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Old 02-24-2009, 07:20 AM   #1
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Upgrading My A/C.....which unit is best.

I have a 2008 25' Safari with the stock 11,000 BTU Duo-Therm Penguin A/C unit. After six months of use in hot and cold climates I have determined I do not like this unit for a variety of reasons. I am having reliability problems and IMO the 11K unit is grossly undersized, particularly for southern camping (I live in Mississippi). I also do not care for the performance of the strip heater. It must go!

I am considering upgrading to a 15K Heat Pump but I am confused as to which unit would be the best for my 25'. Choices are: Duo-Therm, Carrier and Coleman. Cold producing capability, hot/cold controllability, interior noise and reliability are my major concerns. I plan to have this camper for a long time so cost is important but not my major concern. Any ideas and experiences would be helpful.
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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When I special ordered my 25' Safari back in October of 2003, only handful of the 25' or larger Classics had the 15k BTU A/C unit as an option. I requested the 15k unit for my 25' Safari. I did receive some suggestions from both folks here on this forum and from the factory (via the dealer) and from the dealer themselves as well not to go this route for a variety of reasons, none of which panned out.

My question back to them was that it was a Classic option, why can't it be installed in a Safari since internal size and construction was the same between a 25 Classic and a 25 Safari (they all start out the same way and get odds and ends added as it goes down the line and becomes a "Classic").

It cost me I believe about $450 to upgrade from the standard LS upgraded unit (13.5k) which was already an upgrade from the 11k unit that comes standard at the time of construction, which most likely won't be your cost doing a total swap out, but you most likely sell the 11k unit.

The 15k Penguin is a great unit. I have zero complaints. Dometic I believe owns and builds the Penguin. In direct sun with high outdoor ambient temps, the 15k unit can keep the inside cold enough to hang meat (ask folks who have been to a rally with me ). The newer models I've heard are even more reliable than my "legacy" model.

I would not hesitate to recommend considering the Penguin low profile 15k unit. Mine has a heat pump, not a strip with it and also has the comfort control system which controls both the A/C and the furnace for seamless service. Even without the Comfort Control System, I would still take a 15k unit every day of the the week and 2x on Sunday.

If you look closely at new models out there for the past several years, many now have the 15k unit (regardless of model) that are 25' or larger with plans to be in warm climate (which is pretty much everywhere these days during the summer months).
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Old 02-24-2009, 07:51 AM   #3
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Thumbs up Upgrading my A/C

Thanks Silvertwinkie.

Yours is the kind of real world and unbiased input that will really help me with my decision.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by szimmerer View Post
I have a 2008 25' Safari with the stock 11,000 BTU Duo-Therm Penguin A/C unit. After six months of use in hot and cold climates I have determined I do not like this unit for a variety of reasons. I am having reliability problems and IMO the 11K unit is grossly undersized, particularly for southern camping (I live in Mississippi). I also do not care for the performance of the strip heater. It must go!

I am considering upgrading to a 15K Heat Pump but I am confused as to which unit would be the best for my 25'. Choices are: Duo-Therm, Carrier and Coleman. Cold producing capability, hot/cold controllability, interior noise and reliability are my major concerns. I plan to have this camper for a long time so cost is important but not my major concern. Any ideas and experiences would be helpful.
The new Carrier unit seem to be the biggest choice, perhaps because it has built in oscillating louvers, that really circulate the cool air in a superior way.

Andy
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:58 AM   #5
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ac for Ms.

szimmerer,

I replaced a older coleman with a Carrier 15.5 hp on a 23' safari. It has worked well for camping here in Ms and a couple of trips to Ft wilderness in florida. The heat pump is generally good to around 36 degrees while camping in the winters and the ac will keep around mid 70's on our july/aug camping trips at Yogi in brandon.
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:49 AM   #6
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Do both of these units have the ability for me to hook my drain hose to them or does the water just run down the sides?
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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drains

They will hook to the drain. By the way, what ever you have ....never accept the water draining down the side.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:41 AM   #8
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Drain

I think you will need to get a "pan" for the Penguin that has the hook-up to the interior drain line. Maybe others can provide more details on this and where to get it. The Carrier can be modified by installing a small brass fitting in the small pan at the bottom of the fan and then connecting a hose to the interior drain line. It works on the Carrier on my 1976 Sovereign. Here is a picture of the brass fitting looking up from inside with the cover off.

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Old 02-28-2009, 03:44 PM   #9
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Fan speed

One other thing to consider, I like my Carrier 15,000 BTU AC, it really does cool. But my one complaint is the 2 speed fan/blower. The 2 speeds are high and higher.Tthere is really no low speed when you just want to circulate cool air around without it blowing so hard. It is a little noisy as well since you really don't have a low speed. Other that that on hot days it will keep you cool.

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Old 03-01-2009, 09:55 AM   #10
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thanks Got it, maybe the Duo Therm has more speeds
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Old 03-01-2009, 12:05 PM   #11
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Have the Carrier 13.5 on my 24ft Argosy. It does a good job, but the noise level is very high. Those oscillating louvers were great for the one season they actually worked. I'm sure I could take it in to have it worked on but living in a small town that means a 65 mile round trip and taking off work to get it to the dealer who installed it. It works fine without this feature, so I never bothered to complain. The big old Armstrong on my 76 Airstream is sure a good unit and makes less noise with more speeds than the new Carrier. Too bad they don't make that unit any longer. Since the Airstream is parked down at the lake while we build our house, we have rigged two household units to vent into the front and rear access doors under the frig and under the back twin bed. They make for no noise inside the trailer and talk about hanging meat! The new frig was put up on a platform that allows the A/C to blow under it and a vent was installed in the front of the platform to allow cool air into the trailer. We love it, it didn't mean we had to destroy anything on the Airstream and they are taken out in the winter and stored.
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Old 03-01-2009, 01:50 PM   #12
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Don't the drain pans come with the unit? Are the drain pans contoured for the curved roof top? I think I am going to go with the Duo-Therm Brisk Heat pump 15k. My head is aching going back and forth with this.....
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Old 03-01-2009, 02:18 PM   #13
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This morning I ordered a 13.5 Low Profile with the heat strips option from Family RV in Florida. Total cost with shipping to Phoenix was just under $700. I was going to fix my original Armstrong, but found that the shroud is missing pieces and has some serious cracks as well. The new Carriers attach to the drain line in the trailer also. I start the install after the unit arrives next week, now where are all my friends...
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:00 PM   #14
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Smile What a drip

Drain pans are ordered separately. During removal the old ones usually get damaged. When I ordered my Duotherm I also ordered a new drip pan. You will be amazed at just how thin the plastic is.

I remember Andy posting something about a brand that slung the water somewhere and so did not need a drip pan, Andy?
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