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Old 28-06-2022, 10:43   #1
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Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

Why is nobody doing this? Buy a water cooled condenser to replace the OEM condenser and huge fan, use the condenser fan power to start the water pump">raw water pump.

You get VSD, nice air handlers, near silent operation and very good efficiency.

Before I go down this path, Iím sure someone must have tried?
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Old 28-06-2022, 10:49   #2
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

Iíve never owned a boat large enough to mount the evaporator, but have thought about doing it just for giggles.
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Old 28-06-2022, 11:15   #3
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

I'm not an A/C expert by any means but I thought there was a limitation to the amount of tilt that you could expose your compressor to before the oil would start running down the refrigerant lines?. Can a normal compressor handle the degree of heel that is experienced on a sailboat?
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Old 28-06-2022, 11:18   #4
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Originally Posted by NPCampbell View Post
I'm not an A/C expert by any means but I thought there was a limitation to the amount of tilt that you could expose your compressor to before the oil would start running down the refrigerant lines?. Can a normal compressor handle the degree of heel that is experienced on a sailboat?


The compressors on marine HVAC systems are the same compressors found at your house. The only thing that makes a marine AC different than a window unit is the coaxial condenser, and the packaging.
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Old 28-06-2022, 11:49   #5
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

I see many problems already:

- indoor units are 30+ inches wide and bulky/ugly.
- they have feedback sensors on the condensor like temperature, fan rpm etc.

I think Iíll go back to planning for ducted and wait for new products that were announced. But I see boats using these, putting the big outdoor units on deck houses etc.
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Old 28-06-2022, 14:34   #6
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

I can't make out all going on here, but apparently the thing at least turned on in colder weather:
https://www.reddit.com/r/DIY/comment...ater_for_boat/.

One way or another this is technology that needs adapting.
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Old 28-06-2022, 14:52   #7
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Originally Posted by Singularity View Post
I can't make out all going on here, but apparently the thing at least turned on in colder weather:
https://www.reddit.com/r/DIY/comment...ater_for_boat/.

One way or another this is technology that needs adapting.
Good findÖ some remarks:

- he made his own water cooled condenser using lots of fittings, but you can buy them ready to go.

- the sensors are not a problem, he just left them.

- he used the condenser fan power line to run a pump of equal wattage.

- it works very good.

- the bulky wall unit is too large for a pretty fit in his cabin.
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Old 28-06-2022, 17:09   #8
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Why is nobody doing this? Buy a water cooled condenser to replace the OEM condenser and huge fan, use the condenser fan power to start the raw water pump.

You get VSD, nice air handlers, near silent operation and very good efficiency.

Before I go down this path, Iím sure someone must have tried?
If you work for free, yes, sure you can cut apart a household AC unit and remake it into a water cooled system--if you really know what you are doing. It is not the kind of kludge I'd expect to find on a Sundeer 64, but whatever floats your boat.

The nice thing about the purpose built marine units is they are very compact and fit in small spaces. Our main saloon AC unit cost us $2k, but there was no cost of an added condenser, or a blower to connect to duct work, and no fabrication time taken away from more important projects. And the unit runs on 50 OR 60 Hz so we can use it no matter where in the world we are plugged in.

You CAN do it. But it's a hobby project, not a good use of resources.

To be fair, I take on a good number of hobby projects that I enjoy doing, so this isn't meant to be discouraging...
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Old 28-06-2022, 17:23   #9
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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If you work for free, yes, sure you can cut apart a household AC unit and remake it into a water cooled system--if you really know what you are doing. It is not the kind of kludge I'd expect to find on a Sundeer 64, but whatever floats your boat.

The nice thing about the purpose built marine units is they are very compact and fit in small spaces. Our main saloon AC unit cost us $2k, but there was no cost of an added condenser, or a blower to connect to duct work, and no fabrication time taken away from more important projects. And the unit runs on 50 OR 60 Hz so we can use it no matter where in the world we are plugged in.

You CAN do it. But it's a hobby project, not a good use of resources.

To be fair, I take on a good number of hobby projects that I enjoy doing, so this isn't meant to be discouraging...
You have a VSD (variable rpm) marine unit for $2k that does not require ducting and has no fan? I canít believe it, please tell me what brand/model etc. or do you have old tech?

When you marinize the outdoor unit you can make it as compact and nice as you like and it will have the same components than any marine version.

I really donít know what my boat has to do with choice. I now have a lame noisy power hungry CruiseAir unitÖ does that go along with a Sundeer better?
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Old 28-06-2022, 23:21   #10
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
The compressors on marine HVAC systems are the same compressors found at your house. The only thing that makes a marine AC different than a window unit is the coaxial condenser, and the packaging.
I have a Copeland dual speed scroll compressor in my home unit. The specified maximum tilt angle while the compressor is on is 15 degrees. How do you get around that limitation on a sailboat?
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Old 29-06-2022, 05:49   #11
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Originally Posted by NPCampbell View Post
I have a Copeland dual speed scroll compressor in my home unit. The specified maximum tilt angle while the compressor is on is 15 degrees. How do you get around that limitation on a sailboat?


I think youíll find that the generator to power the AC also isnít intended to operate at angles greater than 15-20 degrees. On top of that the condensate is likely to not drain properly at those sort of angles.

I donít have a specific model in front of me to look at, but you can pull the compressor model from a marine AC and purchase the compressor from grainger. Nothing special here.
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Old 29-06-2022, 10:41   #12
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

I would question whether the house unit would stand up to a contstant salt air environment, and not be eaten alive in a season or two.

This is what happens when people install RV units on their cabin roofs.
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Old 29-06-2022, 11:10   #13
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I see many problems already:

- indoor units are 30+ inches wide and bulky/ugly.
- they have feedback sensors on the condensor like temperature, fan rpm etc.

I think Iíll go back to planning for ducted and wait for new products that were announced. But I see boats using these, putting the big outdoor units on deck houses etc.
Iíve worked my thinking all around the same subject, and with my background in HVACR, surprise myself that I didnít try it already.
The reasons against in view in the thread are all valid.
Iím not sure that avoiding ductwork makes it worthwhile, but agree itís a pain to fit in, and takes up precious space.
PO of my boat fitted a water cooled a/c, used PVC pipe for duct, and only change I made was to relocate the unit footprint, since it sat square in the middle of the port quarterberth, and was walled behind a chintzy makeshift ďbulkheadĒ, though not structural at all.
Iím ready to replace it with a compact R-410a unit, possibly Dometic, not completely decided.
Not sure what size required for your boat, but itís possible to put separate ďheadsĒ (evaporator units) in two or more cabins, connected to common condensing unit, in parallel, or two-circuit condenser.
I could build it, but not cost effectively.
Since you contemplated modifying a costly new mini-split with water-cooled condenser (voiding warranty btw), maybe think about a purpose built marine split, or even a chiller with chilled water fan coil units.
Alright, Iíll get this one out of my system: a distributed low-temp piping system that hugs the underside of the coachroof, and spaces above each sleeping berth. Similar to Valent brand Direct Expansion chilled tube system; the cold air flows by gravity off of the tubing, and settles over the occupants, or is redirected by small, quiet air circulators.
Got a headache, yet?
One fix we have for heat stress is to pack a bag of ice between your femoral arteries. Saves all the guess work, lol
Cheers ~ 9.6
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Old 29-06-2022, 11:14   #14
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

Jedi, have you looked at this:
https://www.forestair.ca/en/serie-mini-anglais

The air handler side is quite compact.
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Old 29-06-2022, 11:43   #15
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Re: Modifying a mini split A/C with marine condenser?

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Jedi, have you looked at this:
https://www.forestair.ca/en/serie-mini-anglais

The air handler side is quite compact.
They are all the same, around 32Ē minimum.
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