Date: 13 July 2022. New Model Woes
(Mistakes were Made, Part 3)
a series detailing the nightmare upgrade to a plug-and-play
air-conditioning system aboard Seaweed. I would love to be able to
tell you how well it went, explaining how smart I was, and the
debacles I avoided. Alas, that's not what happened. Details follow.
This is Part
3 of the Mistakes were Made series.
For folks that prefer to have
all details on one page, this is the link you want:
AC Install from Hades (Mistakes were Made, complete series)
This has become a multipart series
on how to install an RV air-conditioner on a boat the wrong way. If
there was an opportunity for something to have gone wrong, it did
so. Though ultimately I am holding the proverbial bag, in retrospect
mistakes I made throughout COULD have stopped the financial
So, in my last article I
mentioned how helpful the telephone staff at
Camping World was. Quite frankly I was impressed. I was
overjoyed at finding the unit I wanted was finally in stock.
Though I had initially selected a 13,500 unit, that one had been
replaced by the manufacturer
Dometic with 15,000 BTU Penguin II.
brand is well-regarded. I know many boaters have Dometic 12-volt
refrigerators aboard their vessels. RV'ers also love the Dometic
line of rooftop air conditioners. The new 15,000 BTU one I chose
is white and has a low profile.
The low profile is important as it is tucked between my two 85
watt solar panels.
Hopefully this will not cost me too much solar
power due to shading on my panels.
Here is the first problem:
Getting help. The pandemic caused not only supply issues, but
also manpower scarcities abounded. People who were willing to work were
incredibly busy. I needed help to safely mount the new unit to
The Dometic Penguin II weighs
70 pounds. Fortunately I had access to a dock and men with
muscles. We carefully maneuvered the outside unit into place. It
should be noted that the box was in perfect condition. Yes I did
Why did I
check the box of the new a/c? Because in
the springtime I had purchased a less expensive model AC unit
from a smaller company. The box had clearly printed labels
saying "This Side Up" which were ignored by the shipper. The
cardboard was partially crushed and damaged on one side.
Something inside the box was rattling.
Getting that company to accept
the return was a Major Fiasco. I did have documentation, and my
credit card company was willing to go to bat for me...
fortunately the company chose to accept the return for a full
That experience is exactly why
I was particularly careful when my air conditioner arrived from
Camping World. Their delivery service was top notch. The
boxes were delivered with the correct orientation and appeared
Now you know
why I checked the new air-conditioner. The box was pristine. It
arrived flat, as per the printed instructions on the shipping
box. And all was well in my world... until we opened the second
smaller box with the interior air-handler portion of the
In the meantime, at least the
weather is not hot.
this is a Plug-and-Play unit. Presumably one plugs the wires
from the top portion into a mated set from the bottom part of
the a/c unit. That is what I expected. How hard can that be?!?
Well, this is impossible if the lower unit does not match up
with the new improved upper mechanicals.
Fortunately this was still
wintertime so we had time. I called Camping World. The gals
there are incredibly polite, listened to my problem, verified
that I had indeed ordered the proper part, then took it further.
Camping World told me they contacted Technical Support at
Dometic who said my 15,000 BTU unit required a different
At no additional charge to me,
Camping World arranged for the proper inner to be sent. I
returned the old one to Camping World at their expense.
In the meantime, I have spent a great deal of money to have a
beautiful *reverse-cycle air-conditioner sitting atop my boat doing
absolutely NOTHING. My sense of humor is deteriorating. Bought on 17
September I honestly expected to be able to using the heating
element over the winter. Alas that is not working according to plan.
*Reverse-cycle means the
air-conditioner will both cool AND heat.
Fortunately my life is pretty good.
It is hard to complain when on a boat in Florida in the winter.
Skipper and I have been enjoying the cool weather. She snoozes while
I read on my Kindle.
To make the process more
interesting, the person I had
hired for the a/c install has moved. He is no longer available. Thus
continues the saga of how not to install a rooftop RV
air-conditioner efficiently on a boat in Florida. More will be posted shortly. Thank you for
Would you have purchased the discontinued model or opted
for the newer one?
Though the warranty only covers authorized installers, I did not do that.
Was this a mistake?!?
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Ordered Dometic AC (Mistakes were
Made, Part 2)
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Thermostat and RJ11 Troubles
(Mistakes were Made, Part 4)
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