12 V Electric Air Conditioning Compressor – How Can You Decide Which One is Right For You?

Posted November 17, 2014 @ 10:39 pm

AC Compressor Image

This year at SEMA we featured our 12 volt air conditioning compressor in the New Product Showcase.   Although it didn’t win an award, it did win over a number of the visitors to our booth.  Many of you came by and were interested in the product and here’s a list of the potential applications we heard for our A/C compressor.

1.  Hot rods with small engine compartments or where you were concerned that the AC unit would negatively affect the look under the hood;
2.  Volkswagen beetles and buses;
3.  Limousines requiring supplemental air conditioning;
4. Small volume production custom and sports vehicles;
5. AC Cobra kit cars in Southern climates;
6. Enclosed electric golf carts;
7. Resto-mods vehicles that were previously not equipped with AC.

Needless to say, we think that many of you are on the right track, which was precisely why we developed this product in the first place.

The 12 V AC compressor installs easily, works quietly and attaches to Vintage Air units.  We’re featuring two units that  produce 3,753 BTU/hr.@ 31.17 amps, and 6,613 BTU/hr. @ 24.79 amps. respectively.   In order to simplify your decision making we’ve put together this article that contains the necessary information you need in order to specify the complete A/C system you need.

The first step is to identify the type of vehicle that you’re building.  We have grouped project vehicles into 3 types:

1. Hot Rod, Pickup Truck or air cooled vehicles such as an older VW Beetle or Porsche

2. 50’s, 60’s and Newer or Resto-mod vehicles.  Old Cadillacs, Dodge Chargers, ’57 Chevy’s and things like that.

3.  VW Buses or Limousines – vehicles with larger interiors with major A/C challenges.

If your vehicle doesn’t fit in to one of these categories, please call us for more specific recommendations.

 

1.  Compressor –  so what size compressor(s) do you need?  Here’s a simple table to help you decide.

 

Hot Rod, Pickup Truck

VW or Porsche

Hot Rod-Pickup-Bug

50’s, 60’s and Newer or Resto-ModResto-Mods and Larger Vehicles

VW Bus or

Limousine

 Limo and Bus

SHM-AIR-3753      $1,195 SHM-AIR-6613     $1,495 2 x SHM-AIR-3753 or  2 x SHM-AIR-6613 or 1 x SHM-AIR-3753  and     1 x SHM-AIR-6613. 

SHM-AIR-3753      $1,195

 

SHM-AIR-6613     $1,495

 

2.  The next step is to identify the type of AC system that is adequately sized for your vehicle.   Our A/C compressor works with a number of different A/C units manufactured by Vintage Air.

 

Hot Rod, Pickup Truck

VW or Porsche

50’s, 60’sand Newer or Resto-Mod VW Bus orLimousine
Gen II Compac or Gen II Mini system Gen IV Magnum

2 x  Gen IV Magnum

Vintage Air Gen II Compac -cGen II Compac -Heat , Cool & Defrost –  $470Vintage Air Gen II Min-c 

 

Gen II Mini- Heat , Cool & Defrost –  $470

Gen II Universal Features:-  High torque gear-drive servo motors control all airflow doors for increased travel, greater airflow, superior door sealing, and immediate response to control input.-  No reliance on engine vacuum – Important with high performance engines.

– Engineered healting/cooling coils increase cooling capacity and heating capacity over other conventional designs.

– CAD designed and virtual modeled evaporator case design allows signifcant airflow volume increases over conventional designs.

– Superior air capacity and control of dedicated dehumidified defroster mode.

– Blower fan motor is isolated on rubber mounts for quiet running and longer life.

– Multiple control panel options.

– Heavy duty wiring harness with circuit breakers and relays.

– Servo operated adjustable heater control valve for variable temp adjustment.

 

 

Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum-cHeat , Cool & Defrost –  $699Gen IV Magnum Features:- Fully electronic operation – no cables or vacuum controls- Micro-processor controlled coil temperature monitor -no capillary tube to install!- Separate high capacity heat and cool coils- Aluminum plate/fin A/C coil – most efficient evaporator design available- Copper/brass CuproBrazeTM parallel flow heater coil

– In full A/C mode air by passes heater core resulting in less restriction and increased airflow.

– Servo blend air door for instant temperature adjustment

– Infinite dash/floor air blend

– Infinite defrost /floor air blend with dedicated defrost

– Variable speed blower motor

– Positive shut off solenoid-operated heater control valve in max A/C mode

– Multiple control panel options

 

Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum-c   Heat , Cool & Defrost –  $699Gen IV Magnum Features:- Fully electronic operation – no cables or vacuum controls- Micro-processor controlled coil temperature monitor -no capillary tube to install!- Separate high capacity heat and cool coils- Aluminum plate/fin A/C coil – most efficient evaporator design available- Copper/brass CuproBrazeTM parallel flow heater coil

– In full A/C mode air by passes heater core resulting in less restriction and increased airflow.

– Servo blend air door for instant temperature adjustment

– Infinite dash/floor air blend

– Infinite defrost /floor air blend with dedicated defrost

– Variable speed blower motor

– Positive shut off solenoid-operated heater control valve in max A/C mode

– Multiple control panel options

 

 

3.   Controls – choose the controls that will operate the heating, cooling & defrosting features from inside your vehicle. Again, Vintage Air manufactures a number of different solutions that will work.   Beyond the basic function, you will need to consider what style of controls will suit your needs, budget and taste.

 

Hot Rod, Pickup Truck

VW or Porsche

50’s, 60’s and Newer

or Resto-Mod

VW Bus or Limousine

 

Gen II Under Dash RotaryGen II 4 Knob Base Under Dash Control #49200-RHA  $49.007.125” x1.875”

The same control functions as the well-known slider panels but these use rotary knobs to control all functions. These control switches can be used directly in your dash without the pods for a true custom look.

 

 

 

Gen IV 3 Knob Under DashGen IV 3 Knob Base Under Dash  Control  #492050  $49.9555.25” x 1.25”

Super compact, easy to mount 3-knob control panel delivers valuable control at your fingertips.   Individual switches can be removed from pod and mounted directly into your dash for increased design options and flexibility.

 

Gen IV 3 Knob Under DashGen IV 3 Knob Base Under Dash Control  #492050  $49.955.25” x 1.25”

Super compact, easy to mount 3-knob control panel delivers valuable control at your fingertips.   Individual switches can be removed from pod and mounted directly into your dash for increased design options and flexibility.

Gen II Under Dash with LouversGen II 4 Knob Under dash pod w/louver#49205-RHA  $49.00

 

12” x 2.375”

491210-RUAUpgrade 3 Knob Gen IV Horizontal Panel -Polished Face#491210-RUA   $199

Machined aluminum rotary control panel features a polished face and knobs with engraved icons. Also available in black anodized satin finish for $209. Panels include exclusive soft-white LED lighting in each knob.Both styles are also available in a vertical alignment.

 

4.125” x 1.25”

491210-RUAUpgrade 3 Knob Gen IV Horizontal Panel -Polished Face#491210-RUA   $199

Machined aluminum rotary control panel features a polished face and knobs with engraved icons. Also available in black anodized satin finish for $209. Panels include exclusive soft-white LED lighting in each knob.Both styles are also available in a vertical alignment.

 

4.125” x 1.25”

There are many more options to choose from for either the Gen II or Gen IV systems and they are listed on our website, or consult the Vintage Air website for additional options

 

4.  Condensers & Dryers – The next thing you should look at is the condenser and the dryer.  Space considerations may determine what components will best fit into your vehicle.

 

If your vehicle is a hot rod such as a ’32 Ford, you may need a smaller condenser such as the Vintage Air 03332-VUC which sells for $139.

A9RA1C4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

03332-VUC  $139

 

 

Vehicles with more grill area can use a larger condenser, such as the Vintage Air 03701-OVA, which sells for $117.

03701-OVA

 

 

 

 

 

03701-OVA    $117

 

Here is a table with a number of different condensers and dimensions available from Vintage Air:

03701-OVA  Condenser with brackets 12” tall x 20” wide  x .83” thick

037033         Condenser with brackets 12” tall x 24” wide x .83” thick

03260-VUC  Condenser with brackets 14” tall x 18” wide x .83” thick

03261-VUC   Condenser with brackets 14” tall x 20” wide x .83”thick

03262-VUC  Condenser with brackets 14” tall x22” wide x .83” thick

03263-VUC  Condenser with brackets 14” tall x 24” wide x. 83”thick

03770- VUC Unpainted condenser w/o brackets 14” tall x 25.5” wide x .83” thick

037034          Condenser with brackets 16” tall x 18” wide x .83” thick

 

You will also need a dryer.  A standard dryer with a safety switch, such as the type sold by Vintage Air (#07322-VUC) sells for $39.    A similar unit is also available in chrome (#07308-VUQ) is $75.

 

07322-VUC

 

 

 

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Vintage Air #07322-VUC –  $39

Vintage Air #07308-VUQ –  $75

 

5.  Louvers –  The style and placement of louvers is a very individual decision and is based on the look you are trying to achieve, the cooling effect you are trying to deliver to each passenger position and your budget.    You can mount your louvers under the dash, inside the dash or elsewhere.

 

 

 

A9R614B

 

 

A9R414B

If you are placing your louvers in metal, plastic or wood surfaces, particular care must be given to cutting the right size holes without damaging the surrounding surfaces.  Some manufacturers sell tools that are meant for the job.

 

A9R414D

6.  Hoses & Fittings – In order to get your system connected and going to the right places you will need lines and bulkhead connectors.  Vintage Air makes the EZ Clip system that allow you to fabricate all the lines you need in your garage.  The lengths of hose you will need, the number of angles and bends required to secure the hoses to the vehicle and the number of pieces you will need will vary according to the job you are doing.  Below is a list of hoses, clips and fittings for the EZ Clip system that will operate with our A/C compressor and the other components shown here.   The prices for these items can be found on our website.

 

 

Hoses & Fitting Chart

7.   Bulkhead Connectors – this is the final piece of the puzzle that connects the pieces inside the engine compartment (or wherever you have the A/C components situated) to the interior of the vehicle. As with the other components, there can be a choice between pure function and cosmetic appeal.  Choose the pieces that best fit your needs.  Again, you will find a complete listing of parts available on our website.

 

34116-VUQ 34317-VUQ 384600-MBA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This article is not intended to be a comprehensive installation guide to automotive air conditioning systems, but should give you a pretty good idea of what is involved in costing out and completing a system for your particular vehicle.    Our 12V A/C compressor is designed to work with the components shown here or with an OE system and will solve a problem that some of you encounter with space considerations.   Please visit our online store for complete information or give us a call with your questions.  We’re here to help.

 

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