Window vs. Roof Auxiliary Air Conditioners for Vehicles
Advantages of Door / Window Air Conditioner
Advantages of (RV) Roof Air Conditioner
Note: If the door air conditioner is removed, there will be a hole that can be concealed with a box or window.
Children & Pet Safety
- Provides much better safety for children and pets than if powered by a generator, but less than shore power.
- Due to how shade changes throughout the day, it can be catastrophic to park in the shade with loved ones left at the mercy of shade positions, so having the air conditioner powered by solar on is far safer, as long as there isn't too much shade that would drain the battery.
- Relating to the previous statement, it is recommended to install solar panels in parallel so some energy will be gained even in partial shade.
- Due to parts made in China and how they are exposed to "earthquake" situations when driving, something could fail, so check on any living being you leave in the vehicle as frequently as you can. Ideally there would be a high-tech system that opens all fans and turns them on if the air conditioner fails as well as a transmitter to the driver that the temperature is exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but no such systems yet exist.
Frigidaire Gallery 6000 FGRQ06L3T10
6,000 BTU, Max 115V AC 4.3A, 490w, Max DC 35A, 400w | EER 12.2, Energy Star
54 lbs. (63 in box) | 41 - 47 db | 13.6 high x 21.25" wide
Note: This model is more energy efficient than any 5,000 BTU unit and about the same size
IDEALLY someone would make a similar model in DC for better efficiency (bypass inverter).
Install Sequence Photos
- It is recommended to install on the driver's side door as will be opened less frequently. It is preferable to sleep on the passenger's side especially if parked on a street away from traffic. However if your heavy spare tire is mounted on the driver's side rear door, then maybe mount the AC on the passenger side rear door because the weight of both the AC and tire could be too much for one door, at least in time. I think the hinges are strong enough, but you might not want to take a chance by pushing it.
- This install depth is your preference, but don't install too deep as to go past the top and side vents. Keep in mind where your head will be while sleeping; the reason I mounted mine as far outwardly as possible.
- Make sure unit is tilted downward towards the rear for drainage of condensation when humid.
- Generator or shore power needed to power air conditioner if hot and humid much time past sunset. Running close to or past sunset will result in rapid battery depletion.
- Maxxfan retractable vents recommended to avoid blocking sun from solar panels
- The sound of raindrops on the metal unit can be heard.
- You may drive with the unit running and can be powered with the alternator via battery isolator.
- Due to extreme heat entering the front windows, not powerful enough to cool the driver's cabin.
History of this AC Install Method
Eric Jacobs (Nomadic Fanatic) made the first video that most resembles this in July, 2015, but it's a very hard to follow video.
There are other video of solar ACs before 2015, but not installed in a vehicle.
- Air conditioner purchased from Lowes.com and mailed to Washington, Utah in early May, 2017
- Installed and tested early May, 2017 in the public near Zion National Park, Utah
- Originally installed on passenger side door, remounted on driver's side early March, 2018 in Riverside, California.