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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my boat originally came with two 8,000 or 9,000 btu marine air conditioners when new at the front and back of the boat. When I purchased it the aft air conditioner didn't work and the forward one had been replaced with a 12,000 btu Cruisair reverse cycle unit. In the middle of summer and winter this unit doesn't really keep up with the demand. Because of this I'm thinking about getting a new unit for the back of the boat to supplement during the extremes as well as to have a backup. Fortunately I have the ductwork, mounting place, wiring and water pump from the old so I just need to buy a new unit.

So my question to everyone is if you were to buy a new marine reverse cycle hvac unit in the 12000 btu range what would it be?
 

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I think the issue is that 90% of boat do not have air conditioning, so most don't have a preference.

We have a Marine Air system that works just fine. I particularly like the dehumidify setting for when we are away and don't want to burn electricity for cooling.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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So my boat originally came with two 8,000 or 9,000 btu marine air conditioners when new at the front and back of the boat. When I purchased it the aft air conditioner didn't work and the forward one had been replaced with a 12,000 btu Cruisair reverse cycle unit. In the middle of summer and winter this unit doesn't really keep up with the demand. Because of this I'm thinking about getting a new unit for the back of the boat to supplement during the extremes as well as to have a backup. Fortunately I have the ductwork, mounting place, wiring and water pump from the old so I just need to buy a new unit.

So my question to everyone is if you were to buy a new marine reverse cycle hvac unit in the 12000 btu range what would it be?
I suggest you take a close look at (Click on) King-Air Marine AC. Our boat included a single 16K BTU King-Air unit when we bought her, installed under the aft seat return on the port side settee, that easily cooled the entire boat without ducting, just a couple of fans to move air around, even in the summer heat of southwest Florida. The unit lasted 16 years without fail and would still be going strong had it not been for an improperly mounted condensate drain line that allowed water to get to the underside of the Compressor canister without our knowledge and caused that to corrode through and fail. While we could have had the compressor replaced, because of the extensive water damage we decided to replace the entire unit. The new machine is the same size but somewhat more efficient than the old and is controlled with a computerized key-pad/thermostat rather than the manual/rotary controls of our original unit. The support we have received from King-Air for the few problems we have had in the last few years--the result of errors by some parts suppliers--has been exceptional, and without charges, despite the expiration of the warranty period. Moreover, the unit is very quiet and vibration free compared with the noise we here from other brands.

Lastly, one custom feature that King-Air cobbled up for us was the installation of two drains from the condensate pan, one each on the port and starboard sides, so that, regardless of what tack we're on when we take off, any condensate accumulation is drained to a collector in the bilge rather than being allowed to spill over the sides of the pan if a single drain happened to be on the "high side".

If you choose to contact the Company, tell'em the crew of HyLyte recommended them.

Cheers!
 

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One of None
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You would not do badly regardless which make you buy. There is a slight but unnecessary logic to getting the same as the one that is still good, but from my point of view they are all "same" Also there is a good chance whatever you buy is just a re-tagged unit from one of the major mfgs of marine ac units.
Air Conditioning - Cruisair "by Dometic Group"

I like the "Stowaway" units.


How big is your boat? 2, 2ton units is quite allot! (12,000 btu is a "ton"in hvac speak)
 

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I have a 14,000 BTU heat pump in my Morgan 33 Out Island. It does a great job both cooling and heating the entire boat. It takes about 30 minutes to cool the cabin from 95 degrees to 72 degrees on a hot summer day. I rarely use the heat, but it's much faster than the air when I have used it.

Gary :cool:
 

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This year, I'm adding a generator to run the AC. There have been lots of hot summer nights when the temperature and humidity are both in the low 89s and sleep became quite difficult. Additionally, when I travel with my music gear, I must keep the humidity as low as possible. Electronics does not like moisture intrusion, especially arranger keyboards.

Cheers,

Gary :cool:
 

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I suggest you take a close look at (Click on) King-Air Marine AC. Our boat included a single 16K BTU King-Air unit when we bought her, installed under the aft seat return on the port side settee, that easily cooled the entire boat without ducting, just a couple of fans to move air around, even in the summer heat of southwest Florida. The unit lasted 16 years without fail and would still be going strong had it not been for an improperly mounted condensate drain line that allowed water to get to the underside of the Compressor canister without our knowledge and caused that to corrode through and fail. While we could have had the compressor replaced, because of the extensive water damage we decided to replace the entire unit. The new machine is the same size but somewhat more efficient than the old and is controlled with a computerized key-pad/thermostat rather than the manual/rotary controls of our original unit. The support we have received from King-Air for the few problems we have had in the last few years--the result of errors by some parts suppliers--has been exceptional, and without charges, despite the expiration of the warranty period. Moreover, the unit is very quiet and vibration free compared with the noise we here from other brands.

Lastly, one custom feature that King-Air cobbled up for us was the installation of two drains from the condensate pan, one each on the port and starboard sides, so that, regardless of what tack we're on when we take off, any condensate accumulation is drained to a collector in the bilge rather than being allowed to spill over the sides of the pan if a single drain happened to be on the "high side".

If you choose to contact the Company, tell'em the crew of HyLyte recommended them.

Cheers!
Glad you had good luck with King-Air, our experience was the opposite. We purchased a 16,000 btu King-Air about 17 years ago. Installed it and the compressor was bad. King-Air refused to do anything about it. Luckily a competitor of theirs felt sorry for us and replaced the compressor at cost.
 

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Glad you had good luck with King-Air, our experience was the opposite. We purchased a 16,000 btu King-Air about 17 years ago. Installed it and the compressor was bad. King-Air refused to do anything about it. Luckily a competitor of theirs felt sorry for us and replaced the compressor at cost.
I'm sorry you had difficulties when you did but I suspect that ownership and/or management may have changed quite a good deal if not entirely during the intervening 17 years as our experience has been quite good/positive. We have referred several others to the Company and all have thanked us for the referral. A Company that treats its customers poorly/unfairly very frequently will not last long when information is so easily shared. That said, the ease with which information can be shared can also unfairly tar those that don't deserve it, no?
 

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I'm sorry you had difficulties when you did but I suspect that ownership and/or management may have changed quite a good deal if not entirely during the intervening 17 years as our experience has been quite good/positive. We have referred several others to the Company and all have thanked us for the referral. A Company that treats its customers poorly/unfairly very frequently will not last long when information is so easily shared. That said, the ease with which information can be shared can also unfairly tar those that don't deserve it, no?
I'm not sure who runs the company now, all I can do is relay the experience I had with the company. Yes ownership may have changed and hopefully it did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pretty much the reverse cycle heat pump is a necessity for me. I live aboard the boat and with the way the summers are here there's not really an option of not having it. A friend with a similar sized boat has a 12000 and a 16000 btu units working in the summer to keep his boat cold. I've so far been good with just the 12000 but it has a hard time keeping up in the summer. I've thought about just going back with another Dometic unit as it will obviously fit in the location that the existing abandoned unit in the aft cabin resides. I was wondering about others so I'll check out the King-Air as well.

Thanks.
 

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Super Fuzzy
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How many of you have a generator to keep the aircon going ?

If no generator and when you are not connected to shore power how much juice do these things suck out of your batteries ?

I love the idea of having air con for high summer but we have enough trouble keeping up with our power consumption as it is without adding air con.
 

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How many of you have a generator to keep the aircon going ?

If no generator and when you are not connected to shore power how much juice do these things suck out of your batteries ?

I love the idea of having air con for high summer but we have enough trouble keeping up with our power consumption as it is without adding air con.
As a practical matter, running an air conditioner for heat or cooling off an inverter/battery bank is impossible absent a battery bank large enough to power a submarine. In our case, we have a Panda 4.2 KW generator that will nicely power our King-Air AC, recharge our batteries and power our water heater. In the summer months, when anchored out, we really only need the AC for 4-6 hours between, roughly, 1400 and 2000 each day. That time period sufficiently cools the boat that we're good until the following day unless there's no wind, which is unusual. In a marina, where there's little wind, we run the AC fairly continuously on shore power but even then it's really only operating in cooling mode about half the time, or less, once the boats been cooled down. For those from the north, who are not adjusted to the climate, what we consider comfortable may seem to be too warm. In relatively short order, however, the human body normally adjusts to warmer temperatures without much difficulty.

FWIW...
 
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We have an approx 8k Mase generator (having brain spasm on exact size), which will run all three air con units aboard at once. If someone tries to run a hair dryer simultaneously, a breaker will trip. However, we never run the a/c at anchor for very long, it most often runs at the dock.

When at anchor, we may run it for an hour just to dry things up. Especially after several hot and humid days out cruising, it really makes a difference to all fabric and crew aboard to dry out for an hour. Even more often, I turn on the unit in our stateroom when I take my evening shower. I hate getting out of a great shower and immediately beginning to sweat, while putting clean clothes on. With an aft cabin, air circulation is very poor so the a/c is a wonderful luxury.
 

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Super Fuzzy
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I'm pretty much back to thinking that air con for us is not a practical option. In warm weather we spend all but sleeping, cooking and head time in the cockpit. If we have breeze then even on a hot day the cabin is pretty comfortable and the time I'd most like air con would be in the evening when I go to bed. Sadly at such time the noise would be annoying not only to other campers but also to us.

If we spent any time at all in marinas I'd have to re evaluate that.

Thanks for the input good people.
 

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Thanks for that info. Are you happy with the Panda ?
Andrew--

Hopefully your thread will not devolve into a Generator Bashing diatribe as has happened with such discussions/questions in past.

Beyond the foregoing, I/We have generally been pretty happy with the Panda (ours now 12 years old). They are, however, fairly intricate and do require diligent owner/user maintenance in close compliance with the manufacturers' recommendations or they can be problematic (although I understand that the latest generation is somewhat more tolerant of benign neglect and has been redesigned for more simple maintenance--and particularly the raw water cooling pump). The only problems we've had have been largely due to user errors vis-a-vis maintenance but the fellows at Panda were very good about helping me get things corrected. We did have one problem because the technician that installed the device did not religiously follow the manufacturer's installation instructions for the control module causing the premature failure of a capacitor; and, somewhat later due to an OEM's defective raw water pump (although was replaced by Panda even post warranty period without charge).

What I do like about the unit is that, properly maintained it is a reliable machine, provides more than enough power for our needs very economically (1/10th to 1/4th gallon of fuel per hour depending upon load) in a very small package and is very quiet. On board, one cannot hear it running over the sound of the AC fan when below nor, on deck, when one is amid-ships--it's installed in a cockpit sail locker. Even on top of it in the cockpit, it's just a subtle hum. (E.g., I have run the machine in our slip with the owners of the boat in an adjoining slip not realizing we had it going until we invited them over to cool off during a mid-summer shore power outage.)

There are several good, reliable, small generators on the market and some that are less maintenance sensitive than the Panda. In some sense, a generator that can stand more neglect, rather than less, is probably wise in a cruising boat considering the maintenance burden such a boat and life-style places on an owner. However, if one has the self discipline to perform one's maintenance chores in a timely fashion, and the machine can be easily accessed, the Panda is a good choice.

FWIW...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My boat had a generator at one time but it had been removed when I bought the boat. I currently use a Honda 2kw generator which powers my existing HVAC fine but you have to be selective about extra loads.
 

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So my question to everyone is if you were to buy a new marine reverse cycle hvac unit in the 12000 btu range what would it be?
I'd go with a Cruisair Stowaway Turbo. The STX12 will keep going for years for you. You just might have an occasional issue with the SMX control pad (they go on the blink for odd reasons), but when it comes to the actual function of the unit, can't be beat. There are a few other Cruisair self-contained models you can choose from as well, but I'm only familiar with the turbo units: Cruisair A/C Systems and Parts | CitimarineStore.com

I believe all the Cruisair and Marine Air part numbers are being replaced by Dometic numbers now (DTUs for example are the new turbos), but it's the same unit.
 
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