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2020 High-Extended AWD EcoBoost Cargo with windows
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it really just Undermount AC and Cruise-N-Comfort?

Whether those two or others... what evaluations am I missing in deciding which one to purchase?

Current focus on those two: how well each of the pieces fits in my current locations; secondary, how well do they work and how easy to install.
 

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2022 U8U
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Is it really just Undermount AC and Cruise-N-Comfort?

Whether those two or others... what evaluations am I missing in deciding which one to purchase?

Current focus on those two: how well each of the pieces fits in my current locations; secondary, how well do they work and how easy to install.
Nah. There are several options. Pro Air and Dometic come to mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nah. There are several options. Pro Air and Dometic come to mind.
Hm. Not finding anything DC like that on Dometic. I only see the 12/24V stuff under truck coolers or refrigeration. Am I looking in the wrong place?

Is this the Pro Air you mean? Interesting. Looks like they'd build something from their store of parts. Some of those look the same as UndermountAC - I wonder if they are. 🤔 I'll have to call them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Use a good quality 120 vac air conditioner. 12 - 15k BTU.
Hm. I'm open to that. But they all look like they're pretty inefficient. And I really don't want to chop up a home one like @Van Gogh did - it looks like a helluva hassle. Would that be preferable to a 24VDC unit in some way? Or just because there are so few options?
 

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Hm. I'm open to that. But they all look like they're pretty inefficient. And I really don't want to chop up a home one like @Van Gogh did - it looks like a helluva hassle. Would that be preferable to a 24VDC unit in some way? Or just because there are so few options?
Some people in my build thread have been asking for thoughts on the new Midea U-shaped window units with inverter technology. A quick anecdotal glance at some amazon reviews, and a second-hand testimony that some guy on youtube is seeing really low power draw makes them look very attractive for the low-cost segement. Mounting them to the rear driver's side cargo door looks challenging, but I'd wager it's less overall work than what I did.

One user testing in 85F temps said the 8000 btu unit was ballparking 475W on high, but it has the ability to slow the compressor down to the 150W area at its lowest 2000 btu output. When in eco mode after reaching setpoint with only the fan that guy said it got down into the sub 50W range. Those are pretty good numbers if they can be believed. Another guy with a 12000 btu version testing in 95F temps said his ranged from 400 to 900 Watts. That's not bad at all, especially considering the $350 and $450 pricetags at 8k and 12k respectively.

I suspect in real summer heat and humidity the 42 SEER 240V Carrier is about as efficient as you can get in a van. Had I been willing to sacrifice the driver side rear door and just run copper, the install would have been much simpler. Especially now that I designed and documented a way to attach minisplit mounting arms to an aluminess. That part took a long time, ~2months. I could crank one out in 2 weeks now, maybe less if I had all the parts already. But the minisplit route is still very costly though, many times what a Midea U-Shaped unit would cost, and the flexible lineset solution for opening/closing the rear door is pretty awkward and unattractive, even though it does seem to work well.

As for 120V vs 240V, I would recommend 120V minisplits for most people (I believe Nate Costello is going this route). You can still get upwards of 33 SEER, and your inverter setup can be simpler, using a single Victron multiplus. I'm very pleased with my 240V setup, but it's more dangerous, so it requires more work to keep it safe. You can't fudge that part, which many DIY builders might do.

The Schneider Conext SW series offers splitphase 120/240 and an auto-transformer to take 120V shore and output 120/240. Those are great features which no Victron can match, but you only need them to power 240V appliances, so if you go with a 120V 33 SEER minisplit, they don't much matter. The Conext inverter has also proven to be efficient and very quiet (fans have never once turned on during normal use aside from its bootup procedure). I can't speak for Victron on that, but I've read a few blogs with people complaining about multiplus noise, so I consider that a win for the Conext unit, especially in a van where even the furthest location is still within a few feet of the bed.

But lastly, the Conext connectivity is very much subpar compared to Victron's nice centralized app. Everything works, but the Conext Gateway (separate unit, $350) delivers data to the cloud slowly, with delayed readings and just an overall crummy webpage for remote viewing/config. Fortunately you can wifi direct to the Gateway for offline control in a better, but still lacking web format. The Victron app is just so much nicer. It wins on this account hands down.

None of that is a deal breaker for the Conext, but it's another reason why most people should probably go 24V with a Victron multiplus and a 120V 33 SEER if they want very good efficiency, or a 120V Midea U-Shaped for the next step down. After that is truck split systems, then roof-mounted 12V or other more classic tech. That's my sense of it anyways. I could be wrong, so always investigate yourself.

Cheers.
 

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Some people in my build thread have been asking for thoughts on the new Midea U-shaped window units with inverter technology. A quick anecdotal glance at some amazon reviews, and a second-hand testimony that some guy on youtube is seeing really low power draw makes them look very attractive for the low-cost segement. Mounting them to the rear driver's side cargo door looks challenging, but I'd wager it's less overall work than what I did.
I wonder about splitting that unit like was done in that post about converting it to an undermount so that it could be mounted to the rear door without needing to cut a huge hole. Maybe with some creative reinforcement you could get away with the 58lbs on the rear door. If one needed/wanted to use the Aluminess rack, does it move in tandem with the rear door or would that require that the line set have some movement, hence some the complexity you encountered?
 

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I wonder about splitting that unit like was done in that post about converting it to an undermount so that it could be mounted to the rear door without needing to cut a huge hole. Maybe with some creative reinforcement you could get away with the 58lbs on the rear door. If one needed/wanted to use the Aluminess rack, does it move in tandem with the rear door or would that require that the line set have some movement, hence some the complexity you encountered?
It does move in tandem, but depending on how heavily and where the aluminess is loaded, it flexes a bit. I was probably excessively cautious because I drive down really rough roads and push the van to its limits. Not everyone does that. And even for my specific use case, the solution was pretty easy. Just create a horizontal loop of copper, which can move a tiny bit in every direction.

I think splitting the Midea U-shaped isn't worth the effort. If you mount the condenser portion to the rear door, you'll still have the problem of needing a flexible lineset, and if you mount under the van, it'll get dirty/muddy/wet/rock-damaged, etc.

If you're going window-unit style, just embrace that and build a quality "window" cutout in the rear door for one to reside. Worst case scenario, you might need to buy a replacement door from a junkyard someday.

I suspect the door can handle 58lbs if loaded properly. The aluminess is putting the load on the hinges, so technically weighting the door is ultimately transferring the load to the same place (without the added weight of the aluminess). But you'd want to really work to make that door mount robust. Reinforce as necessary by bolting or welding structural support bars. I'd probably bolt because it's not that difficult to seal up bolt holes, and bolted supports can be removed and repositioned for the next-gen window unit upgrade in 3-4 years.

Cheers.
 

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Hm. Not finding anything DC like that on Dometic. I only see the 12/24V stuff under truck coolers or refrigeration. Am I looking in the wrong place?
Sorry, I edited out your "DC" requirement. Not sure whether they make those or not. I was thinking of things like this:
Probably not the best choice.
 

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FWIW - there is not much info out there on actual installs of the UndermountAC units. Sprinter source had a guy who posted a nice unboxing
video and was doing some bench testing but he disappeared off the forum.

I saw this on the fb group last night. He posted some good pictures of his installation, but its nothing more than what's on the undermount ac.com website. He looks to have an extended and he flat mounted the standard 109 condenser between the spare and rear axle. He bought the ducted version, I bought the non-ducted cabinet mount evaporator.

Two weeks ago, I ordered an Undermount A/C which is a ProAir unit the seller is putting together.

It arrived quickly and really well packaged. No van yet and no time right now for a bench test but will report back.


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Hm. I'm open to that. But they all look like they're pretty inefficient. And I really don't want to chop up a home one like @Van Gogh did - it looks like a helluva hassle. Would that be preferable to a 24VDC unit in some way? Or just because there are so few options?
It is surprisingly difficult to obtain real data / comparisons in real world use. This is partly because in CA / SW US, we are trying to air condition with outside air temperatures well over 100 F, and the rating system is based on (I think) 90 F. The fall off with temperature is massive with air conditioning and refrigeration.

From an efficiency viewpoint, it is easy to be fooled by the ratings - they focus on temperature reduction which is fine, but in the real world, humidity reduction is just as important. Lower SEER rated units often are sub cooling the air to help with dehumidifying the air, while super high efficiency units often just barely cool the air to the desired temperature, resulting in a very high humidity environment.

Using a variety of reliable and unreliable resources - and sort of averaging the information together - I have not seen anything significantly better for these higher temperature conditions than the Houghton that is easy to install. That is what ended up on the higher end sprinter 48 volt build and it works really well so far - but only really had one serious test last year. The split units do look interesting though. Van Gogh did an amazing job, but I would stay 120 vac vs 240 vac just because of the related challenges.

In AUS, they deal with high temperatures routinely, so units based on refrigerant R290 are more common, and that is a much better refrigerant for this application than what we are forced to use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Huh. Look at that! Mix and match options. Thank you.


Sorry, I edited out your "DC" requirement. Not sure whether they make those or not. I was thinking of things like this:
Probably not the best choice.
That unit is possible if I go 120VAC powered. Thank you.


FWIW - there is not much info out there on actual installs of the UndermountAC units. Sprinter source had a guy who posted a nice unboxing
video and was doing some bench testing but he disappeared off the forum.

I saw this on the fb group last night. He posted some good pictures of his installation, but its nothing more than what's on the undermount ac.com website. He looks to have an extended and he flat mounted the standard 109 condenser between the spare and rear axle. He bought the ducted version, I bought the non-ducted cabinet mount evaporator.

Two weeks ago, I ordered an Undermount A/C which is a ProAir unit the seller is putting together.

It arrived quickly and really well packaged. No van yet and no time right now for a bench test but will report back.
Huh. That's why Undermount and ProAir look the same. LOL.
That's helpful, though; I've been wondering where the installs are.
I wish the ProAir/Undermount stuff claimed to be as efficient / low-power as the CnC... but they're probably actually pretty similar.

This may end up coming down to what fits in my available space. It's probably time to do some cardboard-aided-design work with the various box options.... 🤔
 

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I haven't started shopping yet, but I did an abortive pass a couple of years ago. What I recall from that exercise was that I liked the idea of dual Danfoss compressors so one could match the capacity to conditions. I THINK there were ProAir units that were set up that way, but I need to swap all this back in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I haven't started shopping yet, but I did an abortive pass a couple of years ago. What I recall from that exercise was that I liked the idea of dual Danfoss compressors so one could match the capacity to conditions. I THINK there were ProAir units that were set up that way, but I need to swap all this back in.
If you find any links / info... I'd appreciate any help I can get. I want to have it done by this summer if all goes well.
 

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I just received my zero breeze (tredless had a sweet deal for open box).
So far seems to work fine, blows cold air. But won’t be able to test until June.
Our summer road trip will take us through TX this year, so that’ll be a good test.

now I know y’all are going to mention how wimpy the unit is and I know that. It is just another (overpriced) option that runs on 24V

But I also don’t mind in the evening, when we pile back into the van, to run a combination of
1) suck hot air out via maxx fan
2) then run the car AC (front and rear) for a bit to hit with initial cool off and top of the batteries
3) then run the zero breeze to stay comfy during the night.

So for my case I think it might work. I usually never camp near shore power, so high powered AC options are out for me right now.
 

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Some people in my build thread have been asking for thoughts on the new Midea U-shaped window units with inverter technology. A quick anecdotal glance at some amazon reviews, and a second-hand testimony that some guy on youtube is seeing really low power draw makes them look very attractive for the low-cost segement. Mounting them to the rear driver's side cargo door looks challenging, but I'd wager it's less overall work than what I did.

One user testing in 85F temps said the 8000 btu unit was ballparking 475W on high, but it has the ability to slow the compressor down to the 150W area at its lowest 2000 btu output. When in eco mode after reaching setpoint with only the fan that guy said it got down into the sub 50W range. Those are pretty good numbers if they can be believed. Another guy with a 12000 btu version testing in 95F temps said his ranged from 400 to 900 Watts. That's not bad at all, especially considering the $350 and $450 pricetags at 8k and 12k respectively.
I'm planning on using the 8k btu Midea. I'm hoping that the single 50" hinged rear door on the Unicell will make for a relatively easy install, but won't know for sure until I get the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It is surprisingly difficult to obtain real data / comparisons in real world use. This is partly because in CA / SW US, we are trying to air condition with outside air temperatures well over 100 F, and the rating system is based on (I think) 90 F. The fall off with temperature is massive with air conditioning and refrigeration.

From an efficiency viewpoint, it is easy to be fooled by the ratings - they focus on temperature reduction which is fine, but in the real world, humidity reduction is just as important. Lower SEER rated units often are sub cooling the air to help with dehumidifying the air, while super high efficiency units often just barely cool the air to the desired temperature, resulting in a very high humidity environment.
...
I'm only mildly attached to the theoretical efficiency. It seems clear that it's going to be 500-1000W one way or the other; but I could be fine with a few 1000W bursts to keep the temp down - in fact, I'd prefer that over a 400W unit that runs non-stop to barely keep it cool.
 

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I just received my zero breeze (tredless had a sweet deal for open box).
So far seems to work fine, blows cold air. But won’t be able to test until June.
Our summer road trip will take us through TX this year, so that’ll be a good test.

now I know y’all are going to mention how wimpy the unit is and I know that. It is just another (overpriced) option that runs on 24V

But I also don’t mind in the evening, when we pile back into the van, to run a combination of
1) suck hot air out via maxx fan
2) then run the car AC (front and rear) for a bit to hit with initial cool off and top of the batteries
3) then run the zero breeze to stay comfy during the night.

So for my case I think it might work. I usually never camp near shore power, so high powered AC options are out for me right now.
I know a lot of people poo-poo the zero breeze but I don't think they get that it is a pretty good spot cooler and not really suppose to cool down sq ft.

I'm with you on your 3-step plan for evenings. I had the same idea I found this unit on ebay. I got it for much cheaper than a zero breeze 2 and it is 24v. and is compressor driven. I think its a little less BTUs but I'm willing to "make it work."

Product Azure Hood Font Aqua



Bonus... along with the AC/DC adapter, it came with a wiring pigtail which I connected to a step-up converter 12v-24v so I can run it off my van house battery circuit.
 
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