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Old 06-22-2021, 03:04 PM   #1
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2020 22' Bambi
Lawrenceville , Georgia
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solo female airstreamer in need of A/C help!

Solo female travel nurse here in need of some mechanic assistance! I live/travel full-time in my 2020 22FB Bambi! Currently located in Arizona. About 3 weeks ago I noticed my A/C started intermittently not blowing very strong. When I would first turn on the A/C in the morning it would blow strong/normal and then after several hours it would gradually get weaker throughout the day, but the air is always cold. I have also noticed ice on the filter on the inside, but I have only seen ice twice. After doing some research I went to home depot and bought a shop vac and a voltmeter. I climbed up on the roof, took the A/C shell off and vacuumed out what dust and dirt had gathered in the unit. There was some dust on the coils and filters but not an extreme amount but i cleaned them all out and replaced the shell. Then I tested the power, without the A/C running in the morning the voltmeter reads anywhere from 119-122V, I assume this is normal when plugged up shore power? After turning on the A/C the volts usually drop by a few, voltmeter will usually read anywhere from 115-118V with A/C running. Is this normal? Should I expect a drop in this reading just from turning on the A/C? Furthermore I have been monitoring volts throughout the day and during the heat of the day the voltmeter sometimes reads as low as 107V which I assume is too low to power the A/C. I thought this might be my problem and a mobile service man came out and agreed with me that this is the problem, but there seems to me to be no correlation between the volts and how strong the A/C blows because even at 118V my A/C will still sometimes blow weak. Do any HVAC experts out there have any other suggestions on what might be wrong? I thought maybe the blower motor could be going out, but I read that is very rare? Also thought maybe its a refrigerant leak? How would I know if the unit was low on coolant?
Thanks in advance
Hailey
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Old 06-22-2021, 03:34 PM   #2
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I've been dealing with something similar on a new dometic penguin ii. Not sure if that's the same model you have. Two things seem to be the issue for me, granted it's not completely solved. 1. The condensate line has a small kink in it. I've rigged it so that it drains properly now. If your AS is similar, you should take off down the air distribution/intake box and look to see if the condensate line is holding water when it starts to sputter. 2. When the unit starts to sputter, I switch it to Fan on Hi for about 10 mins and then back to AC. I think the intake is frosting up, maybe from poor airflow and this seems to fix it temporarily.
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Old 06-22-2021, 03:37 PM   #3
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Hailey

First let me say I am impressed with your trouble shooting skills. Second, I am not an HVAC expert by any means. That said, I would see if you can check the voltage when the blower seems to be blowing weak. You said the air is always cold which usually mean the refrigerant is okay. If it is low there is no way to add more on these units. You have to replace the entire unit (my understanding). You mention the ice on the coils which usually means low refrigerant but might be from the low voltage as well. 107 volts sounds awful low and maybe the causing the issues. Just a suggestion but, I would try to see if the weak blower is when the voltage drops so low. Maybe someone else with more knowledge will add some other things to check/ideas. Good luck and stay safe checking things out.
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Old 06-22-2021, 03:56 PM   #4
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A few comments in no particular order:

Low voltage (107) might be due to the campground power. Not much you tdo about that

Make sure your AC is draining properly via the wheel well tubes

Make sure the inside filters are clean. You might want to remove the inside AC cover (if applicable) And clean any dirt found.

Make sure can is on high when AC is running

Hopefully some of the above hells. We have had our AC issues in the past.

As long as the air is blowing cool, the AC itself might be okay.

Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2021, 07:35 PM   #5
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Well, I'm not an HVAC expert, but I have been troubleshooting mine daily for about the last 2 weeks.

It might be helpful for us to know what make and model of AC unit you have, and what kind of thermostat you are using. Might possibly have some impact on the situation.

All that being said, I would suggest that you get a little bit more analytical for two or three days in a row. Make yourself a spreadsheet, and every hour from the time you get up until you shut it down, record the outside and inside temperature, take a reading of the incoming voltage (at the pole) without the AC running, and with it running, and devise a means of measuring the unit's performance (ie., if everything is blowing hard, and cold, then you give it a "10", if it is cold, but fan isn't running fast as expected, give it a "5", and if it is not cold, and not fast, then give it a "1."

I strongly suspect that the problems you are seeing are the result of low voltage, but this really should be a correlation that can be demonstrated by collecting the data above. Ask some of your fellow campers if they are experiencing something similar with their AC units. If it really is the incoming voltage, then I can't imagine you are the only one seeing its impact.

If your refrigerant is low, then I would not expect you to have good performance, and then sometimes poor performance, and the refrigerant level would have nothing to do with the fan speed at all.

Dirty coils and filters can result in freezing in the unit. So can running the AC with a low fan speed. It is surprising to me that you could be running the AC on low voltage, but the compressor keeps compressing, and the air is cold--seems that the thing you are primarily noticing is the fan speed. Soooo, maybe the issue is really with something that affects the fan speed, such as the controller/thermostat, or possibly the run capacitor (that said, I don't imagine that the run capacitor is going to run great one minute, and then poorly the next).



good luck!
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:06 PM   #6
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If you suspect the local power supply, try a different one, maybe a site nearer the source, at another campground, or even a generator known to have more than enough power to drive the AC. This will tell you if the voltage is the issue.
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Old 06-23-2021, 07:48 AM   #7
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As someone has mentioned, fan on high, filters clean, shower fan on when showering. Heat sources like cooking inside will usually add inside humidity. It is also possible the unit is failing. Of of our two failed in first year. They are checked by amp draw not coolant. I don't know what it should be but the one replaced was not drawing correct amps. I admire your technical skills. If you have hughes ems you can get voltage and amp draw on your phone while inside.
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:20 AM   #8
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Hi

120 V is the normal reading on your voltmeter. Anything in the 115 to 125 range is not unexpected.

Dropping below 110V will impact how well your AC does it's thing. The fan will slow down a little at 107V, I doubt it's enough to notice.

Ice builds up from humidity in the air. The control board will occasionally cycle things to clear a buildup when running in heat pump mode. The cloud of "steam" blowing off is quite alarming the first time you see it.... There are some other odd "cycle" things it does even in cooling mode.

Best guess: You will be visiting a warranty repair location soon ...

Bob
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuththeBambi View Post
Solo female travel nurse here in need of some mechanic assistance! I live/travel full-time in my 2020 22FB Bambi! Currently located in Arizona. About 3 weeks ago I noticed my A/C started intermittently not blowing very strong. When I would first turn on the A/C in the morning it would blow strong/normal and then after several hours it would gradually get weaker throughout the day, but the air is always cold. I have also noticed ice on the filter on the inside, but I have only seen ice twice. After doing some research I went to home depot and bought a shop vac and a voltmeter. I climbed up on the roof, took the A/C shell off and vacuumed out what dust and dirt had gathered in the unit. There was some dust on the coils and filters but not an extreme amount but i cleaned them all out and replaced the shell. Then I tested the power, without the A/C running in the morning the voltmeter reads anywhere from 119-122V, I assume this is normal when plugged up shore power? After turning on the A/C the volts usually drop by a few, voltmeter will usually read anywhere from 115-118V with A/C running. Is this normal? Should I expect a drop in this reading just from turning on the A/C? Furthermore I have been monitoring volts throughout the day and during the heat of the day the voltmeter sometimes reads as low as 107V which I assume is too low to power the A/C. I thought this might be my problem and a mobile service man came out and agreed with me that this is the problem, but there seems to me to be no correlation between the volts and how strong the A/C blows because even at 118V my A/C will still sometimes blow weak. Do any HVAC experts out there have any other suggestions on what might be wrong? I thought maybe the blower motor could be going out, but I read that is very rare? Also thought maybe its a refrigerant leak? How would I know if the unit was low on coolant?
Thanks in advance
Hailey
Hi RuththeBambi,*

We're very sorry to learn about the issue you are having. Please send us a direct message with your contact information, email and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team. We look forward to helping you get this resolved.

You can also reach Airstream Customer Service and Technical Support at*customersupport@airstream.com

Thank you.*
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:54 AM   #10
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The only thing to add is something no one has mentioned yet. The hotter it gets the harder the A/C has to work and therefore reduced performance as the day goes on. Hailey said she was in Arizona. I live here and can confirm it has been hot for the last three weeks with temps topping out at 117deg in the afternoon. This is something to consider when diagnosing. Stay cool Hailey!
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Old 06-23-2021, 09:58 AM   #11
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Oh, one other thing, today is a good day to test this theory. It is only 88deg at 0900 hours with rain off and on. Should not get as hot today.
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Old 06-23-2021, 10:01 AM   #12
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I may have missed it above, but I suggest checking if the ac unit has a frost sensor (thermistor?) that has become dislodged. My Coleman Mach 8 has a sensor in the expansion coil that cycles off the compressor to prevent frost up. If coils get frosted up with ice, this build up blocks air flow but the air still feels cold.
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Old 06-23-2021, 11:05 AM   #13
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AC in AZ

The hotter to outdoor temp, the less efficient the indoor AC works. Your condensor is trying to remove heat by putting it outdoors, so during the day your AC cannot maintain the indoor temp you want. Try to buy some shade cloth to place several feet above the AC unit. Keep the hot sun off it to the max extent possible. You can always try a mini-sprinkler on the roof, a trick I saw used by folks in South Georgia in July to help drop the roof temps. But with a drought in AZ, you get in trouble wasting water.
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Old 06-23-2021, 03:35 PM   #14
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Cover the windows (wall and ceiling) if you haven't already.

Ceiling.

Walls and skylight.

Remove one or two of the registers that always fall out. The air flow out of those things is not good.
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Old 07-04-2021, 09:34 AM   #15
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Airstreams don’t do good in hot or cold weather…
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Old 07-04-2021, 10:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
I may have missed it above, but I suggest checking if the ac unit has a frost sensor (thermistor?) that has become dislodged. My Coleman Mach 8 has a sensor in the expansion coil that cycles off the compressor to prevent frost up. If coils get frosted up with ice, this build up blocks air flow but the air still feels cold.
This could very well be your issue. Once the evaporator coils freeze up, air flow is reduced due to blockage. AC units have a temperature probe that inserts into the coils. The control board uses that signal to sense when the coils are frozen up. The board will shut off the compressor until the freeze up clears. The blower fan continues to function.

Please check to see that the probe is inserted into the coils and is plugged into the control board. I have seen brand new units with probe not installed during assembly.

As others have said, an AC unit that is low on refrigerant charge will ice up easier than a properly charged unit. Unfortunately RV AC units are sealed and cannot be recharged without breaking into the system.
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Old 07-04-2021, 11:35 AM   #17
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AC fan

The only other thing to think of is if you have another item using power at the same time of low voltage like electric hot water or frig.
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Old 07-04-2021, 01:45 PM   #18
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Check for a campground voltage drop in the afternoon - when everyone else is using power. Just check any AC outlet. If it’s below 113 or so that’s your problem. A Hughes autoformer is your solution. It will stabilize and boost your voltage when needed. Google it to learn more about how they work. They are available from Camping World in the 350.00 range for the 30 amp version. I’ll never plug in now without one. Especially in an older park. Plus they have a built in surge protector. A win win.
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Old 07-06-2021, 04:58 PM   #19
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Cold A/C

If the A/C starts and runs cold with plenty of fan air movement, then begins to drop off, the problem is either 1.The cold (vap) coils are freezing up or
2. The fan motor is slowing down either because of a failing start/run capacitor or heat. 3. Your compressor has a weak winding which is not rare.
4. The unit was under charged at the factory. There are no valves on the units for owners to check the freon. I used a "tapper" to check the freon and did, in fact, find several a/c's not fully charged. An undercharged system will freeze the coils after a short run and all you can do is shut off the compressor (turn the thermostat ccw) and let the fan defrost the coils, then restart. I've worked as the A/C tech for many years at dealerships and I've come across weak compressors several times which required a changeout.
Good luck!

E=RuththeBambi;2508047]Solo female travel nurse here in need of some mechanic assistance! I live/travel full-time in my 2020 22FB Bambi! Currently located in Arizona. About 3 weeks ago I noticed my A/C started intermittently not blowing very strong. When I would first turn on the A/C in the morning it would blow strong/normal and then after several hours it would gradually get weaker throughout the day, but the air is always cold. I have also noticed ice on the filter on the inside, but I have only seen ice twice. After doing some research I went to home depot and bought a shop vac and a voltmeter. I climbed up on the roof, took the A/C shell off and vacuumed out what dust and dirt had gathered in the unit. There was some dust on the coils and filters but not an extreme amount but i cleaned them all out and replaced the shell. Then I tested the power, without the A/C running in the morning the voltmeter reads anywhere from 119-122V, I assume this is normal when plugged up shore power? After turning on the A/C the volts usually drop by a few, voltmeter will usually read anywhere from 115-118V with A/C running. Is this normal? Should I expect a drop in this reading just from turning on the A/C? Furthermore I have been monitoring volts throughout the day and during the heat of the day the voltmeter sometimes reads as low as 107V which I assume is too low to power the A/C. I thought this might be my problem and a mobile service man came out and agreed with me that this is the problem, but there seems to me to be no correlation between the volts and how strong the A/C blows because even at 118V my A/C will still sometimes blow weak. Do any HVAC experts out there have any other suggestions on what might be wrong? I thought maybe the blower motor could be going out, but I read that is very rare? Also thought maybe its a refrigerant leak? How would I know if the unit was low on coolant?
Thanks in advance
Hailey[/QUOTE]
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Old 07-06-2021, 05:55 PM   #20
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Since the trailer is in Arizona, I'm a little surprised at freezing up unless the unit is low on charge. That can cause a freeze up also.

I had a freeze up in Destin Florida (with an SOB). It was under warranty and the service guy who came out said that in heavy humidity areas to run the fan on high speed in a continuous mode. He said it's not uncommon to find that low speed on the fan promotes ice build up on the inside coils. If the fan auto shuts off when the inside set point is set, sometimes the time between shut off and the air conditioner turning back on is insufficient to melt all the ice on the coils.

That was in the late 90's and maybe air conditioners didn't have ice sensors on them. I know my 2004 Penguin has no ice sensor when I'm in heat pump mode. It just has a timed defrost cycle if the compressor continuously runs for a predetermined amount of time.

Jack
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