where to place mini split condenser

floydturbo

Folsom, CA 2015 w170ex i4
I am not sure where to mount the condenser for my LG mini split heat pump. The unit is 110v and is 19x28x11 inches. It does not fit under the passenger side sliding door as it would stick down too far and is too close to the exhaust. The other three ideas are as follows. 1. Place the unit in the right rear corner of the van on the inside and build a shield around it and cut some holes in the bottom of the van to ventilate it. My layout is for a bed and sofa in the rear of the van just as in the VW Westy type arrangement. 2. The next idea is to remove the spare tire and place the condenser on it side in the location of the spare tire. The spare can either be mounted on the mount on the rear door or carried in the van in the rear since there is a large area under the bed/sofa. 3. Move the spare tire from the center of the van over to one side and mount the condenser next to it. Due to the thickness of the rib/beams, the spare tire and condenser would sit 4" lower to the ground, essentially 4" off the bottom of the van.
Not sure the best direction. The compressor/condenser is the DC hybrid type of mini split heat pump that are known to be very quiet. I am leaning towards putting it in the rear of the van and venting it out under the van with holes cut in the floor.
 

bstory

New member
Greetings,

I will be very interested to see how this works out for you. I have been thinking about doing something with a mini split for a couple of years, but am stuck on where to put the outside unit also. I have enquired with several manufacturers/dealers and they have all said the outside unit has to be mounted vertically - it is a combination compressor and condenser, right?

When you talk about locating the condenser where the spare tire is under the van, are you referring to the whole outside unit, or have you figured out how to separate the condenser from the compressor to do this?

If you do mount the outside unit in the van, I would consider cutting away a significant piece of the sheet metal on the side of the van so the unit gets a lot of air. I suspect holes in the floor will not be enough.

Like you, we are interested in this in order to get something very quiet and also since most heat pump units also provide heat. Better doing it all from one unit, in our view, if possible.
 

floydturbo

Folsom, CA 2015 w170ex i4
I do not believe the outside unit has to be in the standard vertical position. I am willing to take the risk and mount it on its side, which will happen if I mount it under the van in the spare tire location.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
I do not believe the outside unit has to be in the standard vertical position. I am willing to take the risk and mount it on its side, which will happen if I mount it under the van in the spare tire location.
If your "outside unit" is just the condenser, you are probably right. If it is also the compressor, you are most likely mistaken. You will find out soon enough.
 

RonR

Recovering Sprinter Owner
I've been looking at both the Fujitsu and Mitsubishi high SEER units. They both operate at less than 600W but at 220V. Both have the compressors in the outside unit and do need to be mounted vertically. Current plan is to mount about 2 feet in front of the drivers side rear wheels, drawing air through louvers in the floor and exhausting out louvers on the side. Both intake and output sealed from the interior to avoid dust and odors. The biggest issues are noise and airflow. For noise I'm thinking about using vibration mounts, a 2" thick insulated box, thick compliant rubber gaskets to the floor and walls. For airflow the entire floor under the unit will be louvered, gaskets around the unit to separate intake from output and a large louvered panel in the wall. For the wall I plan to custom louver a section of sheet metal cut out from one of the windows. Currently just a plan, taking dimensions and estimating noise and airflow. I'll probably start once I finish my Lithium battery install.
In my design this would be under a counter and still leave about 6" of space between the AC housing and aisle and about 8" from the top to the counter.
Despite the fact that these mini-split units are decades ahead of standard RV air conditioners any install I have been able to come up with looks pretty micky mouse for the outdoor unit. The indoor unit is a nice size that fits neatly in the corner between the roof and wall. I have looked into some 12V and euro options but they are still pretty old tech. Using only about 600W but only delivering about 6000BTU, while the modern Mini-splits deliver an honest 9000BTU.
I'll definitely report my progress. Likely to start in the winter.
FYI A good solution for the 120V to 220V transformer is a power toroidal transformer. Many would come up in a google search. About ½ the weight, size and loss of a standard iron core transformer.
These mini-split units have no start up surge so you can design the entire system to 600W (plus a small margin).
Ron
 

icarus

Active member
Any compressor unit I have ever seen must be mounted in the position it was designed to opperate in. Mounting a compressor on it's side or upside down won't work.

The only place I have seen suggested is mounting one on the rear door. ine would need flex coolant lines to allow the door to swing however.

It would be nice if someone would build one low profile horizontal, so you could mount it on the roof.

Icarus
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4

bstory

New member
Yes, I have been looking at various 12 volt truck options also, but they aren't heat pumps: the heat option is electric resistance heating and I have no idea if they are actually quiet like the residential mini split heat pumps and I doubt very much whether they are as energy efficient.

I agree putting a horizontal compressor/condenser unit on the roof would be the easiest/best solution for the Sprinter. Too bad the existing RV ac options, even the heat pumps, are so big, so noisy, and so inefficient. Someone has got to fill this niche in the market eventually - at least I keep thinking this, but I have been waiting 3 years thinking any day I'll see one. :-(

I also agree the Mitsubishi are the top option for mini splits but I think the downside of the 220 volt power supply requirement seems to outweigh the benefits. You can get quite high SEER 110 volt units that get good reviews. I think LG is one, Pioneer is one, Sanyo used to be one. I'm sure there are others.

RonR - I look forward to seeing and learning from your inside install of the outdoor mini split unit in a separate compartment with really good venting to the outside. This is sort of like people have been doing for years in small trailers with window air conditioners and several Sprinter owners have done (Mike Hiscox for one). I don't know enough about what could go wrong to try it myself, especially given that we have gotten along for several years without AC, but I sure hope it works.
 

RonR

Recovering Sprinter Owner
Nice find avanti
I am somewhat confused by the specs. For 10,000BTU it says 9.0A @12V (108W) and 9.5A @115V (1092W). I think the 108W number is impossible/wrong, 1092W is reasonable but almost half the efficiency of a modern high SEER mini-split which could provide 9000BTU with less than 600W.
Definitely a lot easier to install but I'm still looking to use a high SEER mini-split since I would like to run from batteries.
From past history, try to find a way to check out the Dometic product for noise and actual operating performance before you commit.
Ron
 
FYI A good solution for the 120V to 220V transformer is a power toroidal transformer. Many would come up in a google search. About ½ the weight, size and loss of a standard iron core transformer.
Is there a spec model number that show how much 120v of input current/wattage that it will take to get 220v 600 watts output?
 

RonR

Recovering Sprinter Owner
bstory
simultaneous typing.
Probably start to cut metal in December so should have some results in the winter. Just need to finish installing / designing the BMS for the batteries.
220V is pretty easy to do with a toroidal transformer but it would be great to skip that step. One of my pre-install steps is to look at the maintenance info for the mini-splits to see what internal voltages are being used. You never know, but if may be possible to do a few hacks and run of 120V.
Ron
 

icarus

Active member
bstory
simultaneous typing.
Probably start to cut metal in December so should have some results in the winter. Just need to finish installing / designing the BMS for the batteries.
220V is pretty easy to do with a toroidal transformer but it would be great to skip that step. One of my pre-install steps is to look at the maintenance info for the mini-splits to see what internal voltages are being used. You never know, but if may be possible to do a few hacks and run of 120V.
Ron
You could also run it off a 220/240 inverter?

Icarus
 

jme3505

2015 144 4x4 passenger
A portable like the Honeywell MF08CESWW 8,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner would be so much easier. 115V $ 6 amps. just cut a hole in the floor similar to Graphite Dave's location to run the vent.
 

floydturbo

Folsom, CA 2015 w170ex i4
I called LG tech support today and they stated the unit must be installed in the upright position so that the oil will be in the compressor, otherwise it will fail. So, it looks like I may have to install it in the back of the van and vent it under the van.
 

ColoradoTom

New member
Keep us posted. Split system units are much more efficient than anything else!
 
I do not believe the outside unit has to be in the standard vertical position. I am willing to take the risk and mount it on its side, which will happen if I mount it under the van in the spare tire location.
Mounting the unit on its side will cause oiling issues. The unit wont last a week.

As for the line sets, make sure theyre installed properly and a vacuum is pulled on them to 500 microns or better. Please dont install it as a diy hack would. You will regret the money lost
 

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