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Old 06-12-2014, 03:58 AM   #1
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1967 17' Caravel
1968 24' Tradewind
Northborough , Massachusetts
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,060
Air Conditioning Options

We have decided to not add a roof top AC unit to our '68 Tradewind for several reasons. We are researching the portable options. I would like some input about experience with the two I have not used before:

1. Standard portable ac for small space. (Danby used in my 500 sf office works very well and is quiet). Does need to be vented out the window.
2. Evaporative (Swamp cooler) AC. Sounds appealing in size and energy consumption. Could run off battery/solar if boondocking. Does this work and really cool in extreme heat? No venting needed.
3. Atomized AC. Sounds interesting in that it adds moisture to the air as well as cooling like the evaporative ac. Could run off battery/solar if boondocking. Does this work and really cool in extreme heat? No venting needed.

What would you do?

Planning the next trip....

New England Fun, Fellowship and Adventure.
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Old 06-12-2014, 06:14 AM   #2
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2005 39' Land Yacht 390 XL 396
Common Sense , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 5,315
I probably should stay out of this because I have no experience with the types of AC units you mention, but I do have experience with the evaporative coolers.

With that said, if I lived where you live and didn't want an air conditioner, I wouldn't get one. However, I wouldn't get any type of evaporative cooler because of the moisture introduced into the trailer. My stepfather tried using one here when I was a kid, and I remember green mold starting to grow on the walls. Evaporative coolers only work well in very dry climates, like Arizona.

I know nothing about the portable AC units, but wonder first, how do they work with no vent to the outside to discharge the heat? Then, what is their capacity, and would they cool the trailer?

Where I live and frequently travel, a good AC, and some times two good AC units are mandatory.

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Old 06-12-2014, 08:25 AM   #3
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
1953 32' Liner
1955 22' Safari
Valley View , Texas
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I have experience with all of these....and......
You absolutely don't want a swamp cooler. The moisture and the resulting mold, comfort and odors are overwhelming.

The portables don't seem to work that well....(I tried an 8000 but unit.) The venting tubes are a pain to manage and I did have a condensation problem.

Atomized AC...again a moisture problem.

If you need an AC I can't imagine why you would avoid the roof top low profiles. I don't buy into the aesthetic reasoning. If you want to get good cooling and will go the residential AC route take a look at the "the Thru the Wall" type, sleeved AC units. NOT the standard Window unit. It simplifies the installation and use of that type unit.
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Old 06-12-2014, 08:49 AM   #4
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1967 26' Overlander
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1964 17' Bambi II
Clear Lake Shores , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,204
A vote for window units

I am using an 8000 BTU window unit to cool my 17 ft Bambi II. Even in the Texas heat it provides plenty of cooling power. I mount it in the rear window which puts it far enough away that it does not blow directly on us at the dinette or in the bed. The thermostat is built into the remote, which I can put wherever I like. Unit is relatively quiet, not visible from the front, and does not impair the aerodynamics or aesthetics of the trailer. The only minor downside is having to removing it for towing but I have the process down to under 5 minutes.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:28 PM   #5
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1987 32' Excella
Nepean , Ontario
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,157
About 7 or 8 years ago I was at a Region 2 Rally. There was someone there with an original Bambi towed by what looked to be a 1947 Cadillac; his first name was Stuart.

He had rebuilt the Bambi and in doing so he built in an air-conditioner (the guts of which came from a window-type unit) just behind the curb-side wheel well, and had a fan-shaped vent that started from that wheel well and ran up to the ceiling, where it fanned out to distribute the cold air; he referred to it as "central air conditioning". The other thing he had built in was a highly polished brass faucet mounted on the side wall of the closet. This he called his "golden tap", as it had a tube set up to siphon scotch from the shelf in the closet behind the tap.

His TV was as eclectic as his Bambi - while the exterior looked like a 1947 Cadillac, it was built on an Oldsmobile frame, and had a 350 cid Corvette engine and stick shift. The interior cushions were upholstered like plush bench cushions, with piping, and the interior floor and paneling was all done in hardwood flooring.
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