Comment: Portable Fridges

We are planning a 4 month trip to NT & Northern WA in June to Sept next year and have a 40L Engel (Freezer) & 32+21 L Engel (Fridge). Will the addition of Solarscreen window screens keep the temperature in the car at a reasonable level and how do we reduce the temp in the car when the air con is not being used?
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:14

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:14
Park it in the shade with the windows down when possible.
AnswerID: 519785

Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:46

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:46
Unfortunately whilst the shade is great the chance of falling branches has been my downfall in the past with not so nice results. Thanks anyway.

Paul C7
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Reply By: Herbal - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:17

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:17
Yes, window screens or tinting will help.

With the windows closed and the car parked...The air inside can quickly get hot enough to cause blistering burns. Most at risk is throat and nose if you happen to just open the door and get in. Your skin takes a little longing to actually burn, but the lining of your throat and nose is thin and just one breath can cause burns and blisters.

I take it that your question is how to keep the temp down enough for the Engels to work OK in the closed up car ? In air temps hot enough to roast a chicken ?

The short answer is, you can't really. There are things you can do to help. Tinted windows. Only park in shade. Use travel bags or make your own extra thick foam boxes to keep the Engels in. You could try those window mounted fans or maybe even a small evaporative cooler...But at the end of the day, it's the tropics. It is hot. To keep those fridges running 24/7 in that part of the world, you will need some serious battery power.

On the bright side. You are going at the best time of year and you will absolutely love it !
AnswerID: 519786

Follow Up By: Herbal - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:49

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:49
I have just thought about this some more...

Just a suggestion. 40 L is quite a large freezer. It would be large enough to store all your frozen food needs and provide ice for an icebox (esky).

If you leave the 32/21 at home you would need less battery power! A 50 L icebox will keep your drinks and food cold for quite a few days if you get a good one rated for tropics.

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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:21

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:21
I use the Solarscreen product on the 6 rear windows of a Troopy and find them quiet effective when the vehicle is stationary. Never performed tests with a thermometer.
AnswerID: 519790

Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:53

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 12:53
Thanks is the feedback I was hoping for. Have ordered the as an exTruckie said in 2011 that they worked for him but I thought it wouldn't do any harm to ask others. Fridges are a must because caravan fridge is v small and beer not cold enough so Engels needed help from outside heat but I wasn't sure if the solar screens workied. Really looking forward to Northern West Australia and still contemplating moving down to South West but have to decide whether we can afford another 4 months down there. Thanks again.

Paul C7
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Follow Up By: Herbal - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 13:15

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 13:15
I am sorry...This is a little confusing. You make no mention of a caravan in your opening post. Are you keeping the Engels in your car or in the caravan?

Are you asking how to keep your Engels cool enough to run properly or do you just want to know if the sunscreens are worth getting to keep your car cooler ?
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Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 13:44

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 13:44
Pathfinder is pulling caravan. The Pathfinder houses the two Engels and it is within the Pathfinder that I intend to fit the "Solar Screens" to all windows aft of the front doors. I wondered if the solar screens will keep the external heat from the Engels and then wondered if the heat from the Engels within the Pathfinder will create a problem in the car. The less the Engels work by not having to combat external heat the less heat they will generate. A real chicken and egg problem. I suppose I needed to know if the solar screens do their job.

Thanks Herbal
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 15:22

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 15:22
Paul,
I have purchased an external reflective screen for the windscreen, in order to accomplish the same thing you are trying to do - keep the interior of the car cool enough to get into it after it's been parked for a bit.
External, because any hest that gets in has a divil of a job getting back out again, and the fitting of i t is minimal, unroll it and close the doors on each end of it. If you are anal, put the wipers on the bottom edge.

Worked fo me!
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Reply By: Ross M - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 13:56

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 13:56
Paul C7
For the vehicle I made a screen which fixed to a slightly lowered window, complete with computer fan and flex ducting direct to the condenser of the fridges, Two side by side.
The fan could be switched on or off but in hot ambient it ran most of the time to get rid of the heat soak effect inside a vehicle. Dual batteries with solar ran the fan and was the backup for the fridge power when stopped.

This system collected air when moving and also changed the air in the vehicle when stopped and a window vent on the opposite side will allow the rising heat to escape with the slight positive pressure of the fan. Fan sze? Just choose your weapon. Usually around 100 to 150ma.

Cheers
Ross M
AnswerID: 519796

Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 17:32

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 17:32
Ross M, That sound like a great idea and the fan would not be a drain on the 100 amp hr battery which powers the 2 Engels.

Many Thanks.
Paul C7
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 18:24

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 18:24
PaulC7
If you have solar panels and they are mounted on the roof of the vehicle with an airspace to allow panel cooling ie not too hotting, then the panels also shade to roof of the vehicle to a large extent.
If parked a drop blind on each side is also a good idea as it provides an air gap and the window vent gear can work too.
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Follow Up By: Nutta - Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 at 19:59

Reply By: greybeard - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 15:15

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 15:15
For some scientific data on temperature increase in a vehicle and some suggested methods to reduce heat buildup google "Temperature Variations in a Parked Car" for a report done by some UWA students. It's a very interesting read. Direct link to report pdf
AnswerID: 519805

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 16:08

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 16:08
Paul,

If you want to keep the vehicle cool, then you will need to let the heat from the fridges escape, while keeping the Pathfinder in a cool position. Not all trees are branch dropping red gums either.

What about 1 or 2 awnings, so that the windows are shaded, or perhaps a 20' x 10' tarp, that goes right over the vehicle, and shades the roof and sides ie windows.Ross' idea with the fans is a good one because the freezer will run almost continuously, and produce a fair bit of cabin heat.

Solarscreens are good, though I believe they don't recommend their use on after market window tint. I'd be placing one on the windscreen too, while ever you're parked up.

Bob.
Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 519812

Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 17:42

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 17:42
Thanks Bob. I do have heavy tinting and never thought of the suction pads damaging the tint. Will now ask the manufacturer if they thinks it will damage.

Great advice.

Paul C7
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 20:03

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 20:03
Don't think it's the suction cups, Paul, so much as the intense heat generated between the tint and the Solarscreen. Or that's what I gather from their ad.

Bob

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Reply By: disco driver - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 19:47

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 at 19:47
Paul,
Have you heard of "Window Socks"?
They are similar to shadecloth only much finer and softer to the hand.
They slip over the top of the door so that there are layers of dark mesh both inside and outside the window.
They are reputed to lower the inside temp by several degrees.
This may be worth following up.

Google "Window Socks" for more info.

Hope this helps.

Disco.
AnswerID: 519824

Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 at 10:28

Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 at 10:28
Thanks Disco, anything to ensure we don't fry and the Engels work efficiently. Can't have warm meat and hot beer can we. I will do more research and thanks again to you and everyone who has contributed, it is much appreciated.

Paul C7
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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 at 21:19

Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 at 21:19
Hi Paul

Yes! the solar screens will make a difference in the temp on the inside of you vehicle.

I have made my own "solar screens" for all the windows of my 105 LC.

Bit of a long reply, but it may help you or someone else.

I used insulated foil covered bubble wrap from Bunnings. Made templates from paper, cut out the 'bubble wrap' and stitched some black tape to the edges. This stopped the two sides of the foil from separating and filled in any gaps between the trim and the screen.

DON'T use suction caps on the tint long term - it will cause it to bubble and lift. I learnt the hard way.

To keep my screens in place, I stitched some narrow strips of thin clear plastic (I used overhead transparencies - 'cause I'm a teacher but think along the lines of the type of plastic you get on the front cover of a spiral bound book) and tuck this behind the trim.

On the side windows I have window socks and the screen slips up behind these and are held in place. For the front windows, I have made them slightly shorter (about 10 mm) and wind the windows down a bit and use a tiny folding bull dog clip to keep them up. The wind deflectors hide the fact that the windows are slightly open and it allows the hot air to get out. I use a normal windscreen solar screen for the front windscreen. 100% coverage - lower temp and people can' t see what is in the car.

I travel with the rear ones in place all the time and sometimes with the passenger ones if I have no passengers or the kids want to watch a DVD during he "boring bits". They stay in place well. The ones I am currently using are now 6 1/2 years old and the foil part is like new but the plastic strips have hardened and yellowed with exposure to the heat and light. I will replace them before we head of around Oz next year.

Hope this s of use to you or someone else.

Cheers

Anthony
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AnswerID: 519880

Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 08:26

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 08:26
Anthony,

Thanks for that and it would work out cheaper than paying $499 for ready made and with the front windows open allows for heat escape. 6 1/2 years for a home made job is impressive.

Ciao

Paul C7
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Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:25

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:25
Anthony,

You have advised how you hold up the screens on all windows that have doors, however you haven't said how you keep in place the rear side windows where window socks can not be fitted. Please advise what you have in place at the very rear window? I have discussed your ideas with my wife and she has put forward the thought re the rear side windows using Velcro around the window rubbers, however I have a feeling the heat would soon make this option null and void. Your thoughts would be appreciated.


Paul C7
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 11:04

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 11:04
Hi Paul

The barn doors and the rear side windows are kept in place by the thin strips of plastic tucked under the trim.

The passenger doors are kept in place by simply slipping the screen between the windoW sock and the glass. I did originally have a piece of the fabric tap I used for the edge as tabs which I slipped through the slightly opened window and then did up (they sort of hung there) and then put the sock over the top to hold it against the window.

The front doors are held in place with the small folding bulldog clip.

I will go out and take some photos and put up for you to get a better idea.

Cheers

Anthony
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Follow Up By: Member - ACD 1 - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 12:34

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 12:34
First time I've done photo's - hope it works.

They give full block out from the sun



You can see how they tuck in behind the trim.



These ones are starting to slip a bit at the top because the plastic holding strips have gone hard and yellow and shrunk a bit - they are over 6 1/2 years old though.



I just roll the window down and attach the bulldog clip and roll the window up to leave a small gap for the hot air to get out.



This one will give you the idea of how they are made.



This one shows how the plastic strip is sewn on and tucks in behind the trim. I only tuck in about 10 to 15 mm behind the trim - it depends on what folds in the panel get in the way (trial and error).



I hope these help you out. All up the total cost was less than $60 - $70 dollars for all the materials. I have had factory made ones before and the foil separated from the insulation and started to perish. The material that I have used here is normally used to insulate building walls and roofs.

Anyway - works well for me - attracts heaps of comments from others.

Cheers

Anthony

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Follow Up By: Paul C7 - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 13:20

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 13:20
Anthony,

Thanks again you have been more than helpful and we will follow in your footsteps and try to produce as good as job as you have.

Have already gone out and got some material to try our methods.

Ciao and happy safe motoring.


Paul C7
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Follow Up By: greybeard - Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 16:23

Friday, Oct 18, 2013 at 16:23
You may want to check up the legislation regarding window tinting. It's different between the various states but there are restrictions as to how much you can restrict visibility through vehicle windows and for the use of reflective coverings. Completely blocking visibility by using reflective window shades whilst the vehicle is moving is not allowed in WA.
This site WFAANZ has links and details for each state.
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