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Old 05-05-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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Second ac 101

Yesterday, Saturday 5-3-2013, I completed the installation of a second rooftop AC unit in my fifth wheel. Kitty and I discovered last July while camping with the grandkids in eastern Oklahoma the one 15,000 BTU unit didn’t quite do an adequate job. As Kitty stated, the unit we had did not have enough BTU’s to cool a BUT the size of a TUB!!!

Earlier this year, I contacted the RV dealership for an estimate of the cost of having the dealer install the second unit. Their estimate was $2500. An amount I saw as being high. However, I do understand anything is not cheap anymore. Anyway, I begin to do some homework on the project. Doing internet searches and reading varies forums before starting the project.

Some of you may not agree with the way I installed the unit, and that is okay. Do yours the way you feel comfortable. The point I do wish to convey is: This stuff is not brain surgery. Because it is on an RV doesn’t make the process much different at that if it were on your house. So DON’T BE INTIMADATED.

Initially I told myself; “If I can’t snake the electrical wire through the ceiling and down the wall and out the RV, I may as well forget the DIY project and pay the dealer the $2500.”

Having some 12-2 /ground wire left over from another project, a couple weeks ago I removed the inside vent cover in the location I planed to install the AC unit. I proceeded to snake the wire into the ceiling then down the front cap then back through a cabinet then into one of the front storage compartments on the front of the RV. Attached is a pic.

After completing that task, I knew the project was doable DIY. I then ordered a 13,500 Coleman AC unit. (No heat) I received the AC unit last Monday, April 29th.

Yesterday morning, I proceeded to the top on the RV, placed some old blankets over the top and front cap to protect the RV while doing the necessary work. I then started the process of removing the roof top vent. Shortly it was off leaving the left over caulking. I then started the task of clean that stuff off. (Which turned out the be the most difficult task of the entire project.) Utilizing Kitty’s hair dryer to heat the stuff and a putty knife the job was completed.

Now, the hole was ready to be filled with the AC unit. I un-crated the unit and had Kitty place it on the roof of the fiver. Once it was up there, I carefully centered in over the opening and moved from the roof to the inside. Once there, I opened the ceiling unit placed the mounting bracket in place, ran the long bolts into the rooftop unit and proceeded to tighten them. Coleman places “tabs” on the sealing gasket to let the installer know when the bolts are tightened to the proper degree.

Now the only thing left is the electrical hook up. Now as I stated earlier, you may not agree with this method, and that is okay. I chose not the integrate this unit into the existing RV’s electrical system. The second AC unit is a complete electrical circuit of its own. Meaning the RV connects to the campsite electrical pedestal as usual. The second AC unit is powered on a separate electrical cable plugged into the 20amp service on the pedestal. (Yes, I understand that if the campground pedestal does not have a 20amp service in addition to the 30 service on the pedestal, I will not be able to utilize the second AC unit. However, I don’t recall being at a campground that did not have one)

Now, I did not want to rely solely on the campground pedestal breaker so I installed a residential breaker box with a 20am breaker inline between the AC unit and the electrical source cable attachment. (At this point I need to interject. Electrical code mandates that all exterior electrical receptacles be “ground fault” protected. Having said that, all 20amp electrical plugs on the campground pedestal should have a “ground fault circuit breaker”. I’m sure there are those older ones that do not. I tell you this because, if you choose to install a breaker box as I did, you have to wire it differently from that of a residential house where the power source is not passing through a GFCI. The basic difference is. You can’t attach the “ground” wire( bare copper) to the neutral buss of the breaker box.) In retrospect, an inline 20amp power strip would serve the same purpose.

Once the electrical was complete, I turned the unit on and IT WORKED!

Total cost? $648 dollars and change.

Hope this has been helpful.

I’m sorry. I don’t know how it incorporate my pictures with my text. Here is a list of the pictures attached.

Picture 1---shows the inside with the vent cover removed and the elect wire in ceiling

Picture 2---shows the wire passing thru the floor behind drawers in the cabinets

Picture 3---shows the wire exiting below the floor

Picture 4---shows rooftop vent cover

Picture 5---shows rooftop vent with cover removed

Picture 6---shows hole with vent removed.

Picture 7---shows hole after cleaning

Picture 8--- shows AC unit in place over hole

Picture 9--- inside view of AC unit centered over hole

Picture 10—Mounting bolts in place (note yellow tabs)
Picture 11---Ceiling unit installed (less filter cover)

Picture 12--- Breaker box installed in storage compartment.
Attached Thumbnails
ac unit 015.jpg   ac unit 004.jpg   ac unit 005.jpg   ac unit 006.jpg   ac unit 007.jpg  

ac unit 008.jpg   ac unit 009.jpg   ac unit 010.jpg   ac unit 011.jpg   ac unit 012.jpg  

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Old 05-05-2013, 11:44 AM   #2
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Beautiful install text and like the pictures, too. Would probably use this method if we decide to install a second A/C.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:54 AM   #3
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Second ac 101

Looks like you did a great job and saved a bunch of money!!!! Congrats
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:56 PM   #4
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Looks like a fine job, and you saved a ton of cash as well.....congrats! I looked into having a second ac added to mine. Dealer was going to do basically what you did. Price was around $1800. He told me to talk to his tech who would do the job. The tech outright told me to do it myself. He stated it wasn't that hard, and they had everything I needed except for the 20 amp power cord. I am still afraid to do it! I'd have to cut a hole in the back wall, and I am just scared to death to do it. BTW, where did you get your power cord? They told me to look at Lowes for a 20 amp cord, but all they have is 30 amp.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:46 PM   #5
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Great write-up!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty Cox View Post
Yes, I understand that if the campground pedestal does not have a 20amp service in addition to the 30 service on the pedestal, I will not be able to utilize the second AC unit. However, I don’t recall being at a campground that did not have one.
Me either, I've never seen a 30 or 50 amp hook up pedestal that didn't also have two 20 amp outlets also.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tail_gunner View Post
Great write-up!!



Me either, I've never seen a 30 or 50 amp hook up pedestal that didn't also have two 20 amp outlets also.
The cg where my TT is stored only has a 30 amp and 50 amp hook-up at the pedestal.
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krackeer View Post
where [can you get a] power cord? They told me to look at Lowes for a 20 amp cord, but all they have is 30 amp.
I bought a 20 amp extension cord at either Lowes or Home Depot; you could turn that into a power cord.




Quote:
Originally Posted by krackeer View Post
The cg where my TT is stored only has a 30 amp and 50 amp hook-up at the pedestal.
You could use adapters to get down to a 20 amp plug from a 30 or 50 amp, if you wanted to. One more reason that having a 20 amp breaker in the trailer (as Shorty installed) is important.
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:22 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for your comments. I look forward to the summer to utilize the RV and 2nd AC. The basic point I wished convey is: The project was much more easy than I had expected, so don't be afraid to do what you wish to your RV.

Krackeer: Why is it necessary to "cut a hole in the back wall" to install a 2nd AC unit? Are you not going it install it through a vent in the roof? As far as a 20amp cable, I don't have one. I do have three 30amp cables, each being 25ft. I plan to do exactly what RVhiker suggested. Use adapters on each end. That will easily carry the load plus, I don't have to purchase another cord to transport. However, don't get so hung up on a 20amp cable. At max, on high fan and the compressor running, the AC unit is rated to draw 14.9amps. A good quality 15amp extention cord will handle that.

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Old 05-07-2013, 03:50 AM   #9
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The hole is where I have to take the power cord in and out. AC in roof vent...wire to back wall via wire molding....attach to power cord...power cord out back wall to pedestal. Tech at dealer said no big deal, just cut the hole and put in this thing here, and seal around it! Easy to say. Just scared.
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Old 05-07-2013, 04:55 PM   #10
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Nice write up and pics, very informative! Maybe when my TT grows up I can put a second unit in . I'm all about DIY projects and saving $. Good job again.
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