While looking over the Camping World web site prior to making a purchase for some goodies, I came across a new product that really interested me. It was a Remote Control Thermostat made specifically for the Coleman Mach Air Conditioner. After reading all the posts on this forum about programmable thermostats, I was interested in installing one of my own. However, this remote control thermostat intrigued me as we often wake up in the middle of the night and need to get up to adjust the thermostat. The thought of being able to do this with a remote really appealed to me. However, after sending an e-mail to CW, I was not able to get any additional information on the features and capabilities of the unit. My curiosity got the better of me and I bought it. I am posting this information for others, like me, that might be considering getting this unit. At least they will have the info that I didn’t have.
The unit is manufactured by RVProducts, which is the same company that makes the original thermostat for the Coleman Mach AC. In fact, I used the original thermostat mounting plate on my Jayco FW and the fit was perfect. The wires are the same color as the original unit, so there’s no confusion hooking it up. The main unit, shown below, has six buttons. (It does NOT require batteries.) A power button, which has obvious function. Two buttons are for the temperature adjustment. After setting the temp, the display changes to show the actual room temperature. The timer button is for setting a delayed on/off setting. This is not like a programmable thermostat. It only can be set for a single delayed change. The fan button cycles between the four settings: Auto Low, Auto Hi, Low, Hi, which is a capability that most third-party thermostats can’t do. The mode button cycles between: Fan Only, Cool, Dry Air, Gas Heat, and Auto CHG. The last setting will automatically switch between A/C and gas heat depending on the temperature settings (I haven’t used that feature yet). The dry air mode somehow cycles the A/C compressor on and off to keep the air dry. I can provide more details on this if I look at the manual again. The lights on the panel stay lighted for about a minute after a mode is selected. They then go out.
My favorite part about this thermostat is the remote, shown below. The remote has more features than the main thermostat. It has a clock display, a display of the mode set, as well as the temperature buttons, mode button, and fan button, just like the main thermostat. Opening the panel on the remote exposes some other neat features (sorry for the bad picture quality). The room button shows the temperature at the location of the remote, as opposed to the thermostat setting. The sleep button supposedly raises the temperature by two degrees in two hours. I guess this makes it warmer after you go to sleep (haven’t used it yet). The “I feel” button turns the remote into the controller for the thermostat. It basically moves the thermostat thermometer to your location. This requires that the remote send a signal to the main unit every few minutes, which I’m sure eats up the batteries. This remote is infra-red. In our case, I have to go around a slight corner to control the thermostat from bed. It works fine. Around sharper corners though, this may be an issue. Also, the remote shows an electric heat setting which I suppose would activate any electric heat strips in the Coleman A/C – although I can’t verify that, there is a wire on the main unit for electric heat.
There are a few minor drawbacks that I have noticed. When using the remote, the main unit beeps when it has received a signal. This is nice for confirmation, but can be a little annoying when using the unit at 3 am. Also, whenever a button on the remote is pressed, the entire state of the remote “appears” to be transmitted to the main unit. So, if you set the temp on the main unit and then use the remote to change the fan setting, for example, the temperature will change to the value previously set on the remote (I haven’t verified this 100%, but I seem to recall this behavior). This is not a real issue so long as you realize this is happening. You can just aim the remote away and set it to match the main unit and then you are good to use the remote. Regardless, I like the remote and the nice display of the mode settings.
It requires 12V DC to operate. I'm not sure that's available in a home unit. Other than that, I'm not sure I see a reason that it couldn't be made to work - if it doesn't work straight out of the box. I'm not sure though.
My Everest came with one installed from the factory. The only difference is that there is no wall T-Stat. The T-Stat and the receiver are mounted on the AC quick cool down cover located on the ceiling. My guess is that the remote is cheaper to install than to hard wire a wall T-Stat. The problem with the ceiling location is that this causes the temperature swings to be much more severe than units I've had with wall mounted T-Stats. I haven't had a chance to use the AC so I'm not sure how well you can control the temperature when running the AC. If you loose the remote you have to reach up to the receiver to push the emergency heat/cool button to select the default temperature. With ceilings over 8 ft high, this requires putting the beer down and poking at it with one of the wife's cooking utensils.
The remote is also infrared, which means with my ceiling receiver location, you have to point the remote directly at it. My guess is that the setup above with the wall mounted T-Stat/receiver works much better, but I'd take a wall mounted digital T-Stat any day.
Do you know if this remote controlled thermostat would work for homes also. (I do not own an RV, but ran across your post when I did a Yahoo search. I thought RV HVAC systems may be different than that of a standard home.)