Refrigerators and Latches
Why doesn’t the RV industry supply its motorhomes and trailers with the ability to operate the refrigerators on DC power? Many folks are running the gas for the refrigerator when traveling on the road, which is dangerous. For safety purposes, the gas should be shut off at the storage vessel under these circumstances. Some areas require the gas be shut off on certain bridges and in tunnels. I have run my trailer through Death Valley with the refrigerator on DC power satisfactorily.
Another area of concern is cabinet latches. The industry should require that all motorhomes and any other RV you are allowed to ride in be equipped with positive latches on all cabinets and doors. In case of an accident, there is less of a chance of the occupants getting hurt with items flying out of the cabinets. You could get killed by a bottle of ketchup! I would not buy a motorhome without these features.
Why doesn’t the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association request these safety features? Must we wait for the government to take action regarding these matters?
Donald H. Mercier
Bob: The RV industry does supply refrigerators that operate on 12-volt DC, as well as 120-volt AC power and propane. You typically don’t seem them because the RV manufacturers don’t order them or offer them as options.
Dometic and Norcold, the primary refrigerator suppliers to the industry, both offer 6- and 8-cubic-foot models. The 12-volt-DC mode is designed to maintain the temperature, so you have to bring the refrigerator down to the operating temperature using propane or 120-volt AC power before you switch over. While the DC mode maintains temperature at a safe level, it will not cool as efficiently as AC power or propane.
It’s not practical to run the heating unit on 12-volt DC power required to provide the necessary cooling for the larger refrigerators.
As far as I know, there are no requirements for positive latches in RVs. There are, though, some manufacturers who use this type of cabinet hardware.