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Old 05-14-2018, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default A/C Help

Trailer 2012 FunFinder 214WSD
A/C: Dometic DuoTherm 13.5BTU roof mount, ducted with 3313192 LCD thermostat

Status: Plugged in to 30 amp service. When turned on, thermostat displays temp setting, no error codes but fan does not run and a humming sound can be heard (like binding motor).

History: Purchased trailer (used) in Jan, 2018. Tested A/C at time of purchase for operation/cooling and while loud, A/C blew cold. We are the third owners and past maintenance history is unknown.

Recent events: Two-week trip to two different FL state park campgrounds. First week/park we were plugged into 30amp service and used the A/C for 2-3 hours each afternoon when temps were in low/mid 90’s. When turning system on in “Cool” mode, fan starts up immediately and then the compressor kicks on 10-15 seconds later. Turned system off each day when outside temps dropped into low 80’s. No issues.

Second campground for week 2, again plugged into 30amp service: Turned A/C on and fan started as usual however the compressor did not come on and the thermostat flashed “E5”. Thermostat booklet lists E5 as an “Open Circuit” or “Out of Range Freeze Sensor” error code. Booklet also notes that with an E5 error, fan and furnace will function but cooling mode is locked out. All other electrical items in the trailer operated fine. Just in case we had bad 30amp service, I plugged into the 50amp recept. (using adapter) and tried the A/C again but received the same E5 code. Not knowing what else to try I reseated all wiring plugs on the inside of the roof unit and also removed and reseated the thermostat with no change. About an hour later I tried turning it on again and it operated normally with no E5 code. Chalked it up to gremlins and enjoyed the afternoon. Once it cooled down enough outside we turned the system off for the night.
Day 2: Afternoon temps into 90’s, turned A/C on. Fan ran and E5 flashed, no compressor. Tried cycling on/off numerous times and E5 went away, A/C came on and trailer cooled down. Turned off for the evening as before.
Day 3 was more of the same: E5, cycle through off/on, wait an hour and try again and finally it would work.
Day 4 was a little different: Still had a few issues of E5, but then the code went away. Fan was running but the compressor still didn’t kick on. After 30 seconds or so (maybe more, maybe less, I didn’t actually time it) I bumped the thermostat temp down to 71 (we had been keeping it at 79) and the compressor finally kicked on and it started blowing cold. Not wanting to risk it shutting down, I left the temp low and let it run. After about 3 hours it suddenly turned off. When trying to get it going again I found that it had shut off because it had tripped the A/C branch circuit breaker. Turning everything back on got the fan running and an E5 code, with no cooling. Called it quits for the night.
Day 5: Wondered if maybe there might be an issue with the wiring at our campsite (since all of the issues were in the afternoon at peak times), I tried turning the system on in the morning while it was still cool out (low 70’s). No E5. That afternoon I turned it on and got the dreaded E5 again. Repeated attempts throughout the afternoon brought nothing but sweat and irritation. That evening we decided to head for home the next morning. I was hoping that we might possibly just be victims of weak wiring at our campsite and that maybe the electric load of other campers during peak times might be the issue.

Day 6: Got home after a long drive and plugged into my dedicated 30amp RV circuit. Got things unpacked and figured I’d check the A/C. Turned it on and no E5. No fan either. Nothing but a hum like described at the beginning of this post. It’s been raining since we got back so I haven’t had the opportunity to get on the roof and pull the cover to get the exact model number or do anything further. Figured I’d check in here to get some opinions/suggestions as to where to start.

So, any suggestions?

Thanks.
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:35 PM   #2
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I would like to say I know nothing about ac’s or electrical. On a previous trailer we had a 13.5 Coleman unit. The fan quit on it and just hummed. I looked at the schematic and located the capacitor to start the fan. I purchased a new capacitor and delved into unknown waters and somehow correctly replaced it. Fired it up and to my amazement it worked! Only hope your solution works so well.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:00 PM   #3
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Thanks Gerald. The start capacitor is on my short list of replacement items. (I recently replaced one on our home A/C after it quit, but the symptoms here are a bit different).

Just noticed your signature line - Nice truck. We've got the exact same FX4...
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:33 AM   #4
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UPDATE

After thinking it through some more, I'm leaning more and more towards the idea that we had bad power/low voltage at the last campground, thus triggering the error code and eventually damaging the A/C unit.

This morning I pulled the housing and the capacitor. After discharging it, I found that while the compressor side would take a charge, the fan side would not. It also has a slight bulge in the bottom... Ordered a replacement which should be here Saturday, will update after that.

Also starting my search for some sort of EMS to prevent this from happening again - Any suggestions?
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:15 AM   #5
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I am following this thread with admiration -- your diagnostic skills are way ahead of mine.

Good luck!
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:29 PM   #6
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Do you use a surge guard? If not, do you think it would have detected the low voltage/bad power at the campground? I don’t but you are making me rethink it!

As an aside, I spent my jr high, HS and some of my college years in Fl (temple Terrace). We have spent some time at Cape Coral with my brother who likes to winter over there. I envy your winter weather!
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Miller View Post
Do you use a surge guard? If not, do you think it would have detected the low voltage/bad power at the campground? I don’t but you are making me rethink it!
We haven't been, but I do now think that's what caused our current problem. After doing a bunch of searching and reading, I bit the bullet today and ordered an EMS-PT30X. Prices are all over the place, ranging from ~$235 to almost $400. Got ours for $234.97 with free shipping and no sales tax.

If nothing else we'll have info and peace of mind at future campsites.
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:42 AM   #8
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Default Thanks for the knowledge

Even though here in VT we only use our A/C about 3 nights per year, I appreciate you taking the time to describe your problem and potential solution.

We mostly dry camp in the state parks around here, but I keep a voltage monitor plugged in one of the kitchen outlets to monitor voltage when we are plugged in. Low voltage (less than 110v) is probably the most damaging condition, especially to a compressor or a fan motor. It's also the most likely condition you'll find at a busy campground.

In your case, a swelled capacitor might just be a "stuff-happens" kind of thing. Best of luck with the repairs!
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:55 AM   #9
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UPDATE - 5/18/18

Capacitor arrived early so was able to do the install this morning. Good and bad: Fan motor now starts and runs normally, but the "E5" error is again flashing. The trailer is plugged into my dedicated 30amp circuit and voltage is 120.4.

Next step is to start checking wire connections inside I guess.

Suggestions welcome...
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:03 AM   #10
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and hopefully the final update...

I have A/C! Since everything on the roof looked good, all connections looked good, fan/motor spin freely, etc. I figured it couldn't hurt to do some exploring inside. So, I took the inside roof panel off and started exploring. The error code was for either and open circuit or an out of range freeze sensor so I focused on finding said sensor. Traced it back to the circuit board box and removed and cleaned the plug. Pressed it back into p[lace, closed up the wiring and switched on the breaker. Et voila! Fan started with NO E5 CODE! About 15 seconds later the compressor kicked on and cold air started blowing. It's been running for about two hours now, cycling off and on as it should. I'm going to leave it on all day to make sure that was the fix and not just a coincidence.

Still not sure why the error was intermittent, maybe it had to do with expansion/contraction during the day. I don't know. Anyway, the capacitor was bad, the A/C is now working and I have a new EMS on the way.
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