Date: 24 July 2022. Calling Cap'n Jesse
(Mistakes were Made, part 5)
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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Thermostat and RJ11 Troubles
(Mistakes were Made, Part 4)
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Grainger's has Parts (Mistakes were Made, Part
A favorite aphorism:
Character is a remarkable thing. Its quality, its
depth and breadth can, for some men and women, remain untested for a
lifetime. For others, they face a pivotal moment in which, with their
very lives and physical safety hanging in the balance, there are
seconds to act, seconds to make that decision to help their fellow man
regardless of the cost to themselves. Thankfully, most do the right
thing. Don Laird, regarding BoatLift evacuation of Manhattan on 11