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Author Topic: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?  (Read 4263 times)

RANDY8876

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Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« on: July 20, 2007, 08:03:34 PM »
I have a 1985 Ford 4x4 E350 (regular length) that I am slowly setting up for camping and roadtrips. I'd like to add an A/C unit that I can use both on the road and while parked. I've seen the roof mount units and was wondering what do I need to add to hook one up. Let's say I went with a Carrier 11,000 BTU unit. What size DC to AC converter would I need? Can someone suggest a kit for wiring in shorepower (I suppose I need a plug, breaker/fuse panel and AC to DC converter/battery charger?) I've found a 300 amp alternator, so I think I can generate the power I need while the engine is running. What about a house battery; are those preferred over something like a pair of Optima's? What brand The battery also needs to be able to supply offroad lights and a winch when needed.

Also, are there any other low profile air conditioning units besides Carrier? I'd like it to be under 8 inches tall, so my roof rack isn't interfered with much.

Ron

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2007, 08:12:11 PM »
the device that converts DC to AC is called an inverter.  Trying to use the output from an inverter to run an AC would require a lot of battery power to run the AC for even just one hour.  Just doesn't seem worthwhile.
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RANDY8876

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2007, 09:09:11 PM »
the device that converts DC to AC is called an inverter.  Trying to use the output from an inverter to run an AC would require a lot of battery power to run the AC for even just one hour.  Just doesn't seem worthwhile.

Are you saying the roof mounted air con. units are only used while parked and plugged in? I would think with a large alternator it could also be used with an inverter while driving.

Tom

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2007, 09:13:57 PM »
That would have to be a very large alternator and inverter. If we need the roof air while underway, we fire up the generator and don't attempt to run it from the inverter.
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RANDY8876

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2007, 09:51:11 PM »
That would have to be a very large alternator and inverter. If we need the roof air while underway, we fire up the generator and don't attempt to run it from the inverter.

Ahh, that's good to know.

So without a generator there's pretty much no chance of a roof mount air con unit being used while driving? What if it's only 6000 BTU's?

Tom

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2007, 10:43:20 PM »
I have no idea how much current a 6000 BTU AC would take, so I won't change my prior suggestion. One additional thing to consider, irrespective of the size of the AC, is that the surge from a compressor starting up could cause damage to an inverter.

I didn't mention that, unless it's very hot outside, we can and do get by with dash air. But, when it gets too hot, we fire up the generator and run the roof air.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 10:44:55 PM by Tom »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2007, 11:20:53 PM »
I couldn't locate an 11,000 btu Carrier, but a similar Dometic Penguin 11,000 btu model requires 9.5 amps for the compressor and 3.1 amps for the fan (on high) for a total of 12.6 amps at 120 VAC. To supply that with an inverter would require 120+ amps continuous from the alternator or battery @ 12.6 VDC.  That means an 140 amp alternator running flat out (which also means the engine is doing more than idling). And generating that much alternator amperage sucks a lot of engine horsepower too. That power does not come for free.

Any chance you could add a generator to the van for road and off-grid use?
Gary
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Karl

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2007, 03:06:43 AM »
I don't think anyone makes a 6,000 btu roof-top a/c.

Something else to consider: If it's so hot that you need to run a rooftop a/c, your inverter (usually in an enclosed bay) may well shut down from overheating and become useless.
Karl (Cheesehead) Kolbus   Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy cow ...what a ride!"

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2007, 03:44:49 PM »
Coleman makes a 9200 btu model - here
Gary
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Len and Jo

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Re: Adding an Air Conditioning Unit?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2007, 08:38:10 PM »
The size of the AC unit you get will probably be driven by what is available that fits.  Your original post refered to a 11,000 BTU unit.  We have used a 5,200 window unit in our dark green extended van and it has cooled fine.  We used it at Williamsburg Va. in the summer.  We were camped in a fairly shady area and our van has 1" to 1.5" of expanded foam blown in to all walls, doors and ceiling.  So the size you require depends on your use and how good you insulate your unit.  Bigger is not always better.  You want a unit that does run a percentage of the time so that it dries out the air.  Let us know what you get and how high it is above the roof line.  I might like to install one.   
Len & Jo
The Green Tardis
We 'B' RVing   Berkley, Michigan
Van Development:   https://youtu.be/5Xqk_G6k95M
12 Years of Travels:  https://youtu.be/UMIf17CzdZo

 

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