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Old 02-01-2014, 02:55 PM   #1
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Split Air Conditioner install

I'd never go for a roof mounted AC on a trailer so I'm always interested in other solutions. I like SmokelessJoe's split system and although this youtube guys work doesn't give it much of a factory instal feeling I liked being able to see and hear it an action. I'll be looking for either a 2 or 3 zone set up myself and would hope to get heat as well as cool but thought the video might be of interest to some.

Mini Split A/C on a Rv Camper. Better than a roof top or a window unit! - YouTube
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:31 PM   #2
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There was an article in Airstream Life a couple of years ago about a restored AS that included a split system. I'm pretty sure it was a Dometic heat pump made for boats. They created a compartment/cabinet to hold the compressor with a SS grille on the side of the AS for air circulation. It was very interesting, and something I would consider if I ever restore one.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:33 PM   #3
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Thanks Landrum I'll have to look for that article. I'm getting more interested the more I start reading. It sounds like a DC pump means that these units can be run off even smaller generators too (I have a 3000 Honda so probably more than OK).
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:37 PM   #4
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It was the summer 2012 issue, and the AS was restored by Uwe with Area 63 Productions. I think at the time the article came out you could also see the AS on Area 63's website.
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Old 02-01-2014, 03:39 PM   #5
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cool, off to the home Airstream library :-)
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Old 02-01-2014, 08:32 PM   #6
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I've been looking at a split system also and I have mixed feelings about a household unit or a commercial truck unit and have been looking at these.
Danhard Inc Mobile HVAC components and systems
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:16 PM   #7
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http://www.airforums.com/forums/1408133-post.html

I tried to post a link, but I'm not sure if it will work. Collin Hyde just mentioned on another thread that his next project on a '55 restoration was a split AC with the condenser located in a cavity in the belly pan. That's another source you look into.....
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Old 02-01-2014, 09:39 PM   #8
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I'd be interested to see the Danhard info, I found this Real A/C but also mention of $4500 too
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:34 AM   #9
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Interesting discussion. I read through the links and products mentioned. The Airstream's design really would benefit from a split A/C system if less obtrusive than the rooftop models.

There appear to be some significant design tradeoffs due to the power demand, need for high volumes of air circulation, and space limitations.

I'll assume that when A/C is needed most (hot humid campgrounds), a typical Airstream needs 13,000 - 15,000 BTU heat capacity.

If I understand all this.....

The marine units look they need seawater (or lake water) for the condenser.

The Danhard catalog has evaporators and condensers but seems to assume the vehicle will supply an engine mounted compressor.

The aircraft one and some of the semitruck self-contained models with DC compressors are what an RV needs, but are very high current. The 10,000 BTU "Real A/C" for example draws 37 amps of power at 24 volts which would be about 80 amps at 12 volts. Most Airstreams could not mount enough batteries to make that practical.

So, would it be OK to assume that a split system would require either a 120v AC shore power model, or a big DC generator to run a DC compressor motor?

If a gasoline powered DC generator is required for A/C while boodocking, wouldn't it be more efficient to run the A/C compressor directly off of a small gasoline or propane powered engine?
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Old 02-02-2014, 04:45 AM   #10
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Oldtrucksrul has a really nice split setup. I don't know the details, but the compressor and fan are out on the tongue and the airflow inside comes out the "Airstream" grate up by the ceiling behind the fridge. It's incredibly quiet both inside and out.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:46 AM   #11
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I very much like the look of Tin Loafs set up.

I've been looking at the Dometic guide as I'd like something that has had some design consideration regarding being installed on an RV or semi plus I'd like to be able to get parts and service through their network.

Choices - Dometic

The EHEX7 is the 7000 Btu split system internal unit and uses 7.3 amps to cool, (I'd need 2). The ACCE14 is the external Condenser. I dislike the bulky looking lump for the interior but I can deal with it design wise.

The link above also has a specifying the system section with some handy tips, it seems for 14000 Btu I'd need a 3.0 KW continuous output genset with a start peak of 70 AMPS surge. Not sure if my Honda is suitable for that but will check. It does mention that a 20 AMP 115 V outlet at a truck stop is fine.

Now with the external unit measuring in at just 24.5" x 12.5" x 6.63" including the fan protrusion and just 13 lbs that's seems doable. I'm starting to think I could mount it vertically (like a grave stone), on the A frame, with the lowest point set down even say 6" below the frame rail which would leave 14" above the frame. I'm daydreaming about having it stealth installed in a sectioned polished faux propane tank but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:47 AM   #12
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The Danhard units do have a 120VAC compressor available. It's a mix and match setup that would have to be assembled as seperate components and would require a certain skill in Freon systems. Another down side is it would be expensive, on the plus side it would be very durable and be servicable. I talked to them several years ago and was informed that you could use a 120VAC compressor that only pulled 7 amps with the fans being 12VDC. I am skeptical of that claim and would have to see more data. I don't want the AC system to have greater value then the complete trailer. I see no way around running any Air Conditioning unit without a 120VAC external power supply, the issue is how much. Do I spend my cash on a more efficient AC or a bigger quiet GenSet.

I installed three 30k BTU systems on our C-130 from here, Untitled Document, but again very expensive, but they have also been trouble free. Each system rquires 11kva for start. They also make units like Truck linked, also expensive.

One of my biggest issues in making up my mind as to which unit to use is, I have Champagne Tastes with a Lager Buget.

I too am awaiting Collin Hyde's info on what he is doing.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:55 AM   #13
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Time to call the VAP hotline. Cost is a big one for sure. I'm thinking for my 33 footer I'd need a couple of roof mounted ones so about $2 to $3k. If I can put a stealth system in that performs and looks better for that budget, I'm in. If I can get the external components, (condenser and fan in a fake propane tank) maybe I'll have my own little market segment….

Also getting info about these online is brutal; it's like nobody wants to sell them to the public.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:15 AM   #14
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Currently I just need to find the time to finish mine up, not being to park it at my house long term is killing me. I have another full spring and summer flying schedule again this year with a long mission to New Zealand first.

You are correct on not being able to access good solid design info on some of the truck systems, it's frustrating.
I am looking at the 14k units in size.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:21 PM   #15
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I too am thinking along these lines, and am considering mounting it under the front of the trailer in the spare tire cavity. Thoughts?
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:35 PM   #16
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Hi Aviator, I think under the trailer would look great but the old heat rises concern would go to the top of my list and would probably degrade the performance somewhat. Unless you mean to mount it on edge as is were in which case it sounds great.
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Old 02-02-2014, 03:43 PM   #17
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Good topic guys, looking forward as it unfolds.
I too have thought about installing underneath and using the stringers along the outside edge to vent hot air away. They already are a duct in design, well they are if you squint real hard and use your imagination.............
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Old 02-03-2014, 01:13 PM   #18
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WOW Dometic really doesn't want to sell their product! Many emails and a bizarre vetting of why I want this product and whether I'll be trying to sell it through my own company and now it's gone quiet.

Still...I have found 10 ex demo Dometic 14k split units, about $4000 new, although that info is from another forum (p/n EHCEQ14) that are available with all new hoses and connections, $1500 US or discounted for 2 or more if anyone is interested.

Given the crummy info available and almost conspiratorial manufacturer protectionist behaviour I'd like to see what other options there are but I'm pretty excited.
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Old 02-05-2014, 02:47 PM   #19
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Most interesting developments a foot. I now have the docs to sign up for my own Dometic dealer account which will alleviate some of the pain from a $ 5,797 MSRP for the top of the line unit. Better still my endless enquiries found their way to a national distributor who seems keen to help with system selection. So the hunt continues for the perfect split AC.

Side notes are that I read the Summer 2012 Airstreamlife cover to cover and didn't find much on the Ac system in the Area33 trailer. But in the next article, about the 60's Sovereigns, was lusting over Rob Baker's SOTR and read the paragraph about how hard they are to get when lo and behold it mentions one for sale in Wickenburg, AZ. For a moment I was thinking that's a coincidence until I realized it was my 33' that the seller had incorrectly sold as a 30 footer. small world I guess.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:00 PM   #20
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Do you mean the Area63 install? I have seen It. Uwe did a nice job on the install but it is a window mount unit that he installed which is vented out the bottom if I remember correctly and then ducted to the back and front. I just worry about the unit failing and then be unable to get an exact replacement and having to start anew.

The air conditioner will be the last thing I install. With camping in the Rocky's air conditioning isn't really needed.
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