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Old 08-07-2013, 02:11 AM   #1
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Danhard AC quitting

We bought an 08 SMB in January. Now that it's warm out, we've been trying out the Danhard A/C unit. (The PO said he never used it. I think the direct translation of this means: It's broken.)

When on 15A shore power, the unit will not cool, though the fan works. When plugged into 20A shore power, it will seem to put out cool air for about 5 minutes (67.5 deg air coming out of the vents, according to my Harbor Freight IR thermometer when it's 83 deg ambient), and then it quits. The fan still blows as hard as ever. No fuses or CBs trip, just the cool air quits.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what may be wrong? Having moved to a new city this summer (Albuquerque), I have no idea of who might a reliable shop to take it to. I just don't want to get boned.

Personally, I'd rather rip the whole system out and save the weight of hauling it around, plus open up some storage space. I think the system is absolutely useless unless we're in a campground. But the dear wife is very much a lover of A/C.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:03 AM   #2
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

I'm not sure a 20A circuit will run it. Did a breaker trip or is there something on the unit that needs to be reset? You're not having to run the inverter to power it do you? I'm not sure about the danhard but thought it can run off the engine running while using the inverter so have you tried that. Myself I'd just call Danhard and ask. Talk with the people that know. Hopefully you haven't lost the freon type stuff due to a leak.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:38 PM   #3
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

I've got that newer Danhard unit in my 08 as well and have used it all summer. Something is definitely wrong if yours isn't cooling, but I think it's likely just because you're not giving it enough power. This unit needs 30amp shore power service, at least according to the documentation I have. It will also will run from the inverter if you're pulling highway RPMs but will drain the batteries pretty quickly at idle.

Lastly, it can be serviced by anyone that does normal automotive AC work. Mine was low on freon and my local shop checked it out, put dye in it, and found the leak at one of the schrader valves. $2 fix plus cost to recharge the unit and it's been cooling great all summer.

If you need it I can also send you the Danhard PDF I got from SMB that covers maintenance, troubleshooting, and service.

Hope that helps.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:28 AM   #4
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Thanks for the responses, guys.

I only have 15A in the garage at home, and the storage lot we keep it only has 20A plugs, along with a very touchy/worn out breaker. The campgrounds we have been to only every seem to have 20A service when we check in.

I haven't tried a 30A plug yet. Are the shore power plugs the same for 20A and 30A? I'm an electrical dummy, but it would seem to me that if they had the same configuration, there would be a lot of 30A campers tripping 20A breakers all across the nation.

No, I don't run the inverter. I just turn on the Main 110v breaker, and then the breaker for the A/C after plugging in to shore power. I haven't tried running it on the highway, either, because I didn't think the inverter could handle it even with engine spinning the alternator (which is a 140A unit) at 2100 rpm.

The A/C breaker hasn't tripped, and there's no other reset button that I know of. I had thought about the refrigerant being low. Guess I have to find a place that seems trustworthy.

I'd appreciate it if you could send me that PDF. I have just a couple pages on the Danhard in the SMB manual.Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Yep, you can even damage the unit is it receives low voltage so you do need to monitor that. RV parks are notorious for bad power. In your storage you can do the little things w/o problems like having a dehumidifier on, a fan running or charge the batteries but not run the A/C. And your right about on the road, you can run it but you might have low house batteries after a long run. Here is the 30 type connector on SMB vans.


And here is the typical shore power 30a setup:


There are adaptors but what it pulls is what it is. It's not if the breaker trips, it's if you let the voltage drop lower than about 110vAC. It's called 110 but the true normal voltage to shoot for is 120v. If I find voltage at 112 or lower at a house or higher than 126, I start to troubleshoot why the poor voltage being created. In an RV park you have to be careful and monitor. Just an open neutral can cause all kinds of issues and damage things. Low voltage can be from many causes but it does make things like compressors run harder, something best avoided. They make AC monitoring stations for RV's and if you frequent parks with power I'd suggest getting one provided you have any electronics in the van. If you just use shore power for charging, heaters and A/C, a simple monitor or plug in socket type voltmeter is fine.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Going off topic, but Dave's comment about bad shore power in RV parks has me wondering if people typically run surge protectors while in an RV park?

My trailer doesn't have much in the way of sophisticated electronics, but I don't want any damage to what I do have. I'm looking at this one. Pretty simple and lower power, but that's all I think I need.
http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/it ... ault/18337


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Old 08-11-2013, 08:37 PM   #7
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Coming back to this thread to relate a specific anecdote from this weekend that I think explains what's happening to your AC on shore power. Here we have 30amp service and have never tried to run the Danhard on less (Note I haven't ever checked the exact available amperage at a site, just assume they have 30 when they say 30).

There was a thunderstorm last night so the power at the campground was a little sketchy. One time the power flickered some, just enough to dim the lights, and probably enough to go down below the 30 amp draw or whatever the Danhard compressor requires, and the compressor shut off. It came back on once power was back up and clean, but it was similar enough to what you're experiencing that I thought about it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:30 AM   #8
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottman
...
There was a thunderstorm last night so the power at the campground was a little sketchy. One time the power flickered some, just enough to dim the lights, and probably enough to go down below the 30 amp draw or whatever the Danhard compressor requires, and the compressor shut off. It came back on once power was back up and clean, but it was similar enough to what you're experiencing that I thought about it.
Thanks, that's good to know. I guess I'll bring my multi-meter along next time and see what that actual amperage is at the outlets.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:48 AM   #9
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Just be aware that because there is a 30 amp plug it doesn't mean that it will supply good voltage. Several factors can lead to poor voltage. Bad connections, undersized wire, and long runs are typical reasons for poor voltages. If the power company is at fault, many times the whole park will be having issues.
About the only way to find out if the shore power panel can supply what is needed is to take voltage under full load. So it is possible that once you kick on the air, running something else like a microwave might cause it to drop into the warning zone. On top of that you have to factor in that things can go south at any time producing spikes and surges, so having a surge protector is a good idea. But those things don't always work as advertised. Thunder storms are a big problem. It can cause mixed issues. I've had surge protectors fail to clamp such high voltage surge whether or not the utility transformer blew its fuse. Even if the utility fails to receive any damage from the strike, I've seen surge protectors actually catch fire due to lightning. Still they are a good investment to protect from high voltage spikes and surges, just don't give up monitoring the voltage and watch out for low voltage.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:28 PM   #10
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Re: Danhard AC quitting

Okay, I got the Danhard working. The problem (apparently) was that the fans in the exterior box for the condenser weren't running fast enough.

Also, the condenser was full of rocks and dirt thrown up by the left front tire. I unmounted the boxes containing the fans and condenser and vacuumed, hosed, and used air to clean out the fins on the condenser. I had to cut a couple rusted bolts to get it off the bottom of the van.

The fans were running slowly because the power wires to them had been badly damaged when the PO drove over some big rocks or something. One wire was shorting on the fan box, and energizing the van's body. I found this out when my hand brushed against the bumper as I was walking around to check the fan operation. The original installer had merely zip-tied the unprotected fan wires to the underside of the fan box.

What I did:
I removed and cleaned the fans, replaced the damaged wires with new ones, wrapped the wires in corrugated tubing, and re-routed them to be inside the fan box instead of outside. I also did some additional re-routing of the other A/C wires and hoses under the van. Some were just hanging free under there!

To keep the rock and dirt problem from happening again, I bought a piece of 12 x 24 x 0.080" Kydex from knife kits.com. I used a Dremel and a heat gun to shape the Kydex into a shield that follows the contours around the condenser and fan boxes. Seems to have worked pretty well on our recent trip to Alstrom Point.



So the A/C is working now. It hasn't been above 60F much here, so I can't really judge the efficiency very well, but my cheapo IR thermometer says that the A/C is putting out air at 32 degrees inside the vents (van interior at ~72), and it runs just fine off of my garage 15A GFI outlet.

So now I have another question: Is the thing supposed to be this loud on the outside?!! I used an iOS app called dB Pro and it recorded the following:
Next to fan box: 83 dB
15 feet away: 73 dB
40 feet away: 58 dB
Inside the van, it's tolerable.

Since re-wiring the fans, they absolutely scream and are moving a ton of air through the condenser. I can imagine a bunch of angry campers at the next campsite coming at me with tire irons and BBQ forks....
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