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Is there an “ideal” DP?

March 4, 2010 by Larry Cad · 19 Comments  
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For this post, I hope you will all indulge me as I depart from my perspective as an impartial observer, and offer some opinions.  Linda and I have, for several years, RV’ed in a 40 ft. diesel pusher.  Our personal opinion is that this is a wonderful way to travel and to camp.  Our coach has every amenity we could ask for and we are very comfortable living in it for long periods of time.  Having said that, we also believe there is room for improvement.  With that in mind, we set out at the RVIA show last year in December, to find the perfect DP.  As we looked around, we noted features we would like to have and wondered why some things were done.  These observations varied from, “hmmm, wonder why that is like that”, to “WHY would anyone even think of doing that!!”, and everything in between.  Some of these observations are based on our personal experience, and others derive from comments made by fellow campers.  Here is what we came up with, not in any particular order.

 

First, it is nice to see that most motorhome manufacturers are finally beginning to realize that LCD type televisions are made for motorhomes.  These TVs are lighter in weight, take up less space, use less energy, and offer great pictures.  What amazes me is that it has take until the 2010 model year to accomplish this realization.  However, it has happened.  Actually, the advantages of LCD TVs is so great, it should be an automatic decision for RVers to convert their older coaches over to LCD TVs, if for no other reason than to save fuel by not hauling around that 50 lb. anchor.

 

LCDs have opened up floorplans to some extent.  In times past, the TV went over the dash.  It was that simple.  Where else would you find enough extra room to put the monster?  Install that head knocker up there where everyone can get a stiff neck watching it.  Well today that has changed.  Many floorplans now feature what is known as a “midship” TV, meaning the TV is mounted towards the rear of the salon or living room, and is also down at a more traditional height, giving motorhomes a much more homey feel.  However, as with anything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to implement this.  Two things stand out in our minds.  One is that if you mount a TV midship, put it there so you can watch the TV with the slide pulled in.  This is not an impossible situation as demonstrated by some manufacturers such as Winnebago, Monaco and Jayco.  Others just mount it so that it is covered by the slide and thus totally useless to the passengers while traveling, or the occupants when stopping overnight at a Walmart or Flying J.  Two really makes me scratch my head.  I’ve always felt that the TV over the dash was a terrible location, used only as a last resort.  But old habits die hard and some manufacturers who have a perfectly good TV mounted midship insist on putting a second TV over the dash!  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe they feel that if we are foolish enough to buy their product we deserve to get our heads knocked everytime we walk in the door.  Suggestion to manufacturers: Lose the TV over the dash and make the midship TV viewable with the slide in.

 

The next innovation that is taking the industry by storm is known as “full wall slideout”.  The progression of slide rooms has been from one to two to four, and now to this.  With the addition of slides we were able to add floorspace, and become creative with floorplans.  Some floorplans were truly convenient and very liveable.  Others you really have to wonder about.  However, the more motorhomes I see with full wall slides, the more I am convinced that this thing is just a gimmick.  If you think about it, a four slide motorhome has slide space added to the living room, kitchen, and bedroom.  Where does the full wall slide add to this?  In reality, the only additional room you get is a wider hallway.  Truthfully, you need a hallway anyway, so why all the extra weight, and mechanism just to make the hallway wider?  I really do not see the attraction.  It is almost like the emporer’s new clothes and if you don’t see the advantage, shame on you.  Show me a floor plan using a full wall slide that actually uses the extra space for something useful and maybe then I will become a believer.

In our next post we will continue to exploreatures features we want in our ideal motorhom.

 

Larry

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19 Responses to “Is there an “ideal” DP?”

  1. PeteB on March 4th, 2010 9:22 pm

    And if I am not mistaken, with a full-wall slide from mostly all makers, we’re right back to square One as to the location of the main television set: right in there in the middle upper part of the cockpit for anyone to bang his head on. Speaking of which, how can anyone stay in shape using a Wii and Wii Fit Plus pad trying to aim that controller in the stratosphere ? Quite a challenge I’d say!!!

  2. BobB on March 5th, 2010 5:35 pm

    Before you run out and buy a LCD TV unit, check the cold storage temp. specification. I have an RCA unit, when I called, was told the low storage temp. was 40 F.

    If you don’t live in Southern AZ, plan on removing it in the winter, or become a Full timer.

  3. catchesthewind on March 5th, 2010 5:51 pm

    My 38ft Winnebago Voyage has an entertainment center right at the front of the slide. Just like the article mentioned I have one of those 50lb anchors for a tv. Not only is the tv heavy but the entertainment center weighs a ton. Seems if Im going to get an LCD then Id might as well replace the heavy console too.

  4. M H on March 5th, 2010 6:46 pm

    I took the old panasonic CRT out of my 38 Ft Pace Arrow and replaced it with a 26 inch flat panel HDTV. Because it is wide screen it was not as high as the old one and it gave me room to have a shelf under the TV to put things in like Remotes, Pens and Pencils, magazines or books. Yes it is in the center of the cockpit.

    The big advantage for me, is if I want to see a local channel or don’t want to hook up the satalite. I can still watch the local stations since most have switched to HDTV. Plus there is a lot less weight overhead now. Since my Motorhome is a gas engine with the engine up front It would be pretty hard to bump my head. so I have not had to worry about bumping my head on the center consol in the cockpit area. I am 6 ft tall.

  5. larrycad on March 5th, 2010 8:30 pm

    BobB, couldn’t let your comments go without response. Your post is mistaken. Typically the storage temperature low limit is -40F, not 40F. Here are some responses from manufacturers when asked the same question:

    - The storage temperature for these units is -20 to 60 degrees Celsius. Regards David Herbert LG Canada

    - Please be advised that the recommended storage temperature should be between -20 Celsius and +60 Celsius. However,thetelevision cannot be plugged in until the television’s internal temperature is 0-40 degrees Celsius. Please ensure that you unplug the television prior to storing it, and that the television is well warmed-up before plugging it in after the storage period. Regards, Panasonic Canada Inc. – Customer Care Centre – bg

    - Thank you for submitting your inquiry to Samsung.For all 3 different technologies, LCD, DLP or PLASMA, the manufacturer recommends a storage temperature (TV off mode) between -4oF to 113oF (-20oC to 45oC). Same storage temperatures for all. We also recommend that regardless of what type you buy, that you unplug the TV from the wall socket when not in use for a very long period and to let TV warm up by just plugging it for 12 hours before operating the next time. – Samsung Limitless Support

    - I’m glad to provide you the information regarding the operating temperature and storage temperature of the Sony TV. The television can be placed in storage with environmental temperatures between -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and 20-90% Relative Humidity (RH). The recommended temperature for proper operation is between 41°F to 96°F. Proper operation outside of this temperature range cannot be guaranteed. Thank you for your time. Sony of Canada, Ltd. C6EL Jason

  6. Peter Hickey on March 5th, 2010 9:22 pm

    Very good observations and comments. It help that I agree with you. Keep the comments coming.

  7. Liz Bard on March 5th, 2010 10:49 pm

    How about how the kitchen is situated or set up? Is it still a man who thinks you don’t need that deep of a shelf since you will be using paper plates or metal pie plates like the prospectors did and don’t need to worry about it? How about counter space? In the different RV’s (self contained and trailers) I seem to have a storage problem in the kitchen and bedroom areas. I also do not like the way our Winnebago Brave dinnete bench has a drop down door on the side, but you have to take off the cushions to open the seat to access stuff. Someday I hope to find someone who can build me a couple of drawers to slide out from the bench and turn the whole side of the bench into the drawer front. Now that would make sense to me. Then I could keep my stew pot/lobster/shrimp pot in there and access it easier. Also some appliances I need when we have time to cook (crock pot) or store the box of cereal and other stuff that won’t fit in the pantry or the little cabinets over the dinnette.

  8. Randy Reed on March 6th, 2010 7:53 am

    Great article about TV upgrades but we need to go further than just the TV… Our 07 Monaco DP still used the old cable switch box had a cheap in-dash excuse for a DVD, radio and Aux amplifier… They used a cheap amplifier that if not properly grounded hears the water pump loud and clear…. Monaco’s solution was to add up to (3) in-line audio filters to a point where they cured the water pump sound but you also had to max out the volume to hear a whisper from the radio…

    Your point about “2010 and they still don’t get it” is so true!!!! Lose the cables and install HDMI. HDMI is the current HD standard and cuts down on the cable clutter.. Our current configuration consists of Direct TV HD receiver (a note later about roof mounted satellite dishes) , Blu-ray DVD Player, and a Western-Digital converter for watching our own home movies and pictures. (Although this feature can now be found in many LCD TVs)

    Regarding the Kingdome dish on our roof….(not HD compliant) It seems DirectTV does not have a great forward thinking policy of sharing their HD encoding with third party dish manufactures like Kingdome…

    With regard to the bedroom TV, Monaco removed the “boat-anchor” TV from the bedroom and installed a Analog LCD TV (Well they got it half right anyway) but they mounted it in the same compartment from where the “boat anchor” was mounted.. With a bit of work on the TV mount I was able to put the TV on a swinging door to open a nice cupboard behind the TV that now holds our wireless printer, shared disk storage and network. Power and strangely enough a phone line was already in the cabinet for the TV. (I wish they would have spent a few pennies more and used CAT5 phone wire instead of the CAT3, we might have had a great little DP Wired network as well… )

    Bottom Line… Many of today’s manufactures need to employ a Network and Audio Engineer to upgrade their current Audio – Video offerings, until then I guess we have to do it ourselves…

    - Looking forward to your next articles…. great stuff!!!

  9. David Patterson on March 6th, 2010 12:02 pm

    After reading your post I felt compelled to respond with what I would call my logistical approach to what the ideal DP would have and not have;
    1.)with all the innovative tech. available todate, why the reliance on LP, ceramic cook tops, in floor electrical heat, fridges which are energy efficient
    2.)flooring, why not move to infloor heating, with lighter materials, not hardwood or ceramics(especially ceramics), in todays retrofit market, there are lighter and more durable products which look as good as or better then the real thing, also, you can change them without incurring the costs of the real thing
    3.)there should be no obstacles or hazards directly over the driver or passenger, despite the lighter weight of LCDs, they are still too heavy in the event of an accident. Why not hideaway TVs that either go up into the wall or down into the counters
    4.)manufacturers of DPs have not put enough research into the question of biodiesel fuels, this has got to be one of the more expensive fixed costs of any MH owner
    5.)my last point is why no move towards solar panels on the top side of the units, making them more eco friendly and cost efficient(over time, they pay for themselves over and over)

  10. larrycad on March 6th, 2010 5:51 pm

    David Patterson, you comments are well stated. Actually, one thing we noticed at the RVIA show in December was that some manufacturers are moving towards using more modern construction techniques and materials. One thing I was most impressed with was the new Spartan chassis that has been discussed here and other forums. I am hoping to see new motorhomes on this chassis introduced this year.

    On the subject of solar panels, I am becoming convinced that this is one of the best upgrades an RVer can do. I am planning to have some posts on this subject in the near future and really hope that I can afford to install a solar system on our coach. We do a lot of boondocking where we run our generator and I believe the solar system will pay for itself in fuel savings. However, I have yet to do the math so only time will tell.

  11. Dale Johnson on March 6th, 2010 10:28 pm

    Regarding the full wall slide. We love the full wall slide on our Fleetwood Providence 39R. It opens up such that the living space in the bedroom is one with the Salon. The Chair in the Bedroom is nice to get away from the DW. The full wall slide requires only 3 slide mechanisms rather than 4 for 2 slides.

  12. William Robinson, Jr. on March 6th, 2010 11:12 pm

    My 40″ mid-ship tv can be watched w/the slides in, a big plus (’08 FW Providence 40X). The big question I have iswhy do you have to have a bath and 1/2. We’re looking at a 45′ American Eagle, or any other big rig, and 95% of them have a bath and 1/2. Total waste of space IMHO. Full wall slides are OK, BUT, it does depend on the floor plan. Keep these articles coming, Robbie

  13. larrycad on March 7th, 2010 9:52 pm

    Dale, while you are correct regarding the number of slide mechanisms, the three for the full wall slide must be totally synchronized which complicates the total mechanism. Mechanically, there is no advantage to the full wall slide. My objection to the full wall is that the only thing it has over a bedroom/salon slide system is that you end up with a wider hallway between the two rooms. My wife doesn’t like this because you lose some of the privacy of your bedroom. Since you need a hallway anyway, why have a more complicated mechanism, and a heavier slide with somewhat comprimised roof strength, just to have a wider hallway? I don’t get it. I have not seen a floorplan yet that actually benefited from a full wall slide as compared to a more traditional two slides but I have seen reductions in the CCC and I have heard of many problems with full wall slides.

  14. larrycad on March 7th, 2010 9:54 pm

    William, my wife agrees with you. Most campers we know with the bath and a half, use the half bath for storage, even some friends who have 3 kids they travel with.

  15. stefan trestyn on March 9th, 2010 7:52 am

    the full wall slide on the Gulf Stream T40F. The hallway that it created houses a Refrigerator and an extra wall of closets

  16. larrycad on March 9th, 2010 5:52 pm

    Stefan, I am curious, are you able to access the fridge or the closets with the slide pulled in?

  17. John Ahrens on March 10th, 2010 5:40 pm

    I must admit that we’re speaking from the position of a 30 ft. gasser rather than a 40 ft DP (next time!). We have a full wall slide in our 2008 HR Admiral and we love it. The hallway opens up the bedroom making for a more open feeling. You can still close the bedroom door, if you want privacy.

    There’s a closet and bathroom in the hallway, which are usable, barely, with the slide in. Actually, if you are a large person, you couldn’t get into the bathroom door with the slide in, but we’re both pretty small, so it works for us.

    We prefer the single full wall slide to multiple slides, which usually include at least one on the curb side, which invades our patio space. We like to spend as much time as practical outside, so that’s important to us.

  18. Doug Smith on April 9th, 2010 4:40 pm

    Larry,
    I got into this discussion of DP just now (April 9th) and I was not sure what you meant by “DP”. I went back to your March 4th piece on “Is there an “ideal” DP” where I found your opening reference to diesel pusher. Is that what you mean by DP? In reading your April 9th summary I thought you meant “desired product.”

    In sum, it would help is you would periodically identify in parentheses what lettered acronyms mean. Many Thanks.

    Doug Smith

  19. ניסור בטון on June 28th, 2012 11:38 am

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