HELP: Waeco fridge and power systems in sedan

Submitted: Monday, May 13, 2013 at 12:15
ThreadID: 102187 Views:5631 Replies:4 FollowUps:5
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Hi There,

My husband and I are just under 12 weeks away from our three month trip through QLD, NT, SA, VIC, ACT and NSW with our sedan and semi off road camper trailer. We have purchased a Waeco CF35 Fridge/Freezer that has the cigarette lighter attachment and the 240v attachment for when we are at the powered camp site. We are looking at getting a Weaco 36ah battery pack for when we are staying overnight away from power.

We are taking my husband's Toyota Aurion Touring which is a company car so i have a couple of questions if anyone is able to help;

1. Will the cigarette lighter be strong enough to run the fridge while we are driving along? i have been reading some threads that talk about upgrading the wiring however the car is a company car and modifications are all but out of the question.

2. How long could we expect the Waeco 36ah to last with the fridge?

3. Is a 240v battery charger the best option considering we cannot install an anderson plug and how long should we anticipate the Weaco 36ah takes to charge?

Any help is appreciated, this will be our longest trip ever (previously the most we have been away is a week and we have just used the esky) and the first time that we will be going off the grid.

Thanks and have a great day- Hayley
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Reply By: ben_gv3 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 13:10

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 13:10
Before everyone jumps in and says you'll be killing bambi if you run your fridge from the cig socket, yes you can. I have done it many times with my 35l waeco. All you really need to make sure the plug is secure and check on it throughout your trip as it can come loose. When I would stop every few hours I would check the fridge is still on. I now have a wireless temp unit so I can monitor it from the drivers seat.

Fridges only run at about 5-6 Amps so your 10 Amp circuit can handle it. Just be aware not to run too many devices of your cig lighter circuit as even your phone charger can draw 1-2 Amps so it all adds up.
AnswerID: 510960

Follow Up By: Hayley G - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:42

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:42
Thanks Ben, good to know! Cheers Hayley
FollowupID: 789078

Reply By: baz&pud (tassie) - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 13:38

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 13:38
I am no auto electrician, so don't know if the wiring in the vehicle will be big enough, but a suggestion, why not plug the weaco battery pack into the cig lighter, this will then be recharging as you drive along, and plug the fridge into the battery pack.
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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AnswerID: 510962

Reply By: Cheeky1 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 14:49

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 14:49
Hi there Hayley,
I started out exactly the same ie: Waeco fridge and battery pack.
I tested the battery out when I got home and it lasted around 24 hours with low temps during the night and around 20 degree day. This will change dramatically with warmer temps. I once used it on a day of 40 degrees and the battery lasted 5 hours.
I used to what Baz said, that is plug the battery into your cigarette socket of the car and run the fridge from the battery at all times. That way when you stop the car, your fridge will keep running off the battery. The battery will take around 3 hours (+ or -) to charge if you plug it in while you're driving. But that will depend on th fridge load of course. If you run the fridge inside the sedan the load will be minimal because you can run your air cond on warmer days. If you plan to camp up for several days you can run your fridge straight off 240v at a caravan park, so you won't need use your charger all that much. Ben is also correct. Don't worry about wiring, you fridge will run perfectly straight off your battery. The threads that you have read regarding wiring thickness etc are really more based on charging auxillary batteries, or running fridges in trailers and things. Your set-up will work and is a great starting point. As I said it's how I started and you will find that the whole concept of travelling and camping will become extremely infectious. Once you get the bug, you will then want to improve your systems.
Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 510973

Follow Up By: Hayley G - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:44

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:44
Thanks so much everyone this is great to know! I think that i will stop stressing now and settle into sorting out where we are off to :) Thank you for all the feedback!
FollowupID: 789079

Reply By: rooster350 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:33

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 15:33
A 80ah sealed deep cycle battery costs approx $150 or so(maybe a bit more), a battery box to house it in another $60 or so , the 36ah Waeco power pack $330.....I know which I would prefer and you can still charge the 80ah battery from the cig lighter socket...cheers and good luck
AnswerID: 510975

Follow Up By: steved58 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:09

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:09
I agree a third the power for a third more cost I went to buy a waeco power pack years ago then ended up with a battery box and battery have a look at abr sidewinder he has dual battery solutions that charge from the vehicle have a dual battery isolator with removable wiring battrfy box ready for a battery so no mods to the vehicle have a look I would advise against the waeco box it lacks power you need at least for a trip like yours I found that untill I put a reasonable system in I spent all my time checking and worrying about the fridge
All the best
FollowupID: 789114

Follow Up By: steved58 - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:23

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 21:23
Try this linkabr sidewinder flyer battery box it costs a bit more but can be used for many years to come with up to 4 times the power avail compared to the waeco and it has a isolator built in protecting you start battery from going flat this is important all instructions to set up are included I have no affiliation to abr just thought it an easy solution to you problem
FollowupID: 789117

Follow Up By: Homer - Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 08:08

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 08:08
I'd also agree with the two follow up comments above. I bought a Waeco battery when I first started out and it's overpriced and underpowered. There are better options such as the battery boxes mentioned above that will give you more peace of mind. If you do still go with the Waeco battery, beware of charging the battery and running the fridge off it at the same time. I tried it once and it upset the CF50, making it run way colder than it was set, freezing everything while I drove.
FollowupID: 789140

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