Car Fridge/Freezers

Hi everyone, I know this has probably been asked a lot and I've tried searching but still new to the site so having some problems navigating to find what I want, thought It might be best to ask.

I'm looking for some advice on those car fridge/freezers (engels/waecos/evakools etc)

We are a family of 5 planning on doing the big lap for 12 months so after doing some research I've decided it will be good to have one.. we are budget conscious so keeping that in mind but looking for advice on buying second hand or new (with warranty) what to look out for, what brands you have and trust also size wise what would you recommend for a big family?

Also I understand that they plug in to the lighter thing (which is great as we have one in the back section of the Pajero... but when the car is off does the fridge still need to be getting power? will we need to have a generator or solar power for it?


Thank you :)
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Reply By: Mick O - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:03

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:03
This post may give you some answers

Waeco Vs Everkool vs Engel

Use the search entry at the top right of the screen. Type in the names of each fridge of what ever vs what ever and you'll produce yourself a multitude of reading material from the forum etc.

Buy new, my preference is Engel (and I currently own both).

For power when travelling/camping read Electricity for camping and for building a power system, read Building a 12V DC system.


Cheers

Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:17

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:17
Thank you will check out all of those links and give the search another go :)
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:12

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:12
Hi Ash
Need a second battery, with isolator, so the fridge has constant power supply.. With out draining your start battery.. Although my sister n brother in law did Cape York with a fridge, think Waco 50lt, with out second battery, said they never had a problem...
We always get the fridge running, and down to temp on 240 volt, before we put it in the car..
I know Waco have a warehouse in Sydney, where they sell seconds, maybe a scratch, or something like that, at discount prices, might be worth a call, as in a bit cheaper.. Good luck with your planning, and safe travels... Cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:19

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:19
Thanks for the info Odog, I'll have to do a bit more research as I have no idea about batteries yet.
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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 12:34

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 12:34
I bought a Factory second Waeco and it gave no trouble for the 3 years I had it. Also bought a proper Raps 12 to wire it up.

Ciggy sockets dont cut it for powering a decent size fridge as the wiring is not heavy enough, especially ones in the rear of a vehicle.
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Follow Up By: Member - mark mcpaul - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 14:19

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 14:19
mate you definitely need dual battery system isolated from start battery I had local auto electrician wire mine up. I have an engel 40lt that is 17 years old and still going strong .totally recommend engel they might draw little more current but will last .
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:33

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:33
The brand debate is endless and subjective just like choosing a vehicle

Best advice I can offer is select one with a good backup service network where you can get it repaired locally not necessarily the one with the longest warranty

It is no use to you having to make a warranty claim when you are in WA and the service agent is in Vic and you are weeks without a fridge awaiting its repair
I prefer to run two smaller fridges than one big one incase of a failure I can still get by
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Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:39

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 11:39
That's a good idea AlbyNSW.

How do you go about running two?
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 12:03

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 12:03
You need the space and battery capacity to do so
We often run one as a freezer

It may not suit your needs but gives us flexibility between big trips and weekend ones

Sounds like you need to look at your 12v battery requirements and capacity
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 12:44

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 12:44
Ash,

"Also I understand that they plug in to the lighter thing (which is great as we have one in the back section of the Pajero... but when the car is off does the fridge still need to be getting power? will we need to have a generator or solar power for it?"

Two comments about those "lighter things", ie standard accessory sockets:

One, they are useless for a fridge. They tend to jiggle loose and the fridge loses power, or they develop a bad contact, run hot an start to melt plastic. You should convert the one that powers the fridge to either a fridge-specific socket or a Merrit style or Anderson and then convert the fridge lead to suit.

Two, they are not always powered all the time - depends on the make and model of the vehicle. On my current model BT50 they are powered all the time, even with the key out and the car locked. On my just-departed Prado the key had to be on "accessories".

I concur other comments - you will need a second battery and an isolator and wire up your fridge to be supplied from the second battery. This gives constant power to the fridge for as long as the second battery lasts and prevents the fridge running your start battery flat. When the engine is running the second battery is connected to the charging system. When the engine is stopped the second battery and any loads it supplies are isolated from the rest of the vehicle's electrical system.

"Will you need a generator or solar power for it?"

Depends how long you want to stay at one place without mains power or starting the car. It also depends on how often it's opened (kids?), the temperature you set it to, the ambient temperature, the capacity of the second battery and how efficient/how big/how much power your fridge draws. I would think that for a 12 month trip with family you're going to need some form of external power.

Generators are bulky, heavy and noisy - even quiet ones annoy other campers. Solar is good, but only when the sun shines. Ideally, set yourself up with solar first and see if you can manage with that - many can and do.

Setting up a second battery and solar for camping has a few things that need to be considered. First, your 12 Volt electrical loads - fridge, lighting, running a laptop, TV, etc. You need to do a power budget. Then size your second battery and solar to suit.

Mick O pointed you to a couple of good links that will get you started.

Keep asking questions - there are plenty of people here who can help.

Cheers


FrankP

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 13:23

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 13:23
Plenty of good advice above, Ash, and preferences.....:-)

Daughter and SIL have an Ironman 65L dual fridge/freezer, and they are very pleased with it. They go camping regularly, so it gets plenty of use. Quite versatile as it can be all fridge, all freezer or fridge/freezer. Usually 3 of them eating out of it.

Only 2 of us, but we have a 10 yr old plus 45L Engel, and a much newer Ironman 30L fridge. Engel is noisy, flat out hearing the I'man. Have dual batteries in the ute, with a Piranha isolator, plus 2 x 120amphr AGM's in the slide on camper which are charged through a Redarc BMS 15 amp thingy.

Have the fridge leads hard wired into the 12v system, to get away from ciggy plugs/sockets. Have spare power leads in case need to run either fridge away from the vehicle. By the way, any 12v fridge used as a freezer is going to use heaps more power, than if just run as a fridge. Like maybe 30-40% more power!

Do plenty of homework, Ash, and if need be ask more questions. There others on this site that are very knowledgeable about 12v power/fridges/batteries.

Bob



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

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 13:40

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 13:40
A good point Bob has raised about noise, I too have noticed that Engel fridge dare noisier than the other brands that gave a different compressor
It may be irrelevant to you but worth noting if you sleep close to the fridge

Agree with others about ditching the ciggy plug as well
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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 17:34

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 17:34
Also run heavier wires to wherever the fridge is. 6mm auto is an absolute minimum which is far heavier than the c++p they wire ciggy sockets with
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Follow Up By: Phil 23 - Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 08:11

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 08:11
6mm is a bit of an overkill to run something like an Engel that draws under 3 amps.

4mm would be fine dropping less than 0.1 volts over 5 metres.

4 & 6mm both have their places, key difference is cost & how easy the cable is to run & work with. I use a mix of both.

Actually, someone advised me the other day that I should relay my headlights with AT LEAST 6mm cable.

That calculates a drop of 0.03 volts over the 1.5m run that's required.
I'll do it with 4mm, which will still be way over rated for running 60 Watt lights. It will drop a massive 0.04 volts over the distance & be much easier to work with & route.

Redarc has a couple of good calculators on their site that work out voltage drops etc.

http://www.redarc.com.au/handy-hints/calculator/

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 09:23

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 09:23
Tom may have been referring to the pathetic 'Auto Industry' practice when he referred to "6mm auto" cable. In this practice they rate the cable by its overall diameter over the insulation which gives no reliable indication of the size of the copper conductor.

The so called "6mm Auto Cable' is likely to have a copper size of about 4sq.mm (12 B&S gauge) which, as Phil has said, is good for the purpose.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 09:30

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 09:30
Dead right Allan I did say in the first line "6mm AUTO" = 4.8mm2

The stuff carmakers run to ciggy sockets is barely heavy enough for them let alone anything else that may be stuck in it
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 16:46

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 16:46
Hi Ash,
Apart from any other consideration, the Engel is noisy. It uses an oscillating armature/piston linear compressor which Engel call a "Swing Compressor" even though it does not swing. I had one in a camper and it vibrated the whole floor/body even though mounted on a rubber pad. My present Waeco with its rotary compressor sits directly under the bed in the back of the Troopy and is very quiet.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 18:16

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015 at 18:16
Thanks, will keep that in mind.
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Reply By: Phil 23 - Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 07:36

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 07:36
You mention "Budget Conscious" & would consider new with warranty.

That straight away makes me think of the Engel Eclipse MR40F.

Bought my 3rd Engel recently & originals are still going strong.

The newer style 40l is excellent value.

Cheers.
AnswerID: 556947

Reply By: noggins - Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 11:43

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 11:43
I you were in WA ( Mandurah ) Battery Force on Pinjarra Rd have specials on the Engel Fridges, last I can recall on the road side sign was a 32 ( plastic case) for 690 ? something.

While this post may not be of any use to you I'm sure there are others that can benefit from it


Ron
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Reply By: urbanus - Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 15:48

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 15:48
Have just been through a similar thought process. I was agnostic as to brand just so long as it was one of the leading brands however I knew how I wanted to set up for touring. I looked for Engel but ended up getting a good deal with Waeco.

I have a CF35 fridge in the back of the wagon connected to a RAPS36 battery pack, which is then connected to its 12v outlet. In my case the outlet is only active when accessories is on. The battery keeps the fridge running for up to one to two days depending on conditions. I use an insulating jacket and put some frozen water bottles in the fridge to help out. I intend to get a solar panel for charging the battery pack when camping but for the moment the current setup is fine for touring. Obviously a bigger battery will run longer.

Important considerations for me were the weight of the fridge, built-in handles and noise and the waeco CF35 easily satisfies these criteria. A friend who bough a large 75 litre fridge sold it because it was too awkward to handle.
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Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 18:03

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 18:03
So far I've found with the top brands people either love them or hate them, I figure if we have a reputable brand it should be easier to get parts/fixing any issues.

We have gone with Engel but also have a little waeco cooler/warmer for drinks in the car. How do I find out if the outlet charges without the accessories on? probably obvious? I'm guessing if the light is on the fridge? Wouldn't it drain the battery though if the car isn't on?
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Follow Up By: urbanus - Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015 at 17:45

Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015 at 17:45
hi Ash, I agree with your reasoning re reputable brands hence why I remain agnostic in the engel v waeco v carb v ... wars.

I used a 12v USB adapter to see what outlets were on and what were not as there are three in my car. None were on in my case but light on fridge would confirm the same. If the fridge is left on and the car off, yes the second battery will run down however the cranking battery is unaffected. I am looking at trickle charge options to keep the battery pack charged if car is parked up for a few days.
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Reply By: Member -Ted (Vic) - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 15:10

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 15:10
Hi Ash

I currently run three Engels, 60L in the camper and two in the cruiser (one is a freezer) bounced them all over OZ and had no trouble at all. Lots of good info on the forum and the web have a read of this site comments from users of both.
http://thegreynomads.activeboard.com/t52840533/portable-fridges-a-lesson-learnt/

Good luck with your choice

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Member -Ted (Vic) - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 16:53

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 16:53
Just to clarify, the two in the cruiser are 40L


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Follow Up By: Ash H1 - Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 17:42

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2015 at 17:42
Thank you for your reply.


I found a second hand Engel for a decent price so have gone with that as a bit of a tester before shelling out over $1300 or so for a brand new one. We have tested it out at home overnight with some bottles of water and ice cream and it all froze well (although with this weather it probably would have all froze well out of the Engel haha) It's a 40L which I believe would be really great size for our family and if it goes alright we will buy a brand new one and this will be our spare or us eone as a fridge one as a freezer etc. I was expecting 40L to be much smaller in space so I feel it's quite enough but will have to test it out on a trip first to be sure.

I also had someone offer us a TONGTEL 45L one at a very cheap price but upon researching it I decided it wasn't worth it (couldn't find any information on it at all!)


Now I just need to figure out how to go about powering it! (When travelling in the car, and also when stopped for a few days/weeks). Looking into the plugs for the car for it to be safer and thinking solar panels and battery for when we have stopped.
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