|November 6, 2014
Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that
opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to
noun - The inclusion of extra
components that are not strictly necessary to functioning,
in case of failure in other components.
remember my son Andy showing me the internet for the first
time, hed subscribed to AOL back in the mid-1990s,
and at a whopping 2400 baud we could read the news, get
stock prices, go to those new and interesting websites, and
I remember saying to him, Ill bet I could
sell airplanes on this thing.
background was banking, with experience financing the
airborne contraptions, Id taken flying lessons years
ago, but never finished getting my license. But, a friend of
mine was a pilot and was doing a fair job of selling planes.
He knew nothing about the internet, or how to build a
website, and at that point I was only a couple of weeks
ahead of him on that subject, but, between the two of us, we
started to sell airplanes on the world-wide web.
of the first things I learned was that planes have a lot of
what is known as redundancy. For example, most
have two sets of radios, so if the main unit fizzles, youve
got a second one to get you out of trouble.
got interested in motorhomes, I quickly realized that RVs,
like airplanes or submarines, are loaded with redundancy,
backups enabling you to do almost anything at least two
different ways. I had a real problem with "suspension
of disbelief" watching the 1995 movie
Tide" starring Gene Hackman and Denzel
Washington. A billion dollar nuclear submarine gets into
trouble because the only radio onboard blew a gasket. Hey,
for a billion dollars they should throw in a couple of extra
Here are some examples of how
recreational vehicles handle this subject:
| A 120 volt AC system, to handle the air
conditioners, microwave, and television sets,
powered by either plugging into an outside power
source, or by starting the generator. Typically, a
motorhome generator draws fuel from the main tank,
but as a safety feature, when the fuel level, I have
a 75 gallon gas tank, gets down to 25% the generator
quits, to be sure youll have enough left to
drive back to civilization, and we don't see your
frozen body on the evening news in the Spring.
A 12 volt DC system, powered by the chassis battery
or a power inverter converting 120 VAC to 12 VDC, to
handle the interior lighting, operate the
refrigerator, furnace, water pump, electric step,
anything else requiring 12 volts. Some RV
televisions operate on 12 VDC, or can be powered by
a 12 VDC to 120 VAC converter, I have one for both
televisions and for the DVD player.
refrigerator/freezer generally runs on either 120
VAC or LP gas, switching automatically, and some
models also run on 12 volt DC. I also have a Dometic
portable freezer that keeps steaks and ice cream
rock hard at -0- degrees Fahrenheit, 120 VAC, but
switches automatically to 12 VDC when needed.
LP (liquid propane) gas to power the furnace, oven
and range, water heater, and as a backup source for
the refrigerator/freezer, comes from a built-in
tank, typically about 18 gallons, but an external
source, such as a 20 lb. or larger propane tank can
be hooked up using what is marketed as a "stay-awhile"
hose kit. This provides a good backup source in an
emergency, or when you just can't, or don't want to
unhook, button up, and drive the motorhome to town.
I have three 20 lb. "BBQ" size LP tanks,
easy to get refilled or swapped for full ones.
Separate engine and chassis batteries, with a jumper
button in case your engine battery is dead you can
start using the chassis battery. Likewise, if the
chassis battery is low, perhaps after a night in a
Walmart parking lot, you can start the generator,
usually started with the chassis battery, with the
engine battery using that same jumper button. One or
more Solar Panels can be installed on the roof, an
item on my "wish list", to keep your
chassis batteries charged, eliminating the need to
run your generator or engine to keep them up.
A fresh water tank, mine is 75 gallons, filled from
an external source, with an electric pump providing
water to sinks, the toilet, and shower. And, the
water system can be hooked directly to an outside
source, usually an RV park faucet, bypassing your
inside tank. A regulator is highly recommended to
prevent problems with your inside plumbing. Before I
bought one of these protecting devices, the kitchen
faucet assembly on my first motorhome blow right in
the air from high water pressure, and leaks can
develop inside your walls, expensive to find and
Adding a hot rod electric heating
element to your LP gas water heater is becoming a
popular option, to save your gas supply when you're
in an RV park, and new motorhomes generally come
with that feature already installed. For faster
recovery you can run both at once.
Electric heat can be added to newer air
conditioners, or they can be ordered that way. Not a
replacement for your furnace, but the 1800 watt
element, combined with the high air volume blower of
the air conditioner will take the chill off, and
eliminate the need for a space heater.
The couch is a hide-a-bed or day bed, and the
dinette will convert quickly to another bed,
providing additional sleeping for up to four, in
addition to the regular bed, and in many models,
like a Class C, a bunk is above the cockpit. Some of
the newer and more expensive Class A motorhomes
offer optional "bunk beds", complete with
individual fold-down flat screen televisions, great
for the grandkids.
aren't fallout shelters, but if you overlook the possibility
the next tornado could blow your RV back to Kansas, with all
of these features, with plenty of food and snake-bite
medicine on board, these recreational vehicles can provide
real backup protection for you and your family in case of
I want my next motorhome to have even
more dual purpose features, like a new-fangled white
porcelain machine in the back that both washes and dries the
clothes, Im tiring of laundromats. Last week, I
watched two women get into an ownership dispute over a
quarter on the floor.
Air Aviation Referral Service
responses, and will be glad to post them here. Email your