Do I need a new AC?

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by RVNewbie, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. RVNewbie

    RVNewbie New Member

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    99 Adventurer 35c. The systems seems to blow cold when hooked up to the house but the RV never actually eats cool. Maybe not enough amps from breaker? My husband seems to think we need a new AC but it is blowing and does blow cool. How do I know if I need a new AC and how do we stay cool while driving? Do we just run the generator?
    We are planning to travel the next year with kids and two dogs but I don’t think I can do it without AC!
     
  2. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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  3. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    You mention being plugged in and later driving...What kind of AC are you talking about?
     
  4. davido

    davido Active Member

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    Air Conditioners can possibly need to have their refrigerant recharged. If you take the temperature at the vent (you can buy an inexpensive thermometer to test this at an auto parts store) and if the temperature is not as low as you feel it should be, check into getting it recharged.

    As for how to power the unit:

    At home I'm imagining you have the AC plugged into a 20A receptacle on the trailer, and that the trailer is plugged into a 30A to 15A plug adapter so that you can plug it into your home's 15A outlet. So if you're paying attention to the above description, you have a 15A outlet feeding a 30A inlet on the trailer, which feeds a 20A outlet on the trailer, which feeds the 20A inlet on the AC. The home outlet is the limiting factor -- your AC unit may not get enough current to start the compressor. It is also bad for the air conditioner to try to run it on a system that cannot supply its full power needs.

    The solution at home is to have a 30A RV outlet installed with proper wiring and breaker. At my home this is pretty easy to accomplish because the main service panel is adjacent to where I park my trailer. With a full 30A RV outlet, the trailer can draw as much power as it is capable of handling and supply the full power needs of your air conditioner.

    On trips you have two options for running your air conditioner: The first option is to get campsites with 30A electrical hookups. Most campsites that provide electrical hookups provide 30A hookups. But not all campsites do provide electrical hookups; many do not, and certainly none do if you are camping off the grid. The second option is a power generator. And once again the solution is a little complicated. You will need a generator that can supply sustained power at 20A. Remember that 2000W at 115vac is 17.4A. To get full 20A service you'll need a generator that can produce 2300 watts for sustained periods. And even then you can't really be running other appliances at the same time.

    The solution many people use is a 3000+ watt generator. But these are heavy and big. The other solution many people use is dual 2000W generators running in parallel. Honda, Yamaha, and a few other manufacturers make generators that can be connected together to provide essentially double the current. A 3000W+ generator is heavy, and big, and expensive. Two 2000W generators are even more expensive, but easier to lift, smaller individually, and on days where you don't need to run the air conditioner, you can run just one of them to top off your batteries, and it will be quieter and more energy efficient.

    Those are your options for running the air conditioner: 30A shore power, or adequate generators.
     
  5. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    AC's are a closed system and the only reason they would ever leak is if there is a leak somewhere in the system. Exception is vehicle AC units, they have a seal around the shaft and can and do leak, they should be turned on in the winter every once in a while to keep the seal good.
    Check for high amperage use. It needs 20 amps to operate at max. efficiency if not the unit will run slower and eventually overheat. Some causes are small extension cord, plugged into a 15 amp circuit, also we closed off the end (just us 2) curtains this assisted. You can buy a laser thermometer at HF for about $20.00 (also good for checking the wheel bearing for overheating on the PUP). Using a microwave, or other high wattage appliance while running the AC is not recommended. Good Luck and happy Camping
     
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  6. RVNewbie

    RVNewbie New Member

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    Ok lots of good information thank you. We have tried the house AC while running the generator 4000 and still is not cooling down the house. I found in the briefcase of manuals that the AC’s were brand new less than 3 years ago so I don’t think we need new ones. I am not very knowledgeable about electric but would changing the house thermostat possibly do it? Also, can I use a 120VAC thermostat or does it have to be a special RV thermostat? I know we want the 12v and not 24v.
    As for the dash AC...who knows! The temperature knob just keeps twisting around and around so I am thinking we will replace that first. Free on is good and all other parts seem to be operating on dash system.
     
  7. joet

    joet Well-Known Member

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    A thermostat turns on the compressor, and if yours is running, and cooling, it is working. A replacement T-stat needs to be battery powered.(internal battery)You can pick these up on e-bay for less than $20.
    An AC in a pup doesn't cool that good to begin with, without some help. What were the temps in and out? Was the pup setting in full sun?
    To help maximize the cooling you will need to use Pop UP Gizmos covers on the bunk ends and refleix on your windows. These will help minimize heat gain
     
  8. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Confused ........... what kind of or make and model of the A/C you are talking about. If it is roof mounted it will need a good 20 amp power source to operate.
     
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  9. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    They have a 35' Winnebago RV. That model should have 2 A/C units on top. If you have both running it needs to be hooked up to a 50 amp service, not the house current. I haven't been around a Class A for a while - when I was much younger the on board generator was only able to run one A/C. That was 30 years or more ago, so I am sure things have changed. Does yours have controls on the ceiling panel? I have seen some motorhomes that had the thermostat only to control the furnace, like our pups. Newer ones these days are integrated and no longer have direct controls on the ceiling panel.

    Not sure on the dash A/C. The knob may be a digital one in which case it will spin in either direction with no stops. It should function just like any other passenger car A/C. Are you getting air out of the dash vents, which would signify the blower is operating. Does the compressor turn on? Sometimes there is an A/C switch that is separate from the main dash power switch. You can check the low pressure with a gauge from the auto store as well, but if you are not mechanically inclined or familiar with automotive A/C then it might be best to have a mechanic look at it.
     
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  10. RVNewbie

    RVNewbie New Member

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    Ok good news. The RV is staying cool with the generator which is 5000watts. We went to ford and they said we needed to change out the switch on the dash about $150 for one online. I also took off cent covers to look for holes in the duct work of the house but it appears there is no duct it just all runs through the gap between ceiling and roof. We do not have controls on the AC units themselves. ALSO you mentioned hat we need to have 50amp for boy AC’s to run, but our plug is a 30 amp. I looked in the manual and it says that 50amp was optional but I am thinking the original buyer only got the 30amp. OR if a 50amp is needed for two AC’s so it would have come with a 50amp plug but it has been switched? How do I know how big of a plug(50amp or 30amp) by RV can handle.
    I appreciate everyone’s help and suggestions. This is going to be quite a learning experience for us but I think it will be enjoyable.
     
  11. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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    Unlikely 50A service is actually 2 120V 50 A legs. It would be easy to check the breaker box and see what it's rated 100A or 30A. As sneezer said alot of Motorhomes need the generator to be running to run the second AC if it has only a 30A shore power. Did your unit have a generator originally?
     
  12. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

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    Back in the day, when I worked on RV's We wired a breaker box so you could select the AC unit that you wanted to run, this was prior to 50 amp service, but to run 2 you will need 50 amp service. 50 amp is actually two 25 amp circuits by splitting 220 V in to 2 circuits.
    The dash AC sounds like a problem with the controls, and can be a booger to change. however a lot of people use the generator running and use the roof air while traveling, it does boost the gas mileage of the RV
     
  13. RVNewbie

    RVNewbie New Member

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    [QUOTE="mstrbill, post: 1205121Did your unit have a generator originally?[/QUOTE]
    Yes it came with the generator. As long as our breaker box is rated for the 50amp we can install a 50amp plug. It says in the manual that it was optional so it should be possible. I will check the box and see what we can find out.
     
  14. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Yep, my dad and I did that to our old 37' one. We put a switch in so we could toggle which one to run on the generator while tooling down the road. I also seem to recall we put a 2nd line in so the 2nd AC had a dedicated power line off the post (it was usually able to run without tripping the aux breakers). That was an awful long time ago now that I think about it.
     
  15. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

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  16. RVNewbie

    RVNewbie New Member

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    That was a good article and helped me understand some of the electrical. When I open the box on the RV how will I know if can be equipped with 50amp Service?
     
  17. RVNewbie

    RVNewbie New Member

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    Good news. The new control panel for the AC came in and it is working! Woohoo win! But now we are having an insulation problem with the doghouse. We had to replace the old flooring. What do we use to insulate the doghouse before we put carpet back over? Any tips or tricks?
     
  18. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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