate shipping issues.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/AUX-AUX-12-...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
Thank you for reminding me of this option. I did check again, in case the components had altered. Unfortunately the inside blower part fits nowhere. It simply cannot work aboard Seaweed. But thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:52 PM   #4
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That's unfortunate but certainly understandable. The footprint of the indoor unit requires a pretty large wall space that would be difficult to find on many boats. Seems like your only choice is to obtain a rooftop unit again.

Maybe you could purchase a unit through a large retailer like camping world and pick up at their store to minimize the chance of shipping damage. I'm sure this has it's own set of challenges as well, but it's a thought.
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Old 06-30-2021, 04:04 PM   #5
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How aggravating! Glad you got it returned though. I would not have accepted it either.

I would not buy from them again, personally. That's just based on one time I was considering it and did some online research and was not pleased.

As far as a new unit: If it were me I would consider the Coleman Polar Cub 9,200 btu (I guess it's now called AirXcel Mach 8 plus Cub 9,200 btu but looks like the exact same thing).

It weighs 87# and is 8-1/4" tall. It's not particularly narrow but I wouldn't think it would be any wider than a typical RV roof unit? (Shroud width 28.4", and length 41.1") Locked Rotor Amps are 58.4

I have not bought it yet, but that is the unit I chose for my small RV. Reasons as follows:

1) Low profile so it will shade my solar panels as little as possible.

2) Could run reasonably from Honda EU2200 if desired*

3) Locked rotor amps not as high as some others (if too high then add hard start capacitor).

4) I felt it would be enough cooling (you may differ).

Maybe you have already ruled that one out for some other reason.

I would still find someplace else to buy whatever unit you now decide on, IMO.

Frosty

(Feel free to PM if you want to chat about btu considerations; it may be too much nattering for in the thread.)

*A friend has run a 13,000 btu RV roof AC from a Honda EU2200, but the Honda is basically running flat out the whole time - even after it's started up and just running along - which is somewhat unpleasant. In contrast I ran a 5,000btu unit from the same generator and it was at absolute low idle the whole time (ahhhh). Obviously 9,200 btu is somewhere in between.
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Old 06-30-2021, 06:16 PM   #6
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Forget the resistance heating element and purchase a heat pump.

You do realize that in severe weather you will get water in through the unit. The drains in an RV unit are not designed to handle massive amounts of water. You may also experience condensate draining in if you using the unit while underway.

Bruce
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:08 PM   #7
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You do realize that in severe weather you will get water in through the unit. The drains in an RV unit are not designed to handle massive amounts of water. You may also experience condensate draining in if you using the unit while underway.
While I haven't had an RV AC on the roof of a boat, I have seen that a number of pocket cruisers have them (eg Rosborough, C-Dory, etc.). From what I gather (casual forum reading) there are no remarkable leaking issues (granted they are not crossing oceans and perhaps green water is not coming over their cabintops).

It sounds like they do die after around a decade or so. That may be more related to salt air location (vs. RV's that tend to not always be next to the ocean).

I wouldn't put one on a bluewater boat though.

Edited to add: I don't know that most of the people I mentioned would be running them underway. I say that because most of these boats do not have built in generators, and I doubt too many people run a Honda generator while underway. Just guessing on that though.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:18 PM   #8
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Keep hunting and haunting the RV stores for an exact replacement. You can do this online.
If it is within driving distance, (2 or 3 hours) you go pick it up. Considerate a vacation. Open the box and inspect it for damage before you tote it back to the boat.

Without the exact measurements, you cannot determine if the 15k will fit between your solar panels.
I did an internet search on the Coleman Polar Cub 9,200 btu and found many different brands for an alternative.
I dont think any of them are set up for seawater spray etc.
Of course, you will need a generator, when away from the dock.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:49 PM   #9
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I did an internet search on the Coleman Polar Cub 9,200 btu and found many different brands for an alternative.
Ooh, that is interesting. I didn't know the Polar Cub 9,200 btu really had any competitors in the RV roof AC world. It'd be great to have more than one option in the smaller btu (under 10,000) and low profile category.

There used to be more of that small type, but I thought all the rest had gone away (you know, everything has to get bigger).

What did you come up with? That could be really useful info. Much appreciated.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:57 PM   #10
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Ooh, that is interesting. I didn't know the Polar Cub 9,200 btu really had any competitors in the RV roof AC world. It'd be great to have more than one option in the smaller btu (under 10,000) and low profile category.

There used to be more of that small type, but I thought all the rest had gone away (you know, everything has to get bigger).

What did you come up with? That could be really useful info. Much appreciated.
I came up with lots of alternative..... it would be best if you and others did the search. Too many to mention.
She may get better use out of a smaller A/C and 2 or 3 compartment fans to blow down into the berthing area.
I have a 12K for a lot bigger space than her boat.
A 5K maybe too small so maybe a 9K or 10K or less would serve her needs better?

Per a separate gasoline driven generator? Two types of fuel and where is it to be located. Remember the station wagon effect? Running the generator with the back door open will draw the exhaust into the boat. Even with the back door open, some exhaust may be drawn into the boat and that is bad for the occupants.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:57 PM   #11
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great information. I'm taking notes.

The 5k btu wall banger will only cool my galley area in the heat of summertime, not the pilothouse.

As for sizing, a friend in Apalachicola suggested that RV construction and specifically insulation is worse now than ever. He theorizes that is why the btu counts are going up.

Seaweed's beauty is in her large windows. That creates a greenhouse effect. It can get miserable hot in here, especially at a dock. Going over to an rv unit means admitting to myself that while docked I can just plug in.

At anchor with my sun shades up, and the breezes along with fans I have been okay except in the hottest muggy days. The 5k btu wall banger will run off my Yamaha 1k.

Fellows can start a 2k Honda. I do not have the upper body strength to start a cold Honda 2k. I can restart the 2k, if it is warmed up. The Yamaha 1k has two advantages over the Honda. #1) I can start her with three pulls. She has a fuel shut off valve. Turn that and 4 minutes later she sputters to a stop with an empty carburetor.

The rv unit will strictly be for dock use, unless can figure out how to shoehorn in one of those beautiful NextGen3.5 units.... golly gee, they surely do look pretty. 63 decibels with the enclosure. Be still my heart!!!
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Old 06-30-2021, 10:10 PM   #12
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That's unfortunate but certainly understandable. The footprint of the indoor unit requires a pretty large wall space that would be difficult to find on many boats. Seems like your only choice is to obtain a rooftop unit again.

Maybe you could purchase a unit through a large retailer like camping world and pick up at their store to minimize the chance of shipping damage. I'm sure this has it's own set of challenges as well, but it's a thought.
Thats a good idea. Thank you Cap'n.
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Old 06-30-2021, 10:28 PM   #13
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I came up with lots of alternative..... it would be best if you and others did the search. Too many to mention.
I'm always perfectly happy to do my own research.

But I must be doing something wrong and perhaps you could give a hint.

I put this into Google:

9,200 btu rv roof air conditioner

In the first 4 pages of Google hits, I see 99% of the hits are the Polar Cub I mentioned above. There is one mention of a "RecPro" 9.5k btu (which I did not know about before).

Since so many of us with smaller RV's (and boats) like these smaller roof AC's, it would be great to have lots of alternatives (especially now when the Polar Cub is hard to find).

I'd be most grateful if you could let slip a few of the other names.

Thanks,
Frosty
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Old 06-30-2021, 10:40 PM   #14
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RV AC options

My first choice is a mini split - experience with 2 self installes - was shocked how efficient and queit they are.
Another option is a rollaround portable :
Midea MAP08R1CWT 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner, Dehumidifier, Fan, for Rooms up to 150 sq ft, 8,000 BTU (5,300 BTU SACC) control with Remote , White-



very small and quiet, cost effective. No compressors on the roof, mounting can take some creativity. Dometic has never worked for me - their tchnology seems to run a few years behind.
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Old 07-01-2021, 06:02 AM   #15
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The RV rooftops work well, there is no sealing problem as potholes can create higher G forces than waves.

Since hot air rises the RV units do a better job of cooling as they recirculate the air in the boat.

A sunshade outside the boat is best at reflecting and not absorbing heat.

We fit sunshades that could be installed either inside or outside , sometimes just for privacy at a busy zoo dock.
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Old 07-01-2021, 06:46 AM   #16
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We fit sunshades that could be installed either inside or outside , sometimes just for privacy at a busy zoo dock.
The ATs use a 2 part system.... sunshade and because at night, people can see in, if the lights are on, lower the solid shade too.

Per the pilot house, I elected to mount the canvas on the inside. They will last longer. Can remove them w/o going outside.
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Old 07-01-2021, 08:25 AM   #17
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I would go with the smaller, cheaper unit. There is a lot to be said for a basically "drop in" unit. Don't worry about the discontinued aspect of the unit. It will probably be supported for a while. These units last a long time. The newer model will probably be discontinued by the time replacement parts are needed anyway.

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Old 07-01-2021, 08:30 AM   #18
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A reminder. I doubt if any of the RV roof top A/C units can with stand prolong salt spray and mist so the life may be considerably less.
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Old 07-01-2021, 08:48 AM   #19
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A reminder. I doubt if any of the RV roof top A/C units can with stand prolong salt spray and mist so the life may be considerably less.
I've worked on tugs that had rooftop units in the wheelhouse. They all came from flagshipmarine.com
You should check them out

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Old 07-01-2021, 11:35 AM   #20
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great information. I'm taking notes.
Fellows can start a 2k Honda. I do not have the upper body strength to start a cold Honda 2k. I can restart the 2k, if it is warmed up. The Yamaha 1k has two advantages over the Honda. #1) I can start her with three pulls. She has a fuel shut off valve. Turn that and 4 minutes later she sputters to a stop with an empty carburetor.

The rv unit will strictly be for dock use, unless can figure out how to shoehorn in one of those beautiful NextGen3.5 units.... golly gee, they surely do look pretty. 63 decibels with the enclosure. Be still my heart!!!
Janice,

I have a Honda EU3000is that I use with my RV. It has electric start and is much quieter than the EU2000 models (which I had previously) at 57db at rated load and only 50db at 1/4 load. It's quite a bit more expensive at around $2,200 but that's still 1/3 of the cost of even the cheapest marine generator. It is heavy (130 pounds) and a somewhat bigger than the EU2000 most are familiar with, but it is a much better built unit than even the EU2000 with a commercially rated engine. It runs my 13,000 BTU rooftop AC unit on my RV just fine.

The smaller units tend to be targeted to light duty. The EU2000 engine doesn't even have connecting rod bearings, it's just an aluminum connecting rod riding on a steel crank pin. I had a pair of them joined together with Honda's pairing cable and my RV's AC killed them both with rod knocks and oil full of metal after just one season. The 3000 hardly notices the load and is performing as new after 3 seasons, with no metal in the oil.

Anyhow, just a field report of a generator option that provides a good bit of power without the pull start issue.
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