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Old 08-01-2016, 12:41 PM   #1
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
San Francisco , California
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Posts: 22
creative AC solution

tl;dr

Any feedback on a portable AC/heater combo? I'd hide it (closet, under-carriage? or some good hiding place) and only run it from the generator or shore power.
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This question is for a 345 motorhome but is probably applicable to every other motorhome and, perhaps, the trailers.

Here's my situation,
* I have 2 working rooftop ACs (one OEM circa 1987 and another by a prior owner). However, I rarely run them as I live in coastal California and haven't gone inland to the desert much yet. Of course, they only work on generator or shore power. I'm not even sure I can run both at once without blowing a fuse.
* My in dash AC is crap ... needs a recharge.
* My in dash heater and aux heater (while motor is running) are great.
* I have a nearly new (prior owner) LP heater under my sink that works great.
* My bedroom heater has been removed (space is still there).

So, I've been thinking about getting heat to the bedroom as it does get cold here. Also, I kind of hate the rooftop AC look. Finally, I'm renovating my interior.

Here's an idea. All feedback is welcome.

1) Add relative cheap AC/heat portable unit from Costco (e.g., $400, 12.5BTU, heater/ac, unlimited return policy with no questions asked) in a hidden area (e.g., I could modify left rear closet to fit). Duct AC outlet to top of closet, and perhaps duct into front area with manual manifold selector.
2) add duct, fan and manifold to LP driven heater in front to allow heating of bedroom without using generator or shorepower.

If #1 and #2 work well, at a future date, I can remove rooftop ACs. Benefits include:
1) looks better, lower profile
2) I can reuse roof holes for better roof fans
3) and/or on #2, I want to add a custom aluminum roof rack to outside of moho ... surfboards, bikes, roof tent?. The old AC hole could be used for an internal access ladder.

Feedback?
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Old 08-01-2016, 01:10 PM   #2
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1975 20' Argosy 20
Chestfield , Kent
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No AC on Bella's roof



Because the ClimateRight, tiny house AC is mounted within the old generator compartment (along with the Honda Eu2000i generator)



And gets ducted out through the base of the twin beds to the center of the coach

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Old 08-01-2016, 01:43 PM   #3
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
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candidly, Bella inspired me on this front.
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Old 08-01-2016, 02:14 PM   #4
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1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
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Dometic makes a split 12 volt system that is lightweight, efficient, and smallish. I would investigate these types of systems before modifying to fit something.
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Old 08-01-2016, 07:44 PM   #5
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1979 24' Airstream Excella 24
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I remember reading about a trailer that a guy put a split unit in. He mounted the exterior unit on the hitch in place of the propane bottles. As I recall it worked very well. He had a Sprinter chassis with a flat bed to haul his mini Cooper and pull his trailer. With a little searching you should be able to find his thread. I agree with the concept of keeping the roof line clean. That's why I eliminated the antennae and took so much effort to keep my solar panels out of site.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:13 PM   #6
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I just installed a Mitsubishi Mimi split systems in my folks house. We moved back in to help them get a few more years living at home. The central air works well for the main floor. They freeze below 74 degrees. That leaves our quarters upstairs about 80. I installed a Mitsubishi mini split system with 2 air handlers. One in each bedroom. The system is nearly silent. Both indoor and outdoor units. The use variable speed fans and compressors. They run about 21seer

The system works so well I'm thinking About replacing the roof und replacing the roof units and propane system on the Rv. Replace the alternator with 220 vac generator. Just thinking out loud. Click image for larger version

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Old 08-01-2016, 08:44 PM   #7
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Smokelessjoe from Toronto is the man with the incredible rig. The A/C unit he used is at this link. Interesting but I think I might have to loose my spare tire.

http://www.lg-dfs.com

As for removing rooftop A/C, I'm all for that as I just installed two new Maxxair fans in my 310 and they worked very well so far. That being said I'm hesitant about throwing out the roof air unit as efficiency wise isn't it best to have your cold air injected from above as opposed to from below?

I too am open to all options.

Cheers
Tony
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Old 08-02-2016, 11:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nums View Post
1) Add relative cheap AC/heat portable unit from Costco (e.g., $400, 12.5BTU, heater/ac, unlimited return policy with no questions asked) in a hidden area (e.g., I could modify left rear closet to fit). Duct AC outlet to top of closet, and perhaps duct into front area with manual manifold selector.
They won't work reliably with any kind of ducting unless you add an auxiliary blower of some kind, and you have to have good exterior air flow from the back of the unit. I've seen ugly installs, and I've seen one or two clever ones where the air conditioner is on slides in a baggage compartment and the whole thing slides outside for use, and stows invisibly in the baggage compartment otherwise. Care must be taken to deal with the vibration these units produce.

You also will want to think about how you're going to deal with condensate (the water that ordinarily drips outside with these).

There are several people on these boards who have had good results with mini splits (like SmokelessJoe). Main disadvantage compared to rooftop air is installed cost.

Quote:
2) add duct, fan and manifold to LP driven heater in front to allow heating of bedroom without using generator or shorepower.
I've added ductwork from the front of my trailer to the back. You'll want to think carefully about what kind of duct you'll use and how it will be routed. Typically, LP furnaces that are sold for use without ductwork don't have a large enough blower to be operated with ductwork, so you may need to change furnaces.
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