Comments on an EvaKool RF60

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:09
ThreadID: 134215 Views:4827 Replies:11 FollowUps:26
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I offer these in case anyone has been wondering about an upgrade or second fridge.

It's a 60l fridge/freezer with a white fibreglass case and 40mm thick insulation. It can run in fridge, freezer and fridge/freezer modes.

We chose it because it's Australian-made and EvaKool has a good rep, and it was the only 60l fridge that would fit in the camper trailer. We'd had a Waeco 40l that worked without a hitch for around 6 years but was on the small side for our increasingly long trips.

The freezer is the smaller of the two compartments and has the chiller plates, a basket, an internal lid and a perforated divider separating it from the fridge section with its own basket. The idea is that cool air moves from the freezer to the fridge.

This doesn't happen automatically. You have to jack the divider up a little and stack the food so the air can move around. I found frequently that the food most distant from the chiller plates could easily read 7-8 degrees with the unit set on 2. A web search indicated that some folk fit a thermostat and computer fan to circulate the air.

I also found the unit consumed much more power than advertised. EvaKool shipped it back and tested it and found that it was within spec so clearly the conditions and mode of use were responsible.

It has coped with a lot of pounding over the best of outback corro. In due course the dual-mode cig plug on the power lead collapsed and was replaced with a single-mode cigar plug from Jaycar. In due course it'll get an Anderson connector.

All up we're pleased to have the extra capacity but not so pleased with the fiddling needed. We've worked on increasing the power available so the unit can be set at 0 so the fridge section is more likely to run at around 4-5 degrees.
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Reply By: gbc - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:19

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 17:19
I have had an rf60 for 10 odd years and a supakool 60 prior to that. We have never had any of the issues you mention unless the little air gap at the bottom has filled with frozen water or we tried to use it without the basket. The thermostat sits on 4 and that's where it stays. Yes, leads and cigarette plugs failed us too with every brand.
AnswerID: 608128

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:19

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:19
Have you measured the temp in various spots?

I got an Engel thermometer for the purpose, with a probe for the fridge and also a thermometer for ambient.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:36

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:36
My thermometer is a stick on remote jobby. It sits about 3/4 the way up the cabinet on the front wall away from the freezer end. Once everything is down to temp it sits on 4 degrees. They did a fridge comparison 10 odd years ago in the old 4wd monthly and they showed a bit of temp wandering in the fridge cabinet as well. It stands to reason as the fridge is just an overflow of the temp regulated freezer. In the scheme of things it is only air temp and it is recovered well and truly before the beer goes warm and thus is officially beneath my level of care. I get your point though. A small computer fan would even out any warm spots real fast if you are concerned.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 11:48

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 11:48
Its a known issue that the fridge side temperatures vary a lot, its a subject of discussion at the Australian Off Road Campers forum as they are fitted to most of their Campers. I have one in my Quantum & would replace it tomorrow if I could find a fridge that fitted.
I have just ordered a thermo switch which I will fit with fan to move the air around the fridge side.

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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:31

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:31
I have the same model but is 47 litres. It uses about 1/2 as much power again than my engel 40 litre..not impressed. Measured over a week at various temps and the best I could get was about 36amp/hrs used to keep fridge at 4 debrees. Engel used about 24amp/hrs. I have an anderson plug mounted instead of the crap connector at the bottom of the add on fridge motor cover. I,m glad I only paid $400 for it as I still reckon engel crap all over the evakools.
AnswerID: 608133

Follow Up By: gbc - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:39

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 18:39
Pull the divider out and run the whole thing as a fridge. Or run the engel at -18 and check again. My 60 evakool belts the engel combi 60 I had.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 19:23

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 19:23
The divider was out and I took both eskies down to -4.. Cant see anypoint in going lower. Evakool still uses a lot more power than the engel. Quite often saw the evakool pull 4.5-5 amps/hr. Engel never went over 3amp/hrs. Spent a week checking various temps vs power usage and engel definately uses a lot less than the evakool.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 19:30

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017 at 19:30
Mine was/is drawing 2x or more than the advertised figures. Full credit to EvaKool for doing a check. They put it in a controlled environment and measure for 24 hours on each setting. My tests were partly on the road and partly in an a/c room on a transformer's 13 v for much shorter times.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 02:41

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 02:41
Bigfish I have the RF47 model as well it's 12 yrs old and only pulls up around 4 amps when it's on boost mode it generally draws approx. 2.5 amps in fridge mode have to check fridge/freezer mode again forgot what it is but definitely not 4 amps and it runs around -15 to -18 freezer side and approx. 1 to 3 deg fridge side. It may pay to check yours isn't on boost. If it is still drawing that kind of power I would definitely get it looked at because it's not operating correctly.


Because mines an older model it had a separate On/Off switch and the thermostat dial also is an On/Off switch strange why they doubled up. The switch played up yrs ago so they bypassed it and tidied up the rest of the wiring while they had it apart by getting rid of some of the wire connectors and joiners and soldering the wire together. They told me that would slightly improve the power consumption.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 11:17

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 11:17
Just took mine to get checked out. It pulls about 5.8 on start up and settles to about 4.5 on "normal mode". When switched to "economy mode" it settled to about 2.8 amps. The chap who teste has been in business for a while and knows his stuff (cairns ). As he said use econmy mode if fridge freezer is not being opened a lot during the day and use economy ay night after all the drinking has been done....

He cleaned a few joionts up and gave the compressor section a good clean out as well. Had to replace the ecomy/normal switch as it or the resistor was faulty. Am happy for what it is and I now know that after seeing the various amps being pulled at different volts it is a bigger user of the battery than the engel.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:22

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:22
4.5amps is a lot on normal mode I would just run it on econ all the time if it's happy there no use burning up extra battery power.

Mine doesn't have a normal mode switch just a boost/econ switch it runs on econ all the time that's how it was designed. Just checked it uses around 4.1amps on boost..

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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:33

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:33
I,ll run it on normal mode whilst it is travelling in trailer then in economy once camp is set-up. Just measured the engel 40litre starting from fresh and it never pulled over 2 amps....It is about 4 years old and works like a charm. Evakool is an older model (year unknown) but dont like anything pulling 4.5 amps .....
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Follow Up By: gbc - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:43

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 14:43
You do know the eco button just changes the motor speed of the compressor? You are only looking at what it draws when it runs which isn't telling you much at all. For the record I only take mine off eco when freezing down hot fish fillets or meat half way through a trip - all of which it does no problem.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 15:05

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 15:05
Yes, there's a cycling so a good number of hours measurement is needed.

I use one of those cheap inline monitors with Andersons to record Amp hours. Have checked it against a known draw and it's very accurate.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Mar 06, 2017 at 10:40

Monday, Mar 06, 2017 at 10:40
Yes, they all advertise avg amp/hr power consumption, so you need to look at this with fridge and contents at set temp, and monitor for some hours to get a reliable figure.

All sorts of things come into play here . . .
Of course temp(s) set, typically freeze mode is higher amps used and more cycling.
Contents and how full the fridge is.
Ambient air temp and fridge position (shade / sun, in cab or tub canopy).
Fridge insulation.
How often you are accessing the fridge for and how long open.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Mar 06, 2017 at 12:12

Monday, Mar 06, 2017 at 12:12
Yeah. Both Waeco and EvaKool quote figures for 32 degrees ambient, and they run their tests for a day or so to average out the draw. They'd get lower figures with the fridges full and lids kept shut. So not exactly typical field conditions.

Waeco talks about less than an amp for the CF range and I'd say that should be doubled too.
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Reply By: Batt's - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 03:01

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 03:01
Hi Sigmung my old RF47 runs similar temps at the other end of the fridge as well when running as a fridge/freezer never thought about raising the divider though. I cut a section of the divider a few weeks ago to fit a fan to see how it goes apparently it helps reduce the cycling times as well just need to make time to set up the fan. Best way to experiment using an old fridge so if it works well it won't be a drama modifying a new one when it's time to update.
When mine is dialled back to zero with the divider removed for fridge mode it still runs at -1 in the freezer section and 0.8 - 3 deg on the other side near the wall depending on ambient temp. Other than that if I was to update I would most probably get another one I'm pretty happy with it.
AnswerID: 608143

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 04:56

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 04:56
Adding a fan: click

Unfortunately the exploroz link is dead.
AnswerID: 608144

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 08:07

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 08:07
Pity I would be interested in finding out more.
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 13:03

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 13:03
Another take on this: click

I'm considering the smallest of computer fans mounted in the divider alone and no thermostat. Draw will be around 0.15 amps.
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Reply By: Tim F3 - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 08:52

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 08:52
Sigmund
I have the same fridge as you snd it performs as you say.Mine is approx 12 mths old.

It also seems to use more power than quoted.

If you remove the divider even if set to the minimum temp of minus 20 c it will not freeze a glass of water if it is away from the cooling plates.

Another thing it is surprising how rapidly the frozen contents thaw out if power is turned off.

The contents warm up much quicker than in my mates engle.
AnswerID: 608148

Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Feb 04, 2017 at 21:11

Saturday, Feb 04, 2017 at 21:11
If it won't freeze a glass of water at -20 then I would put a thermometer in there to check the temp near the water.

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Reply By: PhilD - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 22:07

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017 at 22:07
I have 2 RF 60s, both of which have plates on 3 sides. I run one as a fridge and the other as a freezer. The freezer runs at -12C and the fridge at 5C. I find the power draw fine, as I have 400 Ahr of lithium battery, but it is about 4 amps when cycling for each one. I have found them to be excellent, and Evakool were willing to custom configure them to my requirements at not much extra cost.
AnswerID: 608177

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Feb 02, 2017 at 05:30

Thursday, Feb 02, 2017 at 05:30
This is the average draw for the current model acc to EvaKool...

Air..... Freezer... Fridge.. Ah
28.......... x........... 5......... 0.7
32......... -25......... 2..........1.4
43..........-19..........5......... 2.3

My measurements:

At 24 ambient in an a/c room and medium fan, an hour each on a number of settings with no opening, the lowest was 3.6 Ah.

In the bush over 8 hours, starting at 18 ambient in the morning and rising to 34; low fan; -1 setting: 2.28 Ah. And then one hour at 34 ambient, same settings: 5.19 Ah.

With the one hour tests there could be a failure to average to account for the cycling.



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Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Feb 09, 2017 at 11:10

Thursday, Feb 09, 2017 at 11:10
Just a heads-up about the fridge side plug - may be worth checking yours.

On mine the cable clamp screws have gone west and the insulation between the soldered terminals inside is just held in place by pressure between them and it barely covers the upstream ends of the bare wires.
AnswerID: 608397

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Mar 06, 2017 at 10:29

Monday, Mar 06, 2017 at 10:29
Hats off to EvaKool.

I tried to fix the cable and wasn't confident in the results. Contacted EvaKool to see if I could buy just the bottom half of the power cable but no. The whole cable isn't cheap. I then explained why and they asked me to send photos of the problem. That wasn't possible given my attempted fix, so they sent a whole new cable anyway.

It's still within the 5 year warranty.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Feb 09, 2017 at 13:22

Thursday, Feb 09, 2017 at 13:22
This is my shot at an internal air distributor. Just a 40mm wide 6mm thick computer fan set in the divider. It pushes 5.4 cubic feet per minute and draws 80 mA and it'll run constantly.

It's run off the fridge power cable.



In my wanderings I did come across a commercially available distributor with a couple of internal fans and an external thermostatic control box.
AnswerID: 608398

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 09:47

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 09:47
I,m going down the same path...just waiting for my 40mm fan to arrive. I will have it permanently fitted to the fridges anderson power socket. My fridge after I had it checked out by serviceman, in Cairns, now pulls 2.5 amp in normal use and about 1.6 in economy mode....Happy with that. Havent really tested temps out. Waiting for fan and then will spend a few days experimenting!!
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FollowupID: 879456

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 10:52

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 10:52
Well, my fan makes little to no difference. Used it in the middle of the divider (raised and lowered position) and without the divider, attached to the fridge basket at left rear.

The difference between the fridge setting and the temp measured at the end opposite the cooling plate is 8 degrees or more.

The unit advertised on ebay employs one or two 60mm square fans that are thermostatically controlled. Talking with the guy about whether it'll work.

----------------

Just out of interest I've been taking a brief measurement of the temp in the freezer compartment and it's 7 degrees warmer than the setting.

The probe is hanging in the middle of a clutch of bottles and the compartment is around1/3 to 1/2 full.

If it's accurate then the picture at the other end takes on a different complexion. But a longer test is needed.
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FollowupID: 879457

Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 15:32

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 15:32
Measurements summary:

The fan makes no difference.

The air temp in the freezer section with the unit run as a fridge only is 4-5 degrees warmer than what's indicated on the control panel. To get the fridge section at about 4 degrees the panel setting needs to be around -3.

These outcomes are of course conditional on the test setup.
AnswerID: 609603

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 16:44

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2017 at 16:44
A fan installed in the fridge section has made a big difference to keeping an even temperature for those that have done it.

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FollowupID: 879469

Reply By: Sigmund - Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 21:25

Thursday, Mar 23, 2017 at 21:25
Swapping the 40mm fan for 60mm made some difference: 1.3 degrees cooler at the end opposite the cooling plate compared with no fan.

Makes an irritating noise. Has a 'sleeve' bearing. You don't get balls till you go to 80mm.
AnswerID: 609643

Follow Up By: Member - peter_mc - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 09:37

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 09:37
Altronics have some 40mm 12v bearing fans.
RS Compoents and Element 14 would have them locally.
Digikey & Mouser in the USA have lots - if you order over $60 the freight is free

http://au.rs-online.com/web/c/hvac-fans-thermal-management/fans/axial-fans/#esid=4294957365&applied-dimensions=4292242789,4293563536,4293751938,4293770724,4294540838,4294642578,4294644631,4294855980,4294876188,4294884558&sort-by=P_breakPrice1&sort-order=asc

https://www.digikey.com.au/products/en/fans-thermal-management/dc-fans/217?FV=fff40012%2Cfff80052%2Cffe000d9%2C38007e%2Cb897c6&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=193&page=1&stock=1&pbfree=0&rohs=0&k=fan&quantity=&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=500&pkeyword=fan

http://au.mouser.com/Thermal-Management/Fans-Blowers/Fans/DC-Fans/_/N-dwatb?P=1yd154pZ1yd151xZ1z0sdx2Z1z0xjmo
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FollowupID: 879517

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 11:02

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 11:02
Thanks Peter.

So far the main take-out from this exercise has been to set the fridge at -3 or -4 to get decent cooling at the other end. That's when running in fridge only mode. The freezer part of the box doesn't freeze at those levels; it's about 4 degrees above them.

And while not tested, I'm guessing the fan might do more to spread the coolth with the fridge more fully loaded.
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FollowupID: 879523

Follow Up By: Member - peter_mc - Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 12:53

Friday, Mar 24, 2017 at 12:53
My dad's got one of these that we've borrowed in the past - it was hard to get the temperature right in both halves.

I had plans to add a fan like yours controlled by a thermostat. Just ran out of time - we've now got a Trailblaza to run as a freezer so it isn't as much of an issue.

I wonder if you could use a small "blower" fan to circulate the air around the back of the condensor plate? And then another one to blow it around the fridge. Mouser/Digikey sell some pretty small ones - I've got one that's only a few mm thick and 35x35.

The guy selling fridge fans on eBay claims he has "patent protection" but I have no idea what he could have patented. Fridges have been using fans to blow air around for ages (we had a kitchen fridge 18 years ago which did it) and they use a thermostat to control the fridge/freezer temps independently.
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FollowupID: 879527

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Thursday, Apr 06, 2017 at 10:18

Thursday, Apr 06, 2017 at 10:18
Peter, RSComponents had a 60mm slim fan with ball bearings as well as a finger guard. Thanks again for that link.

Fitted, it's little quieter than the sleeve bearing job. Hey ho. Should last longer though.

The current (ahem) problem is fitting connectors. The wires are so damn slim. 3 failures so far. Will settle for twisting the wires together for a trial.
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FollowupID: 879858

Reply By: Sigmund - Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:35

Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 10:35
I've now had over a week out camping with the fridge close to full.

The difference the fan makes is substantial. The coolth is much more evenly distributed. With the thermostat set at 0 C the fridge section is around 3 C.

To summarise:
* divider out
* 60mm slim fan running constantly
* placed at the centre bottom of the freezer section basket blowing across the fridge section
AnswerID: 611239

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