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Old 08-01-2020, 08:33 AM   #1
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Basement A/C question

Ok... I could swear that when I got my Itasca Ellipse in April this year that when the a/c was on, both side fans (rear, outside) would be running simultaneously. I just noticed the other day that only one side is working. Was I hallucinating that both worked at the same time or should I be looking for a problem on the non-working one?

Just went outside to look again... all fuses (everywhere in the coach) are great.

On the passenger side the a/c unit has all the fins so I cannot see the actual fan, but there IS a fan on the drivers side and that is not turning. My a/c IS on and working but shouldn't that fan be turning too?

Where do I look to fix this?
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:26 AM   #2
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You have two compressors. Are you plugged int 30 amp? If so only one will run.
Check your power center and see if both are lit.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:33 AM   #3
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Plugged into 50 amp and verified running on 50 per control panel.

Not seeing where on the control panel to determine if one or both compressors are working.....
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:00 AM   #4
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1. I'm not sure what you mean by two "side fans" The basement air unit only has one, squirrel cage fan. However it does have two compressors, is that what you mean?

2. There are two breakers on your breaker panel, one for compressor 1 and one for compressor 2. Make sure both are on.

3. Turn your A/C on while watching your power management system ("control panel"). As compressor 1 starts, you will see a jump in amps and then a decrease to a steady run level. As compressor 2 starts, you'll see another bump and then a decrease to a higher run level.

The actual amps will vary from rig to rig but this link will give you an idea of what to expect:

HOW MUCH CURRENT SHOULD BASEMENT AIR PULL ?

Post #3 at this link has links to download the service manual. Section 8 on page 10 gives you the sequence of a normal run cycle. The manual also has troubleshooting information:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f105/dol...ir-425630.html
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:15 AM   #5
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I guess I do mean the squirrel cage fan... it's not turning.

Breakers are good for both compressors.

I don't know where to read my amps... being plugged into 50 amp service my load meter on the control panel is blank. I understand that is how it's supposed to be on 50 amp service. It only shows the load when hooked up to 30 amp. Is there another way?
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:19 PM   #6
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I forgot about the load meter and 50 amp display issue. In any case, you should hear the first compressor kick in and then the second. Can you plug into 30 amps? It will run on a 30 amp hookup if nothing else significant is turned on.

On the other hand, the fact that the squirrel cage fan isn't running at all makes me think that something is indeed wrong. You should try stepping through the troubleshooting steps in the service manual. It could even be your thermostat that (I think) has it's own fuse on its circuit board.
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:36 PM   #7
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Hi Bob.... ok... fuse on the thermostat is good. Just checked.

If the one condenser stopped working would that make the fan not work? Or is it possible (GOD I hope so) that the condenser is ok and it's strictly a fan issue? Dammit.... Seems like everything on here is going down the tubes all at once.

The manual for the basement a/c.... don't recall seeing that in the big bag that came with this with all the books and stuff in it. I will have to look. I sure hope it's something simple.. now I'm worried about losing my a/c when I'm not here and I have two cats inside. This thing heats up fast!

Let me see what I can find in the manuals.
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:55 PM   #8
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You can download the A/C manual from the second link I posted. You'll have to step through the troubleshooting flow chart to find the problem. Take it from me, the "shotgun" approach can easily lead you astray.

Here's the starting sequence from the manual (the "Basement A/C" is actually a "heat pump". It heats and cools:

A TYPICAL COOLING CYCLE OF THE HEAT PUMP

Begins with a call from the wall thermostat for High or Low fan (customer choice).
Indoor fan starts on the selected speed.

Within a few seconds the thermostat will call for cooling.
Compressor 1 starts.

Outdoor fan starts 2 seconds later (Low Speed).

1 minute later the thermostat calls for second stage cool (subject to 2 degree temp. differential).

Compressor 2 starts, the outdoor fan goes off (subject to available 115 volt power supply).

Outdoor fan starts again 2 seconds later (High Speed).

Both systems operate to satisfy the thermostat.

Both compressors shut off at setpoint temperature.

When the thermostat calls for cooling again it will start by calling for stage one only.

If the heat pump is unable to keep up with the load, stage 2 will start again when the indoor temperature is 2 degrees above the setpoint.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:28 PM   #9
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I only see one link in your post and that's about some guys heating part of it not working under "Dolphin basement air". My heat works ok.... I'm concerned with the a/c part of it. Unless I'm missing something I can't see how it applies in my case.

Just for sh*ts and giggles I turned my fan speed from low to high. Squirrel cage did not kick in. I just figured I'd take a shot and see if I was doing something wrong. Guess not.

I cannot hear the compressors kick on at all.. I am severely hearing impaired and my bilateral hearing aides pick up everything so even the road traffic about 1000 feet away drowns out what I'm listening for. Also have extremely bad tinnitus that drowns out everything as well so that kind of complicates matters.

So.... please clarify.... stage 1 is when only 1 compressor is working and stage 2 with when both kick in?

I cranked the ac down to 70 and it's 75 in here.... gave it a couple minutes and the fan in the squirrel cage did not move. Hmm....

To be clear.... both sides were working a week ago and prior to that. I just noticed the squirrel cage issue a few days ago. Technically, they should both be working because it's quite warm here.

EDIT: pulled out my thermal leak detector and found that there is only a 10 - 13 degree difference in the air going into the intakes and coming out cooler. I'm guessing that means only 1 compressor is working?
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:16 PM   #10
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You are correct about stage 1 and stage 2 as mentioned in the "Typical Cooling Cycle" I posted.

I'm surprised you're getting any temperature differential if the squirrel cage fan isn't working, but, since you are, at least one compressor seems to be working. From what I've read the temperature differential with both compressors running should be close to 20 degrees, so 13 sounds pretty good for one compressor.

The link to the manual is in post #4 of the Dolphin discussion, but here's the direct link that will download the service manual:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/attachme...3&d=1546609656

Could it be that the squirrel cage fan is running but you're not hearing it?

One thing you could do is hold up a piece of paper to the "radiator fins" outside and see if there's air flow. If there is, the squirrel cage fan is running. Note that there's a high and low speed (pgs. 27 and 28), so it may only be running on low speed and is hard for you to hear.

If this is the case, it may be that both compressors are running and the low temperature differential is due to the squirrel cage fan is only running at low speed. Again, pages 27 and 28 of the service manual should help sort this out. The manual calls it THE "Outdoor Blower"

Is there someone with good hearing who can help?

Most of the troubleshooting flow charts will require use of a multimeter on both AC and DC circuitry.

Note: I'm no expert and am still chasing down a compressor #2 issue in my own MH.
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:50 PM   #11
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Ok... will look at the manual in a moment....

As for the fan in the squirrel cage, I go out there and stand there and look right at it - it's not moving and that is verified by the fact that the grass in front of it isn't being blown around either. But, rest assured, I am standing there looking directly at the blades sitting still through the slots in the side of the RV. It's also not running on high or low speed. Checked them both via visual inspection.

I do have a multimeter with ac and dc testing ability. While I have had experience in electronics in the USAF back in the late 70's, I was still learning the circuitry in the radar units (radar repair) and left the field voluntarily before we got to actually testing things so never to to the point of learning how to use one. I can find instructions online, so no worries there.

One hindrance to my ability to get under my vehicle to try to search the problems.... I'm on a loose gravel lot (largish stones) and my vehicle is sunk in at the back. I can barely get under there and I do mean barely.

I will review the manual tonight and see if there's something I can do about it tomorrow.... unless it rains. We're supposed to have strong to severe thunderstorms tomorrow and then more rain through most of the coming week. Remnants and/or outer bands of Isaias, I think.

What I'm hoping is that it's just a solenoid that can be easily replaced. I did that on my rooftop unit in my old travel trailer but I did have help with that. The good news is I was right there and learned what to do with a rooftop unit so I do have some familiarity.

Thanks for the link to the manual again.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:55 PM   #12
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I didn't know you could see the squirrel cage fan, but I never tried to look.

You shouldn't have to get under the vehicle to troubleshoot. The circuit board, etc. is behind a panel on the left side of your A/C unit.

You can see it in this video:

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Old 08-01-2020, 08:02 PM   #13
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Funny... I watched that video earlier today.

Maybe what I'm calling the squirrel cage is different than what you are calling it?

The area this guy in the video is working on is on my passenger side and this side is working well. It's the fan on the other side of the vehicle that's not working. I'll get some pictures tomorrow to help clarify.

While I was out here playing around this evening I did find a cold air leak in the vent on the passenger side (the working side) of the vehicle, along with some condensation dripping into the gravel. Then I went to the drivers side where you can see the fan though the body slats and there was nothing at all cold on that side. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be either, though.

I'll get pictures tomorrow before it rains (or in between storms) and post in an effort to explain it better.

Also, I meant that I hope it's just a capacitor, not a solenoid. I'm not sure there are solenoids in an ac unit....

I really do appreciate all your help.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:56 PM   #14
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My 2002 Itasca Suncruiser doesn't have a fan on the driver's side. I'm not saying your's doesn't but I'm wondering if you're feeling cold air from an A/C duct that's come unsealed. You shouldn't be able to feel cold air on either side outside the coach.

The good news is, if this is the issue, it's a minor fix although you'll need some help if since you're physically limited from crawling around.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:02 AM   #15
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AH! Ok... our RV's are very different beasts although it's possible the a/c-heat system may be the same.... Here's some pictures I just took. The first picture is the big "fin" cooling thing on the passenger rear of my Ellipse that is featured in the video you posted. I haven't yet figured out how to open the area where it is to verify if everything I have is accessible to me like the guy in the video.

For reference there are two photos of the rear drivers side of my Ellipse; one from a distance so you can see the area of concern under the bedroom slide, and then one close up so you can see the fan inside. It's THIS FAN that isn't working for some reason.

When my a/c is on, air blows out of BOTH sides, simultaneously, of my RV at the exterior rear where these pictures are taken. It's only blowing out on the passenger side now.

Ok.. it's raining so I found a couple pictures online (not my vehicle but same exactly the same model)

Right rear - a/c
Left rear - fan
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:26 AM   #16
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I took the liberty of posting an appeal to Itasca Ellipse 40FD owners for help on this. Hopefully someone will respond. Here's the link to my appeal:

https://www.winnieowners.com/forums/...ml#post3868988
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:53 AM   #17
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Ok, we have a response to my appeal from RHW:

"The fan on the left side of the rv is for the bus ac. start the motor and turn on the dash ac then check the fan."

As I suspected, this fan has nothing to do with the basement air, but your bus A/C, when your engine is running and your dash A/C control is on. They are two, completely separate systems.

Based on your previous comment about finding a cold air leak on the passenger side, I suspect there's an issue with some unsealed ducting. How easy it is to get to it is going to be an issue. I'm assuming by cold air you mean refrigerated air, and not just blowing air. You might want to check the temperature to be sure.

Since, at 13 degrees temperature differential inside, it's quite reasonable that a duct leak could explain the missing 7 degrees vs the expected full 20 degree differential.

Let's eliminate this before trying to chase down a compressor or other, more complex issue.
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:23 PM   #18
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BobC, you really went over and beyond to help the OP. That is what makes this forum so valuable. Thank you!
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:20 PM   #19
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In re-sealing the duct work, don't use generic plastic duct tape. If it wasn't for potential movement I'd recommend all-weather aluminum duct tape but it might tear as the joint moves around. Some have reported success using Gorilla tape, which has an all-weather version:

https://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Weath.../dp/B07GRJ8L55
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gurroz View Post
BobC, you really went over and beyond to help the OP. That is what makes this forum so valuable. Thank you!
Thanks, I'm just paying it forward. I've received lots of help in Winnieowners and IRV2.
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