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Old 01-14-2019, 01:12 AM   #1
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THOR #14145
Upgrade thermostat/optional Mach III + heater repair

I am a newbie RV'er and I bought my RV in July in Florida and I am now in N California. I never tried the heat and found out it doesnt work. Come to find out someone had moved the thermostat to a different wall and ran new wires to the ceiling unit and didnt bother to extend and route the furnace wires to that location.(see pics) I am going to route those wires to the new location and I want to upgrade thermostat to a digital backlit one. I bought the Orbit model#83521(I bought it from Amazon and read the reviews, multiple RV owners have installed this one). I also found that my Coleman Mach 3+ ceiling unit has the provision for the optional heating coil. I picked this up as well. I need help with the wiring of all of these into my RV. Please see the pics and help me towards a fix.

*update: someone taped off of power (12vdc) and ground behind the fridge and brought that up the the T-stat.coming out of the wall, I now have a red and white from the furnace. A green, gray, white, yellow and blue in a harness the goes up to the ceiling unit and a power and ground from up behing the fridge. I would've just moved the T-stat back to the original wall but the original small harness(green,yellow,red,blue) is nowhere to be found in the ceiling unit.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-14-2019, 02:44 PM   #2
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THOR #12231
Wow, sound like you have a mess.

Can you just run TWO thermostats? One for the AC and one for the heat? Sound like it would be hard to rewire the OEM location or the new locaton for both.

Does the heat strip for the AC have a small control panel of its own? Not sure how you will wire this heat strip up to the AC and the thermostat... so it might be easier to a have a toggle switch or control knob on the AC cover that you can reach up to turn on as needed?

Hopefully someone else can chime in with some answers. Im just giving you some ideas (dont know if they are "good Ideas" but maybe they will help. lol).
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Wow, sound like you have a mess.

Can you just run TWO thermostats? One for the AC and one for the heat? Sound like it would be hard to rewire the OEM location or the new locaton for both.

Does the heat strip for the AC have a small control panel of its own? Not sure how you will wire this heat strip up to the AC and the thermostat... so it might be easier to a have a toggle switch or control knob on the AC cover that you can reach up to turn on as needed?

Hopefully someone else can chime in with some answers. Im just giving you some ideas (dont know if they are "good Ideas" but maybe they will help. lol).
I actually lucked out with moving the Furnace wires from the bed/bath wall to the bed/fridge wall. I just pulled up the bed floorboard and accessed the wires from the back right corner and extended them around the beds hollow space. The big issue now is getting the heat strip to work with everything else. One thing I thought about is the a/c control box has a "W" terminal and it does go to the "W" on the old thermostat and the old thermostat wouldn't do anything with heat until I moved the temp slider above 75 degrees and it would click and run the fan. I wonder since the control box has the plug for the heat strip if it justs gets the signal from the T-stat through the "W" terminal and if thats the case I would just tie the "W" wires from the furnace and the a/c and terminate them on the "W" on the T-stat. Just thinking out loud, not sure if it would work.
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by 2010Thor21RB View Post
I actually lucked out with moving the Furnace wires from the bed/bath wall to the bed/fridge wall. I just pulled up the bed floorboard and accessed the wires from the back right corner and extended them around the beds hollow space. The big issue now is getting the heat strip to work with everything else. One thing I thought about is the a/c control box has a "W" terminal and it does go to the "W" on the old thermostat and the old thermostat wouldn't do anything with heat until I moved the temp slider above 75 degrees and it would click and run the fan. I wonder since the control box has the plug for the heat strip if it justs gets the signal from the T-stat through the "W" terminal and if thats the case I would just tie the "W" wires from the furnace and the a/c and terminate them on the "W" on the T-stat. Just thinking out loud, not sure if it would work.
Here is what I am thinking wiring wise. Let me know if I'm off the mark.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-14-2019, 06:48 PM   #5
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THOR #12231
I know on my AC unit it has a plug in spot for the heat strip (I have not installed one yet). Does the color of the wires from this AC plug in spot (White and grey?) match what you show on your schematic?

I guess you can hook it up and see what happens. (you might be able to do this on your bench with 12 v source and an old thermostat?? Just seeing if heat strip turns on and off).

The strip might be a simple ON/OFF so when it the stat tells its below like 65 it kicks on then off at 70? or something like that?

Let us know what you find out.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:05 PM   #6
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Yeah the wires are orange and white I just used grey cause white wouldnt show on the diagram. I read a little further into the heat strip and people say that its really hard to tell when it's on because the fan moves air across the a/c evac core so quickly it draws it through to where you cant really tell its on. I did question as to why the control box would be located in the same place as a heat source electronics+heat=
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:24 PM   #7
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Yeah this is one of the reasons I didnt install one on mine. Plus many folks say that the heat strip only helps when its like 40 - 50 deg outside (not much heat is generated). Not to mention dont like all of the fan noise so I am doing without.

I have a small ceramic heater I set on the stove (with lid closed) and point in the direction we need most. But I only use it when plugged into shore power.

Otherwise I use the propane heater. It works great.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:30 PM   #8
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Yeah I knew nothing about how to get heat in an RV I just thought it all came from the ceiling unit. I'm so glad I joined this Forum, I have been stumped more ways than one with getting into the RV world. Hopefully I can lick this issue and post it here to pass it forward.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:25 AM   #9
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Here is a shot of the thermostat I installed. If you zoom in you can see that it has a setting for electric heat. That is the setting for using the heater coil in the A/C.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makerofsawdust View Post
Here is a shot of the thermostat I installed. If you zoom in you can see that it has a setting for electric heat. That is the setting for using the heater coil in the A/C.
Thanks, I have not see that one yet. Good to know.

I wonder if the extra "AC - electric strip" wiring is behind the walls so we can add this thermostat later?
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:34 PM   #11
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Fyi. I was having thermostat issues. So I purchased digital replacement. Still trouble blown heater fuse etc. Took inside closet wall out and exposed all thermostat, back radio, water heater wires. Found whoever cut the "jacket" off the thermostat wires. Also cut into the colored individual wires at that point leaving just enough "open wiring cuts" that were touching and shorting out.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:40 PM   #12
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You are looking for a “dual fuel” thermostat. It looks like your current t-stat doesn’t have the necessary second W wire, so the other option if you don’t want to get another one is to put a toggle switch on the W instead of splicing them together as you’ve sketched. This is what most of us who’ve done thermostat upgrades have done for the fan to keep the two speed options, as all 24v house thermometers just have 1 fan wire.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:33 PM   #13
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When I had my TT I added the heat strip into the overhead A/C unit. The heat strip connector plugged directly into the adjacent control box. The control box had provisions for this plug. In looking at your photos, my guess it’s the white connector sticking out of the end of the control box.
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Old 01-16-2019, 06:41 PM   #14
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Here are some pics from my install about a year and a half ago.
Used existing 5 conductor thermostat wire.
The heating coil plugs into the white connector just visible on the right end of the control box.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kickstand View Post
You are looking for a “dual fuel” thermostat. It looks like your current t-stat doesn’t have the necessary second W wire, so the other option if you don’t want to get another one is to put a toggle switch on the W instead of splicing them together as you’ve sketched. This is what most of us who’ve done thermostat upgrades have done for the fan to keep the two speed options, as all 24v house thermometers just have 1 fan wire.
I think I will have to put in another switch in like you said. I read into the model of a/c unit I have and it is also a heat pump which is why it has the "W" terminal. I guess the control box determines when to turn on voltage to the strip and it runs the fan with no fan speed control. It doesnt feel like its warm at all coming from the ceiling. I'm not sure if now its a T-stat setting that is incorrect for the system.
Right now I have just the furnace connected to the stat for heat. The thermostat has little jumper clips for either gas/heat or elec/heat, I left the jumper in the gas/heat pins since I read that either the T-stat controls the temp if left in elec/heat and the furnace circuitry controls it if left in Gas/heat. Now I'm just not sure how the whole "heat pump" part works to warm the rig?
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Long & Winding road View Post
Thanks, I have not see that one yet. Good to know.

I wonder if the extra "AC - electric strip" wiring is behind the walls so we can add this thermostat later?
There should be a 5 wire thermostat cable that goes from thermostat location up to AC.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:38 AM   #17
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hello
its called a chill chaser, i installed one on my rig. had to replace control box and add switch to thermo. air won't feel warm but give it time. Fan will only run on low.

i didn't think it was working until i stuck my finger on the element, not recomended.
overall i am very happy with it, my furnace is noisey and my cat hates it.
for those cool nights it works very well.
hope your install comes out great.
Ed 2017 freedom elite 29fe.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:49 AM   #18
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So, I left it just on the furnace hooked to the "w" terminal for heat from the stat. would it hurt anything to have both the furnace and the heat running at the same time. i am thinking of putting in a 3 position rotary switch to have furnace heat on position one, heat pump heat on position two and the combo of both on position three. what are your thoughts?
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:26 AM   #19
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THOR #8069
You have a single stage heat and single stage cool thermostat. So you can wire 1 A/C unit and 1 Heater.
My suggestion would be to wire up the A/C unit with the heat strip to the thermostat that you just bought, Then run main heater to a seperate thermostat.
I just put one of these heat strips in my second A/C unit in the bedroom but it operates off of knobs on the unit.
The heat strip is only 5500 BTUs, just enough to take the chill off a degree or two. Im going to get another one for the front unit also.
Was able to get the auxillary heater on Ebay for 19.99 plus 10.00 shipping. But now he is sold out of the 300 that he had for that price.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2010Thor21RB View Post
So, I left it just on the furnace hooked to the "w" terminal for heat from the stat. would it hurt anything to have both the furnace and the heat running at the same time. i am thinking of putting in a 3 position rotary switch to have furnace heat on position one, heat pump heat on position two and the combo of both on position three. what are your thoughts?

I doubt it would ‘hurt’ but I don’t think it would offer much advantage, either. When the furnace is on, the chill chaser will just be peeing into a river, so to speak. If your a/c is ducted to the bedroom, then there’s a small advantage there over the furnace alone, but a small door jamb circulator fan when using the furnace would be quieter with much less power draw.

Speaking of power draw, I think those units are the same wattage as space heaters on high. So although it’s running on the separate A/C circuit, this will be a good chunk of your available power on 30amp service. Add 10ish amps for the furnace blower at the same time, and you’ll max out fast with other appliances. Not as much of a concern with 50amp and their oodles of available watts.
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