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Old 02-03-2018, 12:34   #1
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Air Conditioner, which one???

Have followed all the recent threads on marine AC but none seemed to focus specifically on which brand so thought I would try to gather all this in one thread. So far I have identified: Dometic, Webasto,Pompanette, MarinAire, Flagship, Mermaid.

Here's what I think I know about each, all based on a 16-16.5 kBTU model.

1. Dometic. The 300 lb gorilla. Bought Marine Air and Cruisair. Also makes most of the compressors for marine fridge systems. Find few complaints online. Two models:
- Turbo DTU 16, $2200-$2400
- Envirocool ECD., $1600-$1800

Webasto. The other big company. Also found very few complaints.
- FCF Platinum $1650-$1900
- FCF. The cheaper version? $1350-$1550

Pompanette. Know the name and company but the AC is new to me. Very little information on the net. $2400-$2700

MarinAire. Not to be confused with Marine Air. Made in FL. Some good reviews. $1600-$1800

Flagship - Small, made in FL company. Some love them, some don't. $2400-

Mermaid. Another small FL company. Reputation as somewhat unsophisticated, industrial kind of construction and not the quietest. $2000-$2200.

Comments.

- Reluctant to buy from one of the small players like Flagship, Mermaid because ANY warranty or problems you have to ship it back to factory. Not my preference.

- Don't plan to use it but occasionally so don't need to buy a Rolls Royce grade but also want one that will last for a few years. However will pay a little more for a quieter unit.

- Webasto FCF Platinum sounds interesting but I've read that they don't have a port for checking/adding Freon. Is that true on the latest models? Should I care?

Any and all opinions and recommendations welcome.
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Old 02-03-2018, 12:49   #2
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

A little more info.

Just called TS at Webasto. First was very impressed to immediately reach a tech that was able to answer all my questions and then some. So additional info on the Webasto.

- 2 year free replacement warranty if it can't be repaired!!
- Claim a fairly wide network of authorized repair shops.
- Will run on 50 or 60 Hz.
- Defender has them on sale.
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Old 02-03-2018, 13:02   #3
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

The big drawback on all these brands is they don't use variable compressor-speed. It's either on or off. In the domestic world you will see inverter-based systems all over the place nowadays, saving quite some energy.
In marine appliances I only of of "www.frigomar.com" that sells the same technology for boats. No only do they save energy but they can run both 50 and 60 Hertz. Not all other units can do that.

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Old 02-03-2018, 13:14   #4
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

When you chose also consider the starting current unless you have a installed generator.

Far as brands I bet they mostly are all using the same main components and are just packagers really.

Btw get one that allows you to run the fan by itself and that you don’t have to trick into the compressor not starting. And one that you can adjust whether the fan runs between compressor cycles or all the time
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:34   #5
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

I had great luck with Marinair in Florida. They were easy to work on and IO always had great telephone support from the manufacturer. The circuit boards are easy to install and to understand when trouble shooting.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:03   #6
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

I have two Cruisair units on my yacht - the one in the saloon cools well but the compressor is very noisy. I have pottered around with it but it seems I am stuck with the noise. Don't want to knock Cruisair just saying. However if anyone can advise me what I can do to reduce the noise I would be most grateful. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:30   #7
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Robelen View Post
I had great luck with Marinair in Florida. They were easy to work on and IO always had great telephone support from the manufacturer. The circuit boards are easy to install and to understand when trouble shooting.
This is MarinAire the Miami based company? Sorry to ask but there's at least two companies with similar names and I find it can be a bit confusing to determine which is which.

If the Miami company, I have read several other positive reviews of their units and consider them a possible option. Also the price seems in my AC budget. Is yours a recent model? How is the noise level?

Thanks
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:35   #8
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Cherry View Post
I have two Cruisair units on my yacht - the one in the saloon cools well but the compressor is very noisy. I have pottered around with it but it seems I am stuck with the noise. Don't want to knock Cruisair just saying. However if anyone can advise me what I can do to reduce the noise I would be most grateful. Thanks!
I am removing two Cruisairs from the boat. Both still work but they're almost 35 years old, they are at least double the size of a new unit and very power hungry. Cruisair used to be one of the best but they were bought by Dometic and I now sold under that name. Not sure if they're as good as they used to be. The top model from Dometic I believe is the Turbo line.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:36   #9
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
When you chose also consider the starting current unless you have a installed generator.

Far as brands I bet they mostly are all using the same main components and are just packagers really.

Btw get one that allows you to run the fan by itself and that you don’t have to trick into the compressor not starting. And one that you can adjust whether the fan runs between compressor cycles or all the time
So what brand/model do you have? Does it do all of the above? Would you buy it again?

Would it work for a boat condo on the hard?
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:37   #10
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post

- Reluctant to buy from one of the small players like Flagship, Mermaid because ANY warranty or problems you have to ship it back to factory. Not my preference.
Three boats, three Flagship systems self installed, full time liveaboard over 25 years.....
I simply would not buy anything else. Superb customer service that will spend talk you through any issues on the phone, never had a warranty issue, have replaced two $20 relays in all that time and never seen a single spot of corrosion.

Just read the specs and materials used, look at the build quality or even just look at the photos. Far ahead of all the usual suspects.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:44   #11
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Since Dometic bought CruiseAir their units are not lasting but about 3-4 years top. My boat neighbors are very unhappy. These units start to leak Freon though water heat exchange bundle. Unrepairable, seems that Dometic is using a much cheaper heat exchanger since they bought.

I have had two King Air units first one lasted over 16 years. In Houston so units run year round. Great customer support they even custom built one to fit the locker dimensions at no added charge. Great control system as well on new unit

I have had issues withi my other MarineAir unit. It is older but it had no shut down of pump circuit if no water flow and has burned up pumps as a result.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:55   #12
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
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Three boats, three Flagship systems self installed, full time liveaboard over 25 years.....
I simply would not buy anything else. Superb customer service that will spend talk you through any issues on the phone, never had a warranty issue, have replaced two $20 relays in all that time and never seen a single spot of corrosion.

Just read the specs and materials used, look at the build quality or even just look at the photos. Far ahead of all the usual suspects.
First let me say that I really respect your opinions and the information you offer on the forum and you aren't the only big fan of Flagship. Btrayfors for another whose opinion I also highly regard recommends the Flagship as the best. I have looked closely at the Flagship AC and have even called them with some questions with great response. However there are several previous threads and posts from others that had the opposite experience IE continued problems and inconsistent support.

I am 100% certain that those who reported numerous problems with more than one unit were absolutely giving truthful and honest information. I have to confess I am at a loss for how to deal with such a large disparity in the experiences of Flagship owners. However, at the end of the day, IF there is a problem that I couldn't fix onboard, having to pack up the unit and ship it back to the factory is a no go for me.
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Old 03-03-2018, 13:02   #13
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
Originally Posted by KadeyKrogen38 View Post
Since Dometic bought CruiseAir their units are not lasting but about 3-4 years top. My boat neighbors are very unhappy. These units start to leak Freon though water heat exchange bundle. Unrepairable, seems that Dometic is using a much cheaper heat exchanger since they bought.

I have had two King Air units first one lasted over 16 years. In Houston so units run year round. Great customer support they even custom built one to fit the locker dimensions at no added charge. Great control system as well on new unit

I have had issues withi my other MarineAir unit. It is older but it had no shut down of pump circuit if no water flow and has burned up pumps as a result.
What you're saying about the Cruisair is consistent with other comments I've seen.

Glad you mentioned the Kingair, I forgot to add that to the list. That's another brand that has gotten some strong recommendations from others. They also offer an option for scroll or piston compressor on each model. Interesting idea but which one?
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Old 03-03-2018, 13:15   #14
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
So what brand/model do you have? Does it do all of the above? Would you buy it again?

Would it work for a boat condo on the hard?
I have 2 Marine Air units that are original to the boat (I’m the boats second owner). I’ve had the boat boat 7 years and I never ever ran them for the first 5 years. When I installed a generator on the boat they both started right up and cooled the boat down into the 60s on a 100 degrees humid day. I’ve never done any maintenance to them other than install a replaceable house type filter on the inlets. Near as I can tell they haven’t needed anything in 17 years other than cooling water and electric power.

They do all the things control wise I listed. But I bet there’s an updated control panel available that would.

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Old 03-03-2018, 13:20   #15
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Re: Air Conditioner, which one???

Quote:
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IF there is a problem that I couldn't fix onboard, having to pack up the unit and ship it back to the factory is a no go for me.
How do your preferred mfg's handle a situation like that ?
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