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Old 07-02-2022, 06:30 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Bennington , New Hampshire
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 71
Micro-Air EasyStart

Summer and itís getting a bit hot even in the north country and AC is the subject at the forefront of RV camping. The objective for my ideal RV AC is efficiency, the ability to run it on LFP batteries with a 2000W inverter. I fixed my wish list on a Houghton/Recpro 3400, a quality and quiet RV AC, albeit a DIY project. Equipment, roof adapter and other materials end up close to 2K by the time itís all said and done.

After much research though, and finding that the Houghton AC burns just as much power as the Dometic Penguin II and may run on a 2000W inverter, but definitely will not start on that, the final decision became clear. Bear with the noise, save a good junk of money and wait a little bit until we here in the good olí US of A too get to enjoy the latest RV AC technology. Just like the rest of the world; Dual Cylinder Inverter Compressor ACís.

A 2000W inverter can operate a Penguin II, though not start it. Here enters a Micro-Air soft-start (or others). I got one of these marvels in my mailbox at 11 AM today. Unpacking, reading the literature, getting tools and parts ready. At 12 noon I had the ladder on the side of my AI and by 1:40p I turned the breaker back on, pressed the on button on the inverter, clicked on the thermostat to get a differential between existing temp and cooler temp. It took about three minutes until the fan came on and my meter registered around 12v/23 amp. Then another minute or two and voila, the amps ratcheted up within about 7 seconds to 140a (12V) and showed about 14a (120V) no surge current whatsoever. So 140*12 = 1680W for the AC plus, the refrigerator was humming, plus inverter usage. This is perhaps about all a 2000W inverter can handle without getting too hot. Putting the AC through several on and off cycles worked like a charm. However, to last a full night youíd need a BIG battery. To my estimate a 400AH battery will give you enough off-grid cooling in the north country to cool up to two and a half hours. 600-800 would be better, Usually the nights get cooler and youíre good to sleep. If you employ battery sizes 2-300AH you will need a minimum BMS size of 200a (each battery should be capable to carry the full load) not sure how a 100a multiple parallel Battleborn system would work.

The above are my observations for the those of you DIY types on a budget. Also, off-grid AC use really is not practical if you want to be stationary for several days. It would not go without generator or alternator charging,. Even a powerful alternator at perhaps 200A would take up to three hours to fully charge a good size system and you canít run a vehicle stationary for that long. The above system will work if you are traveling and perhaps stop in rest areas or Walmart parking areas and back on the road in the morning. Even the most basic MB Sprinter alternator will deliver 50 to 60 amps so an 8 hour drive will give you 3 to 4 hours of AC at night.

Another word about the Micro-Air EasyStart; with basic wiring schematic knowledge, it is quite simple and quick to install if you have all the tools and parts you need ready. Can be done in 40 minutes. However, when ordering this device make sure it comes with the installation kit even if you have to pay extra for the kit. Well worth it and it saves time, an hour in my case.
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Old 07-02-2022, 06:56 PM   #2
3 Rivet Member
 
2015 Interstate Grand Tour
Salem , New Hampshire
Join Date: Jun 2022
Posts: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailfast View Post
Summer and itís getting a bit hot even in the north country and AC is the subject at the forefront of RV camping. The objective for my ideal RV AC is efficiency, the ability to run it on LFP batteries with a 2000W inverter. I fixed my wish list on a Houghton/Recpro 3400, a quality and quiet RV AC, albeit a DIY project. Equipment, roof adapter and other materials end up close to 2K by the time itís all said and done.

After much research though, and finding that the Houghton AC burns just as much power as the Dometic Penguin II and may run on a 2000W inverter, but definitely will not start on that, the final decision became clear. Bear with the noise, save a good junk of money and wait a little bit until we here in the good olí US of A too get to enjoy the latest RV AC technology. Just like the rest of the world; Dual Cylinder Inverter Compressor ACís.

A 2000W inverter can operate a Penguin II, though not start it. Here enters a Micro-Air soft-start (or others). I got one of these marvels in my mailbox at 11 AM today. Unpacking, reading the literature, getting tools and parts ready. At 12 noon I had the ladder on the side of my AI and by 1:40p I turned the breaker back on, pressed the on button on the inverter, clicked on the thermostat to get a differential between existing temp and cooler temp. It took about three minutes until the fan came on and my meter registered around 12v/23 amp. Then another minute or two and voila, the amps ratcheted up within about 7 seconds to 140a (12V) and showed about 14a (120V) no surge current whatsoever. So 140*12 = 1680W for the AC plus, the refrigerator was humming, plus inverter usage. This is perhaps about all a 2000W inverter can handle without getting too hot. Putting the AC through several on and off cycles worked like a charm. However, to last a full night youíd need a BIG battery. To my estimate a 400AH battery will give you enough off-grid cooling in the north country to cool up to two and a half hours. 600-800 would be better, Usually the nights get cooler and youíre good to sleep. If you employ battery sizes 2-300AH you will need a minimum BMS size of 200a (each battery should be capable to carry the full load) not sure how a 100a multiple parallel Battleborn system would work.

The above are my observations for the those of you DIY types on a budget. Also, off-grid AC use really is not practical if you want to be stationary for several days. It would not go without generator or alternator charging,. Even a powerful alternator at perhaps 200A would take up to three hours to fully charge a good size system and you canít run a vehicle stationary for that long. The above system will work if you are traveling and perhaps stop in rest areas or Walmart parking areas and back on the road in the morning. Even the most basic MB Sprinter alternator will deliver 50 to 60 amps so an 8 hour drive will give you 3 to 4 hours of AC at night.

Another word about the Micro-Air EasyStart; with basic wiring schematic knowledge, it is quite simple and quick to install if you have all the tools and parts you need ready. Can be done in 40 minutes. However, when ordering this device make sure it comes with the installation kit even if you have to pay extra for the kit. Well worth it and it saves time, an hour in my case.

Sailfast, I'm in NH too. We need to meet up one of these days. Yes, the Micro-Air is a must IMHO. I also have the Micro-Air thermostat which is also another must as you can turn on your AC remotely for your pets.

I have 600 AH's of lithium and can get about 5-6 hours of AC usage. I set it automatically to between about 73-75 and it works like a charm but as others have said - the AC chomps up a lot of battery.

Like you said though, pretty easy too install and yes you need to purchase the installation kit.
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Old 07-02-2022, 07:04 PM   #3
2 Rivet Member
 
2014 Interstate Ext. Coach
Bennington , New Hampshire
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by StogieMan View Post
Sailfast, I'm in NH too. We need to meet up one of these days. Yes, the Micro-Air is a must IMHO. I also have the Micro-Air thermostat which is also another must as you can turn on your AC remotely for your pets.

I have 600 AH's of lithium and can get about 5-6 hours of AC usage. I set it automatically to between about 73-75 and it works like a charm but as others have said - the AC chomps up a lot of battery.

Like you said though, pretty easy too install and yes you need to purchase the installation kit.
.....ha, ha, ha, you're one up on me. I was searching for a way to turn the AC off while I sleep, before the batteries are totally dead. Huh, would I miss my coffee in the morning.
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