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Old 27-06-2014, 19:24   #1
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Marine Air Conditioners for Sailboats

Hi, I'm interested in air conditioning units that are designed to be retrofitted to a sailboat.

I'm especially interested in designs that have separate inside and outside units.

Ideally such a unit could be installed through a hatch cover or other minimally invasive technique.

I have seen portable air conditioner with vent hoses that run to the outside - that's really not what I'm looking for. I've also seen the coat-closet units that are cooled with sea water.

I'm thinking of something that works with separate air handling and compressor units that can be fitted to a boat. Even better would be a unit that is low power and could be operated on DC power, if needed.

Please do not bother with the "That's Impossible" and "Why would you want Air Conditioning" posts. I'm looking for information on a product - I've already found plenty of opinions about the value of having AC on a boat.

Thanks!
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Old 27-06-2014, 19:40   #2
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

Let google be your guide.
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Old 27-06-2014, 19:50   #3
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

A good primer/guide here:

How to Select An A/C System - Marineair
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Old 27-06-2014, 19:53   #4
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

Great reference Stu. Thanks.

Though I'm sure Marinaire units are great, it's a fairly complex system. Tubing, ductwork, and electrical installations are required through the boat. It's a "built-in" installation - the kind of thing that really benefits from factory installation, or at least factory preparation. This kind of air condition requires a massive electrical supply - either land power, or very high power generation units.

What about something that is really designed to be installed post-manufacture? Something that is not really "built in" to the boat, but more like "added on". Think of something like a 32' monohull - Airflow cooling in a boat like that is terrible, at best, and non-existent at worst. If the air and seas are hot enough, then enough great airflow will not bring any relief.

How about an air handler that can be attached to a wall or to a hatch? And a cooling unit that could be placed in (or on?) any available space? I'm thinking such an installation would require only a simple tubing run and could be operated with an external power cord, if needed.

I've seen window air conditioners "installed" on boats. They are ugly, don't fit well, rust away, and are really just too big and boxy for a small boat.

What if a window air conditioner was made to fit on a hatch (instead of in a window), had a simple to operate power source, and could operate on lower voltage and power? Maybe even battery or solar power?
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Old 27-06-2014, 21:23   #5
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

So, how many 12 volt travel coolers would it take to cool that space. Cut them up and install the cold plates on the cabin roof liner. A couple of relays wired to a thermostat and a 12 volt fan to move it around the cabin. Hmmm..... I see a patent opportunity here.! Just kidding.

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Old 27-06-2014, 21:43   #6
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

These Carry-On A/Cs show up at times. They mount to a hatch, suck hot humid air out and blow cold dry air in. About 65 lbs and 6 amps at 120 VAC.

Cruisair Carry-On 5000 Hatch Portable A/C

http://newcontent.westmarine.com/con..._UserGuide.pdf

Carry on Cruisair 5000 4800 BTU Boat Marine A C Air Conditioner Canvas Cover 115 | eBay
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Old 13-07-2014, 03:19   #7
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

We are testing and so far pleased with the LG portable self evaporating AC as replacements for our 5 MarineAir salt water cooled units (50' trawler). $250 at Home Depot or Wal Mart for an 8,000 BTU 8 Amp unit. Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1405242858.721586.jpg
Views:	4515
Size:	330.7 KB
ID:	84931 here's a pic of one temporary installation, vented through a portlight, although we plan to install them in closet/cabinet space. Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1405243082.335892.jpg
Views:	999
Size:	267.3 KB
ID:	84932We have the battery bank/inverter and solar power to run one unit for 8-10 hours and recharge the banks the next day, but that's irrelevant to the use of these units as standard AC. Jay and Karen Campbell on Largo, Palmetto, FL


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Old 13-07-2014, 04:15   #8
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

I bought an almost identical type unit. I like your vent adapter.

I am trying to figure out how I want to do the venting right now. I don't have a convenience portlight and am thinking about an overhead vent adaptation.
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Old 13-07-2014, 04:28   #9
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

If you use air conditioning it confuses your bodies capability to acclimatizes for heat.

For example, in a village in borneo I was in a room with locals who didn't break a sweat, and also their relatives visiting from the city who lived in air conditioning who were dripping in sweat.

I can walk around outside in 35C and 80% humidity and not sweat, air conditioning is for the weak.
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Old 13-07-2014, 05:38   #10
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

The original poster requested that no replies be of the "you don't need air conditioning" nature Boat Alexandra. What an elitist, dismissive, holier than though post. "Air conditioning is for the weak". Now back to our usual programming. The question being venting of a portable AC unit. To Ex-Calif - I have a washer-dryer unit as well (are you listening, Boat Alexandra?) and vent it very high through the hull with a standard horizontal flap vent. In one closet where I intend to mount a unit, there is a portlight, and I expect to use an adapter such as pictured. In the others, I intend to use horizontal 4" circular vents with weather flaps, and I will beef up the hull with a glassed-in tube around the vents if needed. We've been running this unit 10-12 hours a day for over a month with great results for an 8amp device. No water accumulation, but running a drain to the bilge is simple enough. My marineair units, all in, go for $3-5K and scare the hell out of me running water in and out of the boat. At $250, these units are very well reviewed, seem to last 4 years, and for the price are almost disposable at that run rate. But that's me. :-)
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Old 13-07-2014, 06:47   #11
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

Jay Campbell, what size of unit did you replace?


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Old 13-07-2014, 06:48   #12
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Campbell View Post
The original poster requested that no replies be of the "you don't need air conditioning" nature Boat Alexandra. What an elitist, dismissive, holier than though post. "Air conditioning is for the weak". Now back to our usual programming. The question being venting of a portable AC unit. To Ex-Calif - I have a washer-dryer unit as well (are you listening, Boat Alexandra?) and vent it very high through the hull with a standard horizontal flap vent. In one closet where I intend to mount a unit, there is a portlight, and I expect to use an adapter such as pictured. In the others, I intend to use horizontal 4" circular vents with weather flaps, and I will beef up the hull with a glassed-in tube around the vents if needed. We've been running this unit 10-12 hours a day for over a month with great results for an 8amp device. No water accumulation, but running a drain to the bilge is simple enough. My marineair units, all in, go for $3-5K and scare the hell out of me running water in and out of the boat. At $250, these units are very well reviewed, seem to last 4 years, and for the price are almost disposable at that run rate. But that's me. :-)
Almost... to... weak... to... reply...

I've been think about the exhaust system a lot. I'd like to have a square cross section tube. I thought about the snorkel pipes off roaders use then I hit on the idea of rectangular PVC.

A simple flapper valve, way above the waterline would be great because I could exit it our the side of the boat and not have to deal with the ceiling.

I know I don't want to create any backpressure in the system but the window vent that came with it is a rectangular cross so I am guessing the 4" round flex stuff is just convenient for them to include it. When I talked to the dealer he looked like I was mad asking about a rectangular duct.

I have found rectangular flex on line as well.

The solutions is out there.

To the O/P - ArtM I looked at RV and truck units as well. Some of these held promise. It really depends on what turns you on aesthetically and how many boat bucks you wanna drop. My use will be intermittent - only in marinas and only on shore power. If you wanted A/C on the hook and you are energy budget conscious these may not be the solution.

There was also a portable unit on display (running demo) that was advertising no need to vent! As an engineer (and a massive skeptic) I couldn't get my head around that and went with the vented one.

Now if you excuse me I've broken a sweat and need to go lie down...
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Old 13-07-2014, 07:27   #13
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Re: Marine Air conditions for Sailboats

Ex Calif - pretty funny. Greggegner, I added it to our master cabin well-cooled by a Marineair salt water cooled 9 amp. I only run one at a time, they seem to cool equally well. We have 5 AC units on our boat - 2 are 15 Amp, 3 are 8-10 amp. I'm guessing the portable unit will do well for any of them - we will see. But, I want to use these units to run on my inverter, so overall power drain is one issue, but electrical "spikes" from the AC cycling is another, much more difficult. At 30 amps through the Inverter (Freedom 3012), an 8 amp unit has to spike almost an additional 300% to max the unit, which is possible, but not likely - we run nothing but the AC at night on the 110 system. Still, my plan is to put Dometic capacitor "soft starts" on the AC units as we install them permanently, which are advertised to reduced electrical spikes by 65%. As a further sign of my physical weakness (:-) we have a 16 battery bank of Gp. 31 Lifeline AGMs, and 6 250 watt Kyocera solar panels, which is how we can fuel the power demands from the sun. Plus 2 back-up gennys. We run a photo studio and our consulting business from the boat, even on the hook, so power is not negotiable. :-) Also - for those of you who are experts in these things, I am NOT an expert - far from it - just an interested user living on a boat. I often get my amps, watts, volts, and such confused.- Jay
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Old 13-07-2014, 15:17   #14
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Re: Marine Air Conditioners for Sailboats

I have a line on an A/C unit that is designed for home use, and is specifically designed to operate on a solar array

Unfortunately, I and the people I'm working with are in Hawaii right now.

If anyone is in Hawaii, and would be interested in participating in a prototyping effort, please contact me.

If you find you can overcome the spike issue with a capacitor, that would be great to know about!

Thanks
Rich
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Old 13-07-2014, 15:55   #15
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Re: Marine Air Conditioners for Sailboats

I'm interested to see as well. Mine vents to the companionway which is highly inconvenient.

I have plans to add a proper water cooled unit sometime soon. The 70# portable is just a bit cumbersome.
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