Home   |   The Boat   |   First Mate   |   Admiral   |   Guestbook 

Date:  20 July 2022. Thermostat and RJ11 Troubles (Mistakes were Made, Part 4)


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 4 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)

In the previous installment of the Mistakes series, I detailed how I had purchased a brand new model 15,000 BTU Penguin II rooftop RV air-conditioner with a heat pump by Dometic. This was supposed to be a plug-and-play unit. The instructions though complicated were straight forward. I needed 110 AC power, plus 12 volts. How hard could that be?!?


Seaweed is a boat. Stuff happens. Every project has quirks. The air-conditioner needed 12 volts in addition the the standard electricity. Though I had a power line feeding a light aft, I needed to upgrade.

A new fuse block was mounted
where the light had been.


Though I like the look of the round lights many boats have, I have seldom used mine out here in the galley. It was too high on the bulkhead. With the necessity to add a fuse block, I opted to remove that light.


You might have noticed a hand-held VHF radio in the corner next to my speaker. Having a convenient means of communication is nice. My daughter bought that for me so I would have a VHF to use in the dinghy. It is handy and provides another layer of safety afloat. I am grateful. Generally my main radio is on at all times. Having a portable is convenient when a friend hails me as I can answer without getting up.


For folks worried that they will never have the funds to have all the cool stuff, not to worry. You are
looking at 14-plus years of slow acquisitions. The VHF radio by my bunk was $5 at a marine flea market.

Yes I am indeed fortunate to have been able to own this older unit. Having redundancy makes me feel
safer. I also listen to the weather channel each morning before getting up. Most mariners do this too.

But I digresss...
Eventually the inside unit that mates with the exterior motor arrived. It indeed was Plug-and-Play. Unfortunately we could not see how to turn the dang thing on. A quick call to Camping World informed me that there was one more piece required. I needed to purchase a $267 thermostat!

By this time spring has arrived. Though the weather was not yet unbearable, summer was rapidly approaching. It was incredibly frustrating. Fortunately Camping World did ship out immediately upon payment a brand new spiffy thermostat for my system.

The thermostat arrived quickly. We plug it in and ... nothing. Not a ding-dang thing happened. Deep breath. It is getting hot and my last nerve is being stomped on! There is no power apparently to the thermostat. So, back to the instruction manual, and coffee. I need coffee.


The instruction manual was quite specific. It stated that I must utilize an RJ11 telephone cord. I had missed that in the initial read-through. Fortunately I found a 25' RJ11 cord on eBay for $10. It was ordered promptly.

Thus began yet another delay in the A/C upgrade plan. I have spent a LOT of perfectly good money and have only sweat to show for it. Yes, the unit is mounted. The Penguin II looks beautiful. The fact that it does not work is infuriating. As the temperatures increase, I am becoming more surly.

I will tell you more about the next layer of frustration shortly. Thank you for your patience while I slog through this seemingly never-ending tale of how not to have a plug-and-play air-conditioner on a boat. Thanks too for reading.

Did you know the difference between an RJ11 cord (4 wires) and a standard 2-wire telephone wire?
And, do you have any tricks for staying upbeat when your project is imploding?

Regarding the Comments Section, found at the end of every article:

  • Before you type in each block be sure to hit the backspace key. Coding inserts a space in every box. Your email address will come back as malformed unless you remove that space. (You don't have to include your email address.)

  • The capcha is case sensitive.



Categories:  Gear, Locations, Money, Security,

New Model Woes (Mistakes were Made, Part 3) ~ Previous Post ...   
Next Post ~ Calling Cap'n Jesse (Mistakes were Made, Part 5)


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

A favorite aphorism:  Don't be so busy adding up your troubles that you forget to count your blessings. Give thanks.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


Copyright Janice Marois  |  Home  |  Archive  |  Topics  |  Boat List  |  Site Map  |  Email Me  |