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Recommendations on replacing both my Duotherm 13.5K AC/Heat Pump units


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My wife took the rig to a dog show near Nashville last week and when she came back she said the rear AC unit was making a lot of noise.

So finally got a chance to look at it today, the main problem was that the rubber grommet type isolators were shot. The motor seemed to turn freely.  I went ahead and ordered a set.  I then went about getting the old ones out, what a pain.  One of the nuts on the support was seized, ended up having to take the whole motor and condensor blower wheel and metal shroud out to be able to work on it.  It took a lot of effort to get the blower wheel off the shaft, i didn't destroy it but it buggered up one side of the mount area.  I will be able to use it but it's just a matter of time.

I decided to see if I could find a motor kit, no luck.  I then tried to find a new blower wheel, no luck.  The AC units are ~20 years old so finding parts will be impossible going forward.

So I am looking for suggestions and recommendations on new units.  I'd like to up size to a 15K unit, has anyone recently done this, if so where did you get them. 

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Jim,   I don't know the model, but news rigs today have a much quieter ac system, not sure if your existing ducting would accommodate the new quiet units, but might be worth investigating,  One thing that might prohibit their use is they the return air is not jn the unit, it's a separate return air in the ceiling.  The ducting might be snake to be adapted?  Good luck with your search.

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I replaced one of our A/C units with a Dometic 15k Penguin low profile heat pump plus a retrofit control board.  I purchased it from PPL motorhome parts and they drop shipped them directly to me. 

Do you still have the old 4 button thermostats?    

I ask because the new units come setup for the new CCC2 programmable thermostat.  The A/C unit control board configuration must match the thermostat.    

You can purchase the new CCC2 thermostat, or a retrofit control board.  But, the retrofit control board will only go back as far as the 5 button CCC thermostat, not the 4 button.  And you can't run your other original A/C from one of the new CCC2 thermostats.  So, if you decide to go with the new CCC2 thermostat you are forced to replace both A/C units.  

If you already have the 5 button thermostat, you can purchase one new A/C along with a retrofit control board and still control your old A/C.  

 

Edited by vito.a
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11 hours ago, DrDon4u said:

I got my RV AC parts from dyersonline.com. They have a lot of RV AC parts.

They had everthing I needed. Good Luck!!!!

Don

I spent hours yesterday looking for parts, most places that list the part are out of stock.  I called one place that showed it was in stock but it was not and they wanted me to order before they could tell me delivery time.  Not going to do that.

The only thing I was able to order were the rubber grommets.   Tried to find a new blower wheel, again none in stock.

 

 

Does anyone have an opinion as to whether having a heat pump is worth it??  As I've been doing my research one model I looked at said heat pump was only ~5KBTU,, 

 

Also, which make/models are quieter.  Our Duotherms are pretty loud, even after I installed a new motor & mounts in the front AC it is pretty loud.  That's what prompted me to look at the rear as it was loud and I found the rubber bushings gone. 

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3 hours ago, jacwjames said:

I spent hours yesterday looking for parts, most places that list the part are out of stock.  I called one place that showed it was in stock but it was not and they wanted me to order before they could tell me delivery time.  Not going to do that.

The only thing I was able to order were the rubber grommets.   Tried to find a new blower wheel, again none in stock.

 

 

Does anyone have an opinion as to whether having a heat pump is worth it??  As I've been doing my research one model I looked at said heat pump was only ~5KBTU,, 

 

Also, which make/models are quieter.  Our Duotherms are pretty loud, even after I installed a new motor & mounts in the front AC it is pretty loud.  That's what prompted me to look at the rear as it was loud and I found the rubber bushings gone. 

I swapped to a new AC unit over the summer. It's a 15K. Super happy with it until last month. It's not a heat pump model. I was in South Dakota and temperatures started to fall. The wife started to complain because the front unit is  heart pump and blows warm air fast. Rear is now AC only.

Her preference. Heat pump. BUT. the heat pump cuts out at 40 deg or thereabout. After that it kicks to Furnace. Took a minute but I figured out the prefered settings for Furnace. Haven't heard another word about the heat pump.

However. if you're on shore power consistently  and above 40 degrees then you're saving money. If you're boondocking or below 40 then you're burning diesel either way so no savings.

I hope this helps think about it. By the way, one 15K made HOT SC summer afternoons a breeze. I was never left wanting.

It cycles a bit more often but the other ran ALL the time.

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When I was ND in July temps got to 105F, my two 13.5K BTU units could not keep up.  That's what's pushing me to the 15K units. 

Still up in the air regarding a heat pump, I do not recall ever using it but my wife said she uses it.    But is it worth the $$$$. 

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I had mine fixed by a AC guy, when he was done they worked better than they ever did. Only cost me $250. They are just house window AC units that they put on the roof and charge you $1000 more for. Call around to some AC guys and ASK!!!!!

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It's a motorhome.  Some part of the heating system will break.  It will be on the coldest night of the year and you will be much happier if you have a heat pump for a backup.  I always preach to get the largest capacity heat pump possible.  It may be so efficient as to run the fan on low and eliminate some of that annoying noise.  On a hot day it will perform better and keep you comfortable as you enjoy your beer and contemplate the wise choice you made.

Edited by Hypoxia
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Well, after making some more calls and spending several hours on the internet looking at options and getting feedback both on Monacoers.org and IRV2 I decided to go ahead and get two Penguin II high capacity units from PPL, seemed to be the best price and they had them in stock (or at least they said they did).  I am also going to go with the Mirco Air thermostat. 

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I did get a response from Micro Air and they said they had units in stock.

Before I ordered the Micro Air thermostat I wanted to download the App that enables to control the thermostat via bluetooth and also remotely if you have an internet connection. 

I had never set my Iphone up to be able get any Apps, what a royal pain.  I had always been reluctant because I know the require a form of payment.  I have a Paypal account since I have had good luck with returns & disputes and they require a two step process to use.  Once I got the Iphone set up I was able to download the APP but since I don't have thermostat I really couldn't do anything but at least I have the App.

So I went ahead and ordered the thermostat from Micro Air, I was able to use a discount code from RVGeeks and saved $15, no tax, but had to pay $11 shipping.  So $245, cheaper then Amazon. 

So I've got the 2 Penguin II AC's, thermostat, and extra gasket set all ordered.  We'll see how long it takes for all of this to come in. 

I decided not to remove the old units until I have everything ready to go.  Worse case I can always put the rear one back together and hit the road, not like I need AC in the near future. 

Edited by jacwjames
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2 hours ago, nvrtoofast said:

Good choice on the Penguins. I look forward to hearing more on the micro air. I need to update my thermostat and have been indecisive.

I just got the microair a month or so ago based on the feedback from others on this forum and absolutely love it. Turning and adjusting it from the driver seat or anywhere else is a breeze and what I wanted most. You can't go wrong, just pick the right model for your control board.

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Ivan

One question that I have is on the heat pump and furnace operation.

Currently if the heat pump is on and it gets too cold for it to work the system automatically goes to furnace.  Is this the way the Micro Air works.  I've sent a question to their tech support but waiting on a response. 

 

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Jim,

You won't be disappointed with the new Penguin II's. I purchased two from PPL back in 21018 when my front one quit completely and the rear quit on our way back home. I also purchased a CCC-2 as the Microair thermostat was only in its design stage. I bought new drain cups which came with the extra gaskets form Amazon.

While installing the new Penguins, when I removed the cover I could definitely see a BIG improvement in quality and construction.

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13 hours ago, jacwjames said:

Ivan

One question that I have is on the heat pump and furnace operation.

Currently if the heat pump is on and it gets too cold for it to work the system automatically goes to furnace.  Is this the way the Micro Air works.  I've sent a question to their tech support but waiting on a response. 

 

Microair has been outstanding in email replies to me when I've had questions about mine.  I am looking at replacing both my old Dometics w new ones soon.  One caution,  the PO put a 15k in the bedroom and due to the small room size, it does run in short cycles a lot which keeps it cool, but doesn't lower the humidity much.  That may not be a big issue where you are,  but our humidity is about 175% 🤪 on a normal day.  When I replace that one, I'll likely drop back to a 13.5k which is what originally came on the MH.  

 

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1 hour ago, Steven P said:

Microair has been outstanding in email replies to me when I've had questions about mine.  I am looking at replacing both my old Dometics w new ones soon.  One caution,  the PO put a 15k in the bedroom and due to the small room size, it does run in short cycles a lot which keeps it cool, but doesn't lower the humidity much.  That may not be a big issue where you are,  but our humidity is about 175% 🤪 on a normal day.  When I replace that one, I'll likely drop back to a 13.5k which is what originally came on the MH.  

 

We live in TN but travel all over so no idea what humidity would be so really didn't think about having too much cooling capability. 

I did hear from Micro Air and they basically said the AC units are the brains as far as switch from heat pump to furnace so t depends on how they work.  I had one report that the Penguin II does not automatically switch to furnace so I was just trying to confirm. 

Probably won't be that big of issue for me since I can't ever remember running the heat pump side of the AC.   I also think that that running a couple small cube heaters does a better job and definitely quieter.  Furnace will be for only very cold days or taking the chill off in the AM. 

 

I did download the Micro Air manual, looks like it is pretty robust.  I will be traveling with some sort of hotspot so will have internet capability so as long as have access to a connection/internet I can communicate with the thermostat.  Like the idea of being able to change everything from the phone and being able to set up alerts, my wife as asking about some sort of system anyway so this takes care of two issues for ~$100 more.  

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2 hours ago, Dr4Film said:

The Dip Switches on the control boards of the two Penguin II's determine how the thermostat communicates with them and how the two AC's work together.

Check out pages 16 & 17 of the attached installation manual for the Penguin II.

Dometic AC Penguin II Installation Manual.pdf 4.29 MB · 0 downloads

I downloaded the manual from the Dometic site and saw the section on dip switches. 

But it does not describe if the furnace takes over if it gets too cold for the Penguin II to operate in heat pump mode.  Hence the question will the furnace automatically take over. 

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16 hours ago, Ivan K said:

Jim, I really don't know, I have never been in that situation before so don't know if it does that or if it even has done it before with the 5 button. I have heat pumps and AH.

Mine never has, and I've tried it with the AH up to full temp on diesel.

Nothing...... Heat pump just chugs along!

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I emailed someone who installed the Penguin II high capacity AC/Heat pump.  

He said that if it gets too cold for the heat pump it shuts down and the furnace starts up. 

So there ya go, now you know, problem solved. 

Edited by jacwjames
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Yeah, I don't know if that is just a feature with propane forced air furnaces.

Like I said, I've tried to get mine to switch to Aqua Hot heat, unsuccessfully. Maybe there are dip switches in the heat pumps that need to be set for this to happen.

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