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Date: 13 July 2022. New Model Woes (Mistakes were Made, Part 3)


This became 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 bloodbath.

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 Though I had initially selected a 13,500 unit, that one had been replaced by the manufacturer Dometic with 15,000 BTU Penguin II.

The Dometic 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 overhead.

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 check.


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 refund.

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 perfect.


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 air-conditioner.

In the meantime, at least the weather is not hot.


Remember that 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 inside air-handler.

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 your patience.

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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Categories:  Gear, Locations, Pets,

Ordered Dometic AC (Mistakes were Made, Part 2) ~ Previous Post ...   
Next Post ~ Thermostat and RJ11 Troubles (Mistakes were Made, Part 4)

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