Safety Latch for Small Dometic Fridge? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
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I posted this over on the, ahem, Casita site, but knowing my roots and that there are a lot of smaller eggs here, maybe someone else has been through this. I'm looking for something similar to a child-proof latch to put on our small Dometic refrigerator. It's the fridge with the little grooved rotating latch at the upper corner. More than once it has not been locked before departing (not naming names here), with the resultant emptying of the fridge all over the floor while driving. Makes for a nice surprise when opening the camper door. One of these events sort of negates all considerations for precooling the fridge before departing! We can talk a lot about checklists before departure, etc, but sometimes it's worth something a little more reliable. I'm just curious to know if anyone has fashioned such a device already before I start inventing something. I would really like it to be something that catches automatically, every time the door is shut, and that can be easily opened when desired. A spring steel clip over the top of the door is the type of thing I have in mind, hopefully mounted through the same hole that holds the rotating plastic catch now.

Any ideas?

Thanks,
Parker
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
I posted this over on the, ahem, Casita site, but knowing my roots and that there are a lot of smaller eggs here, maybe someone else has been through this. I'm looking for something similar to a child-proof latch to put on our small Dometic refrigerator. It's the fridge with the little grooved rotating latch at the upper corner. More than once it has not been locked before departing (not naming names here), with the resultant emptying of the fridge all over the floor while driving. Makes for a nice surprise when opening the camper door. One of these events sort of negates all considerations for precooling the fridge before departing! We can talk a lot about checklists before departure, etc, but sometimes it's worth something a little more reliable. I'm just curious to know if anyone has fashioned such a device already before I start inventing something. I would really like it to be something that catches automatically, every time the door is shut, and that can be easily opened when desired. A spring steel clip over the top of the door is the type of thing I have in mind, hopefully mounted through the same hole that holds the rotating plastic catch now.

Any ideas?



Thanks,
Parker
Hi Parker,
I'm hesitant to post about this with out the pics. to help; but I'll give it a try.
We had the same problem with the Dometic fridge in our 79 trilli. 4500. I was in a hurry, in in search of a quick, temperary solution. I had in mind a similar idea as your's; spring steel clip over the top of the existing, rounded, screw. After searching my shop I came up with a "paper clip", simple, hard to describe, but readily available (a spring steel C shaped clip with two leverage arms that pivot, and are ultimately removable). I removed the arms, drilled a hole in one side of the clip, installed this piece under screw on the top of the fridge. Now the rounded screw, on the top of the door, passes under this clip and snaps the door closed. It's worked so good that I'm not really inclined to find a "better" fix.
Hope this helps!
I can can try and post pics. if ness.
Scott
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:41 PM   #3
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After searching my shop I came up with a "paper clip", simple, hard to describe, but readily available (a spring steel C shaped clip with two leverage arms that pivot, and are ultimately removable).
Scott,

I've got the idea, have collection of those clips here, and will have a look. Right now, I can't picture the screw you'r describing, but maybe it will make sense when I see it. There is a countersunk M6 screw through the rotating latch, which catches on a little tang on top of the door. Maybe there is a screw holding this piece on top of the door? I have the garage shut down for the night, but I'll be having a look in the morning!

Thanks,
Parker
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:18 PM   #4
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Our low tech simple solution to the door latch is a twist tie before departure.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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Our low tech simple solution to the door latch is a twist tie before departure.
Maybe a twist tie around my finger would help me remember to be sure it's locked!
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Old 07-24-2010, 12:11 PM   #6
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When I called Dometic for a replacement they referred me on to some outfit which made a replacement device, since the original is not available. It has a nylon peg with a little chain and fits right on the thing without any modifications. Sorry I can't recall the outfit, but there is one available and it works quite well.
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Old 07-24-2010, 03:04 PM   #7
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When I called Dometic for a replacement they referred me on to some outfit which made a replacement device, since the original is not available. It has a nylon peg with a little chain and fits right on the thing without any modifications. Sorry I can't recall the outfit, but there is one available and it works quite well.
Per,

Interesting! I'll give them a try. Ours works okay, as long as we remember to set it to the locked position, but some other design may be more conducive to remember it.

Thanks,
Parker
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:45 PM   #8
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Scott h,
Would you please post some pictures. It sounds like a pretty easy fix.
thanks,
Ed D
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:04 PM   #9
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There are child safety locks designed for use on home refrigerators that should work. About $5 for a pack of 2. Just peel and stick to affix. To use just snap one tab into the other. You would have to remember to use it however.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:12 PM   #10
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I looked at some at Lowes designed for cabinets, but decided they wouldn't work since you have to be able to reach in far enough behind the door to release it. The way the fridge is made, I don't think I could do it. I haven't found any specifically for a refrigerator, but I'll try again. Thanks!

Parker
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:17 PM   #11
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Per,

I called PPL, and they contacted the Dometic factory about a replacement as you described. All they have is the original style. Is this an aftermarket item? Can you provide any more info? Based on your description, I'm considering drilling the hole a little deeper into the top of the door where the existing plastic tang sits that the latch catches. If the hole is a little deeper, it would be reasonable to make a pin to drop through the original threaded hole in the metal arm into the top of the door. Right now, the hole is probably too shallow to count on the pin staying in place. For some reason, I think a pin arrangement could me made a little more difficult to forget.

Parker
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:29 PM   #12
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I think you're on the right track looking at child safety equipment. I saw a couple things that look interesting

Amazon.com: Fridge Guard Appliance Safety Lock in CLEAR: Baby


http://smallrepairs.50webs.com/eng/refrigerator_2.htm

Amazon.com: Glass Video/Display Cabinet Latch (Colors May Vary): Baby

Do you remember those old style Norge refrigerator handle/locks? There is one on this page but it costs a fortune!

Die Cast Refrigerator Latch

But, if you look a little farther down there are some economical options.

Regards,

Matt

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Old 07-26-2010, 06:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Matt Chroust View Post
I think you're on the right track looking at child safety equipment. I saw a couple things that look interesting

Amazon.com: Fridge Guard Appliance Safety Lock in CLEAR: Baby


Matt,

Wow, this is great! I should have thought of Amazon. The clear one (I see others making it in white) should do the trick. I'll double check to be sure I have room on the side to mount it and then give it a try. If that doesn't work, I'll continue exploring all your other links.

Thanks,
Parker
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:20 PM   #14
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Hi Parker,

The ones we bought don't look anything like those in the Amazon link.
I purchased them at WalMart to hold the dorm-style, 110-volt-only frig closed while travel (in our 13' Scamp). We sold the camper before we had a chance to try them. Don't have the package anymore, but they are made by Safety 1st. Figured they would allow some flexibility in where/how to attach due to the flexible soft-plastic "belt". Stick the "belt" to the cabinet (male buckle at loose end) and the female buckle to the front of the frig.
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