AC unit dilemma - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-09-2020, 04:50 PM   #1
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Name: Annalise
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Lake Worth
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AC unit dilemma

Hello, everyone! I have been doing some research on AC units for my 13 ft 1988 Scamp, and I have narrowed it down to two style options: Dometic Penguin II Low Profile Roof AC unit and the Dometic Cool Cat closet AC unit. Does anyone have these AC units? Are the low profile rooftop AC units better than closet units? Are there any other units that are similar to these but cheaper? I would love to hear the pros and cons about what you guys have!
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Old 04-09-2020, 05:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by annalisewellman View Post
Hello, everyone! I have been doing some research on AC units for my 13 ft 1988 Scamp, and I have narrowed it down to two style options: Dometic Penguin II Low Profile Roof AC unit and the Dometic Cool Cat closet AC unit. Does anyone have these AC units? Are the low profile rooftop AC units better than closet units? Are there any other units that are similar to these but cheaper? I would love to hear the pros and cons about what you guys have!
Q. Can roof air conditioners be added to older Scamp trailers? A. Thirteen foot Scamp trailers donít have the roof air support unless there is already a roof air installed or if the original buyer requested that the trailer be built that way. Also most trailers with a power vent in the roof air spot wonít have supported roofs. Most 16 and 13 foot trailers prior to 2000 used a side air conditioner in the lower part of the closet by the door. This air conditioner is no longer available.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:00 AM   #3
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At one time Scamp installed roof AC in older units by adding wood braces spanning the raised trolley section of the ceiling on either side of the AC unit. Iíve seen a couple done that way by Scamp.

Itís a bit more work, but you could add the fiberglass reinforcement yourself by carefully cutting and peeling back the lining in the center of the ceiling, glassing in 1-2 layers of fiberglass mat, cutting the AC opening, running the wire, and reattaching the lining.

Cabinet mount is not as efficient and steals valuable storage, but it can be done. You have to cut a rather unsightly vent in the shell, and getting the baffling right is tricky. You must also provide for drainage of condensation.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:02 AM   #4
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+10 Jon's idea. More work, but once it is done, you will be glad to have it there.
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Old 04-10-2020, 09:46 AM   #5
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I have the roof air in my 2016 13' Scamp. It is too loud. I can only use it in extreme conditions. I bought noise cancelling ear phones especially for this. However it does a great job of cooling, to the point of being overkill.
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Old 04-10-2020, 02:18 PM   #6
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It seems the Cool Cat is about the same price as the Dometic Penguin 2 roof unit. I had a Dometic Penguin 2 in my Oliver and hated it. Extremely loud and blowing right on the bed.

You could get a house type window unit from a big box store, for 1/3 the price, and configure your cabinet to accept it. I would be a lot quieter and you could pick a smaller unit that would run easily on a small generator. The power would be easier to run to the cabinet, than to the ceiling, and the condensate could simply drip out with a short piece of rubber hose, as compared to running a tube down from the ceiling, or having it just drool down the side. And you would avoid trying to reinforce the ceiling in a way that was both strong enough and did not take away too much headroom. The cabinet work would take some thought, but the window units already come with a decorative front control panel, so the only work would be to mount it and separate the in and out cooling air from behind. And install one or two appropriate size grills to the outside. You might get those down to two 6" round vents. With a roof unit, you would be adding 100 lbs to the top of the trailer where it is least desirable to add it.

Also, look at how Snoozy did their AC units. That is another possibility.

If my Oliver would not have come with roof AC, I might have installed one in a cabinet and not had the noise, or the hulk on the roof, which would have also made more room for solar. I looked at it carefully, but it wasn't worth the change from what was already there.
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Old 04-10-2020, 08:32 PM   #7
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Thank you so much, I am going to take your advice.
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:38 AM   #8
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One thing I can vouch for, roof air is NOISY!!

As much as I get concerned about water damage from a traditional AC in a closet or gaucho, Casita has been doing this for DECADES. So there is a way to do it right.
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Old 04-11-2020, 08:08 AM   #9
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AC unit dilemma

Yes, and to me the Casita installation is ugly, with two large vents on the front corner, one for intake and one for exhaust. Both require snap-on vinyl covers to keep water out when towing. There are baffles inside the cabinet to keep the intake and exhaust from mixing and reducing efficiency. Cool air tends to pool on the floor while your head swelters.

There is no simple solution for AC in a thin-walled trailer.

Cabinet mounted window AC is inexpensive, relatively quiet, and can be run off a smaller generator, but it takes some mechanical chops to get the installation right. A low-mounted unit improves NVH but fights convection. A small fan helps to circulate and mix the warm and cool air.

Roof AC is expensive, noisy, and vibrates the whole shell, but itís efficient (better exhaust circulation on the roof and better convection in the cabin) and easier to install (except for that darned fiberglass reinforcement).

Floyd did a clever installation of a window unit through the front shell of an older Scamp. The business end was outside the trailer over the tongue for efficient circulation and less noise. Inside, the warm air intake was under a front dinette table, while the cold air return was high over the table. It made a good-sized hole in the shell, but not so noticeable over the tongue. It is not a beginnerís project and was part of a major remodel of the front sofa area. May have required some rearranging on the tongue, too. Iíll try to find a link later when Iím on my laptop.
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Old 04-16-2020, 01:54 PM   #10
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Very inexpensive options are available

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Originally Posted by annalisewellman View Post
Hello, everyone! I have been doing some research on AC units for my 13 ft 1988 Scamp, and I have narrowed it down to two style options: Dometic Penguin II Low Profile Roof AC unit and the Dometic Cool Cat closet AC unit. Does anyone have these AC units? Are the low profile rooftop AC units better than closet units? Are there any other units that are similar to these but cheaper? I would love to hear the pros and cons about what you guys have!
A few years ago, I had a Scamp 16 in which someone had incorrectly installed an inexpensive, ordinary small window air conditioner in the lower part of the closet. I modified the metal outer housing of the unit to properly enable air flow over the condenser coils. It had a vent to blow into the trailer that I was able to simply aim upward. It was extremely effective, very inexpensive and as it rested directly on the floor of the trailer, did not create any stresses on the shell. Somewhere in this website I had posted all the details, including photos.

I dislike roof units due to their added stresses on the shell, which I believe to be especially destructive while the unit is in tow and bouncing along the road. If I did have a roof unit one, I would create a travel brace going from the floor to the ceiling to completely absorb any stresses while the trailer was being towed.
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:57 AM   #11
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Name: Dan
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I had a roof mount A/C on my 98 13' Scamp. Camping World removed it and installed 3 speed fan which I really like. Don't know if my unit's roof was reenforced at factory because I bought it used. I use a 75 watt 1 gallon misting fan for cooling. I set in on the table. I can also run it off a 250 watt inverter (for about an hour). The misting fan sits in that couch corner when not in use. I bungee cord tie it down when on the road.
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Old 04-19-2020, 12:13 PM   #12
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Name: K.
Trailer: Scamp
Morro Bay
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looking for a/c to use in 1977 13' scamp which can't take the roof a/c. I'm thinking about using a portable unit and making a conduit to run into the scamp via a window, and keep the actual unit outside (space consideration). Alternatively I'm thinking of using one of those and placing it in the closet... and add a vent thru the wall. I can't seem to find a reasonably priced mini split.... Has anyone done this with a portable unit? Any recommendations on equipment? Thanks!
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Old 04-19-2020, 05:06 PM   #13
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When I had a Scamp 16, the previous owner had mounted a small window unit in the lower part of the closet. I modified it by cutting a large hole in the top of the a/c's metal cabinet. The attached drawing and pics should be enough to indicate how it was designed. Outside air was drawn in the top vent shown and hot air through the condenser went out through the large vent shown.





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