KICKASS OUTBACK 95 LITRE DUAL ZONE FRIDGE/FREEZER

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 16:34
ThreadID: 143052 Views:1560 Replies:8 FollowUps:18
We currently have a Waeco 95-100 litre (can't remember now what it is), but not a dual zone. Power consumption is high, but solar panels and batteries power it. We want a new dual zone, but are limited because it has to fit in the pull out slide in our camper trailer. We've researched a lot of brands, but the size always knocks us out, so found the Kickass Outback 95 litre (bigger than we really need, as we've discovered with our Waeco) but it fits size wise.
Has anyone had any experience with this particular fridge?
Interested to know how it copes in say 42 degree heat (as has been temperature this week and our Waeco didn't really cope - was running continually and struggled to keep fridge side cold - the reason why we decided we needed a dual zone).
Interested in people views of customer service from Australian Direct, as I have read both good and bad reviews about them.
I think I've read nearly everything available on this fridge and many many others, but still interested to find someone who owns one of these that will give me an honest review - not a paid one.
Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 18:44

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 18:44
Katrina.
Do you have your fridge heavily insulated or only the proprietary bag/overcoat? Also, if in hot vehicle do you supply a decent not recycling airflow so the condenser of fridge has a chance of actually working? Computer fans can provide a decent ducted change of air to aid any fridge. Stewing in it's own pool of expelled heat will tax any fridge.
Do you need a new fridge or just a situation change?
AnswerID: 639012

Follow Up By: Katrina L - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 18:56

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 18:56
Thanks for the reply-Both I feel. Because of our slide set up the condenser is in the cabinet end and we can’t turn fridge around- we often have it out to give as much airflow as we can.
Fridge has insulated bag on it.
Because Kickass fridge allows us to take lids off or open either way we can turn it around to aide airflow and have condenser facing out of compartment. Also has two seperate compartments, instead of the 1 trying to freeze in one section and push cold air to fridge compartment too-hense the need for a dual compartment.
Just a matter of finding one that will fit and so far that’s only been this kickass outback 95 litre that’s why I’m chasing any feedback on them.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 22:26

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 22:26
Katrina
I see you wish to have a dual zone fridge/freezer, but if only in an insulated bag AND in a box on a camper there needs to be a definite airflow in and out of the cabinet so the fridge isn't stewing in it's own hot air, ie hot being recycled. That is why additional insulation is good to have on fridge sides, bottom and top so as to minimize the heat ingress back into the fridge. Getting the hot air out of the cabinet is most important, IF, you want to lower the current/Amp hour consumption. The desired fridge will be much the same in energy use unless the usage situation is more favourable to cooling/getting rid of cabinet heat.
If the cabinet is on a drawbar does it have double skin to allow airflow between skins to reduce the applied ambient heat? Does forward motion ventilate it well? Is it white to reflect heat or dark in colour to soak up heat?
I had an Engel as freezer, which would not keep below -1 while constantly running in central Oz. Fixed by the mods mentioned above and below.
Although in a vehicle canopy and previously in rear seat area, I always have a large 12v computer fan supplying ambient air to the two fridges via a flex duct.
Worth doing for any fridge.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:35

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:35
Katrina & RMD,

Have to agree with RMD regarding adequate ventilation. I had a Kimberley Kamper and the cabinet that the fridge was located in had an exhaust fan with a filter pad near the top of the cabinet. We ran this fan almost constantly in hot weather. We still have the Engel 60 Litre fridge, still going strong. No matter which fridge/freezer you end up with, it would benefit from a retro fitted exhaust fan in the cabinet. If your camper has a house battery, it can be powered from that, or at the very least from the same power supply that is running your fridge if that is from the car.

A true dual zone fridge will have two separate compartments, and two separate temperature controls, and not just relying on the “spill over” effect of the freezer side keeping the fridge side cold.

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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 09:13

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 09:13
Ok, great advice. It looks like we need to look at doing some modifications to camper to see how we can add more ventilation by turning unit around it would get a bit more, but we need to investigate other sources also. Really appreciate your ideas.
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Reply By: Member - Cuppa - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 20:01

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 20:01
How does a dual zone fridge freezer work? I'm thinking that in order to be effective it would need separate thermistors/sensors , one for each zone, but can't quite work out how this might work with a single compressor. All 12v fridges will be colder at the bottom than at the top, but having fridge & freezer using the same sensor I decided was just too much of a compromise. When we made our last fridge freezer purchase I decided that a separate fridge & freezer would be a better way to go. We bought a 60 litre fridge & 35 litre freezer & have never regretted doing so.
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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 20:34

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 20:34
Thanks for your response- It has dual climate zones, but thinking only one secop compressor. We thought about two, but again can’t fit two units in our camper slide-certainly not a 60litre and a 35litre, we’ve measured a lot of fridges or all sizes (spent weeks researching and measuring). Just out of ideas. Will certainly have a look at your travel blog,
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Reply By: Genny - Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 22:53

Wednesday, Jan 05, 2022 at 22:53
Kickass fridges, as far as I know, are rebranded Evakools. Yes, there are two thermistors, one under each bin. Not sure what black arts are involved in cooling two bins with one compressor, but they do. The sides are independent of each other, in that either or both sides can be cooling at once.
I would suggest buying a couple of spare 10K thermistors (I got 10 for less than $15 on Ebay), you will probably need them sometime in three or four years, and it is a pretty easy repair (at least on my Evakool it was).
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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:33

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:33
Thanks Genny, I had read that about evakool rebrand and although they say it’s not my husband was concerned about that too.
We couldn’t work out how the one compressor did it either, but we’re guessing that’s the same with all dual set ups.
They have a 5 Year warranty, but that’s a great suggestion to get spares to have on hand in case we are in the middle of know where when one goes.
Apart from that how have you found your Evakool, what size have you got.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 16:47

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 16:47
Two thermistors, in freeze and cold sections, only detects if that void is too warm for the setting and runs the compressor. The freeze section effectively leaks cold into the fridge section anyway. Once the freeze has increased, any excess cold will cool the fridge side and if it gets to cold in fridge it will switch off the compressor. The freeze has to be therebefore the fridge cools sufficiently, not many people complain about the freezer colder than the freeze setting. That is how I imagine they work, because there is no other automated gear to swap/direct coldness to specific areas as there is in a domestic house fridge with 1 compressor. They have sensors and fans to use freeze to make fridge cold. I had to repair one 1 year ago and they timing functions too. Just more "Fisticated".
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Follow Up By: Genny - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 22:12

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 22:12
Proper dual zones are precisely that - dual zones. Each end can be freezer, or fridge, completely independent of the other. The cooling of one end has little to do with what is going on at the other end. The compressor MUST have some sort of trickery there to switch ends in and out, and there is a status light for both ends indicating whether the compressor is running that end or not, and you often see one end running when the other is not. I have the end cover off mine at the moment, I'll take a pic tomorrow and see if something looks like valves of some kind.
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Reply By: Batt's - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 03:27

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 03:27
There is a fellow on youtube that after testing his Engel with and without an insulating cover found the gauze mesh near the motor to slightly reduce air flow so it used just a little bit more power. So I would expect that would get worse the hotter the weather is. I think he said removing the gauze mesh would help. Also as RMD said good air flow helps I put a better quality high efficient silent running fan on my 18yr old Evakool a couple of yrs ago which lives in an alloy canopy. I also have a solar exhaust fan in the roof and an intake vent to help circulate the air a bit. The quality of the materials the fridge is made from and the electronics make a difference the cheaper fridges usually seem to consume more power. My nearly 5 month old cheap 15ltr Kings fridge running at 2deg draws around 3.25 amps my 18yr old 47ltr Evakool fibreglass model single zone running the freezer around - 18 and fridge around 2 deg draws approx 2.3 amps no extra cost for an insulation cover either because it doesn't need one.
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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:40

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:40
Thanks for advice-do you mind me asking what fan you installed?
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 12:03

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 12:03
Noctua it's a 92mm fan to replace the factory one it comes with 3 short adaptor cords that have different speed settings for eg 1250rpm 1650rpm or 2050pm. The old factory fans are a little noisey I took decibel measurements with the fridge running the new fan was around 20db quieter.
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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 12:29

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 12:29
Great thank you I’ll look into that.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 16:35

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 16:35
Katrina
Have to agree with everything Batts said. My Engel which has poor insulation ,from factory, ie, OE, now has a 15mm silver foamboard all around it and on lid, not the vent area though. It keeps the heat expelled from the condenser away from penetrating the fridge sides quite so easily. Mine now has 3 fans in it to create cross flow and scoop up from bottom across condenser. It all helps.
I found 80mm dia 12v computer fans on Ebay and if the fridge compressor runs on 12 or less the fans can be across the compressor wires to remove air from condenser. I "switched" my fans because, as batts mentioned, quiet is nice. Can have then ON or OFF.
The small amount of fan load ensures shorter run times and better performance.
The whole idea is to retain the cold inside with insulation and when it must run the compressor, the fans either in the fridge or venting the cabinet means the fridge has a chance of doing it's job if in adverse situations, ie, hot box, in vehicle. When all is cold weather, not a problem.
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Follow Up By: Keir & Marg - Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 17:29

Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 17:29
Hi Katrina,
We have a 3-way fridge in the caravan which performed particularly poorly in hot weather. We've installed extractor fans from Karls Kool RV which have transformed the performance of the fridge, even on 12v while driving. We even take ice cream in the freezer section now. Karls Kool RV is an Australian company and has provided us with excellent service and advice. They make all sorts of kits, including ones for slide-out compressor fridges inside stuffy cabinets on camper trailers. Based in Qld.
Keir
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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Saturday, Jan 08, 2022 at 08:26

Saturday, Jan 08, 2022 at 08:26
Thanks Keir and Marg-have had a look at Karl’s Kool RV-has a couple of things we can look into to see if we can install in camper slide, just need to work out space and ventilation upgrade.
Very helpful.
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Reply By: Bricky - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 07:34

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 07:34
Don't know about the Kickass brand, but if can find a Trailblaza fridge they fits it will perform well in the heat.
Cheers
AnswerID: 639016

Follow Up By: Katrina L - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:58

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:58
Thanks Bricky, I just had another look at the Trailblaza and the sizes won’t fit (as with most), they do look great and i just noted that the dual one has two compressors-impressive.
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Reply By: Mikee5 - Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:51

Thursday, Jan 06, 2022 at 08:51
Not really about the fridge, I have been to the Kickass store on the Sunshine Coast. Staff seem friendly, helpful and knowledgable. Their products look the goods. My son bought a solar panel and controller there and has no complaints.
AnswerID: 639017

Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 08:46

Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 08:46
Trailblaza will make any fridge to suit your size and needs. Their fridges are large though due to the insulation used. They will even make you one that has 2 compressors for the one unit, so it is true duel zone. You may wince at the price though. Weight may also be an issue if you have a set up where you need to remove the fridge from time to time.
Good Aussie company from all the reports I've heard.

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Follow Up By: Katrina L - Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 09:47

Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 09:47
Thank you for advice. We’ve looked at them and yes agree two compressors is great, but we just don’t have the space in pullout fridge slide. It’s a pitty, as they look great. Yes bit pricy, but didn’t care if we could get the right fridge.
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Follow Up By: RMD - Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 20:00

Friday, Jan 07, 2022 at 20:00
Katrina.
Lyndon mentioned Trailblza will make a fridge to your size requirements and specs. So size isn't such an issue.
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Reply By: John P51 - Saturday, Jan 08, 2022 at 20:46

Saturday, Jan 08, 2022 at 20:46
I had a Kings fridge (a rebranded Waeco) which failed after about thee years. I faced a similar constraint to yourself in terms of size, in particular the available width of the fridge slide I have installed. The newer Waeco units were all too wide, and I wasn't keen to go down the cheap Kings route again.

I ended up replacing the Kings fridge with a National Luna 60L dual zone unit. That fit width wise, and I extended the length of my slide by cutting and using some flat bar to add the required size.

Looking at the dimensions of your Waeco (based on a 95L model), the National Luna 90L would likely fit. Note they are higher than a Waeco, so vertical clearance may be a concern.

I've run mine on a 42 degree day inside the canopy on my dual cab and it held three degrees in the fridge and -18 in the freezer, although it did consume quite a bit of power doing so.

With it set to 3 deg C in the fridge and -10 deg C in the freezer, the power consumption should be in the vicinity of 34AH over a 24 hour period.

Power consumption data for all the models is here: https://coolfactor.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/National-Luna-brochure.pdf

They aren't a cheap unit, but they are robustly constructed, and seem to hold temperature very well in quite demanding conditions. Anaconda among others stock them.
AnswerID: 639033

Follow Up By: Katrina L - Saturday, Jan 08, 2022 at 21:38

Saturday, Jan 08, 2022 at 21:38
Thanks John haven’t looked into that brand, so will do that now. I’ll be an expert on fridges soon I’ve done much research on sizes etc.
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