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Old 06-14-2008, 02:30 PM   #1
Whitefawn
 
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1978 Argosy 24
Scottsville , Virginia
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Why we will replace original AC with new AC

This is for anyone deciding whether to fix the old original AC or buy a new one. We are one month into owning a 1971 Overlander. The original AC WORKS, but we are in the process of replacing it with a DuoTherm Brisk, and here are some of the reasons why we are giving up the old one.

The first consideration is reliabilty- we leave our standard poodle in the trailer if it is too hot to take him with us on short hops from the campground. Not that a new AC could not let us down- but the worry about an old dinosaur was too much. Which brings us to the second issue.

NOISE!!!! My husband is fully capable of rebuilding the unit from scratch, -he is in the heating and AC biz. He has already spent a considerable amount of time measuring voltages and poking around- cleaned the coils, tightened everything he could, and let out some freon when he found it was overcharged. But the AC would stop working with a heavy duty extension cord from our home- especially when the weather reached 90+ last week. This old unit just draws too much power. At a campground without an extension cord it worked ok. Replace the tired old parts? He can do it... But this unit makes us feel like we are in the middle of a jet engine. It is unbelievably loud- and no wonder, with the majority of the parts in metal- fan blades (there are two fans) casing, you name it- all metal. He stuffed rubber in every orifice, tightened and shimmed, and it still did not make the noise level tolerable. Nowadays there is a lot of plastic in the new models. Not as sturdy, it is true, but after a considerable effort was made to dampen the noise, it seems that if we replaced every moving part to increase reliability and reduce the amount of power it draws so we can run it at home if necessary, it could still be noisier than a new unit. We are not taking any chances...

We will give the old Armstrong to anyone willing to come and get it within the next month or so. PM me if you are interested.

Kathy
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:10 PM   #2
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Good luck with your new air conditioner. I hope its operation lives up to your expectations.

Tom
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:39 PM   #3
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Thanks, Tom. We'll find out soon enough. I wish we had the time to make the effort to try restore it to our satisfaction. Lack of time and space were the other variables in that equation. You made an admirable effort to restore yours. Is the noise level reasonable after your hard work?

Kathy
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Old 06-14-2008, 04:20 PM   #4
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Excellent question

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Originally Posted by whitefawn View Post
... Is the noise level reasonable after your hard work?
Kathy,

I have no problem with the noise level. Kim appears to share my sentiment.

But I have never slept in any RV other than mine. I have no basis for comparison.

My fan runs all the time. I understand that, in new units, the fan comes on with the compressor. Being handy enough, I could rewire my unit to do the same thing. But the steady fan noise appears to help my family be more at ease in new places.

Also, if I did rewire it, I wonder if the sudden presence of noise (of any level) would disturb anyone.

Bottom line, though, is that we stay cool at the campground with our present setup. And we sleep well at night.

Tom
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by TomW
Kathy,

I have no problem with the noise level. Kim appears to share my sentiment.

But I have never slept in any RV other than mine. I have no basis for comparison.

My fan runs all the time. I understand that, in new units, the fan comes on with the compressor. Being handy enough, I could rewire my unit to do the same thing. But the steady fan noise appears to help my family be more at ease in new places.

Also, if I did rewire it, I wonder if the sudden presence of noise (of any level) would disturb anyone.

Tom
We have rewired our Armstrong 12,000btu a/c to shut off when the proper temp is reached. I have found our Armstrong to be quieter than most of the RV air conditioners around us in the RV park we are in. I would suggest checking the noise level inside other coaches using the air conditioner you are planning to use. You may or may not find the noise level the same, or even higher, with some of the new units. Also check amp draw on the newer ones, versus your old Armstrong, you may be surprised by the results.
I have installed a pair of Fantastic Fans, one with a thermostat and rain sensor. If you go that route, you can set it so if the a/c fails, and the temp rises too high, the vent will automatically open, and the fan will come on to keep your pooch from roasting. This is a good idea no matter if you replace the original air conditioner or not, as the power could very well go out, shutting down the a/c.
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Old 06-17-2008, 10:38 AM   #6
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I like the idea of having a vent that would open if the temp got too hot in the trailer. Another project to add to the growing list...Joe already checked the amps that the new unit draws- and WAS surprised- at how low the draw was compared to the old unit- thought I can't tell you the numbers 'cause those things don't stick with me... The extension cord was not stressed with the new one, and the old unit was burning that extension cord up... We (mostly he) installed it this weekend successfully- and Joe easily modified the unit to hook up it to our condensate line without buying a pan or kit, etc. We ran out of time to hook up the thermostat- though Joe tells me it would be just as easy to start from scratch installing a thermostat as hooking it to the existing one- there are seven new wires and four old ones! That is another project for another day. After we get back from the VAC rally this week I will try to post the installation pix and give more details of old vs new, and amps and watt-nots!

Kathy
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:13 AM   #7
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Kathy,
Have you given away your Armstrong AC unit yet? I have a '68 Overlander in need of an air conditioner.
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Old 06-24-2008, 02:39 PM   #8
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I have also taken the Armstron Summer Breeze unit off of my 1971 Caravel. It worked only intermittently. It does cool and the fan blows, just not always at the same time. I installed a new Carrier unit.
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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Armstong AC has a new home

We found someone at the VAC Rally last weekend who took it off our hands for their '66 AS. Good luck-

Kathy
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:55 AM   #10
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Repair or Replace

I am in the process of the repair/replace process for my 1973 31 ' and appreciate your post. My RV guy is pushing the Carrier brand, I assume your selection of the DuoTherm Brisk brand was based on a lot of thng, including your husbands experience in the AC business. Can you tell me the factors that led to the decision to use DuoTherm Brisk?
Thanks
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:25 PM   #11
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I am in the process of the repair/replace process for my 1973 31 ' and appreciate your post. My RV guy is pushing the Carrier brand, I assume your selection of the DuoTherm Brisk brand was based on a lot of thng, including your husbands experience in the AC business. Can you tell me the factors that led to the decision to use DuoTherm Brisk?
Thanks
The Briskair, is the cheapest AC that Dometic has. You must use a pan with it, that has never been available.

You can use a Dometic Penguin, but it requires a drain pan, which is available.

Most dealers have switched to the Carrier, because it offers more features than the Penguin, plus, you you don't need a pan for it.

Andy
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