Air8 Performance in [email protected] 400 Disappointing

135

Comments

  • rh5555rh5555 Posts: 54Member
    This is the label on my AIR8 unit:

    No mention of BTUs or Watts.  How does this compare with yours?
    Has anyone measured the actual current draw of their Air8 unit while it is cooling?
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    @Cbusguy should be a temperature differential inside to outside, not just drop. 
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    edited September 13
    @rh5555 I can’t get a pic of the label on mine as it would require unscrewing the hinged lid of the bed platform, but here’s my instruction manual. Makes me wonder if we have the same unit!


    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • Awca12aAwca12a Posts: 272Member
    I visited the factory on the way back from a trip out west and was fortunate enough to be able to do a back-to-back comparison with the Airstream factory.  NuCamp has a clean, well organized, state of the art operation with employees who are clearly engaged and happy to be there.  Airstream can learn a lot from NuCamp in this regard.  

    As a 2019 owner I understand the reason to move weight off the tongue and if I had a choice, I would take the ability to tow with a smaller vehicle due to tongue weight even if it meant disappointing AC results.  Then again, we are rarely anywhere where AC could even get plugged in.  That, I think, drives factory thinking in that they expect owners to be in the field more than they would be hooked up.  Doesn’t excuse this mess up but does perhaps explain the thought process. 

    My my unsolicited advice to the factory, and to interested users here, would be to form a users group of owners who use NuCamp products actively and often under different circumstances and involve the users group in their R&D process.  This AC mess is a case in point. 

    While I have no factual basis for saying what follows, my experience with NuCamp over prior issues and conversations tells me this is so.  In my opinion, few if any NuCamp factory people use their products regularly enough, if at all, for them to properly develop and grow the company without a users group involvement.    Just looking at these AC specs and knowing a bit about the choices involved from personal experience, a regular user would have seen this an obvious problem from the start.  Airstream does similar boneheaded development on the backs of new owners, some who should have known better, so the nuCamp approach isn’t new but they should be flexible enough to change the paradigm. Before buying the NuCamp we designed and planned to build our own RV from scratch but saw their product at an RV show and fell in love. 

    So keep the faith because the product is worthwhile but for those with the 2020 small AC unit who need the bigger one, I can see no easy fix.  AC BTUs are determined by air volume and heat load but in this case it seems space requirements was how this decision was been made.

    As a suggested fix, perhaps look at the trucker battery powered AC units they use to address no idle laws.  
    F150 Pulling 2019 [email protected] BDL
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 4,935Moderator
    Are you sure the larger model will not fit?  
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
       
                                           
  • CbusguyCbusguy Posts: 577Member
    @Awca12a I believe the current air8 is appropriately sized for the 320.    But is far too small for the 400.

    Fans and such are great work arounds but why do we need a work around on a new camper.  The AC should have been sized appropriately and then performance tested in the real world before being put into production.

    I firmly believe there is very little R&D goes into the design.   When we see changes it is more often than not things that were developed and discussed on this board.


    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter with added tranny coolerPower Bastards 250 amp alternator , added 2 gage charging wire to Trailer,  Timbren SES suspension and Super Springs.
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • rh5555rh5555 Posts: 54Member
    For what its worth, here are the technical data from my manual.  Does make you wonder if we have the same units.  My serial number is 191701067, which might decode as unit 067, manufactured 17 Jan 2019.The Elwell Air8 unit looks a lot like Truma units, but doesn't really match either of them.  I pulled up their specs to compare:



    It seems we are closer to the Comfort RC (but without the ability to heat) than the Compact, but who knows?  I'd guess that Elwell are getting Truma to make custom units for them and the specs have been a bit mobile, it was supposed to be 8000BTU, but they didn't meet that mark, so subsequently lowered the specs.
    Unfortunately it is too cold here to get the AC started, or I'd measure its power consumption which would provide some direct evidence.  Supposed to warm up a bit next week, though.
    I'd still like to get one of you who live in hot climes to see if the system works better with the AC cabinet lid (aka the bed) propped open to get better return air flow.
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    edited September 14
    Very interesting.  It will be good to hear from the factory about the two different btu ratings for presumably the exact same air conditioner.

    @rh5555 the label on mine is the same in all fields except for Cooling Capacity (6,000 btu), and Power Consumption (900W).
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • JCALDJCALD Posts: 12Member
    We are definitely in the market, but we don’t own a 400 yet.  At this point there is no way we would buy a 2020 model with inadequate air conditioning since we live in Texas.  It can be 105 degrees in the shade so an AC unit with capability is critical.  We must be able to pull into a site at 2 in the afternoon with an ambient temperature of 105 to 110 with full sun, have the camper cool down in a reasonable amount of time and then sustain a comfortable temperature of no higher than 77 degrees.  That being said, a unit only capable of a 20 degree temperature drop is not acceptable.  At an outside temperature of 105 the inside temperature expected would be 85.  I feel like the unit is grossly undersized for the cooling task.  The return air restriction sounds like it could be part of the problem and I look forward to hearing some real test results.  Hopefully in an area with 100 degree
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    Seems to me there are several design shortcomings with the new a/c unit.  Having the intake and exhaust underneath the camper, by my observation, is problematic in that the hot exhaust air has no where to go and is “bounced” off the ground and collects underneath the camper, thus being pulled into the intake.  I have not measured it, but it is clearly much warmer underneath the rear of the camper than the surrounding ambient air.  When the unit was up front, the exhaust was at least being released into the open air.  Seems to me it needs duct work to carry the exhaust to the edge of the camper so it’s not being pulled back into the intake.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • gulfareagulfarea Posts: 180Member
    It looks like all the other rv trailers made realize that up on the roof is where they should be. Cool air falls making it better inside also. It sure would be nice to have a hidden A/C system but so far the roof mounted wins out. Art
    2019 Boon-dock Edge
  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 5,486Member
    gulfarea said:
    It looks like all the other rv trailers made realize that up on the roof is where they should be. Cool air falls making it better inside also. It sure would be nice to have a hidden A/C system but so far the roof mounted wins out. Art
    Not really. Any trailer with the Cool Cats are not roof mounted and the cool cats performed very well in the older 400 models. 

    Jenn Grover | 2015 320 S | 2018 Jeep Grand WK2 | Nights in [email protected]: 211 | Pittsburgh

  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 514Member
    edited September 17
    Probably need two models. 
    Air6 (current model renamed to reflect what it actually generates) for the 320.
    New Air8 model that generates 8000 btu for the 400.
    Plus the intake/exhaust, return, and circulation issues resolved.
    Oh, and throw in a thermostat that can be calibrated. B)
    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
  • 4ncar4ncar Posts: 622Member
    FWIW...I was in a new Avia today w/ the new “ Airx “ and even with the door open, it was nice &;cool inside, 70 degrees by the thermometer. 81+ outside...

    i really think you need nucamp& or your dealer to dig deep on your unit....
    TV- '16 Chevy Colorado LT Crew Cab-DuraMax
    2018 320S Outback
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    edited September 16
    Oh, and throw in a thermostat that can be calibrated. B)
    What I’m hearing is that the temperature sensor is located inside the unit under the bed and not in the cabin or at the control panel.  If that is indeed the case, no amount of calibration is going to help.  The closest to actual cabin temperature I’ve observed my a/c unit is 7.5 degrees low, and as much as 28 degrees low.  No amount of calibration is going to help that; what number do you pick?  I’ve had two occasions where my Air8 won’t turn on despite it being 90+ degrees inside the camper, while the control panel was reading 71-74 degrees.
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • VernaVerna Posts: 5,433Administrator
    @TNOutback, have you contacted your dealer and/or nüCamp?  I've just read this entire discussion and you have not mentioned contacting them, although you have been urged to contact them by another owner. They will not know of your findings, trial and tribulations unless you contact them.

    The normal sequence is contact your dealer first. Should you not get a satisfactory response from your dealer, then contact nüCamp at [email protected] since you have a new, under warranty [email protected] 
    Verna, Columbus, IN, 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator




  • CbusguyCbusguy Posts: 577Member
    @TNOutback  so they put the temp sensor inside the unit to monitor return air temperature?      If that is the case it is no wonder the trailers never get down to temp.   All but one of the air ducts are slightly above floor level, in the 320,  and the return air is at the floor that explains the issues.   

    In a nutshell,  discounting the duct lenghts,  the air circulates only 2 feet in the trailer,    that isn't going to cool it down.
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter with added tranny coolerPower Bastards 250 amp alternator , added 2 gage charging wire to Trailer,  Timbren SES suspension and Super Springs.
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    Verna said:
    @TNOutback, have you contacted your dealer and/or nüCamp?  I've just read this entire discussion and you have not mentioned contacting them, although you have been urged to contact them by another owner. They will not know of your findings, trial and tribulations unless you contact them.

    The normal sequence is contact your dealer first. Should you not get a satisfactory response from your dealer, then contact nüCamp at [email protected] since you have a new, under warranty [email protected] 
    I’ve had lots of back and forth discussions between dealer and Nucamp Warranty and Customer Service,@Verna, since the beginning.  Reporting all my experiences and tests. No solutions yet though, but there seems to be some ongoing discussions between Elwell and Nucamp on the design.  I’m being sent some kind of scoop to install over the exhaust that I’m happy to test out. At the end of the day though, I think they’ve installed too small of unit for this camper, and there are some design elements of the installation that seems to make matters worse. 
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • VernaVerna Posts: 5,433Administrator
    Thank you, @TNOutback, for keeping nüCamp in the loop. 
    Verna, Columbus, IN, 2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite white/red, towed by a white 2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercab, 3.5L V6 Ecoboost; [email protected] Administrator




  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 514Member
    TNOutback said:
    Oh, and throw in a thermostat that can be calibrated. B)
    What I’m hearing is that the temperature sensor is located inside the unit under the bed and not in the cabin or at the control panel. 
    That is truly bizarre. Am trying to wrap my head around that design decision.
    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
  • jameskuzmanjameskuzman Posts: 76Member
    What I’m hearing is that the temperature sensor is located inside the unit under the bed and not in the cabin or at the control panel. 
    That is truly bizarre. Am trying to wrap my head around that design decision.
    If that's true, I agree. Is there no sensor in the thermostat itself? If not, that's bizarre too. 

    The only cases one might make for a remote sensor would be if the thermostat were in a location that would result in an inaccurate reading (next to a window in the path of direct sunlight, directly in the path of an air vent, etc.) or in a location not representative of space that would normally contain the camper's occupants and could have a significantly different ambient temperature (closet, cupboard, etc.). Neither of those is the case in any [email protected] really. 

    And in no case would you deliberately place it in a place where an occupant spends no time, i.e., under the bed. 

     


    Jim Kuzman, Girard OH - 2019 [email protected] 400 - TV 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SE 4Motion w/ Factory Tow Package
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Posts: 671Member
    @Awca12a great idea about the user group and I tend to think you are 100 percent correct about lack of real engineering and R&D. I am a fan of NuCamp and quality wood work, but some of the mechanical and electrical is obvious they are primarily a group of wood Craftsman. Take the plastic trim and black rubber which seem to have a multitude of breaking and coming loose stories. Why these things are not resolved years later is a bit of a mystery.

    The current issue of the 400 AC is an another bad engineering fail where a choice was made to try and fix weight on the hitch and created a mess. There was nothing really wrong with a heavy tonuge with an adequate tow vehicle. If they wanted to lighten that up, moving the axle forward would be the real fix, but I guess that would take a lot more redesign than moving the AC...


    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • rh5555rh5555 Posts: 54Member
    Curiosity finally won out here in the pacific NW:  I ran the Alde heating system for a couple of hours to get the temperature high enough that I could get the AC to start cooling.  With the fan on low, the current consumption was 6A, fan on high drew 7A.  If you work through the math, my unit must be 6000BTU, not the 8000BTU that our user's manual claimed.
    And in my attempts to persuade the AIR8 to start cooling, I tried warming the control panel by the entrance door.  It made no difference, so I would agree that there is no temperature sensor in that panel, so it must be in the air intake.
    Roger and Sue Hill | 2020 [email protected] Boondock ([email protected]) | 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2L | San Juan Island, WA
  • CbusguyCbusguy Posts: 577Member
    @N7SHG_Ham  I wouldn't call it an engineering fail,   I would call it an R&D fail.   The AC unit absolutely functions as designed,    The installation is the issue,  the return air and cold air ducting are not placed optimally for the unit to function as designed,   but for the aesthetic of the camper interior.   Nucamp either doesn't test at all or very minimally tests changes before sending them to production.       What works in the middle of Ohio wont necessarily work in south texas  or Alaska.

    I imagine many of these RV manufactures have a parade of toilet, furnace, plumbing, tire, frame manufactures through their headquarters every day trying to sell them the next latest and greatest things.     So how do you separate the good from the bad?  install it and then test it.

    While I will never understand how the industry works,   It makes sense to me to use the fleet of trailers they have donated/gifted/consigned to the various Youtubers be used as test beds for design changes or new tech before selling to the general public.  Or if the youtuber tester fleet isn't big enough  invite current  owners to participate in say loaner/evaluation program........Going on a trip and want to give the new tech a try,  give us a call kinda thing.    The last idea is probably a bad one as it would be really difficult to get accurate feed back.    The feedback needs to be concise and unbiased,  and the folks who would call to take out an R&D trailer would more than likely be the nucamp cheerleader types.   





    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter with added tranny coolerPower Bastards 250 amp alternator , added 2 gage charging wire to Trailer,  Timbren SES suspension and Super Springs.
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • tabiphiletabiphile Posts: 136Member
    Cbusguy said:
    @N7SHG_Ham I wouldn't call it an engineering fail, I would call it an R&D fail. The AC unit absolutely functions as designed, The installation is the issue, the return air and cold air ducting are not placed optimally
    That is the right way to look at this. In-house testing is not design. It's design verification. For AC and any air-moving products the industry standard is to smoke test. Smoke testing highlights airflow issues and allows you to optimize location, venting etc. before you actually run beta testing in a production model (your fleet of non-cheerleader youtubers what have you.) How many manufacturers of RV type products actually have adopted standard engineering/R&D process?? Probably not many or any. This industry beats to a different drum. 
  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 514Member
    edited September 19
    I'm curious whether the Air8 was designed to generate 8000 btu, but post-manufacturing tests show 6000 under ideal conditions.
    Is there a formula to derive BTU from amps, watts or some other numbers?
    The only thing I could find online was mention of a general rule for home ACs that 1 HP generates 9000-10,000 btu depending on how efficient the unit is. That would place Air8's .65 HP in the 5850-6500 range.
    Let's call it 6000. Is 6000 enough for a [email protected] 400? Not likely. 
    Looks like 6000 is plenty for the 320, 8000 is required for the 400, and the Avia spec now lists 15,000 (rooftop model).
    IMO if they can't get 8000 btu out of an Air8 it's a lost cause for the 400 especially when camping in areas with no shade, high temps, and high humidity.
    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
  • TNOutbackTNOutback Posts: 236Member
    @Cbusguy agree. Years ago, I was a customer field tester for Equalizer Hitch and the products they were developing around their hitch system before deploying to the market. It helped to ensure they had a well tested product before it hit the streets. 
    2020 [email protected] 400 BDL w/ solar
    2016 F-150 4x4 Crew, 3.5L Ecoboost
    Middle Tennessee
    YNWA LFC
  • CbusguyCbusguy Posts: 577Member
    @TabberJohn. Doesn't Intel or one of the chip makers do something like that.    The test all of the chips and all of the best are marketed at such and then they de clock the rest and sell for less $$$$

    The air8 may work on a 400 it is my belief that 1. There needs to be an air diverter under the trailer aeperating the intake and exhaust   2.   The cold air ducts need to be relocated higher in the trailer.  3 a larger return air duct that imo should not be at floor level but higher in the trailer.   Other wise it just reciculates and recool already cool air......

    I have some thoughts on how to test it......but I don't own a 400
    2009 GMC Canyon,   3.7 liter with added tranny coolerPower Bastards 250 amp alternator , added 2 gage charging wire to Trailer,  Timbren SES suspension and Super Springs.
    2020 320s Boondock lite, With Lots of mods
  • PhotomomPhotomom Posts: 2,201Member
    We checked out a 400 at the factory last week and really liked it. We could both stretch out on the bed without the mods I’ve had to do to my [email protected] My tall husband could stand up in most of the trailer and fit into the bathroom. I would have plenty of room to prepare meals and he could stand up to wash the dishes. When the Air8 issue is resolved we will probably buy one, but it’s a nonstarter as things stand now. 
    John and Henrietta, Late 2016 [email protected] S Max in Western New York
  • RKPhelpsRKPhelps Posts: 1Member
    Same here, I've taken the Tab 400 off my list until they get rid of the Air8. I noticed in a video from the Hersey Show last week that Nucamp has removed the Air8 from the new Avia and upped the ceiling Air conditioner to 15K btu. This tells me the Air8 is crap and Nucamp knows it. Nucamp has ruined the best tear drop on the planet with this Air design change in the 2020 and I hope they come to their senses and change to some other design soon for the Tab 400.
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