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182G New A/C Install

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TimK182G View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TimK182G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: 182G New A/C Install
    Posted: 18 May 2020 at 10:41am
Question on the Dometic 13500 btu a/c. We bought an R-Pod without an A/C installed and want to purchase a new one. I am planning on installing it myself in the roof vent, it looks pretty straight forward and I have basic electrical knowledge. I have a couple questions. Is the low profile unit worth the additional cost? Do I have to purchase anything besides the unit itself or is it a complete package? Our old trailer had the a/c installed so this is a first for me. I noticed you can add on things when you go to checkout online. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2020 at 11:26am
I would suggest getting a 9000 btu unit rather than the 13.5K. Unless you're going to camp in the southwest desert in the summer 9000 is going to be fine and maybe a little quieter (ie, sounds like a prop plane taking off not a bizjet). I'm assuming you have a roof vent in the center of the trailer (not the one in the bathroom) already. Those are a standard size so the a/c should be a direct replacement fit. 

Take a look in your breaker panel. You will need a breaker for the a/c, If that's not already there its an easy install. You will also need a cable to the roof, a 120 Vac cable, not the 12V cable for a vent fan. Not sure if that is prewired already or not, but if not, the cable will be a bit of an issue to install, you'll probably have to run surface mount wiring. So you might want to pull off the vent and see. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote TimK182G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2020 at 12:44pm
Thank you for the detailed response.  We do have the center roof vent in the main living area.  I'll double check on all of the wiring.  We do have a circuit already in there installed for the A/C on the main panel that is currently unused in the off position.  Good point on the 9K vs. 13.5K BTU units.  I'll take a look at the price differences on each of the units to see what makes sense but 9K is more than enoungh for us, we're mostly in the northeast for our camping.  I am definitely going with the low profile, anything with less drag when moving is a win for mpg's even if it very small.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 5:28am
Sounds like you are on a good track. If you were closer to southwest VA I'd consider swapping with you. I want to go out on a limb and replace my a/c with a roof vent and try a 9000 btu mini split air conditioner with the condenser mounted on the tongue and the evaporator on the wall above the head of the bed in my 179. Much quieter and much much more efficient but not knowing how it would all go together I can't recommend you try it. 

Please post what you decide to do and how the install went in the mods section for the next guy. One thing to consider is how you are going to safely get the a/c unit up there, they are heavy, about 100 lbs.  Not a carry up the ladder kinda thing, more of a shade tree block and tackle thing...


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Post Options Post Options   Quote TimK182G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 8:22am
Thank you!  I'm looking at alternatives to the roof mounted unit as well. Your idea of a mini- split is very fascinating. After reading other posts, losing the light and air flow from the current free skylight in the center of our roof has me a bit hesitant to block it up with an A/C roof unit.  I like the idea of being able to open up that window to let hot air vent out naturally and it also lets a ton of light in right now.  I haven't found any small portable units that make any sense at this point.  Putting a mini split or regular window A/C unit above the bed would be a great option but I'd be terrified to do that myself.  Cutting into the frame does not seems like something I would ever be comfortable doing.  Going to keep researching for now, campgrounds are still closed here for at least 3 more weeks here so we won't be going anywhere soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 8:57am
No need to cut into the frame with a mini split other than a 3 or so inch hole for the refrigerant tubing. The interior evaporator unit hangs on the wall. It only weighs about 20 lbs so screwing a aluminum plate into the wall framing (which is 1x1 aluminum tubing) and then attaching the evaporator to the plate should work. The condenser can mount on the tongue where the batteries are. On my 179 I would have to move my propane tank forward slightly and bolt or weld on brackets to mount the condenser on. I would need a cover for the condenser to avoid damage from road debris while towing. The batteries would need to be relocated to the interior of the trailer, I would change them for lithium ones at that point. Then I would need to route the two refrigerant lines, a condensate drip line, and a power line from the condenser to the evaporator. All that is bundled together in about a 3 inch diameter circle, which would be routed out at the front bottom of the trailer. The units some precharged so in theory you don't need am a/c tech to pull a vacuum on the lines when installing. They make a cover for the tubing which would be visible inside the trailer until it dived through the corner of the bed into the area where the water heater is under the mattress. 

But its definitely not for the faint of heart, its a major mod with a lot of little things to sort out or it could go wrong. The payoff is the top of the trailer is clear, the a/c is whisper quiet inside and out, energy usage is cut in half, and its a heat pump as well. I plan on covering the top of the trailer with solar modules, leaving a couple of inches of air space for cooling and the vents underneath. 


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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 10:08am
Someone could make a killing by making a mini split where the condenser could be mounted on the roof, and the evaporator could be ceiling mounted directly underneath.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 10:29am
They make flush mounted cassette evaporators for installation in ceiling cavities that you would need to build a cover for where it came up through the roof, they're about 10 inches tall but much smaller than a roof a/c.  But the condensers are all for ground or wall mounting. Some folks have mounted them on the rear bumper. The refrigerant lines would have to lead up the outside wall which might be pretty funky. Placing the condenser above the evaporator creates some problems with oil migration that have to be worked out. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 11:34am
Originally posted by offgrid

No need to cut into the frame with a mini split other than a 3 or so inch hole for the refrigerant tubing. The interior evaporator unit hangs on the wall. It only weighs about 20 lbs so screwing a aluminum plate into the wall framing (which is 1x1 aluminum tubing) and then attaching the evaporator to the plate should work. The condenser can mount on the tongue where the batteries are. On my 179 I would have to move my propane tank forward slightly and bolt or weld on brackets to mount the condenser on. I would need a cover for the condenser to avoid damage from road debris while towing. The batteries would need to be relocated to the interior of the trailer, I would change them for lithium ones at that point. Then I would need to route the two refrigerant lines, a condensate drip line, and a power line from the condenser to the evaporator. All that is bundled together in about a 3 inch diameter circle, which would be routed out at the front bottom of the trailer. The units some precharged so in theory you don't need am a/c tech to pull a vacuum on the lines when installing. They make a cover for the tubing which would be visible inside the trailer until it dived through the corner of the bed into the area where the water heater is under the mattress. 

But its definitely not for the faint of heart, its a major mod with a lot of little things to sort out or it could go wrong. The payoff is the top of the trailer is clear, the a/c is whisper quiet inside and out, energy usage is cut in half, and its a heat pump as well. I plan on covering the top of the trailer with solar modules, leaving a couple of inches of air space for cooling and the vents underneath. 



I can see doing all of that on a brand new trailer ordered with no roof A/C installed, but on yours, being a 2015 model, and presumably about halfway thru it's expected service life...man I'm just not seeing the payback...ROI, in other words is not there. Or so it seems to me.  

Save all that work for the next new one you own!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2020 at 12:12pm
I kinda feel the opposite, I wouldn't want to take the risk of buggering up a new trailerStar. And I haven't bought a new vehicle or trailer in - uh, well, I can't remember that far back. Besides, I'm a cheap old guy, I keep my stuff pretty much forever, as long as its still working anyhow. 
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