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Old 01-04-2006, 04:48 PM   #1
art
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air conditioner problems,help!

I have a 77 31 ft airstream,with the original a/c.It has been popping the breaker on hot days.It still cools well when running but time is limited .Is it worth trying to fix?the motor drags when the compressor kicks in .What is the unit of choice if I should just replace it.Thanks ART
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:04 PM   #2
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What is the unit of choice if I should just replace it.Thanks ART
We have a duotherm penguin 13,500 BTU air conditioner - $665 at camping world. We just installed the heat coil and that works great too.

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Old 01-04-2006, 07:43 PM   #3
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Hi, Art,

If your `77 has the original Armstrong, I'd try to keep it. They don't make 'em like they used to, and the Armstrong is built like a commercial unit. Most any residential/commercial A/C repair shop can fix them with generic parts, and you can't say that about the modern units.

Is the breaker getting HOT? I've had a breaker go bad that I wrongly attributed to A/C problems. It finally got to where it wouldn't reset at all, and replacing it cost about $7 at the local lighting/electrical store (not a chain store - a real one).

Also, it would be good to check your voltage, both at the pedestal and at some outlets inside. Low voltage = high current = heat and strain on the A/C = breakers popping. I bought an Autoformer to prevent this, and I have had no AC-related problems since.

I have GREAT respect for Dometic products, but I'm not sure that many modern devices are built to work for 30 years like the Armstrongs - not that that was deliberate or anything... That's just how it's working out.

Good luck.

Lamar
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:56 PM   #4
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Art, is it worth fixing? Many people on the forum seem to think that if you have an original Armstrong, it may be worth saving. That is what I am going to do with mine. (mine works now, but needs servicing)

I just this weekend pulled the shroud off to start repairing it (the shroud) and cleaning things up. A real nest of leaves and such. One of things I noticed was that the electric motor that turns the fan is relatively exposed the elements. There was some surface rust and a few sticks and acorns stuffed in around it. Your fan motor may simply be failing because of items like this or just wearing out. It looks like my compressor was replaced somewhere around 1992, so I'm going to push on with reconditioning it (this is, of course, based on what my buddy the HVAC guy tells me when he looks at it in a few days.

From what I've read here, the Armstrongs are very repairable, but most of the newer units are not. I'm sure we have a few HVAC guys/gals on the forum. Maybe one of them will chime in here.

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Old 01-04-2006, 09:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by art
I have a 77 31 ft airstream,with the original a/c.It has been popping the breaker on hot days.It still cools well when running but time is limited .Is it worth trying to fix?the motor drags when the compressor kicks in .What is the unit of choice if I should just replace it.Thanks ART
Art,
Stay with the Armstrong if you can. They were built to commercial standards as previously noted. I just sold my '77 31' Excella 500 and the only thing I had to do to it when I bought it almost 5 years ago was replace a transformer which sent 24 volt power to the thermostat. There is a good chance that the fan is just about worn out and, if so, can be replaced by a motor from Grainger, Inc. I would start with the breaker first to make sure that it is functioning correctly.

Last, you are plugged into a 30 amp circuit aren't you? Plugged into the house with a 15 amp extension cord will kick the breaker off as the extension cord gets hot. It isn't designed to carry the current required to run the fan and compressor.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:09 PM   #6
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Put an ammeter on the hot leg of the imput side of the breaker. If it draws the same current on both sides of the breaker you may have some wiring problems to the breaker. Other than that check the start caps and start relay. Check that the blower motor is lubricated and not straining drawing more current. Last thing would be the compressor but if it's just doing it on hot days it sounds like a new breaker and some good general maintenance to the AC might do the trick.
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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thanks for all your input I will try to save the ol girl(armstrong) as soon as the snow melts
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:52 PM   #8
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Oh yea what is an autoformer?Thanks Art
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:59 PM   #9
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autotransformer checks incoming voltage and if low corrects it to proper voltage. Not a cheap item but very useful, if you park at places with poor power regulation. A plug-in voltmeter is cheap and handy in the trailer to keep an eye on incoming power.
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