Frugal window mounted AC - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-19-2015, 12:16 PM   #1
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 567
Frugal window mounted AC

We ordered our Scamp without rooftop AC since we seldom camp in warm weather; and the cost was a factor as well. Recently we attended a June wedding in Virginia and we knew the temps would be unpleasant without air conditioning. So I scanned the site for window mounting ideas and spoke with a couple of folks who had traveled this path before. Thanks to all who made this a better and easier project. Really.

First I had to choose a window unit to fit the window above the dinette. I chose the efficient 5000 BTU Frigidaire Model FRA054XT7. The cost was $120.00 with a coupon from Best Buy. Its only about 16 inches wide and easily fit the window without any modification. Also it only draws about 500 watts in operation and can easily be supplied via shore power over my #12 power cord. I do like the included remote control to allow full operation while laying in bed. Someday I will borrow one of those 1000 watt Honda i generators to see if it can start this air conditioner. I doubt it, but will try anyway. Buying a genset is way low on my list so its not really gonna happen. Still would be fun to know.

Since our AC will be seldom used I wanted a mounting that can easily be taken in and out with little fuss and without changing the Scamp much. So far the only lasting change to the Scamp is the bolt in the bumper to hold the supporting prop.

Some of the pictures below show a black electrical cord. This is my battery minder power cord. The AC power comes from inside the Scamp. I will probably move the battery minder cord to the water heater hatch eventually.

I still haven't figured out how I want to seal the two large gaps between the AC unit and the window frame. I am pretty sure some thin plywood and foam will be involved or maybe even a pool noodle or two.

This type of AC mounting is for parking only, not for a moving RV. It has to be taken out and stowed in the TV to travel (aways stow in an upright position, AC units don't like to be tipped). Taking it in and out is OK with us since we usually stay in one place for several days and rarely use AC anyway. Road warrior campers may be better off with the rooftop factory option or the many closet/dinette seat options described on this site. The rear window mount does solve the cool air distribution issues that accompany a floor mounted AC.

My AC unit rests on a plywood platform supported at the window edge and the bumper. The platform has a wooden cleat on top the fits nicely in a recess on the AC's bottom surface, making the only connection needed for fastening to the platform. I use an aluminum angle strip to secure the platform to the slot where the glass slides into when the window is closed. The large hole in the platform is to allow for the condensate to drain. The thin Oak prop keeps the AC tilted a few degrees down at the rear to allow the condensate to drain properly. The prop has holes on both ends to fit over the inch bolts in the bumper and the plywood platform. Gravity does the work here, there is no fastening.

I do want to purchase some RV gutter to go over the window for the rare occasions when we need AC during rain. Sealing the AC/window to be rain proof could be problematic otherwise.

I will post more pics when I have solved the closing the gaps issue. The curtains worked for the wedding but are not really a long term solution.

If any ideas occur to you I am all ears. There are always many things I forget to consider.

The 5000 BTU of cooling was plenty at the wedding when temps were 90 degrees though we were in the shade of trees. Compressor seemed on about 50% of the time. I will report again if I ever have to camp in full sun at those temps. Sounds like terrible camping conditions though. Shoulder season mountain elevation or cool oceanside campsites are more to our liking. We usually stay in Madison in the Summer as its a good time to be in a great place; despite a crazy governor.

Thanks all, john
Attached Thumbnails
Scamp AC project 3.jpg   Scamp AC project 8.jpg  

Scamp AC project 7.jpg   Scamp AC project 9.jpg  

Scamp AC project 10.jpg   Scamp AC project 12.jpg  

Scamp AC project 6.jpg  
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:29 AM   #2
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Name: Patrick
Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
New York
Posts: 592
I have seen a few "stick trailers" that employ what looks like a standard residential window A/C unit as standard equipment. It is set up as not to protrude too far outside of the trailer while resting on a shelf above the units refrigerator or small wardrobe cabinet. It keep the cost down, is mounted so you can easily replace it if it should fail in the future.

Keep thinking outside the box!
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:11 AM   #3
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
Posts: 3,081
Nice - can see some advantage to having it available if needed and not bothering if not required.

An idea on sealing the top. Since you seem good at wood and metal I'll use those to try and explain. Two sliding wood panels (1/4 inch luan or similar) with a wood and/or metal track top and bottom. Track needs to be able to have some sort of lip that either fits into the window track (lift up and drop in much as a sliding glass doorwall does) Or possibly a straddle with some sort of block/rail on both inside and outside.

Think a couple of blocks or thin rails on the top of the AC unit for the panel to sit into would be fairly easy.

Reason for using two pieces of wood is so it can expand out and seal the ends but I suppose one could cut to fit using a compressed seal.
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:35 PM   #4
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
Washington
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Just curious as to what would prevent someone walking by from just picking it up and taking off with it in about 2 seconds flat?
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Old 07-20-2015, 03:57 PM   #5
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Name: Patrick
Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
New York
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Greg, You must live in a high crime area....any window mounted A/C is subject to possible theft, however considering that the average 5,000 BTU A/C window unit sells for about $100 it is hardly worth the effort and criminal charges to steal such a low cost item....easier to just steal the travel trailer!
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Old 07-20-2015, 05:38 PM   #6
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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The grumpy redneck and his dog right there, throw in a couple of cocktails and trying to steal the AC out the window will almost qualify as providing entertainment. Cocktails for me not the dog.

Middle of the night dog barks in a 13 ft. trailer.... I do get up cranky when disturbed in such a rude fashion. But I always trust the dog has a reason.
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Old 07-20-2015, 06:58 PM   #7
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
Just curious as to what would prevent someone walking by from just picking it up and taking off with it in about 2 seconds flat?
Oh, I think we have to give up such fears while camping or we could drive ourselves crazy. Of course the AC would be easy pickings, but so would the whole trailer. I can imagine a respectable looking thief might be less obvious while hitching up the whole trailer rather than hefting an AC from the window and loading it into his pickup. Shucks iphones cost $700 these days and are much easier to carry. Every time I look at the trailer's door hinges and lock I estimate how long it would take me to break in. Current estimate is less than 60 seconds quietly or less than 5 if I have a crowbar or vicegrips. Thankfully campgrounds are very safe with little thievery, unless you count raccoons, etc.

I do buy insurance just in cases. John
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Old 07-20-2015, 07:16 PM   #8
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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Scamp door hinges on the outside have a bolt for a hinge pin. As I recall that would be two 5/16 or is it 3/8 wrenches will let you lift the door off in a matter of a minute or two.

Good emergency entry if you happen to put the locking pin in on the inside and the wind blows the door shut. Don't ask how I know. Helps if the wrenches are not inside the camper.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:46 PM   #9
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
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Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
Scamp door hinges on the outside have a bolt for a hinge pin. As I recall that would be two 5/16 or is it 3/8 wrenches will let you lift the door off in a matter of a minute or two.

Good emergency entry if you happen to put the locking pin in on the inside and the wind blows the door shut. Don't ask how I know. Helps if the wrenches are not inside the camper.

Maybe we should carry a spare key or wrenches or nut drivers in the TV. The vice grips I mentioned above could easily break the aluminum hinges too if one were desperate, though it would make the trip home breezy inside the trailer. Probably a better tool for thieves.
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:34 AM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Use a piece of awning track over the window mounted with 3m VHB tape. Then make a vinyl boot with a cord sewed in the edge and slide it in place when you need it.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:44 AM   #11
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 567
Here are two more photos describing the Frigidaire FRA054XT7 unit that I use.
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IMG_1208.jpg   IMG_1209.jpg  

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Old 08-20-2015, 12:45 PM   #12
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Name: RB
Trailer: 1992 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Virginia
Posts: 119
Those of us with old 16' Casitas have a window AC in the bottom of the closet. It works just fine. I've also seen pop-ups with a window AC tucked in a cabinet space. Simple, cheap, and works.
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:11 PM   #13
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Name: jim
Trailer: Escape 21 Nov.2016
Florida
Posts: 267
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snoozy A/C

The Snoozy uses a 8000btu A/C right in the back of the camper a fiberglass box wtih register plates attached . Go to Lil Snoozy .com and take a look . you might be able to call them and buy one that way it is always hooked up .Maybe coming out the front of the trailer ?? Jim
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:27 PM   #14
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Name: John Michael
Trailer: Scamp 13
Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 567
We had a chance to try out our 5000 btu AC this past weekend in temps of 90 degrees in central Illinois. No problem bring our Scamp 13 down to 75 degrees with the compressor kicking in about 50% of the time. I hope we don't have to use it often as 90 degrees outside is no fun. Come on Autumn. Even the lake water was too warm. Thankfully the family gathering was delightful anyway.

john
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