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Replacing Dometic AC units


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Looking at replacements for both units in our 2001 Dynasty.

Found units by Houghton on RecPro site, which have lower power draw, run at lower DB levels are less expensive and are run by a remote control. They do not tie into the furnace, so I'd leave that controlled by existing thermostat.

Anyone have knowledge or experience with these?

Someone also mentioned Furion as an option which I haven't checked out. Are those worth investigating?

 

Thanks,

Jerry

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I'm not sure that will work.  Your furnace is controlled through your current Dometic A/C unit control board.  The thermostat connects to the A/C using RJ11 telephone cable.  The control board has a dip switch that is set to Furnace so it can communicate.  I'm afraid if you disconnect the RJ11 cord from your current A/C you may lose comm with your furnace.

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Agree with Vito.a

But you may be able to wire in a new thermostat to the furnace.  The furnace is connected with two wires to the front AC (at least on mine).  I'd suggest contacting Recpro and seeing what they say.

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Jerry G, I am looking at these as well. Here is what my research has yielded to date: Houghton is an Australian company. The units are apparently made by Finch of Australia LTD. I am sure the components, at least in part, are sourced in China or other Asian countries. The units were developed in Au based on the climatic requirement for caravaners in that country. This includes de-humidification as well as cooling and moderate heating in the form of a HP. Advanced RV, a Class B/van modifier offer these products installed while RecPro is installed by third party or DIY. Advanced RV has  a real detailed Youtube on the 3400 model (low profile 13.5K heat pump). I have written to Finch AU requesting some additional spec info not available on line. If I hear back I will post results. 

As for Furrion I liked them initially until I read in their specs that the unit dB is stated as "<80dB'. Since noise is a priority issue for me and 80 dB is loud, I took them off the list.

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I replaced my rear unit on my Diplomat with the Houghton last year and love it. It cools and heats very well and runs very quietly. The only drawback is that the fan runs all of the time, and doesn't shut off when it reaches the set temperature like the Dometic, if that is bothersome to you just shut it off with the remote.  We spent June through August at Doheny SB last year and the Houghton would keep the whole coach comfortable with no problem. When its time to replace my front unit, I will probably go with the Houghton, and just keep my furnaces wired into my old thermostat. I was told by the tech that installed it that the RJ11 telephone cable that goes from the thermostat to the AC has nothing to do with the Furnace, as they are wired differently to the thermostat. The tech just unplugged it and both the front and rear furnaces work fine.

 

Edited by Howard
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Thanks to all for input.

1nolaguy, I'll be interested to hear any info you find. I'll cross the Furions off my list.

Howard, I've got a 13500 dometic in the bedroom. Kept it nice and cool til it stopped working.

Wondering if your 15k causes the unit to cycle on and off too frequently due to small room? I am looking to upgrade the 13500 in the living room to 15k since that unit struggles, but thought I'd keep a 13500 in the bedroom. Your thoughts?

I'll call Rec Pro and my installer about the furnace function(I only have one propane furnace ducted throughout, controlled by front thermostat.) as I want the front unit also and will report what I'm told.

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Actually, the unit is so quiet that you can barely tell when it cycled on and off. I usually kept it at about 70 in the bedroom at night, and I don't think it cycled too many times. 

 

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Hey guys, a little off topic but close. I was just told it will cost almost $800 to replace my motor in my front dometic 15k unit that is only 7 years old.  I really don't want to get into total replacement yet is this a smart move or an I throwing good money into bad. And is that a reasonable price to pay. He says motor, capacitor and labor 7 and change.  07 Dip BTW rear unit only 3 years old 

Edited by Joelsheriff
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6 minutes ago, Joelsheriff said:

Hey guys, a little off topic but close. I was just told it will cost almost $800 to replace my motor in my front dometic 15k unit that is only 7 years old.  I really don't want to get into total replacement yet is this a smart move or an I throwing good money into bad. And is that a reasonable price to pay. He says motor, capacitor and labor 7 and change.  07 Dip BTW rear unit only 3 years old 

Have you replaced the capacitors? If the issue is the fan not turning fast enough, it’s likely NOT the motor. As the rubber mounts age it lets the side of the squirrel cage blower rub the sheet metal housing. Getting it to move on the shaft can be fun, probably the hardest part in replacing the motor but all that’s need to speed the fan up,

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Assuming that this is about a fan motor and not the compressor, I expect that you find a new one for way under $200, google it. Capacitors for around $20 for both if you don't know which one. Everything else is reusable. If motor is really the culprit. But I agree with Dick, capacitor first if not changed yet, hardly would both fail at the same time. No way would I give 800 for it. The roof climbing surcharge must be pretty high...

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2 hours ago, Ivan K said:

  No way would I give 800 for it. The roof climbing surcharge must be pretty high...

Ha!

Yeah, not even close to reality, but seem's to be the the way things are going! 

Not looking forward to getting too old to fix things myself!

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If you have to have someone else to the work they'll charge what they think they can get by with.

But my guess it would take at least 2 hours to change out the motor although they have made the units more serviceable.  It still takes time to take the unit apart, remove the fan blades and reinstall it on the new motor as it is reinstalled into the fan shrouds.   If they charge $150/hr that's $300 in labor.  Plus they'll mark up the price of the parts.  So $700 is probably in the ball park. 

If I were to do it myself I'm guessing $200 all in and a 1/2 day. 

I changed the motor in my older Duotherm back in 2015, found a motor for $125.  The old one is much harder since all the sheet metal has to come out and it is a lot harder to remove and reinstall the front fan blade. 

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He put the meter on the capacitor and got 9.1 to 9.4 so it's not the capacitor but they recommend swapping out while doing it. Looking on the internet there are motor prices all over the place. Have no idea which is mine.  Is two hours roof time a good estimate? 

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15 hours ago, Ivylog said:

Have you replaced the capacitors? If the issue is the fan not turning fast enough, it’s likely NOT the motor. As the rubber mounts age it lets the side of the squirrel cage blower rub the sheet metal housing. Getting it to move on the shaft can be fun, probably the hardest part in replacing the motor but all that’s need to speed the fan up,

I have three Dometic OEM AC units on the roof. All have worked well until recently. The rear and front units stopped cooling. We’re in south Florida, so not good.
 

Both units run and push air, but not cooling. 
 

I decided to have the local RV park tech take a look. MISTAKE!  I told him to check the run capacitor as I’d read they are likely culprits. He doesn’t do this however. He thinks it’s the thermostat, though my middle AC is working correctly off that same thermostat. He then thinks it’s the board in the AC unit. After several hours of screwing around, he finally checks the run capacitor. BINGO. He replaces it and all is well. Except it cost me $445. He wants to work on the rear AC now, but I told him no thanks. 
 

He told me he spent hours online searching for parts and talking to Dometic. He claims the board in the AC unit is no longer made.  He says Dometic suggests replacing with new AC units, not surprising. 
 

In five years of ownership, I’ve yet to find one RV shop or tech that I can trust. 

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4 hours ago, Joelsheriff said:

He put the meter on the capacitor and got 9.1 to 9.4 so it's not the capacitor but they recommend swapping out while doing it. Looking on the internet there are motor prices all over the place. Have no idea which is mine.  Is two hours roof time a good estimate? 

On my old Durotherm all the sheet metal had to come off to change the motor and the front blade was completely enclosed in sheetmetal but I was able to lift up one side to gain access but it was a pain removing the fan blade.  Once I got the front fan blade off I removed the motor and the sheetmetal over the rear fan blade as a unit and worked on it the workbench.  I was going to replace the motor in my rear AC last year but couldn't fine one.  I'm guessing I had +5 hours into pulling the motor and putting it back together.  Decided to just replace both AC's and be done with it, hope I didn't make a ~$3K mistake. 

The new Penguin's are designed different, or at least the one I had installed last year.  The front fan blade is covered with a plastic shroud that is pretty easy to remove which I had to do to get to one of the hold down bolts.  I believe the rear fan blade can be easily accessed.  

So I'm guessing +2 hours if the tech is halfway competent but you won't know until the work is actually done.   That's why they usually just say replace instead of repair.  Unless you can do it yourself it will cost you.

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On 3/14/2022 at 8:04 PM, vito.a said:

I'm not sure that will work.  Your furnace is controlled through your current Dometic A/C unit control board.  The thermostat connects to the A/C using RJ11 telephone cable.  The control board has a dip switch that is set to Furnace so it can communicate.  I'm afraid if you disconnect the RJ11 cord from your current A/C you may lose comm with your furnace.

We have the same 2001 Dynasty and replaced both Dometic 13,500 with 15,000 btu penguins. 
 

You state you have a “furnace” be aware thats not controlled the same way as Aquahot!

if you have Aquahot there are 3 zones for heat. 
Each zone of heat is controlled by a controller board. 1 board is mounted in each Air conditioner but the 3rd controller is mounted somewhere hidden in the coach. It was quite a hunt to find ours in a false wall in an upper cabinet adjacent to the refrigerator. 
 

When buying new units they provide “New style controllers” for the CCC2 version thermostats. 
 

to use the original thermostats you need to retrofit the “Old style controllers” for the 5 button thermostat. If you do this you don't have to search for the 3rd controller. 
 

Not knowing this we bought the new CCC2 thermostat's. Thus 1 zone of Aquahot did not function until we located and upgraded to a New style controller. 
 

5 extra hours labor to locate and replace the 3rd controller. 

Edited by Wheelsnkeels
Typos
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25 minutes ago, Wheelsnkeels said:

We have the same 2001 Dynasty and replaced both Dometic 13,500 with 15,000 btu penguins. 
 

You state furnace thats not controlled the same as Aquahot be aware if you have Aquahot there are 3 zones for heat. 
Each zone of heat is controlled by a controller board. 1 board is mounted in each Air conditioner but the 3rd controller is mounted somewhere hidden in the coach. It was quite a hunt to find ours in a false wall in an upper cabinet adjacent to the refrigerator. 
 

When buying new units they provide “New style controllers” for the CCC2 version thermostats. 
 

to use the original thermostats you need to retrofit the “Old style controllers” for the 5 button thermostat. If you do this you don't have to search for the 3rd controller. 
 

Not knowing this we bought the new CCC2 thermostat's. Thus 1 zone of Aquahot did not function until we located and upgraded to a New style controller. 
 

5 extra hours labor to locate and replace the controller. 

Where  was the third controller found?

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On 3/14/2022 at 6:54 PM, Jerry G said:

Looking at replacements for both units in our 2001 Dynasty.

Found units by Houghton on RecPro site, which have lower power draw, run at lower DB levels are less expensive and are run by a remote control. They do not tie into the furnace, so I'd leave that controlled by existing thermostat.

Anyone have knowledge or experience with these?

Someone also mentioned Furion as an option which I haven't checked out. Are those worth investigating?

 

Thanks,

Jerry

Do you know if they mount in the same holes as the Dometics or will it take some cutting and drilling?

Ed       
‘05 HR Ambassador 

Edited by saflyer
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Same size. My tech quoted $140 to remove and replace each unit. Said they did another customer yesterday. They ordered a new thermostat to hook up to the furnace so it will be seperate.

I ordered two 15k units yesterday 

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12 minutes ago, Jerry G said:

Same size. My tech quoted $140 to remove and replace each unit. Said they did another customer yesterday. They ordered a new thermostat to hook up to the furnace so it will be seperate.

I ordered two 15k units yesterday 

Thanks

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Monaco was very good at hiding things.  In many cases it varied by coach year and model.  Although my coach is newer, these control units aren't small so they need to be hidden in a space big enough to store them yet still be reasonably accessible.  In my case, I noticed that the wall just behind the thermostat was the side wall of a cabinet and that side wall had screws in it.  I also noticed that this wall was a bit too thick to just be a wall.  When I removed the screws, there it was, the aquahot heat only control board.  Attached are a few pictures. 

In my case I had the newer 5 button single thermostat so I needed to program the DIP switches for the 4 zones.  (3 roof AC units and one aquahot only zone.)

 

IMG_20150420_133524093.jpg

IMG_20150420_133450731.jpg

IMG_20150420_190652914.jpg

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1 hour ago, bmulvenna@hotmail.com said:

It was quite a hunt to find ours in a false wall in an upper cabinet adjacent to the refrigerator

 

They are not in a standard location even on the same year make and model. 
 

some are in the basement some in the bathroom seems it was placed wherever was convenient the day it was assembled.  

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BTW Rec Pro has them for $1149. These are not available low profile, but are only 3-4 inches taller than old dometics.

They are offering a 5% discount for giving them your email which you can opt out of after. Just be sure to ask if you call to order or look for it if you order online 

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