1. An environmental cabinet is NOT A REFRIGERATOR! A refrigerator is designed to keep things cool. An environmental cabinet is designed to keep items at an exact temperature regardless of outside temperature extremes.
2. An environmental cabinet must be able to supply heat. If the outside temperature becomes too low, the interior of the environmental cabinet must be heated to maintain the desired temperature. A refrigerator will not do this, allowing the items stored in it to become too cold or even freeze.
3. An environmental cabinet requires accurate temperature control. The control system on the E-CAB environmental cabinet allows the temperature to be set in 1 degree increments from 35 to 80 degrees. The E-CAB’s control system will maintain the inside temperature at this setting within +/- 2 degrees. A refrigerator, on the other hand, usually has a control that is calibrated in numbers from 1 to 10 with no reference to actual temperature at all. This type of control will also allow huge temperature swings between turn on and turn off.
4. An environmental cabinet must supply uniform temperature distribution. A fan is required to circulate air throughout the interior of the cabinet to keep the temperature uniform. In a refrigerator, items stored close to the evaporator may freeze while items placed further away may be at 50 degrees.
5. An environmental cabinet used in an emergency vehicle must operate on multiple power sources. When the vehicle is on the road, the system must be able to operate on 12 volt vehicle power. If the vehicle is parked for extended periods of time, the cabinet must automatically switch to 120 or 240 (European) volt shore power. The environmental cabinet must also be efficient enough to operate from the vehicle’s battery for up to 24 hours without running the battery down to the point where the vehicle will not start.
6. Any system used in an emergency vehicle must be rugged and reliable. The temperature inside a vehicle parked in the sun on a hot day could reach over 120 degrees. On a cold day, the inside temperature could go well below freezing. The only system reliable enough to meet these extreme requirements is a compressor based refrigeration system.