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Old 06-15-2012, 11:39 AM   #1
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1972 25' Tradewind
McKinleyville , California
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Air Conditioner Replacement

I have a 1972 Trade Wind and am in the process of replacing the Armstrong A/C. The entire drip pan issue is very confusing and i am hoping somebody can answer the following questions.

1) Does the Coleman Polar Mach have a built-in drip pan so no other drip pan (AKA Airstream drip pan) is needed. Are there any reasons why the Polar Mach would be a bad idea for this application?

2) Are the Dometic Penquin II's designed to be quieter than the earlier Penguin? I hear the Penquins can be extremely loud. Are only the Penquin II's available now or do you have to be careful when ordering to make sure you are getting a Penquin II?

3) Does the Penguin II need the Airstream drip pan and is the Airstream drip pan only available from Airstream?

4) Does the Coleman fit the curved ceiling of the air stream better than the Penquin? Coleman infers that the interior cover is designed for convex ceilings.

I am leaning towards the Coleman Polar Mach but there have been few installation stories on this form. Help is appreciated.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:06 PM   #2
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
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Just installed a Polar Mach 15 on an 88 Excella. The standard Polar Mach does not have a built in drip pan (condensate drains out on the roof and takes path of least resistance down the side). You can special order a unit with a condensate fitting that can be connected to your existing drain line. However, this presents leaking risks to the interior should the connection or drain line fail in the future. Also, the Coleman does fit the curved ceiling but not perfectly. It left a 1/16th gap in one corner. I am going to check my installation and try to tweak this out.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:13 PM   #3
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I was puzzling over the same issue a few months ago. All the research I did led me to the conclusion that in order to get the AC to drain down the built in condensate tube, I would need a Dometic and the "custom" drain pan. I now have both in hand, but have yet to install, as I am in the middle of a shell-off. I think I got the drain pan at Out of Doors Mart for around $68 plus shipping.

When I was doing all this hunting, I found that there was a condensate drain retrofit type of kit for Dometics that basically just lifted the unit up a little higher, and then there were a couple of small plastic cups that attached to the AC underneath the drain holes. The plastic cups were then connected together with a tube, which was then attached to the condensate drain tube. I think the kit was available from Out of Doors Mart as well, I just couldn't see why something like that couldn't be installed on just about any AC unit out there--something to be aware of at leaset if you are ging for the Coleman.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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I discarded the drain pan which was under my old Penguin when I installed my new Penguin heat pump. The pan drain previously connected to my internal drain hose. With the new unit I used the cup kit which attaches under the unit base plate and the drain from the cup kit is plumbed to my internal drain hose.

It works fine and the only down side that I've seen is that the unit sits up about 1" higher overall when using the cups because the unit has to be double gasketed to make a place for the hose from the cups (on the outside of the gasket) to connect to the internal hose (on the inside of the gasket). Both the drain pan and the drain cup kit are Dometic supplied items.

The new Penguin is quieter than my old one, since with the Comfort Control Center the fan only jumps to the higher speeds when the temperature requires it, and at night when the trailer is cool the unit shuts down completely giving me some sleeping time with no noise whatsoever. So far I like it a lot (3 months).
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:11 PM   #5
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My Coleman Mach drain hose system cannot keep up with the condensation. The single pan fills up and overflows. I don’t know what model Coleman Mach it is, no labels inside or out and no paperwork. It was put in by the PO and is about 13 years old is all I know. Also is two speed and the noisiest AC unit I have ever heard.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:14 PM   #6
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Weather permitting; we’re installing a Dometic Penguin II and the airstream drip pan this weekend. I'll be posting pics on our Little Girl thread, and will provide a link here if I remember. We went with the Penguin after a fair amount of research and because we want a low profile unit. Bought the entire kit (a/c, ceiling air handler, and drip pan) from our local airstream dealer.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
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1972 25' Tradewind
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Supposedly the new Polar Mach has a special condensation pump and a polyethylene catchment. But I am unsure if you need to make a special order for this type or if most of the suppliers can get them. Also no indication of the extra cost.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:06 PM   #8
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I just installed a new Penguin II with the drain cup kit. Installation is very straight forward. HOWEVER, the Dometic instructions call for the use of three bolts to hold down the A/C unit to the interior air box USE 4 instead. Tighten the bolts for good compression, then come back the next day and tighten more until your double gasket (due to the drain cup kit) is reduced by half. I haven't had any leaks and hav gone through some huge rains. The nut I purchased is louder tam my old one, but the new unit is 15k btu vs th old one which was 13.5K.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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It seams that most are installing the Penguin, but a few techs have said the Polar Mach is a better made unit. With the condensation pump and curve fitting ADP, why wouldn't it be a better choice than the Penguin. Also, it is still totally unclear whether the Penguin II is a significant improvement over the Penguin.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:45 PM   #10
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Sounds like you are leaning towards the Coleman. Please let us know how it works.
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
Sounds like you are leaning towards the Coleman. Please let us know how it works.


Like the look of the Penguin II, but not the fact that the unit is manufactured in China. Like the look of the Coleman a bit less, but like the fact that it is manufactured in the US. However, I'm not sure if that means assembled in the US or actually made in the US. Does anyone know?
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesstoaster View Post
Like the look of the Penguin II, but not the fact that the unit is manufactured in China. Like the look of the Coleman a bit less, but like the fact that it is manufactured in the US. However, I'm not sure if that means assembled in the US or actually made in the US. Does anyone know?
Where did you get the information that the Penguin II is made in China? AFAIK, (and I'm a Dometic dealer and authorized service center) the Penguins were made in Mexico until a couple of years ago when the factory burnt to the ground. Production was then moved to the USA and there it remains.

RVP (Coleman) is also made in the USA (Kansas). As with any product made today, you will find components in these units that are sourced from around the world, China included, but they are assembled here (like most cars, trucks, etc.)

Of further note, RVP recently came out with the lowest profile unit of any RV A/C manufacturer at 8". This is even lower than the older Carrier low profile units.
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Old 06-25-2012, 09:26 PM   #13
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1972 25' Tradewind
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No specific information other than that Dometic makes it clear that they have manufacturing plants in China. Nowhere have I found anywhere in their advertising that their units are US made. It seems that they would advertise that fact if true. But you say they are US made, so perhaps they are.

You must have received insider information on the new RVP unit because I don't see any information on it other than a statement that they are designing some of their A/C units. When will they be sold retail?

Also you seem to like the Dometic drip cups over the Airstream drip pan. Am I correct to assume that?
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:39 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tesstoaster View Post
No specific information other than that Dometic makes it clear that they have manufacturing plants in China. Nowhere have I found anywhere in their advertising that their units are US made. It seems that they would advertise that fact if true. But you say they are US made, so perhaps they are.

You must have received insider information on the new RVP unit because I don't see any information on it other than a statement that they are designing some of their A/C units. When will they be sold retail?

Also you seem to like the Dometic drip cups over the Airstream drip pan. Am I correct to assume that?
I don't have delivery info yet on the new RVP low profile units and yes, I definitely prefer the Dometic auxiliary drip kit to the (IMHO) convoluted and totally unnecessary drain pan that Airstream saw fit to use. I use the past tense as I was on the roof of a 2012 25FC and it had the auxiliary drip kit factory installed. About time!!!!!!!
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