Waeco Fridge/Freezer

G'day there!

I have my Waeco fridge all set to go on my trip.

It has only one compartment which can be set at any temperature down to -18 deg C, though I doubt -18 deg C is practically attainable under normal use conditions.

I really don't need to use the fridge for much. I've never had a fridge before on my solo outback trips with the quadbike and I haven't suffered scurvy or something worse.

NOTE: As my age increases, I feel more vulnerable, traveling alone on a quadbike in such remote outback areas, so these days I camp with the ute and make day trips from base. On the plus side, I can have a more comfortable camp.

The main thing for me is to keep some meet well frozen. I have a diet problem which dictates that meet (and some other food) must be either fresh the day it's cooked or well frozen.

And yes, I do have a rabbit trap, but I'm not much of a trapper.

That brings me to my question:

Would it work to cut a piece of masonite or styrene to fit the fridge and put it on top of the frozen meet and some ice bottles, with the non freeze stuff on top?

I'm thinking that since the cold wants to stay at the bottom and the heat wants to stay at the top, the divider should largely prevent the two temperatures from mixing. The little bit of cold air that crossed the divide from bottom to top would largely be overcome by the heat gain via the insulation and when the lid is opened.

I'm hoping this simple modification may turn my Waeco into a two compartment fridge/freezer.

This assumes that the thermostat works off the temperature at the bottom. Would that be correct?

What do you reckon? Worth a try? Has anyone tried this?

Thanks,
Laurie.
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Reply By: Notso - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 08:45

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 08:45
Worth a try, suck it and see!
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:01

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:01
OK Notso, I'll suck it and see, according to the advice below.
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Reply By: HKB Electronics - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 09:38

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 09:38
My waeco has a bottle cooler chiller area basically it is above the freezer basket
and to the side, ie more leakage where it's positioned I expect yours would be the same
so if you use the same idea but extend it a bit.

If you look at the basket you'll see the refrigerant pipes run to the top of the basket, so if your talking about filling to the top of the basket then a layer of insulation and putting the non frozen on top it may work, depends on how much heat leakage there is into the fridge. Dividing the basket itself isn't going to work.

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AnswerID: 552208

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:19

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:19
Thanks HKB!

I see what you mean by the height of the coolant tubes coming to the top of the basket.

My fridge is small so there's only three inches above the basket.

I'll cut a sheet of ply to fit above the basket and cut the centre out to let in an icecream dish, making a second basket forthe non-frozen stuff. I'll line the extra basket, on the outside, with styrene or some such.

It will be pretty bulky but seems like my best chance.

Laurie.
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:44

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:44
Hi Bega
Google Twozone Waeco.
These are an extension compartment that clips on to the top of the Waeco.
You then have chiller on top and a freezer below.
Or of you are a bit of a handy man, just make an extension with a mesh bottom for the top of the fridge.
AnswerID: 552213

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:37

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:37
Thanks Dennis!

Looks like a great innovation. A bit extravagant for my needs at this stage and a good bit if work to build my own.

But it tells me that cleverer people than I see merit in the idea.

Laurie.
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:56

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 12:56
Great idea but you are far from original. We have been doing this since the '70s. Deep freeze meat at home, wrap heavily in newspaper pack into the bottom of the engel. Put a tight fitting sheet of 1" styrofoam on top, non frozen foods above that. Only lift foam every two days and remove two meat packs, use one pack of meat for cooking, put the other in the top part of the fridge while it thaws.
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 15:01

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 15:01
Thanks Mikee5!

To be unoriginal must mean it's a good idea and it will work.

How far below the top of the refrigerant tubes can I put the styrofoam?

If I put the top of the styrofoam one inch below the top of the tubes, I'll have a four inch space for non-frozen stuff.

That should be enough for a tub of margarine and if I repack my yogurt into smaller tubs after it's made, that will fit also.

Good thing on this trip is there's only one of me to feed and I lead a pretty simple lifestyle. I don't drink beer either, so that saves some space in the fridge.
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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 19:39

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 19:39
Our Engel has a metal cooling element which goes almost from the bottom to the top on all 4 sides. We never get too technical about heights but generally start with about half depth of frozen meat. This of course goes down during the trip making more room on top, where we add drinks and canned fruit etc to keep the whole fridge full, which is when it is most efficient.
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Friday, Apr 10, 2015 at 00:30

Friday, Apr 10, 2015 at 00:30
Thanks Mikee5!

I'd gone three quarters of the way to making my basket with the icecream dish let in when I founs your post. I've found some styrofoam and cut it to fit.

What temperature do you run your fridge at? I'll need to keep meat frozen for a week and a half while I'm way out on a station.

Regards,
Laurie.
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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Friday, Apr 10, 2015 at 12:53

Friday, Apr 10, 2015 at 12:53
Our engel had numbers not temps. We run it to NOT freeze the top layer but keeping as cold as possible. 1-2 on the old engel did it. Trial and error. The meat, if deep frozen and well wrapped kept frozen or only partially thawed for 2 weeks this way.
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Reply By: philip t jones - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 13:15

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 13:15
I just use a thick layer of newspaper between the two works fine for me
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:32

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:32
Sounds simple enough, Mate!
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Reply By: wombat100 - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:32

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 14:32
"I have a diet problem which dictates that meet (and some other food) must be either fresh the day it's cooked or well frozen."

Have you thought about cryovac meat ?? Stays 'fresh' for ages at about 4 degs.


AnswerID: 552218

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 15:08

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 15:08
Thanks wombat!

Yes, I have considered cryvovac and vacuum sealed meat. Off my rather restricted diet, I'm afraid.

A can of beef and veggies would do the job also, only for the preservatives, herbs, spices flavours, colouring and flavor enhances.

I'm like the kids on red cordial!

Regards,
Laurie.
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 23:55

Thursday, Apr 09, 2015 at 23:55
Laurie, I can't see why you feel a need to complicate the refrigeration chamber.
In my Waeco, I place frozen food on the bottom and set the temperature at +3 degrees measured at halfway up. The natural temperature gradient sees the meat etc on the bottom stay frozen and a satisfactory temperature for that above.
I have not bothered to measure the temperature at the bottom. If it stays frozen then it is frozen.
Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 552237

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Friday, Apr 10, 2015 at 00:24

Friday, Apr 10, 2015 at 00:24
OK, thanks Allan, I'll keep that in mind.

I didn't realize there could be such a temperature gradient.
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