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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Coleman Mach 8232 series to Atwood

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jdubya

Valley View, Texas

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Posted: 08/12/17 09:50am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have two ancient (2003) Coleman A/C units which are ready for replacement. The system is run by the Intellitec 00-00591-200 controller and a no-longer-available Climate Controller also by Intellitec.

I want to replace these with two 15K BTU Atwood 15028 with 15022 interior cover. I have seen others talking about doing this, but I am wondering what I will run into.

The front A/C has a multiwire cable that plugs to the controller encased in a nylon mesh of some sort plus a Romex 110 ac cable, a 2-wire thermostat cable and a six-wire cable that plugs to a plug that has a short run to the controller of the A/C. this unit runs the furnace (ie, switch the thermostat to heat and the relay picks on the front A/C to provide power to the furnace which then uses the thermostat to call for heat or not.
Update: I am not able to find where the wires from the Climate Control go. They look like zip cord for speakers, but none of the units use that type of wire. They plug in like a phone plug on the thermostat, but I can't find the other end anywhere.

The rear A/C does not have the multiwire cable, but it does have the Romex for 110 ac, a 2-wire thermostat cable and a 6-wire cable to the controller, but the cable feeding into that cable does not have anything in the middle pair (furnace?)

I do not see that multiwire cable, but it makes no sense without it so I will look again for that.
Update: the cable in the mesh is there on the rear unit - I just couldn't see it. It looks like a 9-wire plug with about 6 wires in it. Hard to see.

From the Atwood, I don't see any of the need for Intellitec except that I would like to take advantage of the current sensing and shedding features of it. I would also use it for furnace operation. I am assuming that the new Atwood thermostats won't control the furnace on and off for temperature - just on and off for power available. If they will operate as a thermostat for the furnace, that would be good.

To take advantage of the current features, the output of the Intellitec would have to be the Atwood's ac supply which I think is already in the Romex cables. After that, everything should run from the Atwood units and thermostats.

The only problem I have noted so far is that the cable for the thermostat on the Atwood is a 4-wire communications cable. I am hoping to be able to pull a phone wire or a LAN cable from each of the units using the existing 2-wire cables from the Coleman to get the new setup in place. That could be a bearcat - depends on how the wires were installed - hopefully down the duct.

The MH is a 2004 Fleetwood Flair 33R with 6500 Onan genset. I could make the switch to direct wire, but I like having the automatic sensing of current plus the transfer switch is part of the Intellitec system although a separate box.

Anyone care to give me a 'this will get you' or 'you need this' to help me out with this? I have a method of hoisting the units onto and off from the rig all figured out. (Remote controlled winch mounted to the roof purlins and the coach parked directly below where I want it to go.)

Has anyone done this - what problems, what extras, any idea about trouble between Intellitec and Atwood? Etc.

Thanks in advance!

* This post was edited 08/12/17 12:12pm by jdubya *

dougrainer

Carrolton, Texas

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Posted: 08/12/17 01:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WHY would you go with a Orphan AC (Atwood)? The major players on RV AC units are RVP (Coleman) and Dometic. Replace your AC units with the updated RVP (Coleman). What is your problem using Coleman units? The upper units ALL (Coleman) have the same 120 plug harness. You still use your existing Intellitec control system. Doug

jdubya

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Posted: 08/12/17 03:58pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

@dougranier: about $400 each difference. Plus I can see no advantage to Coleman. Do you have some inside information or something? This Atwood is a trimmed down version of the Cormorant from Australia - supposed to be a pretty good unit. They are made by Dometic for Atwood, right?

The only option that I see is Coleman, but $1200 each plus shipping is steep while the Atwood is $700 plus shipping - that is almost $1000 difference. That is why I am seeking the information - why do I want to stay with Coleman?

jdubya

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Posted: 08/12/17 04:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another thing is that the Coleman doesn't come with the thermostat. The Intellitec is an enormous monstrosity that is virtually unusable as a climate controller. The settings require a flashlight to see, the setting of temperature is not reproducible, and now that I look into it more, I find that the Flair has the thermistors almost right next to each other. That would be ok for the furnace, but for the A/C not so good. If I can figure out how to do it, I will put the thermostats in different places. The bedroom one - in the bedroom and the other one near the access door. I suspect that these locations will be too hard to achieve, but I am still in the dreaming stage.

dougrainer

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Posted: 08/12/17 04:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jdubya wrote:

@dougranier: about $400 each difference. Plus I can see no advantage to Coleman. Do you have some inside information or something? This Atwood is a trimmed down version of the Cormorant from Australia - supposed to be a pretty good unit. They are made by Dometic for Atwood, right?

The only option that I see is Coleman, but $1200 each plus shipping is steep while the Atwood is $700 plus shipping - that is almost $1000 difference. That is why I am seeking the information - why do I want to stay with Coleman?


Dometic PURCHASED Atwood to remove them from competition. Ask yourself WHY, is the Atwood cheaper. ALSO, Research and determine if the Atwoods are so much cheaper, then WHY do almost all the OEMs only use Dometic Or Coleman. I am giving you 38 years of experience as a RV Technician and still working. I would NEVER recommend that a customer do what you want to do. But, you have been given my take on this, so if you have a problem down the line you cannot say you were not warned[emoticon] Doug

jdubya

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Posted: 08/12/17 06:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, doug, thanks for that - it is what I was asking for - input. You don't have me on years of experience however. I have found that most often the problems with a maligned piece of equipment is not necessarily earned. I don't do my purchases based on other people's biases either, rather on the facts presented. And I appreciate your candor, but not your tone.

Now, what is it that I want to do that is a 'NEVER'? Change from Coleman to another brand made by Dometic that has features that I like while Coleman doesn't? Is it cheaper because it doesn't sell? Are people using them unhappy with them? What is going wrong that they cannot have fixed by now (it has been out for quite awhile). You are not the first who have said they are not a good unit, but the other guy's reason was that they are a knockoff of the Cormorant made in Australia - in fact, based on the installation manual, they are a cheapened version of Cormorant made by Dometic in Australia. And the cheapening was to replace several metal parts with plastic (shields, etc.) If you know something about that, I am willing to listen, but so far your rhetoric has been too broad and not aimed at persuading, rather abusive threatening which is of little help.

By the way, many companies buy out others to get something that the other company has that they want. That could range all of the way from a technology to sales areas. Why is Atwood cheaper? I can think of several reasons - one is that they make a better product for less money. Your suggesting that it is because they are inferior somehow - that is what I want to know - how are they inferior because what I see does not appear to be inferior - especially not to Dometic who is failing miserably with, what was it, the Penguin - not sure. So now they have a replacement called Atwood branded that has a pretty good name. Some problems with people who work in their customer service, but is that abnormal?

I don't know why Dometic and Coleman seem to have a lock on the US market. Some of the larger RVs use Dometic, but I cannot see why. My Colemans have worked reasonably well, too, but they are not without problems either.

I do know that for the time my RV has left that I own it, I do not want to spend a bunch of money on it. If I can get two working 15K with heatpump units that work, are lighter than the Coleman, quieter, lower power usage, have digital thermostats and can be made to work with my Intellitec unit (the part of it that I use), I am inclined to do so.

I am open to logical reasons, not to irrational threatening - you have been warned, really?

dougrainer

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Posted: 08/12/17 07:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All I can say is Carrier tried to penetrate the RV market and they ARE a BIG Daddy in AC systems. They failed miserably. I have worked on just 1 Atwood. Why? Because NOBODY uses them at the OEM level on the dozens of RV's I work on. Same with Carrier. I worked on a few that some of the OEM's we sold used them and I was NOT happy with how they functioned and poor level of support from Carrier RV division. It did not take long for most OEM's to drop Carrier. Sorry you felt I "threatened" you. Not my intention. Just trying to get info and the problems that may happen so you could not say, I wish I had known about this. Maybe Chris can chime in. I know of nobody that has really worked on the Atwood AC's. Just see that IF they were a great thing OEM's would jump on them and use them. That is another problem. Since there are very few Technicians that have worked on them getting Service Centers to do any warranty work will be difficult. What happens if they do drop the Atwood like Dometic has told me? Look at the posts from people trying to get parts for their Carrier AC units. I deal with Dometic weekly and I was told that they purchased Atwood to slowly drop them from the market. They have thousands out there that need to be sold. After 50 years I doubt both RVP and Dometic need to purchase another Brand AC company to "learn" something. Doug

PS, in all the years, I have NEVER heard anybody complain about the Intellitec AC control systems(design and function) on Fleetwood

jdubya

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Posted: 08/12/17 08:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think that the Atwood is more popular on the longer tongue trailers. It has larger capacity, more air volume, and is less than $600 unducted.

Regarding Carrier, it is my understanding that they went completely out of business, including RV A/Cs - everything. (Correction: Carrier still is BIG in HVAC) But with the Atwood, aren't they (Dometic) supporting the A/Cs that they sell? E-trailer is a big pusher of the 15028-22 which is what I am looking at. Why would Dometic do that, just to make people angry with them? Maybe I should hold out for a fire sale on these?

BTW the RV A/C is essentially a throw-away unit. If it needs anything done to it, the cost of repairs is as high as a brand new unit. Why do you think I am even looking at a new one? Do you service these Coleman units when they quit and it is not capacitors? It takes too much time - it is easier to take off the old and install a new one.

Not sure what your 'learn' was about, I don't think I insinuated that Atwood was bought by Dometic to learn anything - just that their Penguin was having problems and companies buy other companies for other reasons one of which is to get something that the other company has. That could be technology all the way to sales areas. But I really doubt that Dometic would buy a failing company with the idea of slowly letting its product die under their name, but there have been stranger things done. The reason for buying out a company is usually either for money (company is failing but has business stuff that is valuable) or strategic advantage - maybe Atwood buying the Cormorant to sell in the US with specific changes was just a package deal when Dometic merged with the company who owned Cormorant (guessing). Perhaps Atwood was in so much financial trouble that it paid Dometic to take the losses against their earnings over a longer period.

The odd thing is that you seem to be saying that it is Coleman or forget it because Dometic is not going to stand behind the brand that they want to kill - even if their own version of it is rapidly dying.

Another guy mentioned that the Atwood pushed the air out from the inside through the condenser which he claimed made them harder to clean - in his estimation that was a 'down-date'. Here again, the Coleman pulls the air forward through the condenser which would seem to be inefficient if running down the highway. I have heard of people doing that, but never needed to do so myself. I did try it once and it worked. Auto air was enough for us while moving along so it wouldn't be an issue for us.

Well, anyway, thanks again

* This post was edited 08/14/17 08:02pm by jdubya *

jdubya

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Posted: 08/14/17 12:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I did a bit more research today regarding Dometic vs Coleman. The company that became Dometic is a part of a larger company with home base in Sweden which started from the original gas-operated refrigerator. They purchased Atwood Mobile as a subsidiary in late 2014.

Coleman, on the other hand, is a US company - also part of a larger US company similarly structured like Dometic.

Atwood Mobile had a major business going in Australia where the Air Commander company was manufacturing the Cormorant Air Commander for larger rigs. They were making a move to use the Air Commander design to produce a superior air conditioner for the US market. They ended up purchasing Air Commander in 2013. Atwood Mobile was growing.

However, the company had feelers out for a merger, which was answered by Dometic. Dometic, IMHO, was attempting to respond to the 'threat' of the advanced A/C design being offered by Atwood in the form of their new heat pump dual-fan units as was Coleman. Dometic apparently saw an opportunity to get the advanced design of the Atwood Air Commander and to get a really big portion of the rest of the mobile products that Atwood offered, so the two merged.

There is no evidence in what I found to suggest that the Atwood Air Commander will be 'phased out', rather it appears that the Air Commander is a successful design with like 80% of the market in Australia, and the little brother is making big problems for Coleman and will be a major product for Dometic who has seen their A/C business falter in the last few years, due in part (IMHO) to problems with their heat pump designs and their low profile unit which have not been reliable. They have also mimicked the Atwood design in their smaller units. I would be very surprised if the Atwood name is taken off this Atwood design, although it appears that Dometic is already adding their name to the Cormorant Air Commander as it is now called the Dometic Cormorant Air Commander.

So my guess is that I hit the nail solidly when I suggested that companies purchase others for the reasons I mentioned and it appears to me like Dometic had both reasons in their merger with Atwood Mobile.

Chris Bryant

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Posted: 08/14/17 06:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FWIW, discounting the Intellitec, I did a Coleman to Atwood swap this year on a Winnebago. Could not get enough wires to do it, so I had to run a new cable to the thermostat.
Coleman has power at the thermostat and runs the furnace from the thermostat. Atwood needs power at the roof unit, and runs the furnace from the roof unit.


-- Chris Bryant
My RV Service Blog
The RV.net Blog

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