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Old 07-30-2018, 10:09 PM   #1
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Basement Air DIY Replacement?

I've been toying with the idea of replacing my 16 year old basement A/C instead of replacing Compressor #2 which has apparently failed. I've replaced the start and run capacitors and have also switched Compressor #2's wiring to the Compressor #1's relay to test it and it still won't start (I can hear it try but it immediately drops to about 3A power consumption).

Plus, who knows what else to bring it back to full operating condition? I don't yet know what a compressor replacement on my old unit will cost (including professional troubleshooting) but I doubt it's a DIY job, considering the Freon connections, charging, etc. I've read several postings where others have sunk thousands in to repairs only to go the replacement route in the end. The $2,500+ cost for this is starting to look pretty reasonable.

We bought this particular coach because it has a commercial quality wheelchair lift and have made some other accessibility mods so it's something we plan on keeping for the foreseeable future.

Here's a link to the current replacement for the Coleman Basement A/C, the Coleman Two Ton Plus A/C:

https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-46515.../dp/B00QMKY76K

Although a different thermostat and thermostat cable is listed as required, it otherwise appears to be a direct "plug-and-play" replacement. The measurements (including the location and size of the vent connections) are identical to my 6535A-871 in my Suncruiser 35U. The installation manual is word for word identical except for model #s and the aforementioned thermostat and cable.

The Q/A on the Amazon page mentions this as a direct replacement to my 6535A-871 but the description of the replacement unit states 50A service only. My Suncruiser only has 30A service. I've emailed the seller for clarification. Worst case, I upgrade to 50A, not an insurmountable task. Hopefully this is more of a power management issue than a hard requirement.

This looks like a DIY project that's definitely within my skill set.

Note: I'm not interested in replacing the basement A/C with rooftop units.

Here's a link to the process I'd follow for the physical removal/installation:

http://www.rvforum.net/miscfiles/Bas...attredirects=0

Anyone out there done this themselves? If so, how did it go?
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:39 AM   #2
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I received a response from the seller confirming this as a direct replacement for my old unit and elaborating on the 30A vs. 50A issue:

You have received a message from the Amazon Seller - MidState Performance Parts
Message:
Hi, you are correct, this is a direct replacement. Also, it is recommended for 50A service. Please note though that the max amperage used by the AC / HP with both compressors running and fans is 27.9 Amps. Therefore you will be maxed out for any other electrical use and may not be able to start due to initial load. With Stage 1 AC/HP only, you will use 16.6 amps.


As I suspected, it's a power management issue and not an absolute requirement. Nonetheless I'm going to re-read the recent postings regarding the 50A upgrade.
If the campground doesn't have 50A service, I can get by with a 50A/45A adapter and plug into 30A and 15A outlets. If that's not possible, my old unit does an OK job just on compressor #1 here in northern CA.

I wonder how much the original owner saved by not getting the optional 50A service. Oh well, one project leads to another, as usual.
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Old 08-01-2018, 04:57 PM   #3
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Before going farther on upgrading to 50amp service or adapters for more amps, after the new A/C is installed, monitor the number of amps the A/C actually pulls when only one compressor is on and then when both are on.



I believe you will find the A/C will work fine on 30amp w/ both compressors running as long as nothing else is pulling very many amps. Such as the water heater on elect.



I also believe your owners manual has a caution about limiting other AC device operation while the A/C is on.



About using an adapter to plug into both 30amp & 15amp outlets. You still only have a 30amp c/b in your main AC power panel. Just because you have 45amps at the shore power post you are still limited to 30amps. Also the wiring inside the RV is only rated for 30amps.



Somebody at Winnebago wasn't thinking straight when they only wired the RV for 30amps with this large A/C.


Winnebago also has some RV's with two roof A/C's and only 30amp service.
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for your words of wisdom, Al & Sharon, I think I'm going to hold off on the 50A project until I deal with the A/C. I priced out what I'd need for it, including replacing my 30A Progressive surge suppressor with a 50A model and I'd be right around $500 for the conversion. Without the suppressor it would be much less but I like having the protection.

Also, I don't recall seeing 50A service in many, if not most, of the places we camp (mainly state and county parks and the like). Mostly it's 30A only. I'll need to pay more attention.

It's just the two of us and we're not high power users so I think we'll be OK.

Right now, with only compressor #1 running, my existing basement air does a pretty good job with our 90 - 100 degree, relatively dry heat here in northern California. It takes a little longer initially but once it's cooled down it does OK maintaining a comfortable temperature. We also have the luxury of heading to the coast or mountains for natural air conditioning.

My two biggest priorities are to install my solar panels and get our car ready to be towed.
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
I've been toying with the idea of replacing my 16 year old basement A/C instead of replacing Compressor #2 which has apparently failed. I've replaced the start and run capacitors and have also switched Compressor #2's wiring to the Compressor #1's relay to test it and it still won't start (I can hear it try but it immediately drops to about 3A power consumption).

Plus, who knows what else to bring it back to full operating condition? I don't yet know what a compressor replacement on my old unit will cost (including professional troubleshooting) but I doubt it's a DIY job, considering the Freon connections, charging, etc. I've read several postings where others have sunk thousands in to repairs only to go the replacement route in the end. The $2,500+ cost for this is starting to look pretty reasonable.

We bought this particular coach because it has a commercial quality wheelchair lift and have made some other accessibility mods so it's something we plan on keeping for the foreseeable future.

Here's a link to the current replacement for the Coleman Basement A/C, the Coleman Two Ton Plus A/C:

https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-46515.../dp/B00QMKY76K

Although a different thermostat and thermostat cable is listed as required, it otherwise appears to be a direct "plug-and-play" replacement. The measurements (including the location and size of the vent connections) are identical to my 6535A-871 in my Suncruiser 35U. The installation manual is word for word identical except for model #s and the aforementioned thermostat and cable.

The Q/A on the Amazon page mentions this as a direct replacement to my 6535A-871 but the description of the replacement unit states 50A service only. My Suncruiser only has 30A service. I've emailed the seller for clarification. Worst case, I upgrade to 50A, not an insurmountable task. Hopefully this is more of a power management issue than a hard requirement.

This looks like a DIY project that's definitely within my skill set.

Note: I'm not interested in replacing the basement A/C with rooftop units.

Here's a link to the process I'd follow for the physical removal/installation:

http://www.rvforum.net/miscfiles/Bas...attredirects=0

Anyone out there done this themselves? If so, how did it go?


To Bob, I have just been down that road a mile or two in front of you. I have a 2000 Itasca with the exact same unit. I purchased the newer unit with the heat-pump which the original one did not have and it took no longer than two to three hours. My Itasca does have the 50 amp service so every wire had a place to go. Even the t-stat wiring from the original 2000 model was exact, there was no need for the new wire, t-stat was needed though. I did have a benefit of having removed the original unit two years to troubleshoot the not working 2nd compressor. I decided at that time to get by with one compressor for awhile. The new one is perfect and heat pump test seemed great. Good luck and if you need help, just yell. I kept the older unit just in case it has some value to me or others.
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Old 08-01-2018, 06:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dusty_fluffy View Post
Al & Sharon, I have just been down that road a mile or two in front of you. I have a 2000 Itasca with the exact same unit. I purchased the newer unit with the heat-pump which the original one did not have and it took no longer than two to three hours. My Itasca does have the 50 amp service so every wire had a place to go. Even the t-stat wiring from the original 2000 model was exact, there was no need for the new wire, t-stat was needed though. I did have a benefit of having removed the original unit two years to troubleshoot the not working 2nd compressor. I decided at that time to get by with one compressor for awhile. The new one is perfect and heat pump test seemed great. Good luck and if you need help, just yell. I kept the older unit just in case it has some value to me or others.
Thanks, dusty_fluffy, this is exactly what I wanted to hear. By the way, my family nickname is Dusty.
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Old 08-16-2018, 08:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
I received a response from the seller confirming this as a direct replacement for my old unit and elaborating on the 30A vs. 50A issue:

You have received a message from the Amazon Seller - MidState Performance Parts
Message:
Hi, you are correct, this is a direct replacement. Also, it is recommended for 50A service. Please note though that the max amperage used by the AC / HP with both compressors running and fans is 27.9 Amps. Therefore you will be maxed out for any other electrical use and may not be able to start due to initial load. With Stage 1 AC/HP only, you will use 16.6 amps.


As I suspected, it's a power management issue and not an absolute requirement. Nonetheless I'm going to re-read the recent postings regarding the 50A upgrade.
If the campground doesn't have 50A service, I can get by with a 50A/45A adapter and plug into 30A and 15A outlets. If that's not possible, my old unit does an OK job just on compressor #1 here in northern CA.



I wonder how much the original owner saved by not getting the optional 50A service. Oh well, one project leads to another, as usual.

Bob, I admire your thoughtfulness here before jumping in headlong.
Please reconsider the 30A/15A option. You are still living close to the max loading of your coach and, over time, will most likely do damage to some of the electrical connections and fixtures. Look up your rig wiring in the Winnebago resources. The 50A option and the wiring diagram is available there for the upgrade. With the 50A in place you can build a 30A/30A adapter. I carry one with me. If needed, I plug into 2 30A feeds that read 240V between them. I have not tried same phase plugs. For one thing the neutral could overload. With this arrangement I have at least 60A of the 100A I feel most comfortable with. Your A/C will be pushing it when under full load but the other appliances not on that leg will work a bit better. At least you can have toast and coffee in the morning and not trip the breaker.


I hope all goes well for you. I look forward to your progression posts.
Happy trails,
Rick
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Old 09-02-2018, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobC View Post
I received a response from the seller confirming this as a direct replacement for my old unit and elaborating on the 30A vs. 50A issue:

You have received a message from the Amazon Seller - MidState Performance Parts
Message:
Hi, you are correct, this is a direct replacement. Also, it is recommended for 50A service. Please note though that the max amperage used by the AC / HP with both compressors running and fans is 27.9 Amps. Therefore you will be maxed out for any other electrical use and may not be able to start due to initial load. With Stage 1 AC/HP only, you will use 16.6 amps.


As I suspected, it's a power management issue and not an absolute requirement. Nonetheless I'm going to re-read the recent postings regarding the 50A upgrade.
If the campground doesn't have 50A service, I can get by with a 50A/45A adapter and plug into 30A and 15A outlets. If that's not possible, my old unit does an OK job just on compressor #1 here in northern CA.

I wonder how much the original owner saved by not getting the optional 50A service. Oh well, one project leads to another, as usual.
I made a reply or two to this topic stating I believed you should not have a problem running both compressors, with the basement air on 30amps, as long as you are sure to severely limit other devices which are using 120V power.
Yesterday, I did some testing on my 50amp 2006 Journey while parked at my house and connected to 30amp service.
My results are:
-- Temperature inside was about 95*, outside temp was about 93*
-- Gas/elect fridge was off, house batteries were fully charged so inverter/charger was not using AC power to charge batteries. If batteries are somewhat depleted the inverter/charger can pull 6-10 amps. This tapers off significantly after 30-60 minutes.

-- The monitor panel was showing zero amps of AC power being used before starting the A/C.

-- Also, I have a LED AC voltage monitor plugged into an outlet by the kitchen sink. With no load, it was reading 120V. With both compressors running, it was reading 113-114V. Note: this indicates the size of the wires and connections going to the RV was heavy enough to carry the load.

-- With only one compressor running, after the initial starting load, the load was between 13 & 14 amps. When the second compressor came on, again after the starting load, the total amps stabilized at 21-22amps. (During the startup of the 2nd compressor I did see the monitor flash 28amps)

Using 20-25 amps on a 30amp circuit should not cause a problem as long as the voltage and wiring is sufficient to carry the load. Some RV Park power pedestal wiring may be too light to carry 25amps w/o dropping the voltage which can lead to damage to the A/C's and tripping c/b's.
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:32 PM   #9
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Thanks for the update.

My A/C project has been on hold while I work on toad towing issues. In the meantime, I've been using mine on my 20A home supply with #1 compressor which seems to do fine in cooling the RV down to 78 - 80 degrees or so despite our high 90s and low 100s air temps, which is pretty comfortable. My current draw with #1 only is under 10A.

I'm still not sure why #2 doesn't start when on my generator. I've replaced the #2 start and run capacitors and I can hear it try to kick in but it doesn't catch. I've even switched the wiring so #2 "is #1", with the same result. That's leading me to think there's something amiss with the compressor itself but I need to find time to go through a full trouble shooting process as set forth in the service manual.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:30 AM   #10
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Thanks for the update.

My A/C project has been on hold while I work on toad towing issues. In the meantime, I've been using mine on my 20A home supply with #1 compressor which seems to do fine in cooling the RV down to 78 - 80 degrees or so despite our high 90s and low 100s air temps, which is pretty comfortable. My current draw with #1 only is under 10A.

I'm still not sure why #2 doesn't start when on my generator. I've replaced the #2 start and run capacitors and I can hear it try to kick in but it doesn't catch. I've even switched the wiring so #2 "is #1", with the same result. That's leading me to think there's something amiss with the compressor itself but I need to find time to go through a full trouble shooting process as set forth in the service manual.
Bob, I think I missed this earlier in your posts. "I'm still not sure why #2 doesn't start when on my generator." This ONLY happens when on your generator?
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Old 09-03-2018, 08:54 AM   #11
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Bob, I think I missed this earlier in your posts. "I'm still not sure why #2 doesn't start when on my generator." This ONLY happens when on your generator?
No, I wasn't clear. #2 won't start on shore power either but right now I'm only connected to 20A service. If inadequate shore power was the problem, it should kick in when on the generator, but it doesn't.
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Old 09-04-2018, 06:42 AM   #12
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No, I wasn't clear. #2 won't start on shore power either but right now I'm only connected to 20A service. If inadequate shore power was the problem, it should kick in when on the generator, but it doesn't.
Okay. Now we are on the same page.
I have read, many times, that he basement air can be fixed, or at least correctly diagnosed, by a residential HVAC repair service. I've read many good reports along this line. They are familiar with your system and will get to the rout cause of the problem quickly.
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Old 09-04-2018, 09:15 AM   #13
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Okay. Now we are on the same page.
I have read, many times, that he basement air can be fixed, or at least correctly diagnosed, by a residential HVAC repair service. I've read many good reports along this line. They are familiar with your system and will get to the rout cause of the problem quickly.
That's true but first I'm going to take a shot at it myself. It's doesn't appear to be that complicated. Besides, I've read several postings where others have poured hundreds of dollars into one unsuccessful repair after the other. If it's not something simple, like a compressor replacement, I'd rather put my money toward a replacement, which I've already determined I can install myself.

Right now I'm working on getting my motorhome and toad ready to tow. Then it's on to a solar install and some roof sealing. The A/C will have to wait.
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:14 AM   #14
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That's true but first I'm going to take a shot at it myself. It's doesn't appear to be that complicated. Besides, I've read several postings where others have poured hundreds of dollars into one unsuccessful repair after the other. If it's not something simple, like a compressor replacement, I'd rather put my money toward a replacement, which I've already determined I can install myself.

Right now I'm working on getting my motorhome and toad ready to tow. Then it's on to a solar install and some roof sealing. The A/C will have to wait.
I understand your situation, Bob. I was having trouble with my basement air in my last rig and I had the unit on the ground a couple of times before I found the trouble.
When you consider the simplicity of these things, there are not many mechanical parts to fail, a good HVAC tech can find an fix the problem in short order. Most of the $$ spenders of failed repairs have tried many DYI approaches and failed. Frustration gave in to unit replacement. Many failed to get successful repairs by relying on the local RV shop to do the job. Not the best choice. Like a carpenter fixing your electrical issues.
Your money and time to do with as you wish. IMO the basement air can run for many years, as yours has done. Cleaning the coils is often overlooked and the unit is blamed. In my case, the rear plenum had come apart. In your case, it seems to be the compressor. If it really is, replacement of the unit is, cost wise, the best option. I just suggest getting a professional opinion before doing so.
Rick
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