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Old 04-08-2016, 10:53 PM   #1
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New a/c's won't operate on old thermostat/controller..is that right???

Howdy folks and folkettes..

Been a while since I was on here..but I still have my 2001 Alpine. Still the best of the best in my opinion...can't say enough abough how much we love our rig.

I just ran across a oddity (to me at least). I had decided that I wanted to install some new air conditioners (one at a time) as ours are factory originals.

The Duo-Therm A/C sales guy told me I would have to change my thermostat (control center ) to install new air conditioners...and that I would have to replace both units because the thermostat needed now ..won't manage the the remaining one older a/c, if I add just one new unit??

In other words I can't replace one A/C and then do another one next year or two. I have to stay with what I have or replace everything.

He says I'll have to replace BOTH a/c's AND the thermostat controller...??? ...or do nothing at all!!

I'm not sure I believe this guy...so I thought I'd ask the forum if anyone has an older Alpine (2001 or so) they have replaced a/c's on.

FYI..both my current units are ducted Dometic Duro-Therm 13,500 Penguin models with heat pumps.

Thanks for any light on this..
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Old 04-09-2016, 12:10 AM   #2
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That was the issue with our 2000. We replaced both units last year.
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:45 AM   #3
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Hi Stan, the issue is that each ac unit has a small control board in it and going by your model year you most likely have a four button climate control on the wall. They had a problem with the four button not working right in fact there is a guy on irv somewhere that rebuilds them and we had him do ours and it works great.

Back to your ac issue the newer 5 button ccc on the wall will not talk with the older 4 button boards in the 4 button ac units, yes you can change the boards in each ac unit but I think it is not cost effective.

What is up with your current roof top air conditioners ?

Are they working ok and just not real cold ?

If that is the case I have had a lot of ac units that were years old and have never had to replace one because of a failure

Try removing the outside cover and washing and rinsing them with some dawn liquid, you may need to remove a couple of sheet metal covers to get at everything that needs washing, the coils get a surprising amount of dirt build up over the years.

We just did this to ours and it made a huge improvement in cooling

Chris
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:07 AM   #4
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:14 AM   #5
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I had to replace the front Dometic A/C in my 03 about a year or so ago--believe I have the 5-button thermostat model. Beyond compatibility with the stat., the mother boards in the two units have to be compatible too. The front unit serves as the controller for the rear unit--dip switch settings. Even though my back unit was only 5-6 years old and still working fine, I had to order and reconfigure a mother board for the new unit--about $100. If or when I need to change out the older back unit, I will have to reinstall the board that came with the front unit.

I dont know how far back the board swap works for differing models of Dometic. If you still have the OEM units in your coach, yours may be too old to swap. In addition to changing out the stat., you may be stuck with replacing both units at the same time. You will also need to determine if the comm. cables between the stat. and the new units are still compatible. If not, you will have to run new cables or, if you are lucky, just replace the end connectors.

I worked with PPL in Houston--they had a very knowledgeble tech at the time. To determine compatibility issues, you will need the model/serial numbers off each unit [they are under the shroud on the roof side of the units]....Good luck

PS--in addition to washing both the condensor and evap coils in the unit, make sure the foam ribs under the shroud are still in cood condition. Also check the metal air ducts just below the unit on the inside of the coach. Air leaks in both areas will substantially reduce cooling/heating.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisancher View Post
Hi Stan, the issue is that each ac unit has a small control board in it and going by your model year you most likely have a four button climate control on the wall. They had a problem with the four button not working right in fact there is a guy on irv somewhere that rebuilds them and we had him do ours and it works great.

Back to your ac issue the newer 5 button ccc on the wall will not talk with the older 4 button boards in the 4 button ac units, yes you can change the boards in each ac unit but I think it is not cost effective.

What is up with your current roof top air conditioners ?

Are they working ok and just not real cold ?

If that is the case I have had a lot of ac units that were years old and have never had to replace one because of a failure

Try removing the outside cover and washing and rinsing them with some dawn liquid, you may need to remove a couple of sheet metal covers to get at everything that needs washing, the coils get a surprising amount of dirt build up over the years.

We just did this to ours and it made a huge improvement in cooling

Chris
Hi Chris and thanks..

Nothing special wrong with my a/c, except they are getting considerably noisier (especially the rear/bedroom one)...and I would like up grade to a 15K in the front of the coach.

These both still work...but this brutal Texas heat works a/c's hard, and they have a lot of time on them even though the coach only has 52K miles or so.

...and yes I clean the coils every spring before we use the coach. They get real dusty sitting under my RV shed all year. Dust a 1/4 inch deep on the roof etc. That is next ...this week as a matter of mention.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MFortie View Post
That was the issue with our 2000. We replaced both units last year.
Bummer...thanks Mark
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:43 AM   #8
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I replaced the unit in a 2000 HR. If you replace the thermostat, you need to replace the control boxes. What I found was that if the thermostat and control boxes were fine, the AC unit was a drop-in replacement (upgrade to 15k). There were a limited number of models that could drop in, but it wasn't a big deal.

I had to ask one of the sellers of AC units to confirm compatibility - I bought a unit that was non-ducted and had controls under it. I just used the top half.
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Old Scout View Post
I had to replace the front Dometic A/C in my 03 about a year or so ago--believe I have the 5-button thermostat model. Beyond compatibility with the stat., the mother boards in the two units have to be compatible too. The front unit serves as the controller for the rear unit--dip switch settings. Even though my back unit was only 5-6 years old and still working fine, I had to order and reconfigure a mother board for the new unit--about $100. If or when I need to change out the older back unit, I will have to reinstall the board that came with the front unit.

I dont know how far back the board swap works for differing models of Dometic. If you still have the OEM units in your coach, yours may be too old to swap. In addition to changing out the stat., you may be stuck with replacing both units at the same time. You will also need to determine if the comm. cables between the stat. and the new units are still compatible. If not, you will have to run new cables or, if you are lucky, just replace the end connectors.

I worked with PPL in Houston--they had a very knowledgeble tech at the time. To determine compatibility issues, you will need the model/serial numbers off each unit [they are under the shroud on the roof side of the units]....Good luck

PS--in addition to washing both the condensor and evap coils in the unit, make sure the foam ribs under the shroud are still in cood condition. Also check the metal air ducts just below the unit on the inside of the coach. Air leaks in both areas will substantially reduce cooling/heating.
Hey Scout..

I see your still kickin' and as ususal have some great input. Thanks..

Besides what I'm already looking at...changing out the wiring could be "another" big pain in the rear wouldn't it.

I wonder if changing to Colemans or something else would make a difference...??

I quit computers years ago that had proprietary stuff which "made" me use this or that!
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Old 04-09-2016, 08:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cb1000rider View Post
I replaced the unit in a 2000 HR. If you replace the thermostat, you need to replace the control boxes. What I found was that if the thermostat and control boxes were fine, the AC unit was a drop-in replacement (upgrade to 15k). There were a limited number of models that could drop in, but it wasn't a big deal.

I had to ask one of the sellers of AC units to confirm compatibility - I bought a unit that was non-ducted and had controls under it. I just used the top half.
That's the problem CB...

I've replaced many a/c units over the years in campers and 5th wheels.

If what they are telling me on this system is right it ...will triple the cost!

....rather than just buying and a/c and replacing the old ones as needed.
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:07 AM   #11
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Yup--the comm cables run in the ceiling so no fun is right--hopefully the old cables [telephone] are compatible. If there are enough wires in the old cable, new connectors can be "crimped-on" but have never needed to do that. As for other brands, I am by no means a fan of Dometic, but do your home work. For example: Coleman seems to have recurring issues with compressor start capacitors--fixable but still a pain....
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:20 AM   #12
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I just lost a long post..but here goes the condensed vesion.


How about separate controls by the return air filter ducts? That would be more accurate control anyway....like a home system.


...and that would be especially nice at night in the bedroom.


I have always disliked the Alpine thermostat. You have to punch two non-reated buttons to change modes...really? How crazy is that. I forgot how do it between seasons more than once..and would have been sol without a manual.


Pretty good that a thermostat is the "only" thing I don't like a bout an RV though. I've had a couple RV's that it would take 30 minutes to type out the list of things that were poorly done...heh heh!
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:34 AM   #13
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Was thinking of suggesting that if the comm cable and stat issue were a problem but remember, unless you change brands, the Dometic units use separate/remote temp sensors [front and back] to gauge air temp. Your thermostat is just a "dumb" control box on the wall....
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Old 04-09-2016, 09:37 AM   #14
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We had reason to replace one of our a/c dometic units last year as well and ran into the same problem. Dometic said we had to also replace the thermostat to control the new unit and they could sell us a new control board for the old a/c. Once I priced it out and calculated the potential hassles, I decided to change both a/c units. That went smooth as silk and I used all the existing wiring but did have to drill new holes for the mounting bolts.
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