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Old 07-25-2020, 11:23 PM   #1
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Model: Freedom Elite 23H
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THOR #19277
I want a new thermostat or two

My Class-C came equipped with a Suburban NT-20SE propane-only furnace and a Coleman-Mach 13.5K Mach 3, rooftop AC.

The heat is controlled by a crappy little mechanical Suburban thermostat, mounted on the wall. You can't tell what the temperature is and you can't tell what the temp is set to be. When the RV shakes, the little red needle shakes with it. I haven't pulled the cover off, but I'm guessing it has a little glass tube filled with mercury, the way things were done in the 50's.

The roof AC unit has an internal thermostat, but we aren't allowed to see the temperature on that one either. All they give us is a knob that says Warmer or Cooler. We have to guess what that means.

Why can't I have a nice digital thermostat like the one in my house?
Something that says "Heat to" and "Cool to" in great big numbers.
Maybe it will have WiFi so I can dial in and check the temp when my dogs are "home alone".

Before I go out and start searching the Internet, calling Suburban, and calling Coleman, I thought I'd ask here.

Has anybody successfully changed the thermostat on their Suburban furnace?
Has anybody successfully added an external (wall) thermostat to their Mach 3 Plus rooftop unit?
By any chance, has anybody been able to do both jobs with a single device?
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Old 07-26-2020, 12:28 AM   #2
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THOR #7035
My last two travel trailers and my current MH all had thermostatically controlled furnace & A/C in a wall mount thermostat. It would be simple to extend the wires on your furnace to a better located and digital thermostat. You can control your A/C with the thermostat as well but you would have to remove your current controls (or disable them) and add a "control box" to it as well as run wires from the thermostat to the A/C control box.
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Old 07-26-2020, 12:57 AM   #3
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THOR #13932
Take LOTS AND LOTS of pictures before disconnecting a single wire.
I've never had the colors match up on any thermostat change.
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Old 07-26-2020, 01:41 PM   #4
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THOR #19277
Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
my current MH has a thermostatically controlled furnace & A/C in a wall mount thermostat. It would be simple to extend the wires on your furnace to a better located and digital thermostat. You can control your A/C with the thermostat as well but you would have to remove your current controls (or disable them) and add a "control box" to it as well as run wires from the thermostat to the A/C control box.
Seems logical, doesn't it? So why do Thor and Suburban continue to install that crummy mechanical device? Could a mercury switch actually work as well or cost less than a digital device?

Is your thermostat digital? Does it control both the furnace and the AC?
Do you have Suburban and Coleman like I do?
Do you happen to know the make and model of your thermostat?

A few minutes ago, I fired off an email inquiry to AirExcel, the guys who own both Suburban and Coleman-Mach. I'll report back when I hear from them.

Actually, I have no problem with where the existing furnace thermostat is mounted, on an inside wall near the foot of the mattress. That is a fairly central location and it makes sense to take the temp measurement where people sleep. The trick will be to run a cable from the rooftop AC unit to that point. The existing cable isn't likely to have enough wires in it.

I have not found installation of new wiring inside my coach to be "simple". When I get inside the ceiling, I find ribbed styrofoam. The ribs always seem to run in a different direction than I want to go. Is there a YouTube video where I can learn a few tricks?
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Old 07-26-2020, 02:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Wiley1 View Post
So why does Thor continue to install that crummy mechanical device? COST - Suburban (and Atwood) don't care how their furnace is turned on and off, which is all the thermostat does for a furnace.
Could a mercury switch actually work as well (no) or cost less than a digital device? Yes

Is your thermostat digital? Yes Does it control both the furnace and the AC? Yes
Do you have Suburban and Coleman like I do? Atwood and Coleman currently
Do you happen to know the make and model of your thermostat? It was originally a Coleman Mach analog thermostat which can be replaced wire-by-wire with the Coleman Mach Digital thermostat by I chose to replace mine with a Honeywell TH5110D1006 Honeywell Non-Programmable Thermostat which is the subject of many Youtube videos of digital thermostat installations in RVs.

A few minutes ago, I fired off an email inquiry to AirExcel, the guys who own both Suburban and Coleman-Mach. I'll report back when I hear from them.

Actually, I have no problem with where the existing furnace thermostat is mounted, on an inside wall near the foot of the mattress. That is a fairly central location and it makes sense to take the temp measurement where people sleep. The trick will be to run a cable from the rooftop AC unit to that point. The existing cable isn't likely to have enough wires in it.

I have not found installation of new wiring inside my coach to be "simple". When I get inside the ceiling, I find ribbed styrofoam. The ribs always seem to run in a different direction than I want to go. Is there a YouTube video where I can learn a few tricks?
Questions answered above
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:24 PM   #6
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Micro-air has great customer service and ask about their Thermostat here is a link
https://www.microair.net/products/ea...32199143555156
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Old 07-31-2020, 01:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by axhiker View Post
Micro-air has great customer service and ask about their Thermostat here is a link
https://www.microair.net/products/ea...32199143555156
At that price it better be an outstanding thermostat. That's about 4 to 5 times what I like to pay for an RV digital thermostat.
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Old 07-31-2020, 03:16 PM   #8
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My Coleman mechanical to Coleman digital thermostat swap was also wire to wire, sort of.
While the thermostats swapped wire for wire, the colors out of the wall were way wrong.
The picture is how it came from Thor. In their defense, this is exactly how I have seen the wiring on every thermostat I've seen in any residence I've owned.
I'm OK with it. All I had to do was do a right to left wire swap, INDIVIDUALLY. Had I just unwired all of them at once I'd still be diddling with it.
Lose track of that red to yellow, yellow to gray, and you're screwed.

I was not brave enough to try a nicer home thermostat.
And
I think the digital was 30 bucks used on amazon.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:56 PM   #9
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THOR #19277
I got an email response from AirExcel (Coleman/Suburban) Support, complete with a hand-drawn wiring diagram and three part numbers:
Ceiling Assy.............$93.89
Control Box.............$74.56
Digital Thermostat...$76.83
The first two parts were a little difficult to locate but I found them in Texas with $8.99 ground shipping.

The plan is to replace the white cover on the ceiling unit with the new cover that is missing the two knobs. The control box mounts inside the AC unit and takes over those functions.

Then, the most difficult part of the job: running a thermostat cable from the control box to the location of my existing furnace thermostat at the foot of the "corner Queen".

Yes, the same thermostat (click here) can be used to control both heat and cool, effectively preventing both being turned on at the same time. A nice feature of this unit is the fan high/low switch.

But, I'm not convinced that this is the thermostat I want. I don't need it to be programmable, but I would like it to have WiFi so I can control it remotely. The Coleman guy said I could use almost any thermostat as long as it was 12 volt. I'm not sure what he meant by that. What do most household thermostats run on? 24 volts?
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:22 PM   #10
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THOR #7035
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiley1 View Post
I got an email response from AirExcel (Coleman/Suburban) Support, complete with a hand-drawn wiring diagram and three part numbers:
Ceiling Assy.............$93.89
Control Box.............$74.56
Digital Thermostat...$76.83
The first two parts were a little difficult to locate but I found them in Texas with $8.99 ground shipping.

The plan is to replace the white cover on the ceiling unit with the new cover that is missing the two knobs. The control box mounts inside the AC unit and takes over those functions.

Then, the most difficult part of the job: running a thermostat cable from the control box to the location of my existing furnace thermostat at the foot of the "corner Queen".

Yes, the same thermostat (click here) can be used to control both heat and cool, effectively preventing both being turned on at the same time. A nice feature of this unit is the fan high/low switch.

But, I'm not convinced that this is the thermostat I want. I don't need it to be programmable, but I would like it to have WiFi so I can control it remotely. The Coleman guy said I could use almost any thermostat as long as it was 12 volt. I'm not sure what he meant by that. What do most household thermostats run on? 24 volts?
Yes, 24 VAC. You will need a thermostat that either uses 12 VDC or batteries for the "smarts" power.
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Old 08-03-2020, 11:29 PM   #11
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Sorry, but I don't see the issue. Do the controls work? If you want the A/C to get colder, move it to colder. If you want the heat to get hotter, move the slide to warmer. in my mind, everything does not have to be digital and everything does not need an app. Some things are just fine as they come from the factory. It seems like modern people are turning into the blobs in floating chairs on the movie Wall-e, incapable of doing anything for themselves if it's not on a screen two inches from their faces.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:54 PM   #12
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THOR #19277
This guy (click here)
decided to turn his RV into a smart home using Z-wave.
I'm not sure I want to go down that rabbit hole.

But, I did find several Coleman Thermostats that include BlueTooth.
Maybe I can devise a way to use BT from my always-on laptop to control the thermostat remotely. Someday...
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Old 08-08-2020, 06:47 PM   #13
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Please share if you ever figure out how do you get a smart Wi-Fi thermostat to work with the RV air conditioner. I tried a lot of various different smart WI fi thermostats and could never get them to work since they are 24 V AC and the airconditioner in the RV is 12 V DC. You could probably do a few different DC to AC converter is but at that point I just gave up .
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:17 PM   #14
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As far as making a home thermostat operate in an RV, yes, I think I have given up on that tactic. Like you, I decided that the conversions from 24vac to 12dc wouldn't be worth the complications and risks.

Ultimately, I decided that I was more interested in MONITORING the temperature of my coach as opposed to remotely CONTROLLING the temperature of my coach. If I set a temp on the thermostat and, for whatever reason, that temp isn't maintained, there are ways to be notified, other than through the thermostat (which might have failed). We often leave dogs "home alone".

For now, my solution is to do four things:
  • change the ceiling assembly cover to one without the two knobs
  • install a control box inside the ceiling assembly
  • run a cable through the ceiling and inside the wall to the compartment where the propane furnace is located
  • replace the crummy mechanical thermostat with a Coleman BlueTooth digital thermostat

Why? More accurate temperature control from one location. One thermostat for both heat and cooling. Better temperature sensing because the thermostat is 10 feet away from the AC unit. Can now control the AC without leaving my bed. And, I can install a lock-out relay to prevent the AC from being energized when the coach is operating on whole-house Inverter power.

In the future, maybe I can figure out a way to use the BT feature of the new thermostat as part of a "smart home" strategy using an old cell phone or something.

If anybody wants the part numbers or wiring diagrams for any of the stuff I've purchased, just ask.
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:41 AM   #15
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THOR #11777
Bluetooth thermostat for ac/heater

I have a 2018 Thor Chateau and traded out the original thermostat with a digital Bluetooth thermostat made for an RV that I can control while in bed or even outside the RV. It works off the RV climate app on my phone. It was completely compatible with my ac unit and easily swapped out the wires from old to new. I think it cost around $120 and the brand name is AirXcel. You have to make sure the one you buy is comparable with the unit you have already.
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by SANDYI View Post
I have a 2018 Thor Chateau and traded out the original thermostat with a digital Bluetooth thermostat made for an RV that I can control while in bed or even outside the RV. It works off the RV climate app on my phone. It was completely compatible with my ac unit and easily swapped out the wires from old to new. I think it cost around $120 and the brand name is AirXcel. You have to make sure the one you buy is comparable with the unit you have already.
Yep. Sounds like the one I bought. Three buttons and a digital display. It arrived yesterday. I could install it later today to control the furnace only. But, to get it to control my AC, I still have three additional steps, explained above.

From your description, it sounds like your ceiling AC unit came from the factory with a wall thermostat. Nice! My 2017 Freedom Elite just has 2 knobs on the unit and they don't do the job.
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:39 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lt Keefer View Post
Sorry, but I don't see the issue. Do the controls work? If you want the A/C to get colder, move it to colder. If you want the heat to get hotter, move the slide to warmer. in my mind, everything does not have to be digital and everything does not need an app. Some things are just fine as they come from the factory. It seems like modern people are turning into the blobs in floating chairs on the movie Wall-e, incapable of doing anything for themselves if it's not on a screen two inches from their faces.
I don't winterize my Windsport - that way I can pack up and head out any time the urge strikes. So I needed to come up with a way of protecting against the occasional freeze we have. The analog thermostat in my Windsport only went down to somewhere around 55 degrees so that wasn't much help. The digital model I replaced it with goes down to the low 30's which enables me to guard against freezing temps without burning up all that expensive propane.
BTW, all you had to do was state your opinion. The derogatory remarks about those who like something different than you were not needed.
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:39 PM   #18
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I am amazed that they still use 1950s technology thermostats in a 2020 model RV. With that old model, you'll see up to 5 degree temperature swings. Yeah! Too hot, then too cold, 10 min later. We purchased a Model RTH2300B Honeywell Programmable Backlit thermostat for about 30 bucks, along with a separate switch to switch from low to high speed fan. SOoooooo much more comfortable
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Old 08-12-2020, 01:27 AM   #19
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THOR #19277
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Originally Posted by gr8rcfan View Post
I am amazed that they still use 1950s technology thermostats in a 2020 model RV. With that old model, you'll see up to 5 degree temperature swings. Yeah! Too hot, then too cold, 10 min later.
That's the exact point I made when I started this thread. The only plausible response I received was "cost".

So, let's do the calculations. If a crappy mercury switch thermostat costs $15 but a digital model costs $30, Thor has saved a whopping $15 per vehicle by using junk. But, they have managed to piss off every user who touches it, except that one guy in this thread who likes his.

If the average Thor Motor Coach lists for $120,000, the cost of installing a decent thermostat would be thirteen thousandths of one percent.

I'm sorry, but that does not make economic sense to me.
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:44 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Wiley1 View Post
My Class-C came equipped with a Suburban NT-20SE propane-only furnace and a Coleman-Mach 13.5K Mach 3, rooftop AC.

The heat is controlled by a crappy little mechanical Suburban thermostat, mounted on the wall. You can't tell what the temperature is and you can't tell what the temp is set to be. When the RV shakes, the little red needle shakes with it. I haven't pulled the cover off, but I'm guessing it has a little glass tube filled with mercury, the way things were done in the 50's.

The roof AC unit has an internal thermostat, but we aren't allowed to see the temperature on that one either. All they give us is a knob that says Warmer or Cooler. We have to guess what that means.

Why can't I have a nice digital thermostat like the one in my house?
Something that says "Heat to" and "Cool to" in great big numbers.
Maybe it will have WiFi so I can dial in and check the temp when my dogs are "home alone".

Before I go out and start searching the Internet, calling Suburban, and calling Coleman, I thought I'd ask here.

Has anybody successfully changed the thermostat on their Suburban furnace?
Has anybody successfully added an external (wall) thermostat to their Mach 3 Plus rooftop unit?
By any chance, has anybody been able to do both jobs with a single device?
I installed a digital one. all works good
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