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Old 08-04-2014, 12:52 PM   #1
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Dometic A/C will not power on

Hey team,

I have been working on this A/C issue for 30 days plus days now, thought I had it fixed, but has reemerged. Thanks for all the help along the way on the forum threads, but think I am missing something simple, so close to the problem can't see it, so here we go, maybe you can help, below is my saga.

Problem: A/C will not cycle on despite having good power to an operational compressor. Fan, heat pump, and furnace all work just fine.

Equipment:

- 2009 27FB International Ocean Breeze
- 1 AC/HP Unit: Dometic Model 630516.331D
- Duo Therm 5 button CCC thermostat with one Zone installed.
- 2 Honda EU2000i and Companion Generators

Timeline:

14 July 13: while dry camping in Colorado turned on microwave with a/c on, created a surge. When resetting the system, everything worked minus the a/c. Fan, heat pump and furnace operational. Weather cool enough in Colorado not really an issue. Thought it was a generator problem, waited to troubleshoot on SURE power.
28 Dec 13: While connected to SURE power in Pensacola, FL troubleshot system again. Discovered on forum how to reset system through thermostat, received an FF code, still same issue, no a/c, but heat pump, fan, and furnace work like a charm. December in FL, not an issue, btw, discovered serious water damage to floor through bumper, go figure.
5 Jan 14: Turned in our OB for water damage repair in Dallas TX along with a/c fault. No action from repair shop for six months.
23 Jun 14: Decided to repair floor ourselves rather than lose airstream for entire summer, completed repair, gained confidence, took on A/C repair. What I have done so far:
1. Confirmed good power to Control Board, Capacitors, and Compressor.
2. Confirmed both of capacitors (Start and Run) are operational.
3. Confirmed 3 Amp fuse is operational.
4. Pulled both the Control Board and Thermostat Boards, took pictures, sent to an electrician, said both looked good to him. Used JustAnswer.com, this guy rocked worked with me to confirm I was using my voltmeter correctly at all locations and my compressor was fine. "If heat pump is working your compressor is fine"
5. Electrician was convinced it was potentially a short between control board and thermostat. "Check your entire system"
6. Checked entire system, bathroom fan not operational (slow turn), replaced. Still no a/c coming on.
7. Power 3000 hitch, blown control switch, replaced. Still no a/c coming on.
8. Inspected Duo Therm RJ 11 terminals and line, no issues.
9. Everything else was working fine, excellent power distribution throughout the system both AC and DC.
10. Installed a new hard start capacitor just because I was getting desperate. Used the recommended one from RV Mods, RV Modifications, RV Upgrades, RV Tips, RV eBooks | ModMyRV.com, Supco SPP6E A/C hard start capacitor. Fit was a little tight. Tested power, still no a/c coming on.
11. 10 July 2014: Time to gamble, so I ordered and replaced thermostat, touchdown!! A/C powered on!! Hallelujah!!
12: 14-28 July: Traveled to GA and FL, used a mixture of SURE and Generator power along during trip, A/C worked beautifully.
13. 29 July: Pulled into a Walmart for the night, no a/c. Heat Pump, fan, furnace all work. Reset system through thermostat, FF. No a/c. Worked fine that same afternoon at a beach in FL on Generator power.
14. 30 July: Got home, called Dometic, (felt like an idiot, should have called them at the beginning, customer at Camping World said they were great to work with) Dometic tech recommended that I replace the Control Board, ordered, received and did so yesterday, no joy.

Any ideas? I feel like I am at the end here, the Dometic tech said I may need to replace entire unit, really? Everything on the unit works. The brain has a tick, it just not telling the body to do something. I feel like its tied to the thermostat? Is there some sensor not working? Why did a new one temporarily fix the problem.

Thanks for any help!

BTW we are putting a video together on “how to repair the water damaged floor and properly seal your airstream” without removing the skin. It tooks us about ten days to do the work, we installed a cork floor throughout the entire airstream and tiled the bathroom. It was hoot!

KGIII
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:49 PM   #2
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Re: Heat Pump Troubleshooting

Found the following entry while researching your problem on the Internet:

"My Unit is only about 5 years old; but it's working great now. I spoke to a man at an RV service department, he suggest replacing the thermostat and Jay box, which is the box inside my roof unit, accessible when I remove the filter. When I replaced the thermostat nothing changed, but the Jay box did the trick. The Jay Box came with a new thermostat anyway, and cost around $80."

I have no idea what a "Jay box" is, but thought there's a remote possibility that this might help. -- However, maybe not...

Note: As you may have already figured out, with the air conditioner (or heat pump) running, high-current appliances may overload your shore power connection or generator(s). We usually turn air conditioner to FAN ONLY while using hair blow-dryers, microwave and other high-current devices.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:47 PM   #3
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Thank you, I have contacted Dometic based upon this note. They are sending me an email with part numbers and instructions, apparently I can buy at Radio Shack. It sounds like the RJ-11 junction box that takes the telephone wire looking cable from the control board to the thermostat. They both looked good to me when I inspected but the Tech at Dometic agreed that it could cause the communication problem. What she could not explain and continues to bother me is that if something like that is bad, why is there not an error code on the thermostat. Sure would save time and money. Again, thanks for your help and quick reply.
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:24 PM   #4
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If the heat pump works (compressor on) and the A/C does not blow cold air, you either have a bad reversing valve solenoid or a frozen reversing valve.

All Dometic heat pump units are basically a heat pump by default. The reversing valve solenoid must be energized to function as an air conditioner (cold air at exhaust).

You should start your search there and verify that the reversing valve is good or that the valve itself has failed.


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Old 08-04-2014, 04:19 PM   #5
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Lew, thank you for your professional insights. My A/C does not blow anything. Essentially does not come on at all, no noises, no ticking, no nothing. Only when I change the thermostat from AUTO fan on to low or high in the A/C mode does the fan come on, but of course just blows warm air. Two things:

1. My unit's last successful operation was on A/C. If I understand your note, when I turn off the thermostat for travel purposes, it defaults to heat pump, and even though when I switch back on, its comes on as A/C. Bottom line it really is in heat pump mode and stuck there.

2. Any thoughts on why installing on a new thermostat temporarily fixed this problem.

Looks like checking the reversing valve solenoid requires a professional. Can any HVAC technician take a look at this?

Thanks again for help!!

George
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogeczy3 View Post
Lew, thank you for your professional insights. My A/C does not blow anything. Essentially does not come on at all, no noises, no ticking, no nothing. Only when I change the thermostat from AUTO fan on to low or high in the A/C mode does the fan come on, but of course just blows warm air. Two things:

1. My unit's last successful operation was on A/C. If I understand your note, when I turn off the thermostat for travel purposes, it defaults to heat pump, and even though when I switch back on, its comes on as A/C. Bottom line it really is in heat pump mode and stuck there.

2. Any thoughts on why installing on a new thermostat temporarily fixed this problem.

Looks like checking the reversing valve solenoid requires a professional. Can any HVAC technician take a look at this?

Thanks again for help!!

George
It's a matter of what resistance you get from the reversing valve coil. There are some differing values, depending on your exact model. If memory serves me, yours should read in the area of 250 ohms, but there are also coils that were used that read in the mid 400 ohm range. Best to get the value from Dometic tech support.

I have seen your problem several times. It's a toss-up. Sometimes a new t/stat does the trick, and others require a new relay board, as the signal from the CCC does not get processed in the board. If your 'Hi' and 'Lo' settings still turn the unit on, I would suspect the relay board not getting the entire signal range.

You also might unplug and re-connect all of the RJ-11 connectors along the signal path. One at the back of the CCC, 2 at the union in the ceiling and 2 on the relay board itself. I charge the RJ-11 union in the ceiling as a general rule to eliminate that as a problem area, which it is. By plugging/unplugging/plugging these connectors several times, you will remove any slight surface corrosion that might have accumulated on the tiny contacts. A pencil eraser also works well for the RJ-11 plugs, but you can't get them into the receptacles.

Give that a try and see what happens. Even though you get 'FF' on a t/stat re-set, it could still not be sending a complete signal to the relay board.
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:59 PM   #7
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Thanks Lew!! Will give it a try ASAP and let you know.
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:51 AM   #8
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I think you should ck your converter 12v power. The t-stat need good 12v to operate the ac. Plug into shoreline power and turn your ac on and turn the breaker to the converter off. See if your ac works. Make sure your batteries are fully charged first. If this works you need a new converter. Hope this helped.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:53 PM   #9
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I will, have not performed this check. Thanks!!
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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Update, A/C is operational.

Want to thank everyone for the posts.
1. Replaced RJ-11 junction box, cleaned contacts to cables with rubber eraser, no change.
2. Performed test on converter, converter operational, no change.
3. Performed line in power test, in others words bypassed thermostat and control board, and with an extension cord connected power directly to compressor, it started. Thought this would unstick my reversing valve. No joy, same problem when we went back to t-stat.
4. Contacted Barker, maker of our (Hi-Power 3000) power jack, as mentioned above had previously replaced a switch, the new one blew again along with fuse. Sent me a new switch along with a new on/off control switch. Replaced both. A/C works!! Touchdown.

I believe this success goes back to original comments from the “JustAnswer” electrician, "you have good power to compressor, check your entire 12V system." In other words, the right electronic message is not being delivered to the brain. (Lew also wrote this). Replaced bathroom fan that was not working properly and thought we had fixed the jack. Turns out we had not fixed the electrical short in the on/off swith and of course the on off switch is where I now think the message was being disrupted to the brain.

Costs: Maybe 30 hours of my time. A new thermostat and control board, roughly $200 bucks, $30 bucks on power jack control switches, $35 bucks to JustAnswer.com, and $12 bucks on a hard start capacitor. However my A/C electrical problem appears to have been fixed from a free part I received from Barker when the helpful tech I spoke to said, he should have sent the on/off toggle switch the first time.

Amazing. So what have I learned?

1. Troubleshooting an RV A/C system is complex, not sure ready to say better left to an HVAC pro, but close. There are many tests you can do yourself to help the pro isolate the problem.
2. I thought my A/C only ran on ac, not true, the 12V system delivers the messages to control board. Troubleshooting all the devices that operate through the 12V system simply by pulling the fuses and checking for things that don't work or do not work properly was really an education. This is how we found the bad fan in the bathroom. Now the power jack has its own separate fuse because as it runs straight off the battery, but as I think I learned, is obviously connected to the entire 12V system.
3. Manufacture’s support:
a. Dometic is a pretty good source of info, (manuals and basic troubleshooting) but they really want you to turn your problem over to a qualified tech because I believe they are legitimately concerned about your safety so will only give you so much information.
b. Airsteam has not been a help so far, have left messages and emailed from web site a service technician, but no responses so far.
c. Barker, pretty damn superior. No time on hold, techs that want to help. Incredible belief in their product.
4. Forums:
a. The Airstream Forum is an exceptional DYI forum. Wish I had started my posts earlier.
b. RV.Net, great info their, but so many different RVs and systems, can be confusing.
5. Learning to use a Voltage meter and Clamp meter are huge. Confirming where power is and is not, is not only safe, but again really helps isolating the problem. This knowledge was not only helpful to the JustAnswer tech, but also to those who read this initial post. The understanding of the reversing valve solenoid and the messages it needs really closed the loop for me and gave me hope that I could fix this problem and not turn it into a new a/c install ($2000 bucks) or professional repair, potentially ($1,000 bucks).

Hope this post and thread helps.

Thanks again to those who responded

George
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