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Old 11-18-2004, 04:50 PM   #1
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20 amp Air conditioner

Why can't or don't they make an RV air conditioner that works off of a 20 amp outlet? I have one in my house.
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Old 11-18-2004, 05:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave
Why can't or don't they make an RV air conditioner that works off of a 20 amp outlet? I have one in my house.
It's not that there aren't any, its just a matter of all the other stuff you run inside that trailer. A 13.5K Duo-Therm can run on less than 20 amps. The problem is that the entire trailer runs off one line to one plug and to one outlet.

In your house you probably have the A/C on a dedicated circuit. Your TV, Microwave, lights and other items run off many different circuits to the breaker box which probably has 200 amp service or so, and the wiring to support it.

Jack
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Old 11-18-2004, 06:28 PM   #3
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The other problem is getting an actual 20 amp feed to the coach. Standard household plugs and receptacles are 15 amp. There are true 20 amp plugs and receptacles but they are seldom seen.

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Old 11-18-2004, 08:50 PM   #4
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Those are good points.......

I thought one of the weak links was the nature of the AC unit itself.
The compressor uses a lot of energy when it is cycling on, and not
enough juice destroys the compressor motor prematurely. I learned
from this forum that some people set their AC units to full blast
so it wouldn't cycle off and on. So why..... don't they use smaller units
that use less power and are designed not to cycle off and on?????????
It might take longer to cool down a trailer but you could use the AC
in a lot more places.
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Old 11-18-2004, 09:35 PM   #5
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We have a 20 amp outlet in our garage. That's one that the left slot is a sideways T not just a vertical I (as with a 15A outlet), and comes from a 20A breaker in the main panel. We've run the 13,500 btu air-conditoner in our trailer off it many times, using a 30 female to 15A male (two vertical prongs) adapter on the end of the plug. Yeah, we should technically have a 20A male (right prong vertical, left prong horizontal), but the 15A works fine and doesn't get hot.

When we do, however, we switch the refrigerator over to gas and the batteries are charged, so the converter is drawing very little 120VAC, just powering the lights and radio. Obviously, using the electric water heater element is out of the question, and we switch the air conditioner to fan-only when using the microwave.

Works just fine. The breaker in the Airstream main panel that feeds the AC is only 20A.
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Old 11-19-2004, 08:02 AM   #6
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Hey Moe,
I am using a 20 amp circuit. It works fine for me too. But because
I read here on the forum about eventually ruining the AC unit, I plan to
beef up the wiring and extension cable.
But ....the point of this thread is to complain about not having
an AC unit that will work on a 15 or 20 amp service.
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Old 11-19-2004, 08:40 AM   #7
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It'll work, but it isn't suggested that it be done. This also depends on how far you are from the main panel, how long of an ext cord you're using, what gauge house wiring is going to the outlet the Stream is connected to, etc.

I tested our 15k unit off the 15a plug, though the breaker is a 20a breaker. The unit appeared to work just fine, however, the 15a outlet did get a warm, not hot, just warm. The 20a breaker wasn't even warm. It was the same cold temp as the other breakers. When we had an 11k unit last year, the same results happened, only the 15a plug was less warm.

I don't run the A/C really when it's in the drive, but if I ever do, I'll be upgrading the outlets and breaker since in my book there is plenty of time to do it right the first time than plenty of time to fix what I broke by cutting corners. I recently upgraded the wiring from the house to the garage so that I just need a few things to get to the correct 30a circuit and connectors and not have to deal with a warm 15a plug.
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Old 11-19-2004, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandolindave
I thought one of the weak links was the nature of the AC unit itself.
The compressor uses a lot of energy when it is cycling on, and not
enough juice destroys the compressor motor prematurely. I learned
from this forum that some people set their AC units to full blast
so it wouldn't cycle off and on. So why..... don't they use smaller units
that use less power and are designed not to cycle off and on?????????
It might take longer to cool down a trailer but you could use the AC
in a lot more places.
Most A/C units have a heavy startup draw. That startup could be in excess of the rating of the circuit. Most can handle that short spike. Where you ruin an AC unit is when you run it in a continual low voltage situation. So those who set their units to full blast aren't helping themselves if their circuit cannot handle the load.

Using a smaller AC unit is just not a longer cool down situation. An AC unit has to carry the load that a hot summer day puts upon it. One of the reasons I upgraded my AC on my Classic to the 15K Penguin was a terrible experience with my 13.5K Penguin on my 27' Safari. It was 100 degrees and we were in full sun. The unit couldn't keep the trailer below 85 degrees. My dealer and Jackson Center folks checked it out and said it was working within specs. So consider the fact that an 11K unit would draw less power but in the conditions I was in, would be functionally useless.

Jack
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