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Old 02-22-2021, 12:53 PM   #1
Buckeyexx
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Weird A/C issue

So here is my issue. I recently sold my camper because I wasnít using it as much as I would have liked. The couple that bought it paid for it about a month ago and I have kept it stored for them since then. Well they decided to come pick it up this past weekend while the weather has been a little better. Had lots of snow on top of the camper.
I back it into the shop I work in so I can hook it up to power while I go over a few things with them.
While we were sitting there talking I start smelling something electrical getting hot. Before we could even react we heard something pop and lost all power to camper. I thought ok tripped a circuit somehow so I go check the plug and the breakers inside and found nothing had tripped. Unplugged from the outlet and plugged back in and everything came back up as a if nothing had happened. The smell had gone away at this point but I kept on looking for what had happened. When got to the ac unit to see if it would turn on it would not. It was never on at all and didnít want to turn it on with the snow on top.
So here is my question. What could have caused something to burn up inside the ac unit when I didnít have it on? All I did was plug in the camper but never tried operating the ac unit. I checked Everything else works inside and it does.
Luckily I transferred my extended warranty over to the new owners but I hate that this could happen to them already. Sorry for the long post!
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:33 PM   #2
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Probably not the AC itself, but the circuit going to the AC somewhere along the way.
Have you managed to check the breakers/fuse to see which one blew?
Follow along that line and you'll find the problem.

Griz
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:45 PM   #3
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I'm not sure about your specific model, but on most in that era, there is a control unit in the air conditioner "return air box". It interfaces the heat (furnace) cool (air conditioner) and the A/C fan control (to operate the A/C fan) when the heat is called for by the thermostat. There is 12 VDC and 120 VAC in that control box. If you had the heat/furnace turned on, you may have a "malfunction/smoke" in that control box. About a $100 part, if that's the problem.
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibdagriz View Post
Probably not the AC itself, but the circuit going to the AC somewhere along the way.
Have you managed to check the breakers/fuse to see which one blew?
Follow along that line and you'll find the problem.

Griz

I did check the breaker but it didnít trip. I will have to pull the fuses because that hasnít been done yet. Even if a fuse blew I donít know how it would have blown with no load on it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JRTJH View Post
I'm not sure about your specific model, but on most in that era, there is a control unit in the air conditioner "return air box". It interfaces the heat (furnace) cool (air conditioner) and the A/C fan control (to operate the A/C fan) when the heat is called for by the thermostat. There is 12 VDC and 120 VAC in that control box. If you had the heat/furnace turned on, you may have a "malfunction/smoke" in that control box. About a $100 part, if that's the problem.

Sorry didnít mention the model. Itís a passport 239ml. The air conditioner is not heat and cool both just cool.
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:29 PM   #6
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Sorry didnít mention the model. Itís a passport 239ml. The air conditioner is not heat and cool both just cool.
If you have a digital thermostat, when you turn the thermostat to heat and the fan to HI or LO, the air conditioner fan will come on when the furnace fan comes on and go off when the furnace fan turns off. The intent is to increase circulation of the warm air by using the A/C fan to increase airflow. The digital thermostat controls the furnace "through the HVAC control box located in the air conditioner return air plenum.

It (the HVAC control box has nothing to do with whether your air conditioner is "cool only", "heat pump" or "heat strip augmented"... Nearly all the air conditioners with a digital thermostat have the HVAC control box.

Added: If you remove the filter, you will probably see one of these boxes mounted in the return air chamber. The gray one is the "old style HVAC control box" the silver one is the "new style HVAC control box". I'd almost bet you have one, it's damaged, and you don't even know it's there... Few people do, so don't think anything about missing it.....
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Old 02-22-2021, 05:53 PM   #7
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There's no digital thermostat in the ML239. All manual. A/C is controlled from the ceiling controls. Heat/furnace is controlled from the mechanical two-wire thermostat on the bunk wall (unless OP changed out that thermostat to a digital heat only like I did).
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:08 PM   #8
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There's no digital thermostat in the ML239. All manual. A/C is controlled from the ceiling controls. Heat/furnace is controlled from the mechanical two-wire thermostat on the bunk wall (unless OP changed out that thermostat to a digital heat only like I did).

You are correct. Only manual. I never changed it over
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bill-2020 View Post
There's no digital thermostat in the ML239. All manual. A/C is controlled from the ceiling controls. Heat/furnace is controlled from the mechanical two-wire thermostat on the bunk wall (unless OP changed out that thermostat to a digital heat only like I did).
Ahhh, then it's a Passport "express" not the GT model.... My bad...
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:15 PM   #10
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I have had my head in other issues but, if you had it plugged in, everything operational, smelled something burning and a pop, lost all power to the trailer; THEN unplugged and plugged back in the power cord and all was good - how does that happen?

The pop wasn't a breaker because they don't self restore. It wasn't a burned up something that fused then blew a breaker. I can only surmise it was something in the AC that made the noise BUT if it burned up and made a popping noise it would have just "popped", not knocked out all power until it was unplugged then plugged back in. My thinking at the moment anyway.
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:57 PM   #11
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Iím thinking that snow or water got into the ac unit and was laying on the board or another electrical component..depending on how high the snow was it could have leaked in through the vents..or from condensation dripping inside the ac shroud if snow was piled on top..as soon as you plugged in the power cord it shorted out even with the switch off to the ac because the short was at the board
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:59 PM   #12
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I have had my head in other issues but, if you had it plugged in, everything operational, smelled something burning and a pop, lost all power to the trailer; THEN unplugged and plugged back in the power cord and all was good - how does that happen?

The pop wasn't a breaker because they don't self restore. It wasn't a burned up something that fused then blew a breaker. I can only surmise it was something in the AC that made the noise BUT if it burned up and made a popping noise it would have just "popped", not knocked out all power until it was unplugged then plugged back in. My thinking at the moment anyway.

Thatís where Iím lost with the whole thing. The way it knocked power out then was able to bring it back up as if nothing happened. Like I said the first thing I did was check the breaker but it hadnít tripped. The only thing I can think is that maybe the snow melting on top got into the unit somehow but there isnít any kind of leak coming around the ac unit on the inside.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:02 PM   #13
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Iím thinking that snow or water got into the ac unit and was laying on the board or another electrical component..depending on how high the snow was it could have leaked in through the vents..or from condensation dripping inside the ac shroud if snow was piled on top..as soon as you plugged in the power cord it shorted out even with the switch off to the ac because the short was at the board

Iím with you on that. It wasnít as soon as it was plugged in but wasnít long after. Maybe just long enough for the snow to start melting. There was maybe 2-3 in on top of it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:04 PM   #14
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I just feel really bad for the new owner. It is great I had the extended warranty but the hassle of it sucks.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:14 PM   #15
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I just feel really bad for the new owner. It is great I had the extended warranty but the hassle of it sucks.
Well look at the bright side ... itís not the middle of summer...they have time to get it corrected
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Old 02-23-2021, 04:43 AM   #16
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Well look at the bright side ... itís not the middle of summer...they have time to get it corrected

That is one way to look at it for sure. Iím just hoping to point them in the right direction as to what it could have been. I know without digging into it physically itís hard to diagnose.
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Old 02-23-2021, 05:40 AM   #17
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If it’s an electrical issue with a Dometic a/c, your battle has just begun. Dometic, per my local Dometic service center, rarely warranties electrical problems. Especially if something has burned up. It’s likely they or you will have to pay for a new unit. BTDT in July/Aug this past year. Dometic’s position is/will be, what were you plugged in to, where, what amperage, etc, etc. ? Unless you can prove you were not at fault electrically, you’ll be in a uphill battle.
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Old 02-23-2021, 06:58 AM   #18
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If itís an electrical issue with a Dometic a/c, your battle has just begun. Dometic, per my local Dometic service center, rarely warranties electrical problems. Especially if something has burned up. Itís likely they or you will have to pay for a new unit. BTDT in July/Aug this past year. Dometicís position is/will be, what were you plugged in to, where, what amperage, etc, etc. ? Unless you can prove you were not at fault electrically, youíll be in a uphill battle.

Iím hoping itís not the entire unit for the new owners sake but it would not be domestic that would need to warranty it. The extended warranty should be the ones to cover the cost. Not that they donít fight with claims but that is the reason of purchasing it. Hope it doesnít come to a fight with them.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:15 AM   #19
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I have faith in breakers. A short would have very likely tripped a breaker. You described a smell and a noise. I wonder if there is an “open” rather than a short. You might check electrical connections such as wire nuts and grounds. A poor connection can cause arcing without tripping a breaker and make a burned smell.
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Old 02-23-2021, 07:52 AM   #20
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Weird A/C issue

I have faith in breakers my self. I actually work for a breaker shop that deals with industrial size breakers. Thatís what has me stumped because it didnít trip any of them. Thatís the first thing I went too. Anytime you have a fault it should trip when it gets the over current.
My problem is The new owners have already taken delivery on the camper so I canít go out and start diagnosing wiring. Iím just trying to maybe point them in the right direction. This all just happened when I was going over how to operate things with them.
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