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Old 02-13-2017, 01:33 PM   #1
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Best mini-split/HVAC brands?

I'm looking for a mini-split (or possibly a heater and an AC unit) to mount on the roof of my schoolie, over the roof hatches (there are two, which is why I would consider 2 separate units). I don't know where to start- what are yall's brand/website recommendations for where to search out the units? Also, what is the likelihood of finding units that I can put over the roof hatches (ie ones that won't force me to cut a hole anywhere in the bus)?

Edit- additional info:
The bus won't be mobile, just fyi. I am just looking for where to start when searching for a unit.

Thanks so much guys yall are awesome
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:47 PM   #2
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I'm looking for a mini-split (or possibly a heater and an AC unit) to mount on the roof of my schoolie, over the roof hatches (there are two, which is why I would consider 2 separate units). I don't know where to start- what are yall's brand/website recommendations for where to search out the units? Also, what is the likelihood of finding units that I can put over the roof hatches (ie ones that won't force me to cut a hole anywhere in the bus)?
Thanks so much guys yall are awesome
So take this reply with a grain of salt. My brother who used to be an air conditioning guy won't let me put a mini split on any RV unless it is going to "remain parked". But the last mini split he put in was 10 years ago. I had him put one into my house. It cost me about $1800 with installation. I loved it and it worked great but there was copper between the blower unit and the condenser outside.. and #1 copper gets ripped off by meth addicts. And #2.. it can break apart quite easily. So that's my 2 cents.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:04 PM   #3
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:19 PM   #4
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mini splits are designed for fixed refrigeration... however theres no reason you cant use them in a camper if done right... in my opinion the physical size for the amount of HVAC you get seems large, but they are efficient.. and have soft-start compressors which makes them great for running on Batteries, inverters, or generators. the variable speed compressors mean once you get the space to the desired temperature the units run on a low setting to maintain.. and they are quiet.. hardest part is locat8ng the outdoor unit where it can get good airflow.. I know theres at least one or two on here that have theirs located under the bus.. the copper tubes are very thin on the coils.. not sure id want road salt over them all the time but I gavent heard of anyone having issues yet...

most of them are all chines-made.. you can buy the extra expensive units that have the "mitsubishi" name on them or such but most all of them that are under many other names are all made in 1 or 2 plants in china.. many of them are CHIGO company made and then re-branded.. i have 3 Chigo units in my house since 2009.. all highly modified and all running great.. havent tried to add one to the bus yet
-Christopher
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:47 PM   #5
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I'll be trying a $450 unit from china when I get one.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:38 PM   #6
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I have been waiting for this subject to come up.
Christopher, please tell us how you would go about installing a mini split in your skoolie.
Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:22 PM   #7
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Ok, now let's talk about 110v versus 220v
I know when I was subbing HVAC class at the technology center, they've got a 110v demo unit set up. I'll have to get back by there and see which unit they're demo'ing...

Since I'll be moving from state parks to semi-permanent locations, I'll need to use 110v units because I won't have 220v shore power at the state parks. So, do I plan on a couple of 110v complete units or one 110v units with dual zones?

Once I get the 120/240v Generac generator head installed on the L3e Mitsubishi motor, I'll have road a/c... But, I won't want to run the Mitsubishi when I'm not traveling. So, I'll be installing a transfer switch from shore power to generator power and back.

(I can't make the move away from 5,000 to 12,000 btu 110v window units until November... Once my bus is paid off and seller's lien is removed)

I can't justify a 220v unit in my scenario.
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:06 AM   #8
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I have two 12,000 inverter mini splits, one front and one rear, they work quite nicely. I can run both off of my inverter although I have to run the engine to do that since my battery bank isn't large enough to run one for more than about 1/2 hour. No problem when I'm plugged into shore power which is most of the time. The cool quite nicely sitting in the sun in midwest at 90 deg. They pretty much rune silently. If the radio is on you can't hear them. The condensor for the rear is directly under my bed and I can only get a sense of it running, can't really hear it.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:12 AM   #9
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I have been waiting for this subject to come up.
Christopher, please tell us how you would go about installing a mini split in your skoolie.
Thanks.
first ioff there are chinese 12k btu Mini splits made with 110 Volt service.. 2 of them in my house...

secondly I would take the simple route and simply hang them underneath the bus... in a long bus I might be inclined to go behind the rear wheels.. in a short bus id be concerned about clearance qwhen entering a driveway..

if i went behind rear wheels, then good mudflaps are a must..

the only Mod i would make is to go from the hard copper linesets to flexible mobile A/C lines.. but others have used the copper without issue... im anal about my A/C...

-Christopher
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:09 AM   #10
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There re some great mini-splits out there today...but none of them come from China. I had about a half dozen of them installed at my studios. Two went south within a couple of months, the rest were in the dumpster within two years. Cost me a bundle.

Missubishi is one name I have heard good things about but I also share the concern over the basic design being bounced around on the road. They simply were not designed with that in mind. Maybe Cadillac could tell you how to "rattle-proof" them.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:00 AM   #11
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with minisplits, I wouldnt run them on the road... road A/C they are not.. im sure soke here will say they run theirs on the road... as for the chinese units.. yeah theres bad ones.. but again Ive got 3 Highly modified (meaning they arent used for their intended purpose... well sort of they do cool and heat my house...).. chionese units ..since 2009 and they all work fine..


mitsubishi is the defacto standard unit.. and it costs twice as much as the others.. and mitsi wants them to only be pro-installed though you cvan get them on retail now...

theres no easy way to rattle proof a mini.. other than not use it on the road..

my units have toshiba compressors.. alot of them have sanyo compressors..

my experience with failed chinese units were they were installed in areas they shouldnt have been.. ie expected to cool so much space that they ran on maxx all the time..

imnverter compressors are great, efficient, and such until you run them at full bore.. then the boards and the motors heat up and they dont last... the boards usually burn up.. the MOSFETs on the driver boards.. alot of people throw the units away when that happens.. they can be fixed..

somewhereinusa has the right idea as he has 2 of them in his bus so neither likely runs full bore for very long

onme would be fine in a short insulated bus.. id want 2 in a long insulated bus..

and using one in a non insulated bus i think asks for trouble..

the mitsubishi units are heavier duty commercial units.. they are designed to run 24/7/365 so if you plan to tax a unit hard it may be worth it to buy these pricier units.. they are no doubt good units.

all comes down to budget and whgat conditions you are running them in.

-Christopher
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:41 PM   #12
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Thanks Christopher.
I am seeking alternatives to roof top AC. I would like to find something quieter.
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:54 PM   #13
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Great info here!

Adam
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:23 AM   #14
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the MOSFETs on the driver boards.. alot of people throw the units away when that happens.. they can be fixed
Good to know that's a common issue. I'll add them to my scavenging list. UPS units and LCDs also tend to die from simple stuff like bad MOSFETs or popped capacitors. I've gotten good deals on busted equipment from time to time knowing how to just read component values and solder in replacements.
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:15 AM   #15
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Good to know that's a common issue. I'll add them to my scavenging list. UPS units and LCDs also tend to die from simple stuff like bad MOSFETs or popped capacitors. I've gotten good deals on busted equipment from time to time knowing how to just read component values and solder in replacements.

the number of "free" UPS units ive gotten just because the standard 12 volt Lead acid batteries went bad is amazing... picked up more than a few, new batteries and off they go..

-Christopher
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Old 02-20-2017, 10:50 AM   #16
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WE have a Mitsubishi split in our 840 sqft cabin and it does amazing. Keep it clean and it runs awesome. Wish I could afford one for the bus.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:53 PM   #17
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Reviews on Sanyo Mini-Split

Does anyone have any recent experience on the Sanyo mini-split. I am looking to purchase the 17K BTU unit and wanted to get some hands-on experience. If there are suggestions on other units, I would gladly like to hear it.

Thanks
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:56 PM   #18
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Ive got 3 Highly modified (meaning they arent used for their intended purpose... well sort of they do cool and heat my house...).. chionese units ..since 2009 and they all work fine..
Ok, so I think after everything that's been discussed, my wife and I are going to tear out the rear A/C and rely on open windows and fans for driving. Now the plan is that we'll install an A/C and run a generator (or shore power) when we're parked. With regards to mini-splits, as a fairly capable DIY-er, how feasible a job is this? Would it require any specialized equipment? Do you have any recommendations on where I should shop for a system?
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:41 PM   #19
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I haven’t installed one in a bus (yet - give me a week) but I’ve installed them in plenty of stick built places and they’re stupid simple.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:54 PM   #20
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I havenít installed one in a bus (yet - give me a week) but Iíve installed them in plenty of stick built places and theyíre stupid simple.
Good luck! Do they require any special equipment or tools? I'd love to be able to install one in our bus.
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