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Old 06-03-2014, 07:39 PM   #1
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Rear AC...Cold or Cool?

My rear AC is struggling to stay running on generator power. It appears to surge and draws too many amps and the compressor kicks off. Works fine on shore power but doesn't really seem that cold to me and will slowly bring the temperature down. Should it be puting out colder air than this? Or is this normal?
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:57 PM   #2
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That's not normal. The AC should be able to freeze you out on either generator or shore power. Sounds like you might need to take it back to dealer.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:02 PM   #3
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That is what I figured. Talked to Jim @ Airstream about the AC drawing too many amps that the compressor shuts down on generator power. On 30 amp shore power it was pulsating but up to 27 amps on my control panel.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:08 PM   #4
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They can test it for lock up. It sounds like the compressor is failing.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:29 PM   #5
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I am hoping it is just a capacitor or something easy.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:17 PM   #6
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What size generator are you running. You said rear A/C, meaning you have two. Are you running both?
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:57 PM   #7
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The rear (coach) A/C runs off shore power or the generator. Completely divorced from the chassis A/C.

Mine draws about 15-20 amps depending one the ambient temperature. On very hot days, I had to shut the inverter off to prevent it from shutting down.

While Dometic said I should see a 21* drop across the evaporator, I only could get about 17*. And when it's 90* and above, it struggles to keep the rear cool. It's only a little more than a 1 ton unit, so that's no surprise. The chassis unit is at least 7 tons.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_CA View Post
My rear AC is struggling to stay running on generator power. It appears to surge and draws too many amps and the compressor kicks off. Works fine on shore power but doesn't really seem that cold to me and will slowly bring the temperature down. Should it be putting out colder air than this? Or is this normal?
Any RV air conditioner operates within certain limits. On mine, the rear air conditioner will get the inside about 35 cooler than the roof temperature. I specifically mention the roof temperature because the temperature at the coils is the real determining factor on how cool the air conditioner will get the interior.

There are some things you can do to make the air conditioner work better. Parking in the shade obviously is better than parking in the sun because it keeps the Airstream's roof cooler. Keeping the MaxxFan open to exhaust hot air at roof level helps the air conditioner pump in cool air. And starting the air conditioner before the hottest part of the day will let it get cool without working as hard. Keeping cool is easier than getting cool in the first place.

But the most important thing is, on generator power, you should make sure you're not running anything else on generator power; the generator only puts out 20 amps 120vAC power, and you can't really run anything else except maybe a television while the generator is sucking up 15 amps of it. Or in your case up to 27 amps. Which is definitely not as it should be.

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What size generator are you running. You said rear A/C, meaning you have two. Are you running both?
The OP has an Interstate. It has an on-board Onan 2.5kW propane-fueled generator tucked up underneath. The rear A/C is roof-mounted. The front A/C is an automotive model built into the dashboard.
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Old 06-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #9
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On the older AI I owned, the genny never would continually run. The dealer could not fix it. One of the main reasons I sold it. Great vehicle otherwise but the onan 2.5 on propane is marginal in my opinion. Keeping the vent cracked is good advice and does help. The unit cooled very well but would cut off if any other load to the system was applied. Jim
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:36 AM   #10
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It seems as if the amperage draw is getting worse. When I first tried the AC on generator it wouldn't stay on but some of the settings were different than Airstream recommends. JP walked me through the correct settings and the AC would stay running with anywhere from 13-16 amp draw with an occasional surge to 22 amps. All is good.

I waited a few days and went back out to test (hotter day) and the AC compressor would not stay on with the new settings on the Magnum Controler. It is now up to an occasional 23-24 amp draw. Then yesterday the Power control gauge was showing up to 26 amps and JP @ Airstream wanted to know what it would read connected to 30 amp shore power. I had previously hooked to shore power and AC worked fine although didn't seem that cold to me. So, I hooked up, and was showing 13-15 amps with surges to 27 amps.

Will see how soon I can get it in for dealer to check out.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:42 AM   #11
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One other thing to consider when running the AC. We always leave the fan in the medium or low position. Then the only motor "surge" is the compressor when it starts. I know the amps for the fan are low, but it helps to keep the airflow and temp more constant in hot weather.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:46 AM   #12
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I tried the fan set @ auto, low, med & high. Didn't seem to matter.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:33 PM   #13
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Any RV air conditioner operates within certain limits. On mine, the rear air conditioner will get the inside about 35 cooler than the roof temperature. I specifically mention the roof temperature because the temperature at the coils is the real determining factor on how cool the air conditioner will get the interior.
Not sure how it can cool 35* below ambient when the advertised evap. temp. drop is only 21*. Mine struggled when it was 95* out to maintain 85* w/ the chassis A/C on Max/Recirc. One thing I didn't try was to crack a rear vent to push more air from the front to the rear.

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It seems as if the amperage draw is getting worse. When I first tried the AC on generator it wouldn't stay on but some of the settings were different than Airstream recommends. JP walked me through the correct settings and the AC would stay running with anywhere from 13-16 amp draw with an occasional surge to 22 amps. All is good.

I waited a few days and went back out to test (hotter day) and the AC compressor would not stay on with the new settings on the Magnum Controler. It is now up to an occasional 23-24 amp draw. Then yesterday the Power control gauge was showing up to 26 amps and JP @ Airstream wanted to know what it would read connected to 30 amp shore power. I had previously hooked to shore power and AC worked fine although didn't seem that cold to me. So, I hooked up, and was showing 13-15 amps with surges to 27 amps.

Will see how soon I can get it in for dealer to check out.
Try it w/ the inverter off.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:27 PM   #14
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Thanks Marc but I did try it with the invertor off. Didn't make a difference.
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