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The next generation of RV Air Conditioning Systems

| Updated Jul 29, 2016

It's hot out there!

But not in our RV. In fact, as I write this it's 93 degrees and very humid outside, where I currently am located in Ekhart, IN. The sun is burning down in full force through a cloudless sky.

But inside our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL right now, it's 68 degrees. Bo and I love it. Jennifer says she will soon need a  sweater if I plan to keep testing our the new AC.

We're in Elkhart to visit the headquarters of ProAir, manufacturers of automotive air conditioning and heating components. ProAir has an exclusive deal with Roadtrek Motorhomes to provide undermount AC units and I came to have the next generation of their units installed in our unit.

Our Roadtrek was a prototype for the undermount system, which did away with the big and bulky traditional roof mounted system found on most RVs and moved it down under the rear of the vehicle. The compressor, dryer and fans are attached to the chassis, thus freeing up the roof real estate for other things, like solar panels.

Since our unit – along with Campskunk's – were the first two ProAir systems installed on the Roadtrek, we've been sort of the crash test dummy for undermount AC on an RV. Campskunk, who seldom travels anywhere hotter than 70 degrees, uses his only sporadically. Jennifer and I, who spend a lot of time in Florida, along the Gulf Coast and the Deep South, use it all the time.

But technical innovation at Roadtrek moves fast and our prototype Gen 1 unit has now been improved on and thus, we headed to Eklhart for update our unit with the Gen 2 system, now offered on production models.

Our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL ready for the ProAir installation team in Elkhart
Our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL ready for the ProAir installation team in Elkhart

As ProAir engineers worked on our system, I visited with Troy Becktel, the Director of Service and Warranty for the Erwin Hymer Group North America, Inc., the parent company of Roadtrek, who came down to meet me while I was at ProAir. You can hear a full interview with Troy on next week's podcast in which he talks about all the amazing things offered by this system..

As we learned from ProAir's Mike Hiles, the Gen 2 system and its undermount configuration has shown itself to be about 10 degrees cooler than traditional roof mounted RV systems. In other words, if a rooftop AC can drop the temperature inside an RV to, say, 75 degrees when the outside temperature is 95 degrees, the undermount ProAir unit will cool the RV to 65 degrees. You can get much more info on all this in the full podcast interview coming up next week.


The AC unit being installed
The AC unit being installed

But we noticed something else about it: It's quieter than our Gen 1 unit. And more efficient. It takes just a few minutes to cool the interior to very comfortable levels.

Hiles stressed that for RVs,  only Roadtrek offers this system now. But ProAir undermount systems have also used on airport shuttle busses, ambulances and other speciality vehicles.

Parts are easily accessible and most of the wiring is plug and play

So our prototype has been updated with the latest production model undermount AC.

And suddenly, this heat wave that's been gripping North America is no big deal at all. As long as we stay inside the RV.



Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-07-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “The next generation of RV Air Conditioning Systems”

May 01, 2017at8:08 pm, Them said:

Do you know the max and average continuous wattage used by your unit? Or the amperage you’re seeing and whether you’re running it at 12V or 120V?

ProAir says ~9A @ 12V but that’s not possible, that would just be the fan…

Thank you!

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