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Old 08-26-2018, 06:52 PM   #1
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Default portable A/C

Has anybody had any luck with using a portable A/C in their class B. (not a window shaker).
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:16 PM   #2
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Several problems exist with portables. The are very inefficient compared to similar btu window or roof top models due to their design. I've never heard of anyone who got say 8,500 btu performance out an 8,500 model. Not satisfied with the amount of cooling. And they cost more.

You also have to vent the hot exhaust air outside through a 4" hose (probably the reason they are inefficient) and you must drain (or collect and dump) condensate water. In addition, they are noisy and bulky. I wouldn't begin to know where you'd store such a large thing in class b.

Cut a 14" x 14" hole in your roof (or use an existing Fantastic Fan or Maxxfan opening which is the same size) and mount a roof top model. They can be had for $500 and the electrical wiring of at least 12ga. romex to one should not be prohibitively expensive. You'll be happier in the long run.

Good luck.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:01 AM   #3
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If you are converting a van, want a lower profile to fit in a garage and/or want to be more stealth...it is the way to go. There are YouTube videos on this subject...I purchased a portable A/C to try out in my house. I like it but it is running with the support from the house A/C. I have no clue how well it will cool a van in the heat of the day but overnight in a van it should be fine. You may want to cool the van air with the engine A/C to start off with then use the portable A/C to maintain the desired temperature.

I have the drainage running out of a small tube into a bucket. The port for the tube is in the center back of the unit so a small bucket behind it is very do able. The unit sounds like a cheap motel A/C. I have no trouble sleeping with it on...at first it did startle my dogs when it kicked on but they are fine with it now. For humid conditions a two hose unit is not necessary but if in hot dry weather, a separate intake and exhaust hose is recommended for better efficiency. I do recommend an A/C larger than 8500 btu.
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:32 PM   #4
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I purchased an Edgestar 8000 BTU model for my van ... a cargo Nissan NV3500 with a penthouse from Colorado Camper van. I strap it down behind the passenger seat, and run the exhaust out the passenger window (temporarily blocked with pink foam board with a hole for the hose). My experience with this experiment was it made overnighting in Lubbock and day-time in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, tolerable on a weeklong trip earlier this month (August 201. My van is very well insulated with thinsulate and the ďarctic insulation CCV uses. It is NOT as efficient or effective as a rooftop unit, but it brought 97 degree temps down to 80 (in Colorado), and down to mid 70s in Lubbock. Nice thing is I only need to load it up when I need it, and this portable is much smaller than most in this category. Hope this helps.
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Old 08-28-2018, 06:56 PM   #5
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I have seen some that use two hoses, and those cool far better than the ones that just have one hose going out. Downside is that they take a ton of space.

I have thought about a Danhard A/C system with a Sportsmobile build, but I've read bad things about noise, so I might just go with the rooftop unit.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:10 PM   #6
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I have seen some that use two hoses, and those cool far better than the ones that just have one hose going out. Downside is that they take a ton of space.

I have thought about a Danhard A/C system with a Sportsmobile build, but I've read bad things about noise, so I might just go with the rooftop unit.


The unit I have has one hose, but it is exhaust only. The air intake is on the unit itself, through a filtered grate. I like the small form factor of my unit, but Iím not sure I want to make many 110 degree trips to West Texas with it.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:18 PM   #7
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The issue with a one hose unit is that conditioned air is being used to cool the condenser, requiring a large inflow of outside air into the conditioned space. Quite problematic in humid environments.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:34 PM   #8
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The unit I have has one hose, but it is exhaust only. The air intake is on the unit itself, through a filtered grate. I like the small form factor of my unit, but I’m not sure I want to make many 110 degree trips to West Texas with it.
Hey bitman, welcome to the forum!

Yeah, there's not much you can do in the extreme heat of Summer, but stay home until about October.

Although we're planning our next trip up North. Probably leaving in late September hoping for an early Fall.
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Old 09-02-2018, 05:11 PM   #9
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Has anybody had any luck with using a portable A/C in their class B. (not a window shaker).

I used to camp in a 17' high top Dodge van. Had a porta potty and a solar shower with one of those pop-up privacy shower tents. Used a one-hose 8000 btu portable AC when in a campsite with electricity. When in camp, I would set the portable between the front seats. I had drilled a hole in the floor for the drain line. For the vent hose, rather than running the exhaust hose to a window, I popped out the ash tray unit from the engine cover and cut a hole to accomodate the hose. When the AC was not in use, the ashtray unit went back in place and covered the hole. With the exhaust hole plugged into the engine cover, the hot air exhausted out through the engine compartment. I'd raise the hood on the van a couple of inches to allow it to vent better. This worked very well.The engine cover was insulated so I didn't get heat coming back through the cover. The AC did fine cooling the van as long as I had some shade and it was not over 100F. Actually was quieter than a roof unit. Used it that way for years until I got an actual RV (wife wanted better bathroom facilities).
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Old 09-02-2018, 06:26 PM   #10
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Has anybody had any luck with using a portable A/C in their class B. (not a window shaker).
I guess you would call it a 'window shaker' but I am quite happy with a 5,000 btu Frigidaire window AC mounted under a twin bed. 4" plumbing elbows through the floor with a powerful 5" case fan boost the air flow through the condenser. My Promaster van conversion is very well insulated which is probably why the 460 watt AC unit cools the van interior quite effectively. My 654 watt solar system will power the AC on a sunny day without discharging the house batteries and at night will easily run three or four hours without starting the engine for help from the alternator. The interior noise level is subjectively much quieter than previous RV roof units but I haven't taken db measurements.
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Old 09-02-2018, 07:20 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Billinnc View Post
I guess you would call it a 'window shaker' but I am quite happy with a 5,000 btu Frigidaire window AC mounted under a twin bed. 4" plumbing elbows through the floor with a powerful 5" case fan boost the air flow through the condenser. My Promaster van conversion is very well insulated which is probably why the 460 watt AC unit cools the van interior quite effectively. My 654 watt solar system will power the AC on a sunny day without discharging the house batteries and at night will easily run three or four hours without starting the engine for help from the alternator. The interior noise level is subjectively much quieter than previous RV roof units but I haven't taken db measurements.
Hey, the question was did you have any luck?

Obviously, you had a lot more than luck, Impressive.

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Old 09-02-2018, 07:35 PM   #12
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Get a roof top unit like a COLEMAN Mach II or other brand of your choice. They are easy to install and easy to wire up. You will save precious inside space whether sitting on the floor or set into a cabinet. You want all the room inside that you can get. Especially if you travel with 2 people. I can't imagine more than two but some travelers do it. I mean goodness, where do you put heavy coats for cold winter travel with four people? I suppose extra warmth on the bedding allows you to stack the coats there. One can get quite good at figuring out how to live in a small space but if you can put the AC on the roof, it will really help I think.

Preferably do not mount it right above the bed area.

And don't use a portable heater unless your ok with the high risk of your personal life if it falls over or something falls on it at night. Yes modern portables have a shut off if they fall over but I still would not risk my life on that.

Insulate everywhere. Some production RV's in Class B have very little if any insulation. Putting that in makes a HUGE difference for heat or cold control. It also can be pretty amazing for making the RV quieter while driving and a bit more private when camping in an RV park.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:41 PM   #13
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Insulate everywhere. Some production RV's in Class B have very little if any insulation. Putting that in makes a HUGE difference for heat or cold control.
You are correct that insulation is often hit & miss. When referring to my '2012 Airstream Avenue Suite (class b on Chevy Express 3500 chassis) I like to say it's as if Airstream gave their insulation guy only half of what he needed, then told him to do the best he could.

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