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Thread: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

  1. #1

    Default smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Hi all,

    Im looking for the smallest and most efficient air conditioner available and I dont want a water powered air cooler.

    this will be for a Van RV (very small space) Ive searched a little but guessing the best search phrase for a "tiny ac" is tricky.


    any suggestions? basically I want the smallest A/C unit there is.


    thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    SF Bay Area (California)
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    21,537

    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    I don't know that it meets your requirements--but this thread or two lists a small A/C system that plays well with Off-Grid systems:

    Sanyo mini split AC (inverter/variable speed)
    Sanyo Single Split systems (3,000-9,000 BTU)

    -Bill
    20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

  3. #3

    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Quote Originally Posted by notsobright View Post
    this will be for a Van RV .

    any suggestions? basically I want the smallest A/C unit there is.

    The smallest window unit I've come across is a 5,000 BTU. A mini-split unit installed in an RV van may be difficult, but could be done if you have the skills.

    A high efficiency mini-split beats the pants off any window unit AC as far as operation cost per BTU.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    Posts
    1,332

    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Quote Originally Posted by notsobright View Post
    Hi all,

    Im looking for the smallest and most efficient air conditioner available and I dont want a water powered air cooler.

    this will be for a Van RV (very small space) Ive searched a little but guessing the best search phrase for a "tiny ac" is tricky.


    any suggestions? basically I want the smallest A/C unit there is.


    thanks!
    I have a Class B camper van I bought a couple of months ago, and I've put some hours into researching this very subject.

    What I came up with is this unit here:

    http://www.frigidaire.com/products/a...ners/FAA055P7A

    It's a 5,200 btu unit - but because it has an EER of 11, it actually uses a bit less power than the Frigidaire 5,000 btu unit which has an EER of 9.

    It also has a feature called "Low Voltage Start-Up". I have no confirmation of what exactly that is...but I'm guessing it is very likely something like this:

    http://www.modmyrv.com/2009/05/27/rv...tart-capacitor


    Best Buy has them, but you can find them all over the place if you look:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....egories&ks=960


    I haven't bought one yet, and since the summer is almost over I'll probably hold off awhile.

  5. #5

    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    thanks for the suggestions but those are more than I need. I found this thread:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/show...light=portable
    where N3quik posted a link to this unit:
    http://www.globalindustrial.com/gcs/...campaignId=T9F

    seems more like what I had in mind but Im wondering.. Ive read about people converting freezers for refridgerator use, would it be possible to convert one (freezer) for air conditioning use? hmmm.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Telford,Pa
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    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    I thought about the same thing. A co-work gave me a water cooler. They have a small compressor, so gave that a try. Problem was not enough surface area on evaporator coil. It would just freeze up. The ice got 1/4" thick. After that, it seam to stop cooling the air.
    Ken
    Telford,Pa
    Old Homepage: http://home.comcast.net/~n3qik
    Updated 6-7-2009

    Updated Homepage: http://home.comcast.net/~n3qik/site/?/home/
    Updated 12-3-2011

    Home Automation: http://n3qik.homeip.net:5800 Password = guest
    Software/hardware is 100% complete. At least for today. Tomorrow is a different story.
    Updated 2-17-2012

  7. #7

    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Quote Originally Posted by notsobright View Post
    thanks for the suggestions but those are more than I need. I found this thread:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/show...light=portable
    where N3quik posted a link to this unit:
    http://www.globalindustrial.com/gcs/...campaignId=T9F

    seems more like what I had in mind but Im wondering.. Ive read about people converting freezers for refridgerator use, would it be possible to convert one (freezer) for air conditioning use? hmmm.
    The main advantage in converting a chest type freezer to a 'frige is that the cold air doesn't "pour out" when the door is opened. This would be irrelevant if used for AC purposes.

    It takes a lot of power to pump heat energy from one location to another. The only thing that helps is to have a wide temperature difference between the heat you're 'dumping' and the area you're dumping it in. That's why ground-source heat pumps work well; the temperature several feet below ground is much lower than the ambient air in mid-summer.
    1220 Watts of PV, OB MX60, 232 Amp hrs, OB 3524, Honda eu2000.

    Ohm's Law: Amps = Volts / Ohms
    Power Formula: Watts = Volts * Amps

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Los Angeles, Ca.
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    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Quote Originally Posted by notsobright View Post
    thanks for the suggestions but those are more than I need. I found this thread:
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/show...light=portable
    where N3quik posted a link to this unit:
    http://www.globalindustrial.com/gcs/...campaignId=T9F
    I can see that unit being used as described - in a cubicle.

    For a Class B RV (a van) I'd be interested in how well it works. And exactly how would you plan to vent the hot air out of the vehicle without sucking in hot air from the outside?

    If you try it, I'd be interested to know the results.


    Still, at 2.1a for 1000btu vs. 4.9a for 5200btu - I'd still go with the Frigidaire. That little unit will have to work non-stop I think, whereas the larger unit would run less - and no issue with venting the hot air out (simultaneously drawing hot air in).

  9. #9

    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Might look into a Petcool basicly a 2500 btu AC for a dog house, unit lives out side and runs air through an insulated duct, @350 watts as I recall though.

    If the van has no added insultion you might need 5200 btu during hot weather.

    I trust you'll run this docked to the grid? I run a 5300 btu for a few hours a night but have 1000 watts of panels more than what would fit comfortably on a van.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: smallest, most efficient A/C ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Photowhit View Post
    I trust you'll run this docked to the grid? I run a 5300 btu for a few hours a night but have 1000 watts of panels more than what would fit comfortably on a van.
    Well, as for myself, I have an old Class B camper van that I picked up cheap a few months back (for $200.00...there was no way I could say no). My plan is to A) add a generator, B) add battery capacity, C) add an air conditioner and then D) add solar.

    There isn't room on the roof of my van for more than perhaps 2 130w panels. I might get three on it if I relocate the 14" roof vent from the middle to the rear.

    Which means that for the most part, the a/c would only be running when the generator was running. I like that the Frigidaire 5200 only uses 4.9a running, and has the "low voltage start-up", which I believe to be equivalent to a "hard start" kit for an RV a/c.

    So, I should be able to run that a/c from a small inverter generator. I was just about sold on the Generac Guardian 3600 inverter gen due to its electric start and hard plumbing to the vehicle's fuel system, but now I think it will just be too much generator for such a small RV. (Microwave? Bah! We don't need no steenking microwave!) Also, there is a shelf on the outer left back door which from what I was told was used to carry gas cans for dirt bikes. That is the perfect place to build a box for a generator.

    Right now, I'm looking very hard at the Honda EU2000i (98.5cc engine, 1600w rated continuous load), the Robin-Subaru R1700i (86cc engine, 1400w rated continuous load) and the Honeywell HW2000i (125cc engine, 2000w rated continuous load).


    I'm planning to install 2 12v 105ah Deka AGM batteries and probably an Iota 45a or 55a converter/charger. The converter/charger will run from either shore power (usually only at home) or from the gen when camping. The decision about which converter/charger to use will have to come after I decide which generator to buy. The 45a Iota specs show "Maximum AC Current @ 108VAC 11 Amps" whereas the 55a shows 13a.

    IF there is a problem running (compressor hot starting) the a/c from the gen, then I might add a third battery and put in an inverter to run the a/c - not to actually run it from the batteries, but to buffer the startup load. Even if I do that, the a/c won't be used unless the gen is running (or shore power) and the converter/charger is online.


    [The pic was taken the day I bought it, it hadn't been moved in 15 years.]

    [EDIT: As for the a/c, I plan to cut the hole for it in the fiberglass roof above the rear doors, as you can see in the pic it will easily fit.]
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    Last edited by dwh; August 28th, 2009 at 16:07 PDT.

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