Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 10:12
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Hiya peeps,
80 litre/60litre, 2 x 40 litre, Fridge/Freezers, so many options! And since everyone was so helpful last time, I thought I'd come back to the oracle for some more wise words.

Looking at Engel(s) as part of my set up. I have a dual battery system, (one cranking/one semi-deepcycle80amp hr) I know however that this will not suffice on extended stays and am looking at different options.

Option 1 --- 80ltr combi. A big Freezer and 33l fridge.

OPtion 2--- 2 x 40 ltr, run one as a freezer, one as a fridge.

Now I'd imagine the latter would be more difficult to set up, and run more power initially. But when food runs low, I could transfer and run only one of them? Does anyone have any experience with the combi? And if so, is it good or bad? I'm told it draws between 0.5-4.5 amp/hr. Averaging 2.

So I guess my question is which would be more power effective? Also, realisticaly is a 70watt solar panell going to cut it, or will it just delay the inevitable. I've been told not to let my semi deep to go below 50%. Are battery management systems recommended?

A generator would be great, but I go to get away from the noise and don't think it would be all that relaxing.

Thanks in Advance peoples.
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Reply By: Nudenut - Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 11:00

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 11:00
get a giggun and run as freezer and freeze 2 plastic containers of water and transfer 1 to esky to keep day by day perishables..its an option
AnswerID: 63396

Reply By: Nudenut - Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 11:00

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 11:00
get a giggun and run as freezer and freeze 2 plastic containers of water and transfer 1 to esky to keep day by day perishables..its an option
AnswerID: 63397

Reply By: gonebush - Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 11:37

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 11:37
I have no personal experience with the combi but I would get that over the 2x40l for the following reasons:

Lower initial cost
Less weight
Less volume(space) occupied in the vehicle
lower current draw ......the heat transfer into the 2x40 will be greater because there is 50% greater surface area.
Simpler setup

Of course with the 2 units you do have a backup if one fails or you can shut one down as required.

The 70W solar panel won't cut it with either setup. Their are many variables with the amount of solar energy that you will input and the power consumed by the fridge(s) but the 70W would give you around 40 - 60% of your daily requirement.

Battery management systems do help.


AnswerID: 63404

Reply By: bowr - Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 13:28

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2004 at 13:28
Hi, I couldn't help but post a response and offer an opinion.

Do your self a favour, unless you need to store a lot of food to feed a family of 10, just go with one 40litre Engel, forget the solar panels (unless you have a fair bit of cash spare to set it up well), use the money you save on the second Engel to buy yourself a generator. Get one of those small lighweight portable 4 strokes, they are unbelievably quiet, you won't hear it running as they are so good in this regard. You can freeze water and transfer to an esky to keep your fruit and veges cool, (as suggested by other respondee) plus you have power to run lights, fans, heaters, laptop computer, powertools etc or even the TV!

I have a bushman fridge and did the same on my trip around Australia, as I found that up north in the tropics, coming into summer, it was so dam hot that current draw on my fridge was excessive and although I figured at full power consumption of 4.5 amps from the fridge off my 100 amp deep cycle auxillary battery, I would get at least 20hrs at a go (30-40hrs when set as a fridge), this was not the case (generally the battery would last a day before discharging when set as a freezer).

But Darwin and NW WA is hot, dam hot, in November ..........

I recommend based on my experience, that you fork out the extra money for a good quality generator, with a pure sine wave inverter (about $1000 bucks or a tad more and roughly about the same price as another engel or solar panels with enough grunt to do the job).

I bought an el cheapo 650 watt 2 stroke for about $200 and cursed every day. I had to run 20m of extension lead so I could place the generator away from the camp, to reduce niose, I had to run it 24/7 as it couldn't cope with directly charging any battery over 50amps and I had to moderate it with my battery charger via my deep cycle battery, to remove power surges which prevented me from running my fridge directly of it, or more sensitive electronic equipment.

Probably didn't do my deep cycle battery much good in this regard either.


This wouldn't happen with a good quality 4 stroke generator whith sufficient capacity and a proper inverter.

DO NOT be persuaded by the Missus (like I was) to buy one of those stupid little cooler boxes in lieu of another engel to keep drinks cool, as they suck power like no tommorrow, and work poorly in any case (a waste of $100), stick with the Engel, ice and a decent esky.

Note that in some Nat Parks, they prohibit the use of generators - or have designated times for using them, but even still, you can generally sort something out, particulary if you have a 4 stroke that are so quite no one can hear in any case. ( I saw others using them on my travels and always went green with envy!)

Admittedly it would be nice to have solar panels with enough grunt, coupled with a good quality inverter, to do all that a generator can and save on fue, but hey, I made some enquiries along these lines and by god, it was not for the budget orientated, plus if your as clumsy as me, a size 9 1/2 foot accidently through a solar panel would not be fun.

Hope this helps you further consider the pro's and cons of various power options.


AnswerID: 63422

Reply By: Utemad - Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 11:23

Thursday, Jun 17, 2004 at 11:23

I've got an 80litre Engel Combi and it works a treat. I have a 55a/h deep cycle and that will last about 15 hours running the unit at -9 deg C. I am going to get a bigger battery for my next trip as this one is obviously inadequate. Although I bought that battery 2 years before the fridge.

The unit packs enough food for a very well fed one week trip for two people without having too worry about any other cooling device. It is a big fridge though and takes about 1/4 of the floor tray space of my dual cab ute.

Although if you want to conserve power and have nothing to freeze, you can put all your stuff in the freezer section and turn the temp up a bit. The temp display is actually only for the freezer section and the fridge gets cold air passed to it some how from the freezer bit. The freezer is bigger than the fridge bt anyway (44L vs 33L)

Anyway I'd say go for the 80L combi.

AnswerID: 63566

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