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  #1  
Old 06-21-2011
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Default 12 volt roof top air conditioners?

Hey,

Complete newb here. My first post!

Anyway, I just bought 1977 31FC. Both air conditioners are dead. A local guy on Craigslist has 2 "Carrier Transport Air Conditioning" roof top units.

Anyone have experience with this type of air conditioner?

My rationale for considering these is: the generator is long gone, and replaced with 8D batteries. So could run these while I drive (the dash air is DOA as well).

Thanks!

Matt
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Old 06-21-2011
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Something to consider Matt- You rarely need A/C when traveling in the northern states. Enough air moves through the coach to make it very comfortable with the front windows and bedroom windows open. Most cooling is needed while parked in the sun- in which case the genny or at least campground/shore power will be needed. These units would be mounted on the roof and have hoses run down to the engine compartment for the compressor. I don't believe that they use 12V for the compressor- just the blower fans. I'd stick with the standard rooftop units like you find on most RV's. Just my .02 worth!
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Old 06-21-2011
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Thanks Shane,

I wondered how the compressor could run off just 12 volts (and provide enough cooling).

I'm fussy - I like to drive with the windows closed; better to hear the tunes. So I'm gonna go see them and see what the deal is exactly.

Another question: The hole in the roof, is it the same size for all air conditioners?
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Old 06-21-2011
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Hole is standard. Make sure you get new roof seals or you'll have some condensate leaks
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Old 06-21-2011
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12 volts isn't going to cut it in a Bird. I don't know a person with a class A who doesn't have a generator and one or more 120 volt roof (usually roof) air conditioners to accomplish the desired cooling.

I too tend to run with the windows closed. I run the generator and at least one roof unit. I have also found that a fan on the floor some place close to directly below the front air conditioner helps direct the cool air toward the driver. This really helps in the extremely hot conditions and especially if your dash air doesn't work. Most don't. Mine does but not real well.

Shane is correct. If you open windows front and back you can get a lot of air thru the coach. I am just spoiled rotten and like it cool and quiet.
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Old 06-21-2011
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Thanks Guys.

Looks like I'll be generator shopping too...
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Old 06-21-2011
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I don't know much about 12V AC units. But, I suspect that you are talking about a LOT of amperage. A high efficiency 120V roof AC unit can easily pull 15A. That's about 1800W. A comparably efficient 12V system would be 150A in order to do the same work and deliver the same BTU's. So, you better have some thick wiring up to your roof to handle that kind of amperage.

Like I said, though, I don't know much about 12V AC units. Just be prepared.
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Old 06-21-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfedeli View Post
Something to consider Matt- You rarely need A/C when traveling in the northern states. Enough air moves through the coach to make it very comfortable with the front windows and bedroom windows open. Most cooling is needed while parked in the sun- in which case the genny or at least campground/shore power will be needed. These units would be mounted on the roof and have hoses run down to the engine compartment for the compressor. I don't believe that they use 12V for the compressor- just the blower fans. I'd stick with the standard rooftop units like you find on most RV's. Just my .02 worth!
You are correct. They need a compressor at the engine with hoses connecting it all together.

I'm always looking for the easy way, but it rarely works out!
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Last edited by To it and at it; 06-21-2011 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 06-21-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubblerboy64 View Post
12 volts isn't going to cut it in a Bird. I don't know a person with a class A who doesn't have a generator and one or more 120 volt roof (usually roof) air conditioners to accomplish the desired cooling.

I too tend to run with the windows closed. I run the generator and at least one roof unit. I have also found that a fan on the floor some place close to directly below the front air conditioner helps direct the cool air toward the driver. This really helps in the extremely hot conditions and especially if your dash air doesn't work. Most don't. Mine does but not real well.

Shane is correct. If you open windows front and back you can get a lot of air thru the coach. I am just spoiled rotten and like it cool and quiet.


I do the same thing as John does with a small floor fan aimed up at the driver and I still use the original "Dash" air conditioner fans seen in this thread Wanderlodge Owners Group > Mechanic's Corner > 'Bird Projects & Modifications > Forward Control Dash Air Conditioner

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Originally Posted by iamflagman View Post
Bill,

The decision to go with not repairing the dash air on my 'Bird was made easier, by that cost of repairs similar to yours, plus I would have to replace some of the hoses too, making the job even more expensive and difficult.

I run the generator and run as many of the air conditioners as it takes to make me feel comfortable, even when I stop in a rest area and walk to the back to use the bathroom, or decide to lay down and take a nap, I don't have to wait for those areas to cool down. Here below is the way that I use the dash air fans to get the cold air blowing on me, it makes it a lot more comfortable when the sun is shinning straight in that windshield, it works great.


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Old 06-21-2011
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As John Finn noted, running a small electric fan (or two) is a big help, even if you have AC. Sitting up in the fishbowl, when the sun is pounding in on you will make you warm, even though the AC is running.

I've never heard of an AC system based on 12 V... they most practical/efficient units are the standard rooftop RV 120 V ACs. They come in several BTU ratings (typical Amps in ();, typically 11,000 btu (about 12 amps), 13,500 btu (about 15 amps), and 15,000 btu (about 18 amps). There are also "high efficiency" units (about 25-30% more expensive than the "normal) ACs) that draw much lower amps. (I replaced 2 of my OEM roof ACs with high efficiency and they only drew about 10 amps for 13,500 btu.) Note that all ACs will _briefly_ draw 50% more load when the compressor motor starts up (the nature of electric motors). You will need sufficient generator power to handle the overdraw.

A 31' _might_ be sufficiently cooled with a single 13,500 AC, especially if you're tolerant of some warmth. Most FC Wanderlodges were equipped with 2 ACs and the PTs (and SPs) had 3.

Most ACs can be purchased with or without a "heat strip" -- that provides some modest electric heat for a cool morning... but a more robust furnace is required for "real" heat loads.

I note that my Roadtrek has a single high efficiency 11,000 btu rooftop AC and it has a 2500 watt, Onan propane generator. It's quite small and light ... but for an FC, I'd suggest something rather larger, so that you can cover more of your power needs (and effectively charge your batteries) when off the grid.
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