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Author Topic: New project in the works - adding roof air  (Read 44617 times)

John Canfield

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New project in the works - adding roof air
« on: June 15, 2010, 06:19:16 PM »
Been considering this for some time, and we finally set the wheels in motion to add 13,500 more BTU of cooling in the form of a low profile Coleman-Mach Polar-Mach roof air.  It is interesting to note the 'new' R-410A version of the R-22 model I ordered draws another amp or two.  The roof air will be installed in the galley Fantastic Fan opening.  Hate to give up the fan, but that's the way it goes.

Ordered it from PPL and should have it in a week or ten days.

I am not breaking new ground - others have gone before me with this mod.  I think the biggest problem I'm going to have is how to get the 90 pound unit on the roof.
--John
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geodrake

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 06:58:43 PM »
I think the biggest problem I'm going to have is how to get the 90 pound unit on the roof.
Why not just get up on the roof and have your wife hand it up?

I'm wondering why you are installing just one A/C instead of two.  I assume the reason for even messing with it is that you are not happy with the heat pump?
George Drake

Jim Godward

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 07:35:48 PM »
John,

In one of the other lists, someone installed an AC and got it to the roof by sliding it up a ladder using a rope and 2 people to pull it.  I don't remember the list nor how he protected the AC or the ladder. 
Jim
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seilerbird

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 07:37:59 PM »
Oh it is simple to get it up on the roof. Measure the height of the roof, then dig a hole in your yard that is the exact height and drive it in. Then you can just slide the A/c over onto the roof. Just get your wife a shovel.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 08:44:58 PM »
John

What is "another amp or two" ?? ...do you mean compared to the basement unit?  Do you intend to use it in addition to? ...or in place of? ...the basement unit.   How are you doing the wiring?

I too am interested in what drove you to this point. We've never felt the need for more cooling ...it hit 104 on our outdoor thermometer today with very high humidity. Inside temp got up to 81.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 09:12:45 PM »
 ;)No problem John, bring it to the rally, I'll put it up there for ya..... ;)
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2010, 09:29:09 PM »
John, can you hook up a block-n-tackle on the beam of your rv garage, hoist it up, and then back under it?
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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2010, 10:35:15 PM »
There are some variables, but In full sun and a day at rest (no engine heat to remove) the inside coach temp is generally 10-15 degrees below ambient air temp.  Outside temps of 95 usually mean an inside temp of ~80-85 degrees.  A couple of summers ago (about this time of the year) we were in Gila Bend, AZ and the outside temp was 112 and we were 95 in the coach.  95 degrees might sound draconian, but it was tolerable - at least for a day  8)  We want the interior cooler.

The other thing is with the basement air being down low and near the road is that it pulls in road dust.  In the summer we usually are running the basement air all the time in really hot weather - when pulling into dirt/gravel road campgrounds we need to remember to turn off the air.  Won't have that problem with a roof air unit running while underway.

I think I have a plan for getting the AC on the roof (that doesn't involve DW) - the loader bucket will raise up to 8 or 9 feet.  A couple of planks in the bucket resting on the roof of the coach and a come-a-long to drag the AC up the planks might work.  Plan B is to hoist it to the ceiling of our RV port and move the coach under the raised AC (good idea Bill!)
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2010, 07:17:53 AM »
John, you gonna be able to run some 10 gauge wire to the unit down to the electrical service bay?
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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2010, 07:22:39 AM »
Mark - 12 gauge will work.  Haven't started pulling things apart to see where I can grab some power.  It would be nice to run back to the breaker panel at the foot of the bed. 
--John
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geodrake

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2010, 07:52:54 AM »
John:
Will one roof A/C do the trick???

If it were me I would go with 10AWG.
George Drake

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2010, 08:18:10 AM »
George - a few years ago I saw a 2004 Vectra at Winnie factory service with three roof airs and the basement AC.  At first I thought it was a Winnebago prototype (it wasn't); talked to the owner and he said he liked it cold in his coach.  Cold indeed  :o  One roof air will make a nice augment to the basement air and we might be able to get by with just running the roof air while we are on the road.  We'll have to gain some experience with it to tell.

No, 12 gauge is fine for a short wiring run and should easily handle the start current.  I downloaded the installation instructions and 10 gauge is indicated for longer wiring runs.  I'll make the final determination after I figure out where to grab some power.
--John
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Bob.n.Sue

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2010, 08:37:39 AM »
Great project!  Can't imagine that 10 gauge wire would be necessary.  I would definitely want the run to go to the box with its own breaker. 

Although these latter-day AC units are pretty light, even one piece roofs on most brands seem to be additionally re enforced around AC openings.  If I understand, you aren't using a conventional roof vent opening, so I would want to make pretty sure the roof structure around the opening is stiff enough to endure the unit bouncing up and down going down the road.

Keep us posted!

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2010, 09:02:46 AM »
Bob - I am using an existing roof opening, so I'm not too concerned about mounting/roof issues.  I know of two other owners who have done the exact same mod with good results, so I'm not breaking new ground here.  I also think I asked Winnie a couple years ago (when I was first considering adding a roof air) about the added weight, and I believe the answer was 95 pounds of weight was not an issue.
--John
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Bob.n.Sue

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2010, 09:48:29 AM »
Cool!  (No pun intended...sorta')  Sounds like you've got the bases covered. 

Bob

Harry B

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2010, 11:15:50 AM »
John,

You mentioned one coach with 3 A/C units on the roof. Did you notice how they were mounted or supported? I assume that each vent opening has metal framing around it

I believe most of the Vectra and Horizon models have two vent openings in the roof. If he used those two how was the third A/C unit supported?

I would like to make this addition as well but would like to keep a roof vent in the kitchen. How difficult do you think it would be to add another vent back in the kitchen area? Seems like you could add a roof vent anywhere as there are no weight issues to consider.
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2010, 11:55:38 AM »
John, could you tap into the engine block heater circuit at/near the One Place panel?   That is on a breaker and there should never be a time when you would be needing AC and using the block heater. 

How do you plan to conceal/run the romex, thru the overhead ducts? 
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Harry B

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2010, 01:02:24 PM »
On my coach that circuit is on the same legs as the bedroom and front and rear TVs are.  However the junction box is under the bed and it is easy to run an additional line to the breaker box from there.

I did exactly that modification in order to hook the front and rear TV outlets into a separate 400W sine wave inverter and obviously did not want the engine block heater attached to that same circuit
Harry - (Central FL)

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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2010, 01:17:46 PM »
You mentioned one coach with 3 A/C units on the roof. Did you notice how they were mounted or supported? I assume that each vent opening has metal framing around it

I believe most of the Vectra and Horizon models have two vent openings in the roof. If he used those two how was the third A/C unit supported?

I would like to make this addition as well but would like to keep a roof vent in the kitchen. How difficult do you think it would be to add another vent back in the kitchen area? Seems like you could add a roof vent anywhere as there are no weight issues to consider.

Harry - absolutely no clue about installation details of the rolling 'freezer.'

It would probably not be a big deal to relocate the vent - there appears to be room between the two large fluorescent lights in the salon - I would want to keep the vent located on the roof centerline, so it would be over my table.  I might just try to relocate the vent - I would really like to keep it.


John, could you tap into the engine block heater circuit at/near the One Place panel?   That is on a breaker and there should never be a time when you would be needing AC and using the block heater. 
Sounds like Harry has already done some wiring legwork.  I'll take a look at the 120 wiring and see what's possible

Quote
How do you plan to conceal/run the romex, thru the overhead ducts?
Gary - I'll try to make the short run from the vent opening to the OnePlace panel compartment - there is good access to other parts of the coach from this panel.  It might be possible to run the wire through the ceiling to the OnePlace - won't know until I disassemble the vent.
--John
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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2010, 07:52:38 PM »
Looks like the loader will work to get the unit reasonably close to the roof.  Picture attached.
--John
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boatbuilder

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2010, 08:11:39 PM »
Just find a bigger loader to pick up your loader so it is even with the roof.  LOL 
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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2010, 09:57:43 PM »
Boy, don't I wish.  I could use a tractor twice the size of the Kubota around the place.
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John Canfield

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Problem solved
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2010, 07:08:59 PM »
The problem of getting the AC unit to the coach roof is solved - I bought a Genie GS-2032 electric scissor lift at an on-line auction today.  Lucky me, I got into the only bidding war of the six or eight lifts that were offered and paid twice what my target was  :-\ , but the unit looks fairly nice and has 343 hours of operation on the meter.

Truck freight delivered the AC unit today, so next week I'll get busy with the install.

The scissor lift will be a great addition to the shop since the ceiling at the peak is about 18' and I have ducting to install for the dust collection system.  Also waxing the coach will be greatly simplified and now I can easily redo the roof to sidewall joint.  Plus there is the cool factor of another tool.
--John
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seilerbird

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2010, 07:13:29 PM »
I wish you had told me about the auction before hand, I would have loved to bought one for myself. Then we could do some drag racing... ;D

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Re: Problem solved
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2010, 07:30:39 PM »
The scissor lift will be a great addition to the shop since the ceiling at the peak is about 18' and I have ducting to install for the dust collection system.  Also waxing the coach will be greatly simplified and now I can easily redo the roof to sidewall joint.  Plus there is the cool factor of another tool.

Congrads on the lift John, I am jealous. I have been whining to the DH how I want one for washing and waxing the MH but I am too cheap to invest in one anyway but I sure am sick of going up and down those ladders.  ::)
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2010, 08:28:34 PM »
Ummmm,,,, by chance, Does that thing have outriggers?  ???
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2010, 08:29:48 PM »
John...

I suppose you may have seen the occasional air conditioner shroud along side the highway.

One of those could  have been ours!   We have lost two in the 25 years of trailer/motor home activity.

Good luck on your endeavor.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2010, 08:38:30 PM »
Ummmm,,,, by chance, Does that thing have outriggers?  ???

Nope - the unit weighs 3500 pounds and the operating parameters at 26' are 550 pounds in the platform - it will move at 0.5 mph with the scissor fully extended  8)

I suppose you may have seen the occasional air conditioner shroud along side the highway.

Wendell - as a matter of fact - yes.  I'll take the chance for 13,500 more BTU of cooling.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2010, 09:17:11 PM »
John, bring that over to our place next winter, we have some high branches to trim :)
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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2010, 09:44:12 PM »
Not a rough terrain man-lift  ;D
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2010, 10:24:23 PM »
Great toy budget!  hE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS i HEAR.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2010, 10:14:56 AM »
Quote
the cool factor of another tool.

   Are you sure it is tool..or a new toy? Thinking BIG is good, especially if you live in Texas.

   All you have to do now is to figure a way to take it with you on your travels; you never know you may want to wash and wax the rig on the road. Also good to get a good view with a crowd in front of you. The possibilities are endless.

  A sign on it would be good : "Don't mess with Texas"   ;D

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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2010, 05:21:35 PM »
   Are you sure it is tool..or a new toy?

Tool.. toy.. there isn't much of a difference in certain situations ::) (nor does it matter.)
--John
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John Canfield

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2010, 07:46:38 AM »
The AC was delivered Friday.  That dude is heavy, but I could scoot it around without too much trouble.  I hope I can pick up the scissor lift tomorrow and get on with the job this week.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #34 on: June 20, 2010, 08:02:21 AM »
After spending a week in Gulf Shores, AL, I was just informed that I will be adding a roof air conditioner to augment the inadequate basement air. Needless to say, your progress will be very interesting. I have a couple of questions about how you plan to do this.

1. If a glass of red wine a day is good for you, a bottle must be great (just kidding)! Why did you select the 13,500 BTU unit instead of 15k?
2. How do you plan to connect the controls to the thermostat or are you going to run it like a standalone?
3. Do you plan to duct the output into the AC ducts or use it as standalone?
4. You mentioned that you are not blazing new trails. Are there any online resources for the other installations? I find it helpful to get as many views as possible.
5. If you decide to relocate the vent instead of replacing it with the AC, will you include that here?
6. Were you able to get a roof vent, reinforcement, and wiring diagram of the ceiling from Winnebago?

I won't be able to do more than think about this for a month or so. I'll be following your progress with a lot of interest.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #35 on: June 20, 2010, 08:25:54 AM »
After spending a week in Gulf Shores, AL, I was just informed that I will be adding a roof air conditioner
I certainly know how that works  ::)

Why did you select the 13,500 BTU unit instead of 15k?
I wanted to keep the AC current down - as I recall the spec for this particular unit is 12.7 amps running.  Also I wanted a low profile unit


2. How do you plan to connect the controls to the thermostat or are you going to run it like a standalone?
It will be standalone


3. Do you plan to duct the output into the AC ducts or use it as standalone?
Standalone


4. You mentioned that you are not blazing new trails. Are there any online resources for the other installations? I find it helpful to get as many views as possible.
There is at least one forum member, BucknJeff, that have done the same mod.  Pat Tribby added a roof air to his UA, but I think they moved off the coach and were going to sell.  Then there is the guy with the Vectra rolling freezer previously mentioned.  I think BucknJeff have documented their AC installation, but I'm not sure


5. If you decide to relocate the vent instead of replacing it with the AC, will you include that here?
Absolutely.  At this point, I want to keep the Fantastic vent, but I might not have enough time to relocate it before we head out to GNR


6. Were you able to get a roof vent, reinforcement, and wiring diagram of the ceiling from Winnebago?
I keep a printed set of wiring diagrams (downloaded from Winnie) on the coach.  I'll be calling Owner Relations next week about issues with cutting a new roof hole for the vent relo


I won't be able to do more than think about this for a month or so.
I've been thinking about this for three years  :D
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2010, 09:40:05 AM »
I installed a 13,500 AC on the top of my truck camper.  With the camper setting as low as it can on the ground, I pulled the truck along side.  Put heavy cardboard on the roof to protect surface, then a step inside the truck bed.  Lifted the AC up in my arms, stepped up on the step, then the rail.  Then lifted up, resting (oh, I left it on the 'pallet'),  on the roof edge and pushed up past tipping point, then let it down see saw-ish.  Climbed up on roof and finished up.  OSHA doesn't haunt the field out back. 

If I had it to do over, I would have gotten some sort of lift.  About half way thru the lift I realized I had to keep going, there was no backing out without injury or damage. 

Your lift with a bucket loader reminded me of that project.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2010, 10:05:21 AM »
Safely getting the unit on the roof was my greatest concern and I wasn't feeling too good about the loader bucket and ramps.  I keep getting a little more cautious since I'm not a young buck any longer  ;)
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2010, 06:11:39 AM »
John,

Based on what you know today, will you be running power from the source to the A/C ON the roof, IN the roof, or ON the ceiling?  Just wondering about aesthetics and exposure.........

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2010, 07:17:20 AM »
Jim - at this point the plan is to somehow get from the breaker panel at the foot of the bed to the OnePlace center (under the floor), up that column and then I hope to fish the wire the few inches through the roof to the vent opening.  I'll be working on the wiring in the next day or two.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2010, 04:01:40 PM »
John,
When I did some rewiring to my 40AD recently, I ran some cable from the panel at the end of the bed to the One Place as follows: I snaked the wire down the One Place chase and under the shower, thru the existing chase between the shower base and the vanity and drilled a small hole in the bedroom wall ( the wall with the pocket door ) and another in the bed base opposite the one in the bedroom wall and hid the wires with some stick on wiremold where they were exposed in the bedroom. It was an easy job. The return grill in the shower base provided access to snake the wire to the vanity chase.

Hope this helps.

Pete

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« Reply #41 on: June 21, 2010, 06:17:24 PM »
Hope this helps
Pete - God bless ya' - I'll consider that first.  I've had the grill off of the shower pan before when I was running Cat5 for the Xantrex from the OnePlace to the power bay.

DW Jane and I drove about 160 miles round trip to pick up the Genie lift this afternoon.  It all went very well until unloading.  I got it about half-way down the ramps and the relatively small wheels got stuck in between the ramp's angle iron cross members.  Not to be defeated, I hooked up the tractor to the Genie with a chain, got Jane in the Genie, put some tension on the chain and told Jane to operate the Genie.  The plan worked extremely well until the Genie didn't want to stop coming down the ramp.  I hollered at Jane to release the joystick, which she did immediately, but the Genie brakes didn't operate instantaneously :o wow - what excitement.  All I saw was 3500 pounds of Genie lift and Jane coming at me at about 75 mph.

All worked out quite well in the end and no damage was done.
--John
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seilerbird

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2010, 06:29:16 PM »
Back in the mid seventies I was an apprentice electrician and I was given the job of changing about 10,000 4 foot and 8 foot fluorescent tubes at the Charmin Paper Plant in Oxnard California. The warehouse section had 30 foot high ceilings and I was given one of those lifts to do the changing with. It had a limit switch that would not allow me to drive it unless the basket was lowered all the way to the ground. So I would go up to 25 feet, change about 12 tubes, lower it back down, move it ten feet and go up and change a dozen more. That got real old real fast. So the second day I duct taped up the limit switch and so now I could drive it at 25 feet with no problem.

John, if you really want a cheap thrill duct tape up the limit switch and go for a drive. Then come down and change your underwear.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #43 on: June 21, 2010, 06:39:42 PM »
Tom - 10,000 bulbs- up and down in the lift!? Wow!  My Genie lift will move at 0.5 mph extended so apparently your problem was well noted.  Steering is a little clunky with a rocker switch at the top of the joy stick that doesn't work well with my thumb.
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seilerbird

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #44 on: June 21, 2010, 07:08:59 PM »
No, I didn't do all 10k from a lift, just the ones in the warehouse and part of the production area. Most were done off a 6 foot ladder.

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Re: The Genie is home!
« Reply #45 on: June 22, 2010, 08:19:47 AM »
I hollered at Jane to release the joystick, which she did immediately, but the Genie brakes didn't operate instantaneously :o wow - what excitement.
THE VINE JANE, THE VINE
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #46 on: June 22, 2010, 09:09:06 AM »
made me spit my coffee.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #47 on: June 22, 2010, 04:49:48 PM »
Making progress.  12/2 with ground is now run from the main breaker panel at the foot of the bed up into the OnePlace area - I used Pete's suggestion to run the wire in the corner of the bed area. .  I used plastic flex conduit for most of the run to protect the wire.  Depending on when our company (due to arrive any minute) leaves, I might be able to get it installed tomorrow.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #48 on: June 23, 2010, 01:11:09 PM »
John,
If I remember correctly you are in North Texas somewhere. I live in Corinth and I would be willing to come by and help you get the unit on top of your coach if you can wait until this weekend.

Michael
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #49 on: June 23, 2010, 01:28:01 PM »
If you click on the link in John's signature, you can see exactly where he is, to within a few meters :)
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Yea - got 'er done
« Reply #50 on: June 23, 2010, 05:41:54 PM »
Michael - that is so kind!  Thank you very, very much for the offer.  Careful planning paid big dividends and scooting the roof unit in place from the Genie lift was easy and simple.  The stamped sheet metal of the roof unit had pretty sharp edges and I sprung a leak on my thumb.  Then I got a pair of gloves  ::)

Just got the install completed about 4 PM CDT.  Could have been done by 3 PM if I had a circuit breaker on hand.  Had to make the 50 mile round trip into Kerrville to find a Cutler-Hammer 20 amp breaker.  I have used SquareD, Siemens, and GE breakers before, but never a Cutler-Hammer.

First impressions...

- The low profile roof unit is not obtrusive at all

- We now have new sounds and noises, roof noise when you are outside, and blower noise inside the salon.  I think I have become a fan-boy of basement air due to the blower living in a far corner of the coach, however the new noise is perfectly acceptable considering the end result  ;D

- Roof air on high cool is fairly noisy.  It appears we will only need to run the roof air on high cool for a while during the hottest part of the day, low cool otherwise in the afternoon for basement air augmentation and to cool the interior as desired

- As I sit here at the salon table typing this, I am starting to get really cold - the roof unit is blowing cold air on me (the table is 73 degrees.)  How sweet it is :D

- The cab area is still warm (~ 80 degrees, but cooling) even with the MCD shades lowered.  We won't have even temperature distribution inside unless we run a box fan or two (that's not in the plans though)

- With the roof air blowing cold air very close to the basement air thermostat, that's going to create a little problem with figuring out what temperature to set the basement air thermostat

- Air temperature exiting the roof air (on low cool) is in the 30s, forward vents of the basement air are reading in the 40s, outside air temps are 92 degrees.  The difference might be due to heat gain while the chilled air is making the long roof duct run

- Should have installed roof air three years ago when I first thought about it

- No idea yet how effective roof air will work while we are running down the road in the summer.  I would like to only run the roof air while on the road due to the unit being up and out of the way of road dust and dirt

- The project wasn't too difficult (the major problem being how to get the unit on the roof), but working in the small breaker panel while laying on the floor wasn't my best moment

- It's nice to have a backup AC unit

When time permits, I'll do a full project write-up for our web site.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #51 on: June 23, 2010, 05:50:20 PM »
Good report, John.  Just remember for every action there is a reaction. Hope you don't freeze to death.

  "Free lunches are rare these days"   ;)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #52 on: June 24, 2010, 08:48:29 AM »
John, nice job.   So, there was at least one unused space on the bus bar in your service panel for another breaker?  I need to check mine to see if I also have a space.

A comment:  While I do like our Winnebago and think they have many nice features for the money paid, it is unfortunate that one has to add a supplemental AC to their 'flagship' coach.   The manufacturer really should have engineered/spec'd the factory installed unit to cool that coach in hot weather.   
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #53 on: June 24, 2010, 10:09:25 AM »
Not many coach builders used basement air, Winnebago and Alfa come to mind, Alfa made the mistake of pumping the cool through floor vents, and as we mostly all remember, cold air sinks, hot air rises.  Winnebago at least pushed the cool air up to ceiling vents.  But on real hot days, you loose some cool in the transport, and as John mentions, in dusty conditions the fins etc, are closer to the dust.  Winnebago is going to roof air for the 2011 models. 

Advantages, gaining storage, disadvantage adding weight up high and adding overall height.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #54 on: June 24, 2010, 12:41:47 PM »
John, nice job.   So, there was at least one unused space on the bus bar in your service panel for another breaker?

Gary - I had three unused breaker positions, but the box is so small fitting two more breakers would be a challenge

Bill - nice summary of advantages/disadvantages of basement vs roof air
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #55 on: June 24, 2010, 01:33:23 PM »
Quote
summary of advantages/disadvantages of basement vs roof air
advantages = quieter operation, no water trickling off the roof 24/7, much easier to clean the cottonwood off the condenser intake (required every two days where we were recently in NW Oklahoma)

Several months ago we were parked beside a Newmar that had basement air/heat pump mounted about midway on the driver side ...think it was a King Aire ??  I would guess it was a 1990 something model...
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #56 on: June 24, 2010, 04:18:37 PM »
John,

It is only with a small amount of shame that I admit that my RVing started with "Hippie Vans".  I have put roof air on a couple of vans that I built into RVs.  My most recent project was putting a Mach 3 on a 2008 14' Featherlite enclosed aluminum trailer that I converted into a mobile office.  It can also haul a golf cart or Smartcar.   I wanted to pass on what I learned from that experience:

1.   Getting it up there:  I have back issues and spend hours or days designing ramps, tools, hoists, etc instead of just jerking things around like a couple of "normal" men would do in a matter of seconds.  I had a barn and used a cheap Northern Tool hoist.   I had to construct a custom wooden frame to lift it with to avoid bending the unit.   Once on the roof, I unscrewed the frame from around it and removed the frame.  This rig was much lower than a class A, you would need a tall hoist connection as the hoist, chain and unit may take up 4-5 ft. 

2.  The shroud that comes with the unit is plastic garbage.   I installed the $100 MaxAir replacement shroud during installation.

3.  This year, I noticed that the interior ceiling control panel was hanging down a bit.  I assumed it was simply the panel screws, but saw that it was the 4 long threaded bolts that hold the unit on the roof that had come loose.  This allow the unit to shift and bend a couple of the bolts.  If not noticed, I could have lost the unit on the highway.  Now I know what your thinking, "typical hippie installation", but the second man rule I commonly break is to read instructions carefully.   I had installed it exactly as the instructions indicated, compressing the foam seal only as the yellow tabs indicated.   I must admit, if you were not reading the instructions, the intuitive thing to do would be to tighten them much more than I did.  I removed all bolts, straighten a couple of them, and reinstalled, but this time I threaded additional nuts and lock washer on so that I could lock the nut on another nut at the desired tightness.     

hope your project goes well,
fred

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #57 on: June 24, 2010, 05:06:54 PM »
Looks like another project nicely completed John.

I believe that the biggest reason for the basement units challenge to really cool the coaches down even though I have no complaints even in FL, is the capacity of the RVP unit vs the size of the coach. The total cooling capacity for the RVP A/C we have is 24000 BTU (2x 12000 BTU). Most 40 ft coaches with 2 roof A/C have 30000 BTU cooling capacity (2x 15000 BTU) installed.....

Now with the added 12500 BTU you exceed the 30000B TU by far, so it should work really well. As you mentioned you now have a spare A/C and you are still able to operate on 30 Amp service with both RVP compressors running. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me.
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #58 on: June 24, 2010, 05:41:23 PM »
Harry - the roof air will have to stay off while we are on 30 amp power, but other than that, we can exist quite well on 30 amp thanks to the basement unit that can run on one or two compressors (and the EMS system ) :(  I'll have to be more diligent about finding campgrounds with 50 amp power when it is hot.

I now have a full afternoon's experience with the roof air running.  Some stats:

Outside air temp - 91 degrees.  Coach parked in full sun.

West facing interior wall temperature (with no awning and full sun exposure) low 80s to high 80s
West facing interior wall temperature (with awning and in the shade) about 78 degrees
East facing interior wall temperature is the mid 70s or the ambient room temp
Salon table temp - 74 degrees
Cockpit dash temp right above the Sony rear view monitor - 75.5 degrees
Cockpit dash temp right behind the windshield - 91 degrees

The roof air has been running since lunchtime on low cool, and the basement air is also on.  The past few days (pre-roof air) our interior would be about 81 or 82 degrees as a maximum for the day, so generally with basement air only we are about ten degrees cooler than ambient air temps.

Now with 37,500 BTU of heat extraction, we are keeping well ahead of heat gain in the coach and that's with the roof air on low cool ;D ;D 

It would be interesting to repeat our Gila Bend, AZ experience of a couple of years ago in June with the roof air.  It was 112 degrees and the best we could cool the coach interior down was about 95 degrees.  That might sound horrible, but we were actually coping quite nicely and weren't miserable (it would have been great to have the interior down to the 80s though.)
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #59 on: June 25, 2010, 05:23:24 AM »
A couple of more questions:

Did you consider using the block heater circuit for connecting the unit? If so, why did you choose to run a new circuit to the breaker panel? Did you consider installing some form of breakout so in the event you were at a 30-amp site, you could connect the roof unit to a separate 20-amp plug?

How did you get power to it on the roof?
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #60 on: June 25, 2010, 07:39:42 AM »
A couple of more questions:

Sure

Did you consider using the block heater circuit for connecting the unit?

Not really since the block heater appearance in the OnePlace area is the switch for the outlet in the electric bay.  You would still need to find a common and ground.  Edit: that might work - I think the hot and common/ground are there

If so, why did you choose to run a new circuit to the breaker panel?

I like having the AC on its own dedicated breaker

Did you consider installing some form of breakout so in the event you were at a 30-amp site, you could connect the roof unit to a separate 20-amp plug?

Way too complicated for the benefit gained for me

How did you get power to it on the roof?

From the bed area to under the sink, under the shower, up the OnePlace column.  Then I drilled a 2" hole in the ceiling into the AC duct.  From the 14" x 14" roof opening I poked a hole in the Styrofoam roof insulation and the hole intersected with the 2" ceiling hole previously mentioned

I'll have the entire process documented on my web site when I get a chance to write it up.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 07:42:51 AM by John Canfield »
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #61 on: June 25, 2010, 08:49:23 AM »
Outstanding John! I will look you up at the rally and you can show it off!
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #62 on: June 25, 2010, 12:19:38 PM »
Marty - I will be planning an rvforum meet 'n greet at the GNR.  If there are enough of us, I'll arrange to use a seminar tent, otherwise we can gather at our coach.  Unfortunately, we will be on 30 amp power at the GNR  ::) so we can't demonstrate our rolling fridge!
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #63 on: June 25, 2010, 07:21:48 PM »
Too bad, I was going to have a side of beef delivered to try it out ;D ;D
Marty--
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #64 on: June 29, 2010, 08:57:13 AM »
John, seems as if you have things well under control as usual. After you do yours and find all the problems, think I'll drive down and you can do mine...With all the equipment ,you needs a sign, Canfield's Collection. Bet the DW loves all that stuff sitting around...Jim
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #65 on: July 01, 2010, 06:03:07 PM »
Yea!  Project is documented and on our web site.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #66 on: July 01, 2010, 08:07:45 PM »
Nice job John!!!  I was wondering with full a/c cooling on your 50 amp service, do you have any current limitations where the Powerline might shed loads..... like the electric water heater?   Are you satisfied with the front to back location as far as cooling distribution?

Speaking of the effects of heat load in the sun....
It's been 91 deg the past 2 days but I'm parked in my sisters RV garage.  So with no sun hitting my coach, it will cool down from 80 down to 72 in about 30-45 minutes.  My 6.5 yr old basement air is working like a champ (after I changed the blower bearings and installed the new plastic squirrel cage 2 yrs ago).  I gets a lot of use since we use the heat pump a lot because I'm usually in mild climates in the winter time.   And that's with 3 yrs of fulltime living in my rv. 

Enjoy the GNR..... I'll be missing it again.

Bill

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #67 on: July 01, 2010, 08:54:06 PM »
Hi Bill!

EMS shedding loads on 50 amp service?  Hmmm - not sure if it can do that.  I was wondering on what leg of the 50 amp service I should add the new circuit breaker - I just added it to the next open slot.

The air distribution is very satisfactory in the salon and cab area.  Due to the pocket door trim just aft of the ceiling assembly, most of the air is blocked that could otherwise go aft.  This has been a high-payoff project and I'm thrilled at having more cooling available.

We would do well in complete shade but that's not going to work for the dishes  :D
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #68 on: July 02, 2010, 10:30:18 AM »
Nice job and great write-up John.

When did you get the Corgi? 
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2010, 11:15:10 AM »
Thanks Gary!

We acquired Sassy about a year ago from the breeder.  She's seven years old and was the breeder's first Corgi champion, and is the sister to Jane's brother's Corgi.  Sassy never produced large litters, so she was a candidate for placement - I've wanted a dog for some time, so it worked out quite well.  She's a great dog with great manners and personality (and she travels well.)
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #70 on: July 03, 2010, 05:21:06 AM »
Do you have an Autostart connected to your generator? If so, have you tested it with the 3rd AC?

On another note, until I read this article, I hadn't really thought about running the basement AC 2while driving. On my unit, input air gets drawn in the side and exhausted on the bottom. Is there really a lot of dirt that can get in there while driving? Do you think the new unit will keep you cool without the basement air during our nice, mild Texas summers :)?

As I have told you before, this along with a windshield cover and awnings is my next project, too. My plan is to use the block heater circuit in the one-place and rearrange the breaker panel so it's on the opposite leg from the primary circuit of the basement air. Like yours, my biggest challenge is going to get the box on the roof.

My office facility is a distribution center of the company I work for. They have lots of lift equipment, provided I decide to work on installing the unit in the parking lot at work and can talk some people into helping me. I'm currently about half way through a 3 week computer implementation in Toronto, so I have had plenty of time to follow your installation and plan mine. When I get home, I will confirm that there aren't any issues with items installed on the roof and will probably get busy.

For the 2" hole for the wire behind the One-Place, did you use a standard hole saw?

What did you do to prevent the the pilot drill so it wouldn't go through the roof?

Did you use the blue tubing for the Romex in the roof or just at the opening for the AC?

How did you seal the 2" hole after you ran the wire?

Did you use the same technique for the fantastic vent wires to get them to the duct (using the electrical fish)?

After your shopping for the AC unit, do you have any suggestions for vendors, due to your unhappiness with PPL?

This was a great write that answered a whole lot of my questions. As you can see, I like to ask them! :)
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #71 on: July 03, 2010, 07:59:21 AM »
Do you have an Autostart connected to your generator? If so, have you tested it with the 3rd AC?

Yes and I haven't tested it as yet with the genny.  I am curious what the new AC draws, so I need to fire up the gen set and run the new AC


On another note, until I read this article, I hadn't really thought about running the basement AC 2while driving. On my unit, input air gets drawn in the side and exhausted on the bottom. Is there really a lot of dirt that can get in there while driving? Do you think the new unit will keep you cool without the basement air during our nice, mild Texas summers :)?

Yes, there is a bit of road dust that gets sucked into the basement condenser, also notice what happens when you drive in a campground with freshly cut grass.

It will be interesting to see if the roof unit will be adequate for hot days while on the road - I'll post follow up experiences 


For the 2" hole for the wire behind the One-Place, did you use a standard hole saw?

I used a cheapie hole saw with an adjustable pilot bit.  The pilot bit won't retract very much with my good bi-metal saws (they will extend way out, but not retract enough)


What did you do to prevent the the pilot drill so it wouldn't go through the roof?

The hole is drilled into the existing AC duct run, so you're essentially drilling only the covered luan ceiling panel.  I used a hole saw with a pilot bit that only extended a little past the saw since I wasn't sure what I was getting into


Did you use the blue tubing for the Romex in the roof or just at the opening for the AC?

I didn't see any need for conduit for the run in the ceiling - it is immobilized by the Styrofoam


How did you seal the 2" hole after you ran the wire?

I can tell you what doesn't work - duct tape  ;D.  I need to screw a 1/8" thick patch over the hole with foam to seal the hole


Did you use the same technique for the fantastic vent wires to get them to the duct (using the electrical fish)?

Basically - I poked a hole into the left AC duct run and fed the new cable.  Hooked it with my fish and pulled it forward to the next duct opening


After your shopping for the AC unit, do you have any suggestions for vendors, due to your unhappiness with PPL?

There was an outfit in California I was considering, don't remember the name of the business


This was a great write that answered a whole lot of my questions. As you can see, I like to ask them!

Thanks!  Glad to help others spend money  8)

Edit:  minor clarification
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 08:57:24 PM by John Canfield »
--John
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mrschwarz

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2010, 05:29:24 AM »
Good to help keep the economy going!
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #73 on: July 05, 2010, 05:15:36 PM »
We were on the road from about 8:30 am to about 4 pm today in reasonably hot weather (85 degrees at 10:30 am, 93 on the road early afternoon) and I started the gen set about 11 am and turned on the new roof air.  We stopped for fuel about 3 pm and it was pretty warm in the aft cabin (the bedroom) due to the engine heat, but pleasant in the main salon and cockpit area.

I decided our roof air by itself was not quite going to cut it in very hot weather as the only house AC running - we were very comfortable in the cockpit area, but the bedroom area was going to be a little too warm when we stopped for the night to my liking.  I started up the basement air and left the roof air on high - wow.  Didn't take long to get the entire interior comfy.

According to the ammeter (while on gen set), the Polar-Mach is drawing about 15 amps.  With roof air and the basement air running (on high blower), we are pulling about 44 amps total, so we are good for our 7.5 Kw genny.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #74 on: July 14, 2010, 12:35:58 AM »
John,
I noticed that you went with a unit that is 13500 instead of a 15,000.  Why?  Thanks, Joe  Great write-up!
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #75 on: July 14, 2010, 08:30:38 AM »
Just trying to save a couple of amps and the 13.5k model was almost $150 cheaper.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #76 on: July 15, 2010, 12:52:39 AM »
John,
Have you posted a step by step procedure for installing the roof air so that it can be run along with the basement air?  I had an appointment at Camping World for an estimate today.  The one tech available said that he couldn't figure out a decent way to run the electrical wires from the circuit board to the AC unit.  I was told to come back on Monday to have a different tech look at the situation.  I am unable to do this work myself and so far it is not sounding as though CW will want the job.  Joe


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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #77 on: July 15, 2010, 05:37:12 AM »
John,
Have you posted a step by step procedure for installing the roof air so that it can be run along with the basement air?  I had an appointment at Camping World for an estimate today.  The one tech available said that he couldn't figure out a decent way to run the electrical wires from the circuit board to the AC unit.  I was told to come back on Monday to have a different tech look at the situation.  I am unable to do this work myself and so far it is not sounding as though CW will want the job.  Joe


2008 Itasca Latitude 39W

Look in an earlier post. John has a step by step procedure on how to do it. You have enough current in the block heater switch in your One-Place. If you go into the duct above it, you should be able to get power to the AC unit. If you read the entire post, there is a lot of information on how he did it and the reasons he did things.
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #78 on: July 15, 2010, 08:26:34 AM »
Have you posted a step by step procedure for installing the roof air so that it can be run along with the basement air?

Yup - here's the link.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #79 on: July 15, 2010, 08:45:34 AM »
John,
Now that you have done it, do you think that there is an alternate place to pick up the electrical for the AC?  Could there be 120 in the OnePlace Panel?  Or how about coming up from the engine heater line in the power cabinet?  The two would never be used together.  I'm wondering if Camping World would be more apt to do the job if I could suggest  another place to get the 120.  I told them that I would bring your plan with me on my next visit, but I doubt if they will want to get involved if the job is too complicated.  That is the feeling that I am getting.  I am scheduled to go back on Monday.  Thanks, Joe
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #80 on: July 15, 2010, 08:58:00 AM »
There is a 20 amp circuit (required for the AC unit) in the OnePlace center that runs to the engine block heater outlet that could probably be used, but I did not thoroughly investigate using that source.

Any chance of finding a good local RV service shop instead of CW?  The thought of CW attempting something like that on my coach is a little terrifying to me.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #81 on: July 15, 2010, 02:57:55 PM »

Now that you have done it, do you think that there is an alternate place to pick up the electrical for the AC?  Could there be 120 in the OnePlace Panel?  Or how about coming up from the engine heater line in the power cabinet?   Thanks, Joe

The OnePlace panel does provide 120VAC for the block heater but on my coach to my surprise, it is wired through the converter. It is on the same circuit as the TV's (front and rear) and the nightstand outlets. So I took that circuit off the inverter which was easy to do since those circuits come together at a junction box under the bed. So make sure to check if this is also the case with your coach. You don't want the inverter in your A/C electrical circuit.
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #82 on: July 16, 2010, 05:44:06 AM »
The OnePlace panel does provide 120VAC for the block heater but on my coach to my surprise, it is wired through the converter. It is on the same circuit as the TV's (front and rear) and the nightstand outlets. So I took that circuit off the inverter which was easy to do since those circuits come together at a junction box under the bed. So make sure to check if this is also the case with your coach. You don't want the inverter in your A/C electrical circuit.

That's king of scary. I'll have to check that on mine, too.
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #83 on: July 16, 2010, 02:12:59 PM »
The OnePlace panel does provide 120VAC for the block heater but on my coach to my surprise, it is wired through the converter. It is on the same circuit as the TV's (front and rear) and the nightstand outlets. So I took that circuit off the inverter which was easy to do since those circuits come together at a junction box under the bed. So make sure to check if this is also the case with your coach. You don't want the inverter in your A/C electrical circuit.

How did you "take the circuit off of the converter line" and still have it hot.  Did you remove it and then connect it to something else on the junction box, if so where?  I am not a knowledgeable person when it comes to electric or a lot of other things.  Were the wires labled?  I have never had the platform opened under the bed because the manual says there is no storage on the 39W.  Give me the procedure as in "AC for Dummies." please.   Joe
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #84 on: July 16, 2010, 05:13:00 PM »
I disconnected the part of the circuit at the junction box (under the bed) that runs to the OnePlace for the engine block heater switch and the from there to the outlet in the electrical service bay. I added an 15 amp breaker and gave it it's own breaker that did no longer run via the 2000w Inverter.

The real reason I was in there was that I wanted to separate the power circuit to the front and rear TVs in order to add a separate 400W full sine wave inverter that  now powers just my TVs, satellite dish and DVD recorder, etc.

So I separated out both the TV circuit and engine block heater and gave each it's own 15A breaker without going through the 2000w inverter. Again this could all be done at the junction box under the bed, so it is an easy change to make.
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #85 on: July 16, 2010, 10:14:42 PM »
Are those wires labled so that I will know what I am looking for? 
I happened to find this online.  Is it NOT complete?  Thanks for your help, Joe
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #86 on: July 16, 2010, 10:40:11 PM »
Installing a roof mounted air conditioning unit to a camper
1.   Step 1
Remove the old vent hardware. A Phillips head screwdriver can be used to remove the four screws in the bottom of the vent. This will drop the screen and allow the sliding vent door to be loosened. On the top of the RV's roof, unbolt the vent's dozen or so bolts around the outside lip of the vent. There might be roofing spackle that has hardened, preventing the bolts from being accessible. Scrape this off with a knife, then remove the bolts to free the vent. Wipe the area with cleaner.
2.   Step 2
Raise the A/C unit to the roof, and install it into the hole. The surfaces around the top of the vent hole should be lined with foam sealer before letting the unit settle into place. Once the A/C is in, it should be braced with the provided bracket to the bottom of the vent hole.
3.   Step 3
Splice the wiring to the A/C control panel plug. The panel is separate from the unit and has a small adapter plug with three wires coming from it. The wires--black, green and white--should be cut and spliced to the wires in the roof, then covered with a liberal amount of electrical tape.
4.   Step 4
Mount the A/C control panel to the bottom of the vent opening. The bracket for the A/C unit will have screw tabs to secure the control panel and venting system to the upper half. Once this is in place, the A/C should be tested for operation.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #87 on: July 17, 2010, 12:12:39 AM »
No, they are not labeled. You are going to have to do some measuring as to which circuit you are dealing with.
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #88 on: July 17, 2010, 12:17:27 PM »
I think that I am not capable enough to do this project. (handicapped)  I talked to the installers at Camping World again and asked a direct question: "have you done this before" and found that they have never actually done something like this, so I cancelled my appointment.  Now to search for someone else and get together with them.  If Forest City was not so far away I would get it done there.  It's a long trip from Arizona.  Joe
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #89 on: July 17, 2010, 02:05:06 PM »
Surely you can find a good local RV service guy or shop that could tackle the project...
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #90 on: July 17, 2010, 03:37:33 PM »
I have called several RV Service Centers and may have found one dealer that would tackle the project.  All the service techs (so far) only work on week days, so I'll continue the search on Monday.  Joe
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #91 on: July 17, 2010, 04:07:08 PM »
azloafer.....let me be the first to welcome you over here!  Most of these folks know the Winnie product, and are very willing to help.  :)
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #92 on: July 25, 2010, 04:59:20 PM »
The roof top air has been installed. It came in at $280 less than the original estimate; that was nice. I put the generator on and the Basement Air at high cool. It was drawing 22 amps. Then I put the new Coleman Mach 13,500 on at high cool and the One Place Panel showed a total amp use of 35. I turned the TV on and the panel read-out didn't change. With the microwave on the amp meter read 48. The Coleman Mach really throws a lot of cold air out. I wish the basement air had that much force. I did not run a test on the temperature inside versus outside because it happened to be a cloudy day and in the low 90's. I'll leave the test for another time when we camp in direct sun on a hot day.  The wiring went from the air conditioner, in a small short channel on the ceiling, hidden in the wall and down to the One Place Panel so that it would be included in the amp read-out. Then it went up and to the the shower wall and down to the floor and under the shower, under the sink cabinet, through the bottom of a long storage box under the window and to the circuit panel on the back wall of the bedroom. The wires cannot be seen. Since we do not have the optional washer/dryer unit installed, its 20 amp circuit was used for the new roof top air.

I wish there was a way to increase the flow of air from the basement unit. I think that it is cold enough, but it doesn't have enough force to push the air out like a roof top unit does. Joe
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #93 on: July 25, 2010, 05:23:11 PM »
I have also followed and tried every suggestion in the forums for increasing the flow of air from the basement unit with negative results.  The Winnebago/Itasca Dealer who installed the roof unit said that all the basement units are weak, as far as moving the air.  They just don't move the air like a roof top unit.  Everything has been checked on the basement unit including the duct work.  I think the unit needs a much faster and/or larger fan to move the air.  The dealer had no suggestions.

Has anyone found a practical way to increase the air flow from the basement unit?  Joe

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #94 on: July 25, 2010, 05:44:28 PM »
Quote
Has anyone found a practical way to increase the air flow from the basement unit?
I believe I have seen claims by some that the "new design" plastic squirrel cage blower puts out more air, but how do you measure "more" ??  I would think you first have to measure what the air flow is to begin with ... for instance, mine (original blowers) will blow a small piece of paper off the dining table (often happens when I am entering register receipts into the computer check resister) or a normal piece of paper off the co-pilot seat.  I guess the questions would have to be, how much flow is there, and how much do you want?

I really think some installations are somehow better than others ...whether is has to to with the duct work, the unit itself, or whatever....
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #95 on: July 25, 2010, 06:04:31 PM »
...Since we do not have the optional washer/dryer unit installed, its 20 amp circuit was used for the new roof top air. ...

Good idea using that circuit!  Glad you had a successful project conclusion.

On the new 42QD, the ceiling ducting from the three roof airs is a formed duct with smooth walls which will greatly contribute to increased air velocity.  The Styrofoam ducting present in most other models has rough walls which increases air turbulence.  Only fix I can think of is to trade on a 42QD  ;).
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #96 on: July 25, 2010, 07:32:54 PM »
Thanks for the update AZLoafer!  :D  We had been waiting for John to do the "add a roof air" project for a couple of years now, and now we have TWO members reporting replacements here.  ;D

By the way, I am the one that has reported that RVP has asked us NOT to use the pleated filters, and use the cheapest fiberglass filter that you can see your hand through.....change them often for the best air flow.

I have physically dropped my basement air out (pulled and dropped by myself and my wife) before Duner's writeup, and not only do I think the fan flow motor is undersized, my dealer said that Winnie undersized the outflow duct.  I have also moved my thermistor to a new location which will cause the compressors to actually RUN when the outside ambient temperatures are under 65 or so......all the units are wired like this that I have found, until I moved the inside coil thermistor to the outside of the inside coil.  I haven't seen one solitary case of anybody's basement air compressors running when the outside ambient temps are below 65 or so degrees due to the original thermistor placement by RVP.  We live at 8,600 feet elevation, and prefer temps in the 60's at night when we travel down to the flat lands!!!   ;)
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #97 on: July 25, 2010, 07:34:26 PM »
I believe I have seen claims by some that the "new design" plastic squirrel cage blower puts out more air,

I haven't seen or heard that the new plastic squirrel cage blower will put out more air....it just will not squeak as bad!   ;)
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #98 on: July 26, 2010, 11:57:35 AM »
We have the same RVP basement air/heat pump (2 ton)  in our fifth wheel as many Winnibago coaches have. The distribution using floor ducts leaves a lot to be desired, especially towards the nose (bedroom) of the trailer. I can feel a duct leak because of a very cold linoleum floor just where the ducts enter the raised section. The next project, in fact, is to somehow gain access to that spot via the storage underneath and do 'something' about it. Many Alfa owners have also added an additional air conditioner in the bedroom vent for this reason.

Another Alfa owner I heard from had used a Bilge blower (boaters know what that is!!) in the duct and it reportedly improved the airflow considerably. However, the fans of this type I have encountered are quite noisy, at least  the one on my sailboat was, so I am not sure of going that way just yet.

Furnace heat to the area is no great shakes either.... Just another project, (sigh), do they ever end???

« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 12:01:21 PM by Alfa38User »
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #99 on: July 26, 2010, 05:57:42 PM »
Alfa38user, the key difference in the Winnebago system and the Alfa system, is that Winnebago ducts the cold air to the ceiling and through the ceiling roof vents vs Alfa who used the floor furnace vents.  I am still surprised that Alfa chose to use the floor furnace vents for the cold air distribution considering that heat rises. 
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #100 on: July 26, 2010, 06:45:37 PM »
Another Alfa owner I heard from had used a Bilge blower (boaters know what that is!!) in the duct and it reportedly improved the airflow considerably. However, the fans of this type I have encountered are quite noisy, at least  the one on my sailboat was, so I am not sure of going that way just yet.

Oh yeah - that brings back memories.  Did the same thing in the aft cabin of our 40' sailboat.  I had a fan at the aft cabin duct to suck/blow a little more air (the AC was under the forward cabin berth.)  Jane (a nurse) worked 11-7 and needed the noise (white noise) and the cool air to sleep during the day.

I've heard about RVs using floor ducts for heat and AC - not the best arrangement.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #101 on: July 27, 2010, 01:10:42 PM »
Alfa38user, the key difference in the Winnebago system and the Alfa system, is that Winnebago ducts the cold air to the ceiling and through the ceiling roof vents vs Alfa who used the floor furnace vents.  I am still surprised that Alfa chose to use the floor furnace vents for the cold air distribution considering that heat rises.

And cold doesn't!!! Yeah, I am well aware of that difference with Winni. We have a large ceiling fan that must be used while the a/c is working. The a/c return is at 6ft in the back of the trailer. The furnace feeds through a normally closed door that is supposed to block (ha!!) the cold air from backing into the furnace.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #102 on: July 27, 2010, 08:25:05 PM »
Tough to see an Alfo to folks that remember the hot air cold air equation, especially in FL in the summer.  I would avoid them when selling RV's.
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #103 on: July 29, 2010, 01:35:25 PM »
No, they are not labeled. You are going to have to do some measuring as to which circuit you are dealing with.

Those wires should all have numbers on them that can be identified on the AC wiring schematics that are available for download at http://www.winnebagoind.com/resources/manuals/
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #104 on: July 29, 2010, 02:09:32 PM »
Only the DC wiring is labeled. I have a chart to identify those. The AC wiring however is not labeled ... would have been nice.
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #105 on: July 30, 2010, 02:39:42 PM »
John--  Any updates on how the new ac is keeping up with the heat? 

Also, do you think your installation would of been any different had you went with the Coleman mach 15?  I really want to go as large as possible and being that I never use the microwave, I am figuring a few extra amps will not hurt anything.

In addition, I have a max air vent over my current fantastic fan.  When I remove it to install the ac, what would be best for me to fill in the holes with?  Please advise.  thank you.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #106 on: July 30, 2010, 07:47:18 PM »
John--  Any updates on how the new ac is keeping up with the heat?

We're currently in Colorado at lower elevations (~5,000 feet) and the temps have been in the lower 90s.  The extra 13,500 BTU now means the coach interior is in the mid 70s in the hottest part of the day.

Quote
Also, do you think your installation would of been any different had you went with the Coleman mach 15?  I really want to go as large as possible and being that I never use the microwave, I am figuring a few extra amps will not hurt anything.

My guess is it probably doesn't make much difference one way or another either talking about the additional 1,500 BTU of cooling or an extra amp or two.  I think the 13,500 BTU version is the biggest bang for the buck.

Quote
In addition, I have a max air vent over my current fantastic fan.  When I remove it to install the ac, what would be best for me to fill in the holes with?

I would probably use Dicor self leveling sealant in the holes.  It is fairly tenacious and seems to do a great job.  Epoxy would be a good choice as well if you have a fiberglass roof skin.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #107 on: July 30, 2010, 07:48:52 PM »
Only the DC wiring is labeled. I have a chart to identify those. The AC wiring however is not labeled ... would have been nice.

Harry - I think Winnie started imprinting the AC wiring sometime after our coaches were produced.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #108 on: July 30, 2010, 08:02:35 PM »
Didn't know about the AC wiring labeling change. I guess I have to be more careful and precede my statements with"On my coach". Thanks for the correction John.

Still in the 90's at 5000 feet?  Nice to have that additional roof A/C then I'll bet
Harry - (Central FL)

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #109 on: July 30, 2010, 08:11:08 PM »
Still in the 90's at 5000 feet?  Nice to have that additional roof A/C then I'll bet

 :P - the plan was to be in Silverton, Ouray, Montrose, etc.,  but the DW of our RV buddies has ear trouble and hasn't been able to be above 6,000 feet without problems.  We're headed to the Cheyenne, WY area Sunday.  The roof air has been a fabulous addition - we're lovin' it almost every day.
--John
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catblaster

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #110 on: August 10, 2010, 08:56:33 PM »
Oh how I envy your new toy, always wanted a lift. Well my backhoe is bigger anyway. :)
Will and Jane
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #111 on: August 10, 2010, 09:17:33 PM »
...Well my backhoe is bigger anyway. :)

And it is likely to stay bigger than mine since I don't own one  ;D
--John
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2dalake

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #112 on: August 13, 2010, 10:51:07 AM »
Continuation of questions/considerations related to this intersting thread on roof AC.  Some folks having problems with their basement AC units have discovered 2 things:

1.  RVP no longer makes these units since demand has dropped off with Winnebago switching to roof AC with the 2011 models.
2. repair parts (especially compressors) are not kept on the shelf but manufactured only when ordered.  So, if your's breaks and you need a part from RVP, you will likely wait weeks for it.

That is getting folks (including myself) thinking more seriously about adding one roof AC as a back up in the event of failure of the basement unit.  With a DW with medical problems and two dogs, a trip with a busted AC is not going to pleasant.  Thinking can extend to the possibility of adding two roof AC units if the big box breaks, then convert the hole to a nice basement storage compartment.  However, there is the weight issue.

My contact at Winne tells me the roofs on a pre 2011 Winne is engineered for a 225 lb person and an additional 100 pounds while the coach is stationary.  So, two roof airs will add about 180 - 200 lbs (if you opt for a roof AC/Heat Pump weight goes up).  If you add the weight of many of us who have put on some weight as we age, you may be overloading the roof.

So, we pray that our basement units hold up or we can at least find replacement parts in a timely manner.
2007 Country Coach Allure 470 Siskiyou Summit, 2012 CRV Toad; 2014 F150 Toad; Air Force One toad brake.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #113 on: August 13, 2010, 05:01:25 PM »
Gary - interesting post.  Compressors are for the most part extremely reliable; a likely failure scenario would be the blower, thermostat, freeze switches, or the control board.

On my roof is a Datastorm (~100 pounds), and now 100 pounds of AC.  I'm about 160 pounds so I'm a little overweight on the roof (and I'm a little overweight on the ground  ::). )  Since the Datastorm is installed towards the side of the roof and not on the center line, that probably changes the dynamic loading a bit in my favor.  The other factor for the Datastorm is the weight is spread out over a fairly large area due to the aluminum mounting plate, so I'm quite comfortable with my roof loading.

Having a backup AC for the coach was a strong selling point for me - I like backup systems - always wanted a backup for anything important or critical on the boat.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #114 on: August 13, 2010, 08:21:32 PM »
John, the DW says I am too techical and worry too much.  But, she will be the first to complain if the AC poops out.

Bryan told me that the 2011 coaches have a plate in the roof for reinforcement where the AC's reside.  Also said the R value of the new roofs are significantly higher than previous model years.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #115 on: August 14, 2010, 08:10:49 AM »
I installed a roof unit in the kitchen vent last weekend. Since I work for a manufacturing company and my office is located in a distribution center, I pulled the coach inside the building and lifted the AC unit with a forklift. A couple of us on the roof picked it up and placed it in position. My next challenge is electrical. I ran the wire through the AC duct back to over the One Place in the center of the coach. I thought I had the perfect spot for the hole over the cabinet behind the TV and One Place. The problem is that Winnebago didn't run the duct in a straight line from the back. It angles into the hallway. That makes the hole in the ceiling visible. In addition, since the cabinet does not go all the way to the ceiling, the wire is visible coming out through the hole. Originally, I was going to cover the hole with a blank ivory switch plate and run the wire in a groove cut into the ceiling vinyl. I have been thinking about it for a week and remembered using a vinyl seat repair kit years ago. If I can get some scrap ceiling material from Winnebago, I can get a vinyl repair kit (if they still make them) and make the hole invisible. I can also move the wire back against the wall behind the cabinet and make that not noticeable, too.

I also have another couple of challenges with the electrical supply. In order to prevent having to another run a wire from the One Place to the breaker panel under the bed, I tied the power into the engine block heater circuit. The AC installation instructions called for a 20 amp circuit and the block heater is 15 amps, but I thought it would be worth trying. After installation, I ran the AC for an entire day. As long as I didn't run the fan on high, it would not trip the breaker! I also ran it for a an hour or two on the generator to make sure nothing would get overloaded. This worked fine until I started driving. After 10 minutes of driving, the 15 amp breaker would blow. I reset it a few times and it would blow after a while. I replaced the breaker with a 20 amp one, which did not blow.

The problem then moved to the generator. When both ACs were going, the was 35 amps on one leg and 10 amps on the other. After about 10 minutes, the breaker on the generator would blow. According to the EMS, I was drawing about 47 amps. Since I have an 8000 watt generator, and 47 amps is only about 5700 watts, I thought I was well within the operating range of the generator. I have not measured the current draw from both 120 volt legs, but I am assuming that one of them is being overloaded. The generator has a 35 amp double pole breaker with a single toggle. It is logical that each pole is 35 amps (35 * 120 * 2 = 8200 watts). There is only a single toggle for both poles and it appears that one can blow without the other one shutting off. I am not sure how good a design that is. The only way to reset the blown side is to shut the breaker off (which disconnects the running side, too) and turn it back on. Based on the sounds coming from the engine, you can hear the electrical circuit unload the generator when the switch is thrown. I moved the AC circuit to the other 120 volt leg in the breaker panel, thinking that this would balance the load out, but the breaker still blew. It also screwed up the EMS which now thinks I am on a 30 amp circuit (I am hooked up to a 50 amp circuit). The voltage sensing must be connected to the block heater connection. I looks like I cannot avoid running another circuit from the breaker panel to the One Place. I also need to put an ammeter on the two legs to see what is going on.

I have a Progressive surge protector and I know that one of the 120 volt legs is used for almost all the power in the coach. When I moved the breaker to the other leg, it reports that I am using 25 amps on one leg and 15 on the other. I'll have to see what's going on.

On the positive side (no pun intended:)), when it was 105 out, the inside temperature was 75 and both ACs were cycling. The basement AC hasn't cycled off in hot weather since I took delivery of the coach. On the other side, John was right. I had forgotten how noisy a roof AC can be, but it's worth it!
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #116 on: August 14, 2010, 08:30:28 AM »
Hi Michael - welcome to the extra AC club  8)

Sorry your electrical situation isn't copacetic.  I'm pretty certain I ran the roof and basement air on gen set, but I don't remember for how long.  Not sure if I have avoided your problems by running a separate circuit.  Also, my EMS works fine.  For a test, you could run a separate circuit (with a new breaker) from the AC to the breaker box with the wire just laying on the floor and see if that solves your problems.

If I can find the right place (we're in a campground), I'll run the genny with both ACs going to see if I trip that breaker.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #117 on: August 15, 2010, 06:53:32 AM »
The EMS problem is because I moved the engine block heater breaker from one leg to the other. This has happened to me before. I did that to avoid tripping the generator breaker. When I get home, I need to put an ammeter on the circuit to measure the draw. That will tell me what's going on and whether I am going to need to run another wire. It will also tell me if I am actually drawing 35 amps from each side of the generator. I am beginning to suspect the bouncing a breaker around while driving may actually lower its amp rating. The vibration may cause it to trip at a lower current.

I don't think I own a clamp on ammeter anymore so I may be adding to my tool collection. Once I measure the current, I'll report back. The cool is nice, though. My wife actually complained it was a little chilly yesterday afternoon (it was 101 out). On a related note, the latest complaint is that it is 'stuffy' in the bedroom. I have 2 ceiling vents in it. In the main part of the coach I have 8 vents. Based on the size of the room, I would have thought there would be 4 vents in the bedroom instead of 2. After removing one of the main area vents to run the wire, I don't see it as a big deal to add a vent to the bedroom. Has anyone tried it? Once the duct itself has been identified in the ceiling, the biggest challenges would be to get the vent parts and find the right size hole saw.
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #118 on: August 15, 2010, 08:24:05 AM »
I don't see it as a big deal to add a vent to the bedroom. Has anyone tried it? Once the duct itself has been identified in the ceiling, the biggest challenges would be to get the vent parts and find the right size hole saw.

Sounds like the extra BTUs are a big hit.  I don't think it would be a big deal to add a vent either.  I have a bunch of extras at the place, I would be glad to part with one or two of them if you can wait until we return home (about a month.)
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #119 on: August 21, 2010, 07:24:40 PM »
So I completed the install of a coleman 13,500 btu mach 3PS today. Hardest part was snaking the wires.  from start to finish it took me and a friend 6 hours.  The extra btu's are awesome.  It blows so cold!!!  I decided to use 10 gauge wire.  I ended up muscling it up on to the roof, was not too bad, actually easier than I thought.  Very happy with my install.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #120 on: August 21, 2010, 08:00:45 PM »
Hardest part was snaking the wires.  .....  I decided to use 10 gauge wire.

Welcome to the club  ;D

10 gauge - wow!  That wasn't necessary but it will ensure no voltge drop at the AC.  Totally agree - running the wiring was the most difficult part of the job.  Thanks for the report!  Enjoy the cold coach!
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #121 on: August 24, 2010, 02:29:19 PM »
The air flow that comes out of it is unbelievable.  I can not wait to check it out in some 100 degree plus temps!

I did make one mistake, I ordered the 13,500 btu power saver model, but did not get the low profile one.  In a way it is good bc the normal height PS draws less amps than the low profile version.  With the basement ac running and the rooftop unit, i topped out at about 32 - 33 amps.  If this does not do the job, i will drop another one in place of my bathroom vent next year but I do not think that will be necessary.

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #122 on: September 26, 2010, 06:57:24 PM »
Has anyone installed a roof air on a model with basement air and used a ceiling assembly that utilizes the ducts in the roof?  It appears it could be done by carving ducts in the styrofoam insulation to each side of the roof opening to connect to the ducts.  I think I have figured how how to get power to the forward vent opening, and I think I can get wiring to the wall near the One Place for a thermostat.
Dale Mitchell

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #123 on: September 27, 2010, 07:38:14 AM »
Do you mean using the existing roof ducting to distribute an added roof air instead of the integral roof air outlets?
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #124 on: September 27, 2010, 08:03:18 AM »
Yes, use the existing roof duct work.  There are ceiling kits for RVs that use in the roof ducting, had them on a Coachmen I owned once.  I realize you would end up reverse feeding the duct to the basement AC, and I haven't thought through the effects of that yet.  Just thought you might achieve better air distribution than through the small ducts on the ceiling assembly.
Dale Mitchell

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #125 on: September 27, 2010, 09:14:00 AM »
Not sure how that could be implemented or how effective it would be over the standard ceiling discharge when the roof air is used to augment basement air. With the front outlet adjusted properly, we can easily feel the air all the way forward in the cockpit.  Due to the pocket door trim, the rear discharge is blocked to a great extent and blows down and a little aft.

We now have more experience with the install and found running basement air and the roof air is extremely effective at keeping the coach cool when the outside temps get into the 90s.  I fully expect we could be quite comfortable even with OATs into the 100s.  Running the roof air while on the road works quite well except the aft cabin will get hot from the engine and that heat is not absorbed by the roof air.  For that situation I'll start the basement air about 30-60 minutes before we go jacks down.

Should have installed the roof air years ago  ::)

BTW - for mrschwarz, I have no problem running the roof air on gen set, we do not blow any breakers.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #126 on: September 29, 2010, 08:24:40 PM »
I found the problem with my installation. I am thinking that wire nuts may not be the best way to attach wires in a moving building. I took the cover off a connection box I had behind the One-place and found a loose neutral. Apparently it was making an intermittent connection while I was driving. The momentary loss of electrical power was putting excessive head pressure on the compressor and when the power was restored, the excessive current would pop the breaker. I fixed it, but the darn weather hasn't cooperated. It cooled off!

I am headed out for a golf weekend tomorrow. I'll run it on the way to Oklahoma and see if I fixed it. It's amazing how much cold this thing blows on low. I have been thinking about running it into the ducts and connecting it to the thermostat. That may be a project for another year. L)
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #127 on: September 30, 2010, 07:55:08 AM »
I found the problem with my installation. I am thinking that wire nuts may not be the best way to attach wires in a moving building. I took the cover off a connection box I had behind the One-place and found a loose neutral.

Ah, most excellent! I never used those wire nuts on the boat for that very reason. 

It does blow a whole bunch of air, and air that's very cold - it surprised me!
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #128 on: October 03, 2010, 09:05:31 PM »
The loose connection was it. It ran all 90 miles to my destination. Even with it's only 85 out. It sure feels nice standing underneath it after 27 holes of golf.

Last two issues with the project are patching the hole in the ceiling and moving around some connections in the breaker panel. The goal is to balance the load on the two sides of the generator and get the connections to the energy management system back to the sides where they belong.

One of the better things I have done.
Michael

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #129 on: October 04, 2010, 07:31:40 AM »
One of the better things I have done.

You said it brother  ;D ;D
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #130 on: June 30, 2017, 07:54:53 AM »
Holy thread revival Batman!  :D

Our Coleman-Mach roof air I added seven years ago is off the roof and replaced with a low profile Dometic Penguin II (same 13.5K BTU). The C-M started making a really bad noise a few years ago (which was the squirrel cage blower rubbing/interfering with something in the unit) which would get so bad it would stall the motor and make a stinky electrical smell. Finally I was fed up with that so we're going with a Dometic.

I chatted with a C-M rep at a Grand National Rally two or three years ago and he said getting access to the blower involves basically taking the entire unit apart, I didn't see much point in that so the plan was to replace the C-M.

So we have a Dometic Penguin II model 600315.PW with a 3314851.000 air duct unit. The Penguin is maybe 2/3rds the height of the C-M and not nearly as noticeable. The C-M blew more air forward than this Dometic unit, I like their air handler box more than the Dometic but oh well.

I'll get some pictures up when I get some time.
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #131 on: June 30, 2017, 09:27:46 AM »
Time for more tools!!! LOL
Charlie

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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #132 on: June 30, 2017, 05:34:42 PM »
Time for more tools!!! LOL
Done and done. My new to me John Deere 4720 cab tractor has enough lift on the loader to where I could access the roof just using the loader and a wood pallet. Woot!
--John
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Re: New project in the works - adding roof air
« Reply #133 on: July 03, 2017, 07:42:32 AM »
 :)) ;D
Charlie

 

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