Second Fridge as a Freezer only

I am going bush for an extended stay, and all ready have a 40l Engel and a Waeco Fridge drawer. However I am considering a 3rd fridge to be used solely as a freezer. The allocated place in my slideon will house a 30-35 litre fridge and I am looking at options, Engel, Waeco etc. However before I bite the bullet and fork out $800+ I just wanted to know from any forumites, if the el cheapo, fleabay $400 jobs are any good at all as a stand alone freezer, or are they just cheap rubbish.
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Reply By: Danny 1 - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 14:57

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 14:57
I bought a 21l engel for the same reason & it useless as a freezer in the warmer weather. runs non stop & still won't keep frozen..don't think there is enough cooling plate on the 21l..
very little sympathy from engel..
cheers Danny
AnswerID: 526443

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 15:32

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 15:32
Thanks Danny, That is a little surprising as I thought the Engel was going to be my best case and worry free scenario, albeit at the most cost. Other Engel option is the 38l Plastic case model.
FollowupID: 808650

Follow Up By: DiscoTourer - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 00:15

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 00:15
I used a brand new 60l Engel as a freezer on a recent 5 week trip.
It was noisy, the door kept trying to come off, it rattled and had to retighten the screws around the grate covering the compressor 3 times, every bump caused the compressor to shake, the chain hanging down (still in the plastic cover) scratched the fridge and it rarely stopped running (more than 90% running time)....and that included 3 weeks in Tassie.
Engel has lost its way it appears.
I use an arb 78 litre as a fridge.
Just purchased an arb 47 litre to be used as a freezer....a lot more quiet, and uses a lot less battery power....and that's in high 30's back in Perth.
Was extremely disappointed with the Engel.....but got almost what I paid for it when I sold it after my was 7 weeks old.

FollowupID: 808698

Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 19:16

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 19:16
The problem with a 21lt Engel is that it is nothing but a taller 15 lt Engel , same footprint ,same motor ,same same same except height , Ive had our 15lt since 02 and it was 3years old we we bought it , on a 40c+ day it still gets down to -18c in the back of the FJ Cruiser even without using the insulated cover ,,,
FollowupID: 808726

Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:07

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:07
Have a look at these . . .
They have 30lt, 45lt and 60lt.

Found very good feedback on a number of other 4x4 forums.

I have had the 45lt for a few weeks now, very pleased with it as a fridge, goes down to -25 at the plate.
Great insulation and reasonable amp draw.
AnswerID: 526452

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:37

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:37
Just had a look at these and the Video, Seem impressive for the price.
FollowupID: 808661

Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:49

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:49
Yes, excellent vapue I feel . . . I could find not one bad thing about them online or in other 4B forums, but quite a lot or people with them and all very happy.

Good luck with the purchase, would be great to have room for 3 x fridges !! :)
FollowupID: 808664

Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:52

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 16:52
Learn to vac pack and you will not need an aditional freezer.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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FollowupID: 808665

Reply By: Triggy - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:13

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:13
I bought an ebay cheapy for $420, 6 years ago. it is a Freezer with a bit for the butter and cheese on the side which is controlled by a manual vent. Have used it twice a year, each year travelling many klm's each trip on many bush tracks. It is great and has never given me trouble. Unlike the "brand " names that are big and bulky this unit has room on the inside and keeps our meat frozen at the bottom and the beers cold at the top. If it was to $hi! itself tommorrow I would buy another one before the name brands.
AnswerID: 526464

Reply By: Ross M - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:25

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:25
Is the slide on aerated wile travelling and or parked?
If the insides are hot ie hot weather heat soak into camper, the fridge CANNOT get any cool air to it's condenser to allow cabinet heat to be dissipated.
So the unit will just sit there chewing battery while it stews in it's own pool of hot air.

There will be little refridgeration happening and almost certainly no freezing.
Any fridge is subject to the same unless you also add extra insulation to assist it's operation..

If going bush with 3, 12v fridges, how big is the trailer and the area of solar panels you have on it?

AnswerID: 526466

Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:31

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 19:31
Good point Ross.
Suppose while travelling, it could be easily vented, and while parked up at camp, that door left open.
Only prob might be leaving trailer parked up at camp while out driving, having it all closed up for security.
Maybe a low draw extractor fan could be set up with battery solar and do the trick there.
FollowupID: 808674

Follow Up By: Ross M - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 23:52

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 23:52
Low drain computer fans to supply cool and exhaust hot air is essential and aids any fridge in a 4wd. I don't use any 12v fridge without that operating. Even got one assisting the 25litre waeco in my bathroom in the house.
As Fred mentioned it also ventilates the area.
Just adding a fan somewhere isn't necessarily the answer as it is needed to supply cool air direct to the unit so it positively administers cooler air to make the condenser do it's job and that ensures the built in fridge fan can force that cooler through the condenser. That ensures there is no stagnant pool of hot air at the fridge or it's environs.

Aids cycle time quite a lot. For me it saves battery having the delivery fan run full time. 100ma isn't much.

100ma for an hour is 0.1AH, if the 4 amp fridge turns off for even a short time in that hour it hasn't used any more battery. Without the fan it increases the amp usage.
FollowupID: 808695

Reply By: Member - Barry H (WA) - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 21:51

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 21:51
Hi Mazdave,

I purchased a Waeco CDF35 from Marlow's (WA store) about three years ago.

I use it as a freezer and it has performed flawlessly (touch wood)

We also have a Waeco 50 ltr which we use as a fridge only. best of both worlds.


Barry H
AnswerID: 526474

Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 22:41

Friday, Feb 14, 2014 at 22:41
I was just about to comment on the Waeco CDF35. I too have one of these, bought from Malz (nee-Marlows) for $550 and have used it as a freezer heaps of times. Great little unit, one of the best bits of gear I have bought.
FollowupID: 808686

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 10:15

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 10:15
Have just bought an Ironman 30L fridge, to use as a freezer, on a trip in June/July.

Was going to buy an Engel 21L unit, but decided on this one as I'd read a couple of favourable reports, and they were on special!!! Runs a Danfoss D35 compressor, and is very quiet......much quieter than the 40L Engel we have had for years.

Ran it for 5 days, on 240, both as fridge and freezer, and it kept the beers at a cool 2 deg, and froze some water containers down to -15 .........eventually.

Will be interesting to see how it goes away from 240 power, and the comfort of our living room, @ 25 degrees.


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AnswerID: 526501

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 10:42

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 10:42
I run a Waeco 40 as a dedicated freezer and a Bushman as our fridge. I have no issues in keeping food frozen running on 12 volts supply and have been in condition of over 50 deg in central Aust
Brands aside I did speak with a technical rep at Waeco who advised me that their cheaper Chinese compressors will perform as well as the Danfoss ones but are not as efficient on power consumption, so the cheapies may well do the job for you if you can keep the power up to them
AnswerID: 526503

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 11:55

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 11:55
We run two fridges and have for a few years. One as a normal fridge (40L Engel) and a smaller one (21L Engel) as a freezer. Got the 21Lt through ebay and Paypal for around $250. No hassles.

We also put a third battery and a redarc solenoid, under the bonnet giving us two for accessories, 4WD stuff only, and a single for the car. The car (100 series) came with two standard. We split them. All are the same make and model giving us the ability to move them around if one breaks. The fridges will run on the two 4WD pair for two days and three nights without a recharge.

I think the sons are looking at getting rid of their 60L combos and doing the same.

Great stuff being able to pull an ice block or choc coated ice cream out in the middle of the desert on a hot day and watch people lick their chops. Ha!!!!

So easy to leave one fridge home for short trips.

AnswerID: 526507

Reply By: bgreeni - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 12:41

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 12:41
Interesting topic.

We have recently obtained a caravan, and the fridge in it works fine on 240. Will see how it goes on gas this weekend. On 12v it is hopeless, so thinking about a smaller fridge for use in the Prado to keep frozen stuff in while on the road.
AnswerID: 526509

Reply By: Member - evaredy - Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 14:32

Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 at 14:32
I have a 40l Waeco in the tub of the Dmax which we use as a freezer and it performs quite well. We also have an 65l Engel in the CT that is housed in it's own box, the box has a small fan fitted and is run via a small solar panel to exhaust hot air from the box.
AnswerID: 526515

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 09:52

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 09:52
Remember, if you are to run a freezer, have you asked yourself how much extra battery capacity and charging capacity you will need to support it.

Remember run as a frezzer, a given unit may draw 4, 6 or more times as much as it would run as a a hot climate it will run nearly contunuoulsy.

As for the cheaper fridges.....many of the second or third string brands run the very same compressor as wacko....the better units run a danfos refrigeration system and the cheaper ones run a similar chinesse system like the cheap wackos.

Like so many other things in this country, I believe the Wackos to be over priced.....particularly for a company that buys in its refrigeration system and sticks it in a box.....juts like everybody else but Engel....and only a fair box at that.....

Have a real good look at some of the second string competitors.....there is better value for money to be had.

AnswerID: 526545

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:38

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:38
Yep, naturally and they run better than expected. We could stretch a stop to three days but I wouldn't count on too much power in the accessory batteries to crank the motor if it was four nights, so the car radio and lights would NOT be used. We only wanted two days and three nights in the middle of, say the Simpson.

A good warning though.

FollowupID: 808847

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 17, 2014 at 00:08

Monday, Feb 17, 2014 at 00:08
I can not overstate how hungry these things are run as a freezer.

My little wacko will run for about 3 & a bit days off my 100Ah battery with sensible as a freezer in hot weather any more than over night is not going to happen......and both situations are cycling the battery way too deep.

remember 4, 6 or more times the consumption as the same unit running as a fridge.

FollowupID: 808862

Reply By: Nutta - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:24

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 20:24
I bought a 38 litre plastic engel at bcf at christmas, i leave it on about 2-3 degrees and it sits in the back seat of my colly, and its generally pretty cool in there.

I have to say the engel seems to run a bit too much, every time I'm near it i can hear it going, I'm taking it out and throwing my bushman in there for a couple of weeks to see how it performs, I must say i don't think the engels are as good as they used to be.
AnswerID: 526617

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Monday, Feb 17, 2014 at 00:13

Monday, Feb 17, 2014 at 00:13
nutta mate in general the engle fridge compressors are less powerfull than the danfos compressors.
They draw less current but have to run longer.

The engle motors also do not produce as much temperature gradient as the danfos motors.

The advantage of the engel motors is they cope better with shock and vibration and suffer less run out of position.

Neither the engle or the waco are very well insulated.

I think you will find the bushman is all round more efficient than the engel and far better insulated than the waco.

FollowupID: 808863

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