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 > Ray's Popup Projects: Mini Air Conditioner

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rlchenry

Wake Forest, NC

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Posted: 03/05/06 03:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All of the warm weather over the past two weeks really got me working!!!!!

Well, after the thread a while back on mini air conditioners and my promise to have pictures of my install - here they are, albeit a bit late.

For those who have not read the thread, I purchased the smallest "window" unit I could find for $89. from Sears. It was a far cry from the $700-$800 rooftop units. I had planned to put the unit sticking out into the rear compartment behind the wheel well.

First I cut into the side of the footwell insuring I was behind the wheelwell (measured it EIGHT times!). I left about 3" of footwell space at the bottom so "toes" could go under it for standing next to the sink.

Since there was little or no support there, I epoxied some framing (1-1/2" x 3/4") to both the inner and outer skins.

[image]




The opening was 1/8 to 1/4 inch larger than the overal dimensions of the unit.

It fit like a glove (luckily!).

[image]


[image]

Outside, I cut some small aluminum brackets and surrounded the sides of the air conditioner with them. I also put some snaps on the four corners for a cover.

[image]





It doesn't look too bad sticking out there, does it?

[image]




Then came the BIG test ---- put it on the truck!

It actually fit!

[image]




It looks like it will have enough ventilation both from the sides for intake, and out the back for the exhaust. Of course I will have to leave the little door open for the best air circulation. The condensate drain is the little black plastic barb sticking out the back. I think I will just let it drain into the bed of the truck for now.

[image]

My particular camper model only has a 44" floor width. This allows me to shift the camper over an inch or two to allow for even more clearance.

There are several things I really like about this unit.

1) It blows the cool air up on the inside of the camper - this worked well for our floor-level installation.

2) It sticks inside the wall quite a bit (bad), but this allows for a) less protrusion outside (good) and b) a nice 50/50 load on the wall where most of the weight is straight down instead of "pulling" out (good).

3) It is VERY low power. As you can see on the label, only 530 Watts!!! (except for startup). The little Honda should be able to handle this with EASE!!

[image]




So with that, I am waiting for summer so I can try it out!!!!



P.S. - would it be too excessive to buy another unit and store it away for when (not if) this one goes south? That way I won't have to cut a different sized hole and make a bunch of changes. Also, if I buy another one, this one will NEVER break, will it?

* This post was edited 03/05/06 03:52pm by rlchenry *


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Neverhappy

Europe

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Posted: 03/05/06 04:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great pics & idea, thanks. You can buy a third one and send it over to Europe, I will never find such a cool unit here.


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tom_kat

way upstate new york/lake george area

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Posted: 03/05/06 04:58pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ACs can last for years don't know if its worth it to get a spare or not.looks good thou,


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Mooney

Santa Barbara, Ca

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Posted: 03/05/06 08:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great looking install . . . was there a reason you didn't want it on the roof?


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oktrailrider

Oklahoma

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Posted: 03/05/06 08:45pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow, was this ever timely. I also purchased a small window unit from Lowes for my camper (last year!) However, I don't have anyone to help me install it. What did you cut into your camper with? I bought a bracket from Lowes too to help support the unit. I was going to try and put mine on the back (where the little window is on my camper) but it will be very tight too. Thanks so much for sharing! I would love step by step instructions. I am pretty scared to cut into mine too. Hubby is not handy at all and so I will be on my own for this project.


Terri
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MontanaBighorn

Billings, MT

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Posted: 03/05/06 09:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

it sure looks better than i thought it would from the description. if i may make one unsolicited suggestion, i recommend that you channel the exhaust (or at least put up sheet metal barriers) to prevent recycling the same air over the condensor, particularly on the intake closest to the cab of your truck. im sure what you have would work, but using cooler (non-circulated) air over the condensor will make it work better.

as for buying an additional unit, prices will only continue to climb. r22 is being phased out in just a few years, and 410a equipment is much more expensive. ive spent more than $89 on dinner, and it turned to******in a day. :-) it wont hurt a thing to have an additional unit on hand, and will be much cheaper than trying to replace it with a 410a model down the road.


Nathan in Montana
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3+tons ain't pc

northern, ca.

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Posted: 03/05/06 11:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You should submit this great DIY project to Popular Mechanics...we just might see it published!


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stgrlee

Oregon

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Posted: 03/05/06 11:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Job, I like your idea and set up...

Lee


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Hey there

Pendergrass, GA

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Posted: 03/05/06 11:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rlchenry, Hi! As we say in the south: "you done good!"


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rlchenry

Wake Forest, NC

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Posted: 03/06/06 04:48am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mooney wrote:

Great looking install . . . was there a reason you didn't want it on the roof?


Cost and weight. Cost is obvious.

Weight was because a) it is a pop up, and b) I plan to carry some kayaks, etc. up there and did't want an additional 100lbs or so on top.

Plus I get to keep the vent!

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