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Old 18-10-2010, 09:33   #1
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Air Conditioning for Boats

I have been web surfing periodically and have not really found what I am looking for. I am looking for a portable air conditioning system for use when I am docked up at a marina. I don't need a genset or self contained system for being on the hook but the boat would be a lot more useful to me if I had the ability to plug an AC unit into shore power when I am doing weekend trips.

The unit would be small enough to be called portable, I could vent the exhaust overboard through a hatch and so forth or the unit could be stood on the foredeck and the cool air vented in but I am at a loss of what to get.

I have looked at units for RVs, "floor" stand models for use in home etc. There are 5,000 BTU systems here but I think these might be too much for a 26 foot boat and the units are a bit heavy to store as gear.

So, what set ups are out there? What are you using? Do you have pics? Do you have recommendations?

Most shore power around me is 220V but I could get an inverter to step down to 110V if needed so voltages are not a concern.
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Old 18-10-2010, 09:44   #2
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I'm finally going to be in the market for a new boat A/C systm next summer. I'm guilty of having a redneck A/C now. I'm using a 6500 btu unit run from a EU2000. It cools off half of my Starboard hull. I don't think a 5000 btu unit is too much at all for a 26 foot boat. Most boats are not all that well insulated to help keep the cool in and the heat out. You can always turn down the T-stat and fan on a larger unit.
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Old 18-10-2010, 10:03   #3
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That's what my buddy says - You can't have too much A/c on a boat - LOL...

I too have seen some interesting setups including home window units mounted on the foredeck - butt ugly for sure...
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Old 18-10-2010, 11:00   #4
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Old 18-10-2010, 13:10   #5
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We have a 5000 BTU unit that is mounted on a hatch. Hubby sewed together a cover for it and although I yeah it is ugly when it is hot enough to fry eggs on the deck really who cares?
We originally had a stand alone unit that you vented through a port hole and although it looked better (from the outside) I soon realized that the vent hose got very hot and heated up the boat inside which is not very efficient and just plan does not work in hot tropical climates. I would stay away from one of those if I were you.

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Old 18-10-2010, 13:33   #6
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We just installed a 16k marine unit, but prior to that we survived in south Florida for 5 years with a Home Depot window unit mounted in our butterfly hatch on top of a custom box I made out of plywood.
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Old 18-10-2010, 15:10   #7
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While rebuilding Bluestocking I used a piece of 3/8 plywood the size of a 5000btu ac unit footprint, + my forehatch upstand with a 2" border. Cut a hole to fit over the upstand, sat the unit on the plywood, and with a tube of contact cement and some 1" packing styrofoam, built tht duct to transition from unit to opening. Whole thing took an hour to build, and lasted the 4yr rebuild.
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Old 18-10-2010, 16:12   #8
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Old 18-10-2010, 16:20   #9
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Regarding capacity: We removed one of our A/C's and sold it. We now cool our 40' cat with one 16,000 BTU unit. It struggles a bit at mid-day when it's 32C and 95% humidity here in Hong Kong. But it does the job just fine. Our goal is to keep things cool for sleeping and to dehumidify.

I'd think you could adequately cool a 26 footer with a small 5,000 BTU household unit: That's probably what's used to cool a Singaporean bedroom which is a similar volume (though without the solar gain unless you're on the top floor). Make a box and drop it over the bowhatch. The good thing about the small A/C's is the weight and volume is manageable. Plus they're dirt cheap.
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Old 18-10-2010, 16:34   #10
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Sail Delmarva: Keeping a Cruise-and-Carry AC unit On-deck: Good Idea, or Dissaster in the Making?

Consider this. Cruise-n-Carry. I think they stopped making this just a few years ago, but they show up on e-bay all the time.

* A bit over-priced.
* self-contained and easy.
* works on a 32' cat and a 34' mono.
* portable but a bit heavy.

I got this unit when I bought the boat. Would I buy one? Actually, I think I would go built-in. But if I wanted portable, it is one of few choices and it has proven itself.

They were available in 220v but may be hard to find. Some cruisers run them with a Honda 2000.

Portable for a 77' maxi? Sorry; your smokin' dope.
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Old 18-10-2010, 16:45   #11
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in a 44 foot sailboat i have use similar units,,
Portable Air Conditioners - Compared

we would move it in the cockpit during the florida summer,,, under the awning worked good in the boat,,, we vented it into an unused room with the hatch open
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Old 18-10-2010, 17:45   #12
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I wouldn't call it portable but I installed a 9,000btu Panasonic split system on our boat. It has an Inverter motor which means it it is soft start.
I had it running using only a 1kva Kipor generator.
We generally only use it at marina's etc off shore power. It is reverse cycle so it is good in winter also.
We only have a small cabin but during the day in summer it really struggles. I would go larger btu's next time.
We mainly use it at night to cool things off and reduce the humidity etc and for this it works really well
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Old 18-10-2010, 17:53   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainKJ View Post
in a 44 foot sailboat i have use similar units,,
Portable Air Conditioners - Compared

we would move it in the cockpit during the florida summer,,, under the awning worked good in the boat,,, we vented it into an unused room with the hatch open
Thanks to everyone for your replies.

@thinwater - I wish for 77 feet. Relax Lah! has a big name but she' measured in meters - 7.7 of 'em...

captainKJ - Those are the types of units I've been looking at the most. I really want something to make sleeping more comfortable and I'm thinking 5,000btu or so is just the ticket.
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