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Date: 24 July 2022. Calling Cap'n Jesse (Mistakes were Made, part 5)


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 5 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)

The Penguin II is mounted between the two 85 watt solar panels that were gifted to me some time ago. All is well in my world, except the air-conditioner still does not work. It took a week for the new $267 thermostat to arrive from Camping World. In about the same time-frame the spiffy new 25' RJ11 telephone cord arrived via an eBay seller. Finally I had all pieces together and I should have cool air. But I don't. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. ARGH!

The unit is absolutely beautiful... and she's breaking my heart!

There are many schools of thought on what to do when items do not work. Bruce Van Sant (he wrote Tricks of the Trades and The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South) advocated replacement of parts after initially checking electrical connections. We have verified power, both AC and DC. Everything is perfect. I have had others aboard to look and see if I missed something.

As an aside, on our 40'er we too replaced parts. The removed items were always dissected. If possible we would either rebuild or have someone do that. In this manner we eventually had spares for basically everything aboard our boat.

This is the boat Daddy built. I told you about her in
The Fishing Boat article.

So after plugging in the thermostat with zero success, I again called Camping World. The gal was sympathetic to my plight. She got approval to send me out a second thermostat immediately so I could get the A/C unit working. The temperatures here are now over 90 degrees (32 Celsius) and I am wilting.

In the meantime I again go to eBay and order a second 25' RJ11 cord. I wanted to be certain where the point of failure was. The second RJ11 cord was $5 whereas the first was $10. I won, sort of...

While waiting for the second thermostat I considered my system. As the thermostat is critical to the function, I decided to go ahead and purchase the one that was heading my way as a spare rather than do a swap. That way I would have back-up if something went wrong. At this point I am thinking it is the RJ11 cord that is the problem.

Even with the new thermostat and new RJ11 cord my air-conditioner would not turn on. I had exhausted myself, spent $$$ and had zero to show for it. The time to call in the big guns had arrived. I needed someone who could make this air-conditioner work. I called Jesse.

This is Cap'n Jesse.

And finally I again had hope. The first thing Jesse did was verify power was to the unit. He checked both AC and 12v, then went topside. He removed the white cover, then the shroud over the motor. In less than an hour we knew why the air-conditioner did not work, nor would it ever have functioned.

The motor is askew.


Brackets are bent.

Nuts are missing.

Nuts off, motor askew.

All these pictures can be enlarged. Because the box was perfect, we suspect that this unit was returned, and accidentally repackaged for resale. There is absolutely no way it could have happened while we had it, nor in transit. The box would have shown damage.

Additionally the fins on one side of the air
conditioner are crushed along the top edge.


BUT no matter what caused the problem, I purchased this thing 17 September 2021. It has been months and months of hot sweltering weather and I have only just discovered I own a motor that in no way, shape nor form will ever spin. Dometic will not honor their warranty because I failed to have an authorized installer put it in.

I wonder though if I had tried to install an RV unit on a boat (not that I could get Seaweed to an RV place anyway) ... well, it is my loss. And frankly, if I were Dometic I would not be too keen on replacing a several month old unit anyway. Too much time passed between purchase and figuring out what was going wrong.

Delays cost me a lot of money. I am most irritated with myself. The fact that nothing I had done would ever make this thing spin is disheartening. AND, I should have been smart like Jesse and taken off the shroud to check. I did not, and again, that is my mistake.

For the record and to reiterate, I am not happy and blame MYSELF for the multitude of errors made. Ultimately it is my fault this whole thing turned out poorly. Still, I live on a boat in Florida. This not a terrible life. I am indeed blessed.

But I still need to be cool and this weather is MISERABLE. Honest to goodness, that final nerve of mine is seriously frayed. Thank goodness Jesse believes he can make this dang thing work. More on that shortly. Thank you for reading.

Is it a normal practice to disassemble (remove shrouds) when an a/c unit doesn't work?
Is there any logical explanation for missing bolts and a twisted bracket in an otherwise pristine box?

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Categories:  Books, Characters, Gear, Locations,

Thermostat and RJ11 Troubles (Mistakes were Made, Part 4) ~ Previous Post ...   
Next Post ~ Grainger's has Parts (Mistakes were Made, Part 6)


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