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Old 05-25-2016, 04:26 PM   #1
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Unhappy AC not working during pre-trip shakedown

My timing this year has been impeccable. Giving the RV a once over before we leave on our trip this Friday. Since it's supposed to be hot I figured I'd test out the AC to make sure it's working ok. I started up the generator, let it run for 15 Mins, disconnected from shore power and still had AC power in the RV. I turned on the AC and set the thermostat to 75, closed the door and went to do some other work. Come back 15 mins later, Air conditioner is now off and temp in RV is still 85. Now what? I turned off everything and then turned on just the AC fan. Nothing from the AC unit except a humand 20A breaker is fine. Connected up to shore power again and just turned on the fan, still nothing but a hum. Went on rooftop, fan blade is not moving and only the hum. So I'm thinking is this thing dead already?

Got a call into Forest River for tech support, but not sure if I'll get a call back as with the upcoming holiday they may be swamped. Anyone have any idea's on what the problem can be?

PS Shore power is only 15A so that is why I had the generator running when the AC was on. For only running the fan I assume 15A should be ok as nothing else was on except the fridge.

OH yea, and took my brand new air compressor out of the Rv to top off air in tires and thats not working either. Not a good day in the neighborhood.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:14 AM   #2
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Well after scouring a lot FR threads I think I may have made some progress. I have come across multiple situations before where hum in a motor based system meant that the motor had juice but just was not turning. That can happen for several reasons. With the power off I went on the roof and took the cover off the AC unit to check and make sure the fan blades where not binding on anything which they were not. I then turned on the power and sure enough the Hum was from the motor. I took a screw driver and push the fans blades a bit and wala! It started working. That got me thinking about why it was not working on it's on. Not enough power is one possibility, so I changed the fridge from AC to propane and the fan blades started turning much faster. Obviously the AC unit was not getting enough current through the 15A temporary shore power. I turned off the AC fan, waited a few minutes and then turned it back on with no problem.

I'm still confused why the AC unit turned off in the first place when power was being supplied by the generator. I will have to monitor the system this weekend when we have a full 30A connection to see how it works. If there are no problems there, I will try it again with the generator before we leave to come home and see what happens then. Hopefully all will be well!

Happy Holiday all and safe camping!

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Old 05-26-2016, 08:55 AM   #3
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15A is not enough to run the A/C and other items.
With just the A/C- it will heat up the connections if it will even pull it.

Not sure why it shut off on the genny.
Check your control box.
Auto or On makes a difference.

I had an issue with my heater.
One of the ducts was pointed right at the t-stat and it would shut off quickly, then the temp would drop too much too quickly and the t-stat would not pick up the temp to switch on. Woke up a couple of times very cold.

Make sure a duct is not pointing right on the t-stat controller.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:29 AM   #4
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15A is not enough to run the A/C and other items.
With just the A/C- it will heat up the connections if it will even pull it.

Not sure why it shut off on the genny.
Check your control box.
Auto or On makes a difference.

I had an issue with my heater.
One of the ducts was pointed right at the t-stat and it would shut off quickly, then the temp would drop too much too quickly and the t-stat would not pick up the temp to switch on. Woke up a couple of times very cold.

Make sure a duct is not pointing right on the t-stat controller.

Yes, was not sure why it shut off either with the Genny on, but I might have a better idea now. So, while 15A is not enough to run the AC, it should be enough to power the fan only option while the Fridge is on LPG and the water heater and everything is off. That did not work either.

This weekend was our first official trip in the RV and unfortunately the AC unit did the same thing even with a full 30A connection and everything else off. So the first night was a bit warm trying to sleep with no AC. Early next morning I went up on the roof, took the cover off and tried turning the fan by hand. There was quite a bit of resistance and also a scraping sound inside the motor which is probably not a good sign. I then turned power back on to the fan and only got a hum from the motor. I nudged the fan and it started to turn slowly and unevenly. I left power on and then again after 15 mins the fan stopped turning and only a hum again. At the campground I met an HVAC guy who also did some work on RV's and described what was happening, he immediately pointed to an probable issue with the fan as well.

Now it will be interesting to see how long it will take to get this fixed. I did leave a message with the FR warranty person last Thursday and have not heard back. I can also see how this issue would not get picked up at the RV factory and during my PDI since the AC unit seems to work fine for at least 15 minutes before shutting down. Right now I'm keeping my fingers crossed as we have another trip scheduled for this weekend and this time there was going to be six people in the RV. Not sure how that would go with no air conditioning!
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:09 PM   #5
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It should not take long once your dealer get the OK from FR and Dometic has the fan in stock if it's replaceable.

Our first unit lost freon and froze up. It had to be replaced at 3 months. It took about 2 weeks for the replacement to arrive and scheduled to install but we did not need it right away.

That unit stopped cooling last Tuesday. We had a mobile RV tech come out Thursday and it was replaced under warranty with an upgrade to a low profile Penguin II since Dometic was out of them at their South Carolina location.

This morning during normal cycling it would not come back on and was starting to get warm inside. I found that shutting off the system at the thermostat reset it and has been working fine for the last three hours.

As you can imagine, I am not a fan of Dometic air conditioners. Even though I have bad luck with the AC units I feel the service has been good, especially Tarheel Mobile RV service. They arrived within an hour after my call, posted the new unit and replaced it in 24 hours.

Hope all goes well and you get yours fixed soon so you can enjoy your new motorhome.
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:34 PM   #6
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even with my AC on, I still have at least one floor moving air around the trailer... allows for a higher temp on the AC to still be comfortable... without AC a fan is a must
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Old 05-30-2016, 03:06 PM   #7
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It should not take long once your dealer get the OK from FR and Dometic has the fan in stock if it's replaceable.

Our first unit lost freon and froze up. It had to be replaced at 3 months. It took about 2 weeks for the replacement to arrive and scheduled to install but we did not need it right away.

That unit stopped cooling last Tuesday. We had a mobile RV tech come out Thursday and it was replaced under warranty with an upgrade to a low profile Penguin II since Dometic was out of them at their South Carolina location.

This morning during normal cycling it would not come back on and was starting to get warm inside. I found that shutting off the system at the thermostat reset it and has been working fine for the last three hours.

As you can imagine, I am not a fan of Dometic air conditioners. Even though I have bad luck with the AC units I feel the service has been good, especially Tarheel Mobile RV service. They arrived within an hour after my call, posted the new unit and replaced it in 24 hours.

Hope all goes well and you get yours fixed soon so you can enjoy your new motorhome.
GL,

How hard can it be to make an air conditioner that actually works? I've bought many cheap window AC units throughout the years, none of each ever failed! I'm hoping to get this unit replaced quickly as we don't do well in the heat. Thank for the info an good luck with yours!
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Old 05-30-2016, 07:09 PM   #8
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Try the Atwood

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GL,

How hard can it be to make an air conditioner that actually works? I've bought many cheap window AC units throughout the years, none of each ever failed! I'm hoping to get this unit replaced quickly as we don't do well in the heat. Thank for the info an good luck with yours!
If you can talk them into it, have them replace your Dometic with a similar capacity Atwood. They are much quieter, draw significantly less amps and the 15K unit has cooling equivalent to 18K cooling. I ditched my nearly new, working fine 13.5K Dometic for a 15K Atwood heat pump and I love it. We can talk at the dinette (and not shout) and I can run the 15K Atwood on my small diesel generator - it would barely run the Dometic. There is very little difference in cost.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:34 PM   #9
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A bit late to get an Atwood. It was replaced Friday with a Penguin. I think the mobile RV repair guy dealt directly with Dometic and not FR
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Old 06-01-2016, 07:44 AM   #10
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After discussing with the FR warranty rep and the local dealer, I will be bringing it it to have it looked at next week after our trip this weekend. Since we have now officially cancelled our first long trip to Nashville later this month, the pressure is off a bit to have it repaired ASAP. However, given the track record I have recently with the dealer getting warranty repairs done correctly and in a timely manner, I'm less than optimistic about having this corrected to my satisfaction. For now it's a wait and see.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:30 AM   #11
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Good news/Bad news on my AC. The dealer was able to replicate my problem. (sorta/kinda) They ran the AC inside the garage on shore power with no issues but then the next day moved it outside, let it heat up a bit and then ran it using the genset power. This time it failed and tripped the Genset breaker. So while it is not identical to the fails I had experienced, at least it did fail when it should not have. Now the bad part, they have to diagnose what the issue actually is and I am now on week 6 out of 10 weeks that my RV has been in the shop for warranty repairs.
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Old 06-19-2016, 08:14 PM   #12
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Good news from the dealer is that the thermister which is normally attached to the evaporator coil was not and it was just hanging loose. They put back in place and hopefully that will fix the problem. However, we never would have gotten to this point if I had not escalated this problem to the Sr management of the dealer company. Mind you they have already had my unit for two weeks to fix this problem and as of Friday afternoon were telling me that they would not be working on it till sometime on Monday. I would have been well into week three unless I had persisted in getting someone to look at this ASAP.

PS. I also placed a call into FR Warranty to help identify another location to perform warranty maintenance just in case I have another issue.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:19 PM   #13
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Successfully tested the AC on my 3011 for 3 hours over two hot days this week while running on generator. Now for the real test this weekend! #HappyJuly4th
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Old 07-09-2016, 09:55 AM   #14
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So the AC saga continues. Unfortunately the weather over July 4th was untypically cool so we were not able to give the "fixed" AC a good shakedown. I did run it for about 2 hrs just to see if it worked, which it did, but again, we were parked in the shade and it was < 80 outside. So yesterday I had a good chance to give it a good test. Below is a summary and a link to a video which I created to see if that helps me get the problem resolved. Additionally, while during this time the dealers responsiveness has been absolutly terrible, I am now having issues get responses and/or feedback from Forest River. This has now forced me to contact Dometic directly to see if they can assist.

Yesterday I had the RV parked in front of my house all day closed up. It was 95 outside and the temperature in the RV at that time was 101. At 2pm I went inside and started the AC unit. It was running fine for 10 minutes then I went in the house. At 2:30 I went back in the RV and the unit was off while the temp in the RV was 95 and the thermostat was set to 80. I turned off the unit and every hour for the next 3 hours went in and tried to turn on the fan which did not work.
This morning I went back in the RV while connected to shore power just to try and turn on the fan, and still nothing. I then turned on the generator and tried again, still nothing. (See video link below.) Also, while doing all of the testing, no other AC loads where present so only the AC was pulling power.


https://youtu.be/G49LgCPMD5k
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:29 AM   #15
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I would push for a warranty replacement. I am getting mine replaced again, for the third time in three years. Not an impressive track record.

Thinking about upgrading to an Atwood 15k, but don't know who to contact for this to happen.

Good luck on your repairs, they telling me that dometic has a 4 to six week backorder on 15k's.

Sigh....
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:46 AM   #16
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Your video is great for trouble shooting. I have not checked mine to see what kind of motor is being used. You stated it might start if you went up and turned it manually. There might be a capacitor connected to the windings and it could be weak or open. If there is no capacitor, the motor is defective or bound up. It is a double shaft motor which blows air across the condenser AND the evaporator. Check to make sure the mounting is correct and not binding the blower wheel.
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Old 07-09-2016, 12:40 PM   #17
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Ida Ratherbe Camping, seer if the will upgrade you to a low poodle penguin. When mine went out for the second time this past may Dometic was out of the 15k w/heat pump so that is what the have me
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:52 PM   #18
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Ida Ratherbe Camping, seer if the will upgrade you to a low poodle penguin. When mine went out for the second time this past may Dometic was out of the 15k w/heat pump so that is what the have me
Is that a 15K unit with Heat pump? We tend to spend a lot of time in the mountains where the afternoons can be hot and overnight can get cool. In fact, we already used the heat pump on one of our 3 three trips where it was getting down to the low 50's at night.
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Old 07-09-2016, 03:55 PM   #19
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I would push for a warranty replacement. I am getting mine replaced again, for the third time in three years. Not an impressive track record.

Thinking about upgrading to an Atwood 15k, but don't know who to contact for this to happen.

Good luck on your repairs, they telling me that dometic has a 4 to six week backorder on 15k's.

Sigh....
I bet if they were using less of them for warranty replacements the backlog would not be so long. I have already asked FR to replace this one as I can't keep driving it back to have it supposedly fixed after every trip.
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Old 07-09-2016, 06:43 PM   #20
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I pulled the cover off mine today because I was curious why there are so many problems. The double shaft motor is a PSC motor and the unit has a dual capacitor. Mine has a 60/5 mfd capacitor. The 5 mfd side is for the motor. Your fan side of the capacitor may be open or low and that's why it will run when you spin it (probably for a short time till it heats up). The other option is the windings are bad. If you had the right meter you could check the microfarad rating on the cap. My freeze sensor was also just dangling in mid air. I wove it through the coil end loops. All this is for is to shut the compressor off if the coil starts to freeze up. I massaged some of the copper lines so they don't rub anything and I removed the worm clamp holding the reversing valve tightly against the compressor. It was pinching one of the cap tubes connected to it. I don't believe the dealer has a tech that knows how to work on a/c units. If they did, the tech could be out in the field making a lot more money than messing with these RV's. All of the parts are serviceable as long as you can get them.
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