15l fridge or Esky as 2nd 'fridge'

Submitted: Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 06:47
ThreadID: 142499 Views:1347 Replies:9 FollowUps:12
I was wondering what experience and decision others have made. I have an old 50l Waeco and was wandering if I should get in addition a 15l fridge/freezer e.g. Brace Monkey or if I should get a good 40l Esky e.g. techniice? Concerns are running two fridges of a basic dual battery and at times not driving a lot. I have a decent 200W solar panel.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 08:28

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 08:28
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Hi Richard,

I found my 45l Waeco insufficient so added a Waeco 10.5l as a freezer leaving the old 45l as a fridge only. This has worked well.
Bear in mind that if you use an Esky as a second storage by making ice for it in a freezer, that you will not save on electric power. The energy you save with an Esky is still consumed making the ice and in fact is less efficient than running a freezer plus fridge. And a lot more trouble plus reducing the capacity in the freezer.

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 09:16

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 09:16
Richard,
In addition to what Alan mentioned, if you begin with the fridge using it as a freezer and the items are frozen beforehand, the little unit only has to keep the degree of freeze set. stopping the heat from getting to the freezer, or any fridge in fact, will result in less run time. Additional thick insulation around the little unit ensuring airflow to vitals, will mean less battery usage/runtime. Most fridges are not well insulated at all although they claim leading edge.
My Engel is coated in foam board to insulate and reflect heat. Makes it better. the bags supplied are scuff bags and don't do much insulating. The small Waeco I use has foam panel between bag and fridge sides and travels with an old sleeping bag draped over it as well.
All done to minimize battery use and run time.

Making Ice for an Esky uses heaps of energy.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 10:32

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 10:32
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You are right RMD. As you say "Most fridges are not well insulated". I am surprised that some manufacturer of popular style fridges does not make one with double the usual insulation. It would cost very little more and perform so much better.
Adding insulation as you have done is a good idea, even if a little messy. The Sprinter motorhome that I am constructing will have a Vitrifrigo front-opening cabinet fridge and I will be adding 40mm of insulation between the fridge and plywood cabinet.

I am not impressed with many outfits with a fridge on slide inside a box structure. The hot air discharging from the compressor circulates around the fridge housing and is also partly drawn back into the condenser. Now some installations may have suitable air-flow arrangements but many do not seem to. The usually appear to have plenty of room around the fridge for extra insulation.

In efficient refrigeration, it is all about insulation.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:07

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:07
Alan,
Same with caravan fridges, ie, 3 way. I side and top insulated a 3 way in a trailer type van for a friend. He usually had it on 240v for 3 days prior to cool it all down before travelling/camping. They all seem to be made and installed in a way which ensures the recirculation and re-absorbtion of expelled heat so the fridge is working hard or nearly not able to cope. With the added insulation and fitting a "draw air in" computer fan and another to evacuate the upper heat from and to cool the condenser it was at normal fridge temp in just a couple of hours after switch on. It actually works as the manufacturer said it would.

Can't remember which brand of fridge but one has, as you said, about double the wall insulation of nearly all others and it has a name for staying cool and using less overall energy.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 15:20

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 15:20
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RMD,
There is some need to be careful about adding insulation around a fridge housing. Some fridges have the condenser tubing attached to the inside of the metal walls and use this cabinet to dissipate the condenser heat. I have only seen this in domestic kitchen fridges, not portable fridges, but you never know.
This style can be identified by having no visible condenser finned coil and by a noticeable warmth of the cabinet housing.

Re your "additional fans"...... my Sprinter fridge comes with a fan on the condenser but I have added a pair of high performance, low consumption fans to assist. One draws cool air in and delivers it to the condenser entry whilst the other removes the heated air to the outside of the timber cabinet. I expect these to greatly assist the fridge efficiency.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Kazza055 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 09:32

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 09:32
My 40L Engel died and after lots of testing I ended up getting myself a 60L Brass Monkey from Jaycar for $499. These Brass Monkey fridges are also being sold by a few other retailers like RTM, and Snowy's Outdoors.

I can buy 2 of these for what I would have paid for another 40L Engel and just can't see why the Engels and Waeco fridges are so expensive.

I also have a 32L Waeco and would not hesitate replacing it with another Brass Monkey if and when the Waeco dies.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 10:11

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 10:11
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These "Brass Monkeys" seem to be good quality. I have seen no bad reports at all.
And Jaycar do not sell rubbish. If I should need another fridge it would be a Brass Monkey.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:01

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:01
Jaycar and RTM are both owned by the same people, not certain about the other companies that also sell the Brass Monkey.

The brass Monkey comes with a three year warranty and as far as Jaycar go, if a unit fails they just give you ne new replacement.

I also noticed that the 2 door 138L fridge freezer has a label on it say it has an LG compressor.

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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:21

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:21
Kazza.
The Engels and Waeco are dear for what you get. Simply trading on so called reliability is wearing thin.
Some Engels go for years, others don't. My local dealer has mountains of dead ones at the rear of his premises. All shapes and sizes. Waeco NTC temp sensors seem to fail regularly.
Although disputed by some as impossible, A person I communicated with travelled Sth Africa. He bought a vehicle there, and a new, in box Engel fridge which has been shipped from Australia. He bought it there for slightly over half the price we pay here, on equivalent money value. He was stunned at the price of same when he returned to Australia. The fridge came from Japan, to Oz and then shipped to South Africa and was around $580 Australian dollars. The price at the time here was $1100 or so. Makes BM fridges attractive.
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Reply By: tonysmc - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:12

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 11:12
Hello Richard, I tried the one fridge and an esky and it was such a pain. Always having to find ice, tip out water, any food was in the water as ice melted and you could only use half the space as the ice takes up so much room and just doesn't work.
After much debating and looking at options, ended up with an Engel combi and the Waeco (which I already had) The Combi I can have a freeze section and just keep cold drinking water in any extra space or food if I want. I was thinking of a small second fridge but decided on the 40 litre combi second fridge as I'd use all the space in it on the big trips (not much bigger than the esky) and just take out one of the fridges on the smaller trips, depending if I wanted a frozen stuff or not. If I didn't need frozen stuff I take the Waeco as it doesn't get that hum the engels do. Hope that helps.

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Reply By: GarryR - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 16:32

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 16:32
we use our 47ltr fridge as a freezer only. We cryovac everything we need for the trip. Inside the cabin we have a 15 ltr approx fridge which has never been hooked up, but can be if needed. We take our evening meal out of the freezer along with a small freezer brick (we have 2 which we rotate daily). This is enough to keep a couple of drinks cold along with a couple of pieces of fruit for Judy. At the end of the day we still need to place our evening meal on the Gamma oven ( the ute bonnet) to finish defrosting
location - Warragul -Victoria
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:35

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:35
We have a 55 litre cheap Chinese knock-off of something that even after 12 years refuses to die. It has a refrigerated compartment and along side that a "cool box" section with an adjuster to control the amount of cool, so to speak, going to the coolbox. (Allan B, RMD, I know what you're thinking LOL)

We run it as a minus 19 freezer - coldest it will go) when we're driving, and minus 10 when camped. We have sufficient solar and battery capacity to support that.

We pre-pack portions (pre-cooked meals, steak, chops, sausages, fish, frozen veges, etc) in sandwich bags and freeze them, supplemented by things that don't have to be frozen or cooled.

"At the end of the day we still need to place our evening meal on the Gamma oven ( the ute bonnet) to finish defrosting"

We use our 3.2 litre diesel microwave for quick defrost. LOL

Pull up to camp. First thing is steak or whatever out of the freezer (second thing actually. First would be a cool beverage) and on to the heat shield above the turbo next to the exhaust manifold. It's not too hot for plastic containers and sandwich bags. Job done, and as the engine loses its high heat pretty quickly the food doesn't start cooking if left a bit long.

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Reply By: Member - TonyV - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 16:59

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 16:59
It's strange but I have an old Opposite Lock 40ltr fridge, an old 75 ltr yellow Evakool fridge and a 40 ltr Evakool draw fridge, excellent unit, but I am using 2 x 15 ltr Brass money fridges, one with the extended lid making it 20 ltrs.

I got to a stage where the 2 x 40 ltrs were too big and underutilised in my recent travels etc. So, I brought my first Brass Monkey from RTM with a cover must be 3 years ago on special for under $200, what a bargain, ideal for my normal travels, small enough to live in the back of the wagon and efficient enough to run in the back of wifies car if travelling down the coast visiting people, I even brought a raised lid to give an extra 5 ltrs capacity, mainly for tall bottles milk and wine.
The 15ltr is small enough to sit in the middle of the back seat and reachable when travelling.
So, a few months ago we planned to travel to Maytown for the weekend (I live in Cairns) and brought another 15ltr brass monkey.

We can use one as a freezer, one as a fridge or just turn one off if not needed. We rotate 4 to 6 pre trip chilled cans through the fridge or freezer as needed from a small esky, which is also used to defrost anything frozen.

I can vouch for the small Brass Money fridges
TonyV

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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Friday, Sep 10, 2021 at 18:18

Friday, Sep 10, 2021 at 18:18
I have just bought a 15 litre Brass Monkey with the big lid making it 20 litres.

Some initial thoughts are that it works well and the compressor is exceptionally quiet.

However on switching it off, the temp inside raised really quickly leading me to think there is not a lot of insulation. I connected my Dr Watts meter and it showed a high level of power usage - on further investigation showed that the compressor is running almost constantly to overcome the poor insulation. It uses more power that my old ebay 55 litre fridge - but I expected this as my 25 litre fridge also uses a lot of power.

Despite those issues, given the type of use as a drinks cooler on the seat or as a small freezer for $200 it is worth buying.

The same fridge can be obtained with an inbuilt battery for an extra $40 but you have to buy the battery separately. Now looking at my unit I cannot see anywhere a battery would fit and still retain its basic 15 litre capacity so any clues where the battery fits?
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Friday, Sep 17, 2021 at 11:30

Friday, Sep 17, 2021 at 11:30
Just been doing some testing. With the little Brass Monkey 18 litre fridge set on -20 and some items inside it gets down to -19. After a day to get to temp I then ran it for a further 24 hours with the Watts Meter attached - input 12v, usage was 50ah and when running pulls 35w and seemed to be running a lot. So it effectively will drain a 100aH deep cycle in 24 hours.

Then did the same test with my 12 year old 55l $500 ebay fridge with the same frozen items inside. Same input of 12v and over 24 hours only pulled 31.6ah with 35-40w when running the min temp that can be set is -19 but it does reach that temp. Clearly the superior insulation comes into play and the 4 times larger fridge uses far less power than the smaller fridge. I found the same thing when comparing the 25l EvaKool to the bigger fridge.

So I bought the Brass Monkey to use as a dedicated freezer but mostly as a drinks fridge in the truck. You do not buy smaller fridges for their power saving ability as they use substantially more power than much larger but bulky and heavy fridges.
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Reply By: TrevorDavid - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:21

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:21
Richard

As per your post, looks like your are looking to use both as a fridge only..Good

Work on about 24 - 36 hrs of use. Very much dependent on ambient temp, use , your dual battery setup, battery size, etc.

Either as a freezer , less.

Do you need a freezer?

Look at your type of travel, are you able to replenish your ice on a regular basis?

If the sun is out, you won’t have a problem, remember you can always run your vehicle if you get low on power, even if your not on the go.

Have & use a volt meter to monitor your battery voltage.

Lots of things to consider.

Regards

TrevorDavid







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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:21

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:21
Just a point to note, I have read several times that those small 10-15 litre style fridges consume nearly as much power as the larger ones so a larger second fridge might be a better option if you have the room.
I run two 40 litre fridges with my setup
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:54

Thursday, Sep 02, 2021 at 17:54
This a point to consider - I have a 25litre EvaKool and a 55litre cheap ebay fridge and the little brand name does use as much as the big no name and the little fridge is far noisier. Increasingly I am using the 25 litre because it is easier to move around and suits short trips so now only use the bigger one for long trips. I am now thinking of the 15 litre and moving the 25litre EvaKool on as the Eva kool is not a good fridge and the 15 litrs should suit my short trip needs.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Sep 05, 2021 at 17:28

Sunday, Sep 05, 2021 at 17:28
Yes they can consume more power probably a lot to do with quality the electronics my brand new15ltr Kings uses around 1.25 amps more than my 17yr old 47 ltr Evakool and the temps don't fluctuate as much as the Kings does which can be 5deg above set before it cuts in so needs to be run at a lower temp to compensate.
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Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, Sep 04, 2021 at 21:52

Saturday, Sep 04, 2021 at 21:52
I just recently returned an 8ltr Brass Monkey console fridge it worked when sitting still but faulted soon after driving which happened to be the day after I bought it. RTM tested it found no fault when sitting on the factory floor I tried it in the car again from mackay to biloela but no good took it back they kept it overnight and tested it while driving and said it was ok which I know it wasn't as I had tried it in 5 different outlets in my car and even used another power cord so I got my money back they didn't have a replacement one. Even when it was off which was 99.9% of the time travelling it was rattling around the compressor area. So can't recommend them for reliability.

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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Saturday, Sep 11, 2021 at 09:03

Saturday, Sep 11, 2021 at 09:03
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Why can't you "recommend them for reliability." Batt's?
It reliably failed to work, didn't it?
Cheers
Allan

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