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Old 21-08-2009, 15:16   #1
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Flagship Air Conditioner

I recently learned a painful lesson in the boat world. Being a live aboard, I wanted an AC unit that would provide heat year round. The problem with most of the Cruiseair et. al. is that once Dec. rolls around, reverse cycle no longer works as the water is too cold.

I found a company called Flagship marine. On of thier claims is that they have units installed in the 44' coast guard rescue boats - keeping the boat warm in alaska, and cold in FL.

Thier unit is a straight AC with an electric element for heat.
I've used the 18.5k BTU for a year and have to say, spend the extra grand for a Cruiseair, Clima or what have you. This thing will not keep my 35' sailboat much below about outside air minus 15 degrees (on a 95 degree day, I typically see 84 inside). In the winter, once temps drop below 30ish I need an additional space heater, and when temps drop into the teens, I need an ocassional blast of the oven.
To add insult to injury, I recently had a $20 part go bad, had to uninstall the unit (they have no dealer support) ship it to them at my cost ($80) wait 2 weeks, and pay shipping back ($80). They had the gall to tell me the part is usually not covered under warantee, but they'd over look it this time. The unit is less than 1 year old, and had I spent the extra for a cruise air, or clima, it would have been covered under warantee, and not taken 2 weeks.

Buyer be ware. When you are a live aboard, some things are worth the extra money.
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Old 21-08-2009, 16:59   #2
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I feel your pain,

I have one of their units too, I fell for the same sales line. On mine the squirell cage bearings were shot within a few months. I too had to take it out, mount it to a pallete and ship it back.

There is one fan speed, high and to my thinking loud. Even though the stupid thing still works I plan on replacing it with a quality unit as soon as possible.

Rich
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Old 21-08-2009, 17:17   #3
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Guys,

Sorry, but I gotta disagree. I have two Flagship Marine A/C units: a 16,500BTU and a 12,000BTU on my 42' sloop. I installed both of them in early 2003 and have had virtually no problems with either one, except for a broken plastic housing on the electric water pump (not Flagship's fault...just a lousy design by the pump manufacturer). Even that was my fault, because I moved the attached hose and cracked the plastic.

Replacement was easy, fast, and cheap. I secured the hose so it won't move, and also carry spares aboard in case it should happen again.

I have gone thru six winters with these units and their integral heaters. I absolutely LOVE them. Clean, trouble-free, and efficient. Just one of them will keep my boat heated most of the winter. On very cold days I use both or the diesel heating system aboard. Best of all, there are no moving parts needed to cycle water thru the system...the dry heating element does it all, regardless of the temperature of the water.

Another boat in my marina also has two similar units, and has had the same experience as I.

The units themselves are very well constructed, with quality parts. Only thing I'd like to see as an improvement would be a multi-speed fan (as mentioned above).

I would buy another Flagship unit in a flash if it were needed.

Bill
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Old 21-08-2009, 18:52   #4
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Once water gets below 50 degrees it gets really hard to get much heat out of the reverse cycle heat. No manufacturer can really beat that. I will say at 50 I can make lots of heat. When you get to 45 in the water, it's going to require 3 dogs to stay warm if it really is cold outside.
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Old 21-08-2009, 21:34   #5
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BT, I guess you have had a different experiance than the rest. What you are telling me is you have 28k+ BTU on a 42'? My neighbor has 16k cruiseair on a 40' and says it is a meat locker. If it's 94 out, I can not get the boat (a 35' with an 18.5k btu) below 82. In the winter, once it hit's 30 or so, I need a second space heater - which is what you are saying, a second 1500 watt unit. What is the point?

I currently am using a Cruiseair carry on (7900 btu) and when it's 90ish the boat is 85 - not a huge difference, but 2 of them would be colder in my opinion.

Oh by the way, yes I have an insulate hull - balsa cored

The real point, is you get no support what so ever from the manufacturer. Thier position is "ship it here, we'll fix it". "oh, by the way, you owe us money, screw the warantee."

My point is - if you are a live aboard, spend the extra money for something with a dealer network
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Old 21-08-2009, 21:43   #6
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The CruisAir units also support electric heater elements, as do their control panels for fully automatic heating and/or cooling. But it costs extra....

cheers,
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Old 22-08-2009, 04:56   #7
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Well im kinda new here but here is what I have in my H-30.
The company is in Stuart,FL. and is family owned. The guru is named Joe and was very customer friendly long before i made my purchase which means alot to me. Beeen designing sytems for over 30 yrs.

Ocean Breeze Marine Air Conditioning - Self-Contained A/C Installation Kits
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Old 22-08-2009, 07:46   #8
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pas63,

I certainly understand that you are frustrated (why are you now using a portable A/C unit??), and that you believe that somehow the Flagship units are inferior to the CruisAir units, and that you don't like the treatment you received when you had a problem.

I'm not an apologist for Flagship, but my experience -- and that of my acquaintances with Flagship units -- has been completely different than yours.

First, the units themselves are of high quality. Stainless steel and bronze and copper parts, Matsushita rotary compressors with devices for low inrush current draw at startup, high quality fittings (Groco thru-hulls and Groco filters, etc.)....this is not cheesy stuff.

The fact that they have been standard on U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard boats for over 10 years should also count for something.

The 2000-2200 watt (not 1500 watt) heating elements and safety cutouts are a real plus; they will work anywhere in or out of water and, as I said, just one of these is generally enough for my 42' sloop except on the very coldest of winter days (teens and single digits outside temp, with wind).

I think you misread my earlier post. Yes, I have two units totaling 27,500BTU capacity, but I almost never run both of them simultaneously. The 16,500BTU unit is generally capable of cooling the entire boat, except on the very hottest of days (I'm talking 95-100 degree days with high humidity).

Even the 12,000BTU unit alone does a pretty good job of cooling the whole boat, until the outside temperature rises above 90F.

I really believe that there may be something amiss with your setup, either the unit itself, boat insulation, or installation. An 18,500BTU unit should be able to cool a 35' sailboat rather nicely, providing it's installed and operating properly. Your comment re: the portable 7,500BTU unit doing just about as well should be a clue that something is really wrong. Do you have any knowledgeable friends who could take a look?

Bill
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Old 22-08-2009, 14:57   #9
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BT, I was using a carryon while mine was out for repair. I just got it back yesterday, and installed today.

As I recall, the 2000 watt unit needs was the largest heater for 115v. It works fine to around 30, maybe slightly less.

As to installation, I have the unit in the V-berts, with a 2" hose feeding the vent in that cabin. I have a second 4" feeding a vent in the main salon -stbd side, and a vent in the aft cabin - stbd side. I have a 5" that drops to 4" feeding a vent in the main salon - port side, and a vent in the aft cabin - port side. All the vents have good airflow out.

As to insulation, the hull is a balsa cored hull, but that is it.

Now that it's in, I have a neighbor that sells and services cruiseair and clima, so I may have him look, but he is understandably biased.
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Old 23-08-2009, 01:16   #10
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I have a flagship marine 165K btu unit in my E40. Installed by a PO. 8 years old I believe.
The unit worked pretty poorly. Circuit breaker continued to cut out after a short time running. I suspected it was the setup but could not be certin until now.
I pulled the unit out of the locker and what I found was a mess.
only 2 discarge ducts installed, and with a run of only feet, and one was compressed down to 2" not 4" which is required. Also the PO had removed the filter and the condenser is choaked with debris.
But the rest of the unit is good. and it did put out cold air.
So my guess is you have a poor install or not enough feed water flow.
When I emailed them, I got a immideate answer, se even though there might not be a local person to take it to, they are available.
The prices are good as well.
The clima are way over priced.
I believe I am going to purchase another one soon, either the 18,5 btu or 24K btu unit.
bob
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Old 23-08-2009, 01:18   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlesc View Post
Well im kinda new here but here is what I have in my H-30.
The company is in Stuart,FL. and is family owned. The guru is named Joe and was very customer friendly long before i made my purchase which means alot to me. Beeen designing sytems for over 30 yrs.

Ocean Breeze Marine Air Conditioning - Self-Contained A/C Installation Kits
To my eye that looks exactly like a flagship unit rebranded....
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Old 23-08-2009, 08:53   #12
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Some friends of ours purchased a Flagship 16K BTU Unit for their boat--a sister-ship to ours--about 4 years ago. It has proven very noisy and very problem-some. When running it vibrates their entire yacht and is so noisy that we can tell when they've turned the thing on from our boat, two slips away. Since they've owned it they've been through two compressors and several "squirrel cages". It is very awkward to extract from its mounting and the owner has vowed that the next time it has to come out, it will become an anchor. Worse, it really doesn't do a particularly good job cooling the yacht and has a tendancy to fail at the worst times, as it did while they were sitting out hurricane season in the Rio last year!

We have a now 14 year old KingAire that is so quite that one hears only the rush of air and that makes the yacht as cold as a meat locker if turned too low or will overheat the boat (in heating mode) if turned too high in the winter, even when temps are in the 30's.

FWIW...
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Old 23-08-2009, 09:12   #13
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On mine it was the squirrel cage bearings that were defective. Even now, if I want to watch a movie on the tv I need to crank the volume up to about max in order to hear it over the noise of the unit. But the other part that gravels my butt is the cheap thermostat/controller. I suspect mine is about to give out since the switches are getting tempremental.

I admit, the fact the USCG was using them helped me decide to purchase. However, in retrospect it was probably a case of the lowest bidder. Also, the military can afford to repair or replace them a lot more often than I can.

Rich
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Old 23-08-2009, 19:09   #14
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I admit, the fact the USCG was using them helped me decide to purchase.
If I recall correctly, military supply contracts are based on lowest bidder, not best cost/performance ratio.
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Old 23-08-2009, 19:12   #15
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You don't. If that were true our navy, air force, marine corps, army, and coast guard would have the lousiest equipment imaginable.

They don't. It's just an urban legend, based on snippets of truth on certain types of procurements.

B.
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