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Old 07-14-2016, 02:04 PM   #1
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Custom Air Conditioning Retrofit

I sense some very good design and engineering skill on this forum so I want to bounce this idea off of you folks. Like many others out there we are tired of the absurdly loud overhead Dometic A/C unit (especially at night) and I gather that they are all pretty similar in noise level until you get up to very high end with ducted units. I have procured a 120V 9,000 BTU/H Fujitsu 9RL2 mini-split system at cost through a contractor friend. I plan to mount the condensing unit on a custom mount on the tongue (covered by a hard plastic propane cover when not in use) and mount the indoor unit semi-recessed within the front cabinet blowing lengthwise down the trailer. These are very quiet and efficient. The bonus is this can also provide heat and can easily be run on a Honda EU2000i gen. Internet searches show this has been done successfully on an old Boler, a few Airstreams and a Silverado 37QB 5th wheel, but not an Escape. I have thought about this extensively and have an HVAC engineering background. I don't see any issues personally, but are there any thoughts or constructive criticism before I take this on? Thanks!

http://www.fujitsugeneral.com/PDF_06...mittal9RL2.pdf
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:42 PM   #2
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Very interesting!!! I am trying to decide between a 21 and a S.0TA but I really don't want a lot of stuff on the roof although the Dometic looks a lot more aerodynamic on the 5.0 since it is mounted on a down slope of the roof.
The only concern I have is that my son plans on doing a lot of weekend winter camping at the Colorado ski areas and the heat pump gets less efficient as it gets colder, so would it work on really cold nights? The propane heater is still there so it may be a moot issue and with power he could augment with an electric ceramic heater.
Most of our RV camping will be in the high country so the air conditioner would get little use. I was thinking of rigging up a little cooler using a 6 gal. plastic bucket, several blue ice blocks and a 12v fan. That should work when the temps get to an intolerable mid eighties.
My freezer would probably be constantly filled with some form of ice.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:45 PM   #3
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Copy that. I self installed the 11,000 btu Dometic on my roof at a huge personal savings but with a huge personal loss, in hearing.

Though I can't see sacrificing tongue box space (if you have one) for a/c parts or how transmission lines would enter the cabin, or how an a/c unit fits anywhere in the front cabinets, unless you mean under the seats, I look forward to watching your work. Take pictures.
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:48 PM   #4
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I take it you have room on the tongue and have looked into the added weight there.

Says it's 47db, did you check the Dometic?

What the amperage draw? is that what they call MCA?
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Old 07-14-2016, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SFDavis50 View Post
The only concern I have is that my son plans on doing a lot of weekend winter camping at the Colorado ski areas and the heat pump gets less efficient as it gets colder, so would it work on really cold nights? The propane heater is still there so it may be a moot issue and with power he could augment with an electric ceramic heater.
Don't know if it'd be the same, but I've heard the down side to using the heating element in the Dometics AC is that you have to run the noisy blower. Would be nice to know how loud the proposed AC is on the inside of the trailer.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:10 PM   #6
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I assume you are not getting the optional front storage box as this unit is adding maybe another 90 lbs to your tongue weight. Plus you will have to relocate the battery someplace. In addition, a heat pump below freezing is no longer efficient and needs to be supplemented with electric heat.
The stock a/c supplied by Escape with the digital thermostat has a 2 speed blower option, something others may not have if they elected otherwise. On the lower speed, it is a lot quieter than conventional one speed units. Just my $.02 worth.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
I plan to mount the condensing unit on a custom mount on the tongue (covered by a hard plastic propane cover when not in use) and mount the indoor unit semi-recessed within the front cabinet blowing lengthwise down the trailer.

www.fujitsugeneral.com/PDF_06/Submittals/Submittal9RL2.pdf
Other than adhering to the standoff requirements for the outdoor units for the intake/exhaust I don't see a problem. I have a similar unit on my shop and the outdoor noise is pretty quiet. You might give some thought to mounting them on isolation pads to further reduce any noise transmitted through the frame when mounted.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:16 PM   #8
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OP has a 2010 19, don't think front storage box option was even available then was it?
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:21 PM   #9
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I think it's a great idea, for noise, keeping mass low, and avoiding extra height. When I've looked at the details, my concerns are usually the bulk of the outside unit (but the tongue is a great place for it), the total weight, finding the right size, and of course the cost.

This is an interesting unit. For its heating feature it runs as a heat pump, not just a resistance heater, a feature generally not available on small conventional RV air conditioners. It runs at variable speed, not just on-off.

The linked specs are only for the outdoor unit, so total system weight and power are higher.

As a split unit it inherently fixes the problem that most RV air conditioners have of running both inside and outside fans whenever one is needed, because they are on one motor - the inside and outside fans are in entirely separate units.

Sorry I don't have any useful suggestions at this point, Dave, but it looks like you have already thought this through. I would be interested in following the project and taking at shot at any detail issues that might be encountered.
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Old 07-14-2016, 03:21 PM   #10
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Most heat pump units stop functioning below 34-36F and an auxiliary set of contacts close normally used for calling for the backup electric heat coils in the house furnace to activate; this is normally a relay contact signal. One could possibly tie that into the furnace as a means to hand off the heating demand to the propane furnace, but it would take a bit of research to figure out how to electrically make that work downstream of the thermostat. Might take another relay in the final 12V leg to the furnace, but I'm sure it could be done. I have 40 years of heat pump engineering in my background.
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