Still not happy with my new 3 Way fridge

Submitted: Wednesday, Feb 23, 2005 at 23:41
ThreadID: 20728 Views:11705 Replies:12 FollowUps:11
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I'd like to ask those who have measured the temperature in their 3 way fridges, where exactly are you placing the thermometer.

If I place the thermometer on the bottom of the fridge - with the fridge empty - the air temperature fluctuates between 2 - 4 degrees. With the probe on top of the element, it sits around -1 (not surprising seeing the element is covered in frost).

But if the probe is sitting in a bottle of water which went into the fridge cold and stays there overnight, the temperature in the bottle is 5 - 6 degrees.

This is also after the addition of a computer fan underneath the condensor, blowing air upwards.

I don't consider this temperature to be safe - the fridge should pull the temperature of food down below 4 degrees to make it safe from bacterial replication?

Do you think my fridge is a dud? It is similar to the Repco Fridges, but marketed by Gasmate. Does anyone have any specific experience with this brand? Should I take it back and get a Chescold Finch Fridge or even the Freezer model?

In anticipitation of those who will suggest a compressor fridge, my style of camping does not lend itself to a compressor fridge - I specifically want a 3 way fridge for prolonged stays in one place - and I can't justify the money for solar.

Thanks in advance,

David T
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Reply By: Member - Crazie (VIC) - Wednesday, Feb 23, 2005 at 23:58

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2005 at 23:58
Hi David
I have an old chescold, on gas and 240v, it will freeze everything unless it is turned down to the lower end of the thermosat. On 12v it will maintain temperature if chilled down first.

cheers

Crazie
AnswerID: 99837

Reply By: Woobla (WA) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 01:43

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 01:43
Hi David,
I have a Chescold RC1180 connected it to 240v and for interest sake put a recording thermometer connected to its probe in a 4 litre tub of water and recorded the drop in temp over a few days.
It was inside the house which varies in temp at this time of year from 20-25 deg.
The water temp was 19 deg when put in and it took 7 hours to get to 0 deg. It took 11 hrs all up to get to -5 and 24.5 hrs to get to -15 then I turned the water container on its side, fitted the freezer separator and put in some hot cans..as you do.
They took the temp up to 15 deg in the fridge section and then it took a further 7 hrs to get them cold enough to drink 0 deg.
I tell you this to give you an idea of what mine does on 240v. I have had it at Exmouth in May on gas and have no complaints...never drank hot beer, however not over fussed about it on 12v but for my purposes,it will do.
Jeff
AnswerID: 99849

Follow Up By: Member - Smocky (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 13:25

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 13:25
The RC1180 is a substantially different model to the Finch or Repco or Gasmate. The RC1180 is a FREEZER style and the others are only fridges.

I measured my Repco fridge at the bottom on GAS and in the morning it read -1.6. That was good enough for me, didn't bother with any more testing.

Will do another test for you with the container of water thing and let you know.

I haven't tried THIS one on 240 as I am far more interested in gas performance. Like you, I stay in one spot and can't afford to solve the power problems of a compressor fridge.

Stick with it mate and we'll see if we can sort it out. Incidentally, how much did you pay for the Gasmate?

Cheers,

Jason.
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FollowupID: 358158

Follow Up By: David T - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:04

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:04
Woobla,

What was the ambient temperature during your tests. I just had a look at the Chescold F400 at another camping store and was told that it would only cool 25 degrees below ambient temperature - even though it is advertised as a freezer model? They said it would only freeze if the ambient temperature was below 25 degrees.

I just took the Gasmate fridge back ($499 btw Jason) and got my money back - was not happy with its performance. I would not feel comfortable with something that won't cool down to below 4 degrees at an ambient temperature of 30 degrees.

Thanks
David T
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FollowupID: 358186

Follow Up By: Bilbo - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 23:00

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 23:00
Quote - "I would not feel comfortable with something that won't cool down to below 4 degrees at an ambient temperature of 30 degrees."

For reasons spelt out in my post below, that's about as good as you'll get with a 3 way fridge. If the ambient temp is greather than 28c then it will not get down to 0c. If ya wany any more refrigeration you'll have to get a compressor fridge such as an Engle, Autofridge etc.

Bilbo

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FollowupID: 358232

Follow Up By: Member - Smocky (NSW) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 23:12

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 23:12
Hi Bilbo, that's not my experience. Plus the fridge has reasonable insulation. I would expect that any product marketed as a "fridge" will coll to below 4C.

It's not going to only get to 25 below the MAX temp for the day. Even if you are right about the 25, it's going to get 25C below the AVG for the day.

I've put mine on gas at 11:00pm in Sydney and it's 26C at the moment. Inside and out. I've put a container of tap water in the bottom and will check it in the morning. I have no fans installed. Anything else, please ask.

Jason.
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FollowupID: 358238

Reply By: Bilbo - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 02:24

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 02:24
Whilst I'm not exactly sure of the chemistry involved, 3 way fridges work on the principle of the gasification (vapourisation) and condensing of an ammonia compound within the fridge cooling circuit. This chemical/physical change can only reduce the temperature in the fridge to about 28c less than the ambient temperature at the time.

So, if it's say, 30C where the fridge is situated, the temperature in the fridge cooling circuit can't go below 2C. etc,etc. It the ambient temp is 20C then it can go as low as -8C.

Bilbo
AnswerID: 99850

Reply By: Mike Harding - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 06:27

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 06:27
First question: is your thermometer/thermocouple accurate? Check it against something else or make an ice slurry, allow it to sit for 30 mins. and that should give you a pretty accurate 0C.

Ensure you have the fridge half or more full when measuring temp, an empty fridge may oscillate easily in temp.

Keep the probe immersed in water in the fridge thus ensuring good thermal contact.

Ensure the lid of the fridge is properly closed and sealing - not as obvious as it may seem.

Ensure the fridge is _LEVEL_

If I put (say) 4 x 2lt milk bottles filled with tap water into my Finch 3 way I would expect it to take somewhere between 12 and 24 hours for the fridge to pull back to 2 or 3 degs. in a ~25 deg ambient.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 99857

Follow Up By: David T - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:05

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:05
This think wouldn't even cool one 2 litre bottle of water below 7 or 8 degrees in close to 24 hours. I've taken it back and was given a refund without too much fuss.

Thanks
David T
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FollowupID: 358187

Reply By: Nudenut - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 08:32

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 08:32
absorption fridges do not have the ability to pull very low temps...
however, they are fairley good at what they do.....

These units require heat as the source of generation to make them work.
12v operation as its the car battery would I suspect have a limited size heater to help conserve supply and hence would not provide an abundant supply of heat...

gas on the other and I suspect 240v should be able to get the temp lower due to unlimited supply of heat/power...

they do work harder with more applied heat

also there will be a temperature differnce between product and cabinet air temp...this happens in all fridges....its just that the temps would be different. 5-6 degrees is adequate for short term refrigeration....most domestic fridges do not operate at below 5 ....

short term refrigeration is; fresh produce 1 week...cooked produce up to 4 days. You could keep it longer by lowering temp setting but you will find that the even in the domestic fridge you run the risk of freezing other goods ..and this then can reduce product life...
meat is especially hard to keep in a fridge so its best to freeze or cryovac if you want to ensure its good for a week or longer.

Main reason why product can not be kept for very long periods in fridge is the compromise manufcaturers have to contend with to average out the different temperature/humidity requirements inside the fridge for the varied product placed in the fridge...ie meats generally require colder temps than vegies at different humidty levels..while that stuff commonly refered to as Nectar of the Gods doesnt care about humidity just 2C.

AnswerID: 99869

Reply By: Member - David 0- Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 09:24

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 09:24
on 12V the trick is to have it cold first.
I leave my Chescold on 240 all the time. I have a couple of milk bottles full of ice in there, and they stay in there as a sort of "ballast." I run the fridge on 12V all day and put it on gas at night and have no problems. If I try to do what you are doing I get the same results. My advice. Freeze some milk bottles (plastic) in your home frezer. Put them in the fridge. Run the fridge on 240V for a few days. Repeat your experiment.
AnswerID: 99880

Follow Up By: David T - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 00:29

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 00:29
Which Chescold do you have (Blue, Green or Finch)?

Will it keep the ice frozen, and if so, at what ambient temperatures?

ta
David T
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FollowupID: 358260

Reply By: Member - Banjo (SA) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 12:52

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 12:52
To reinforce others....I have to turn my thermostat way down on the Chestcold 3 way on cool nights or it will freeze eveything. As for readings....I use a small digi thermometer on a 5 m cable - output is on the console - thermocouple end is on the underside of the fridge's lid. ! My rationale is that in a tightly packed 3 way, you can have warm tucker at the top while the gear at the bottom is quite cold - not a true reading of the worst case scenario - better to have a satisfactory reading at the top, knowing the food down lower is colder. Works for me.
AnswerID: 99911

Reply By: Nebster - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 13:11

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 13:11
Hi

Whilst I don't have a 3 way fridge, I did have a little bit of a problem with our engel pulling down quick enough with a 2 zone on it.

We discovered that the lid wasn't sealing properly so it couldnt stack the cold efficiently.

Easly way to check it the lid is sealing properly is to put a dolphin torch or similar turned on inside the fridge facing upwards, close the lid and check for signs of light around the seal.

It might not be your problem, but it may be worth checking.

Cheers
AnswerID: 99915

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:36

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 19:36
>Easly way to check it the lid is sealing properly is to put a
>dolphin torch or similar turned on inside the fridge facing
>upwards, close the lid and check for signs of light around
>the seal.

What a bloody good idea! Why ever didn't I think of that?! That's a rhetorical question thanks people :)

Thank you Nebster - I shall do exactly that with my Finch which I suspect may have a lid problem.

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 358193

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 13:21

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 13:21
My waeco cooler is set to cycle at 4.5 degrees at the top. That's about 2.5 at the bottom. But when using the cooler (opening closeing etc etc) it'll go right up to 9c at the top on a hot day. The food itself stays pretty cold though, it's the air temp that's fluctuating like crap not the food.

I also use some of those blue freezer packs (the soft ones). Get the thick ones they work brilliantly. I make sure that they are packed around the meat to help keep the temp more constant around there. They will last a week in the bottom of the fridge as they don't get a chance to defrost and they just help stabalise the temps, takes up the slack when the fridge can't cope from being opened all the time.

My drinks are always cold, even when the temp guage is right up there.
AnswerID: 99921

Reply By: Woobla (WA) - Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 22:56

Thursday, Feb 24, 2005 at 22:56
Hi David T,
The ambient temp in my house is around 24-25 deg. (Still on 240v)
I just dropped the thermocouple back into the freezer section where the ice is and the temp is -14 deg...the beer, sadly has gone.
I wouldnt expect this temp up North but It would still keep the stuff frozen if covered as suggested in a previous reply.
I am sorry Iam unaware of the fridge you are talking about and can only let you know what mine is doing.
Good luck.
AnswerID: 100018

Follow Up By: David T - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 00:48

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 00:48
By my maths, that means the freezer compartment is 40 degrees below ambient????

Sure is better than the 28 degrees suggested by a previous post?

Thanks
David T
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FollowupID: 358263

Follow Up By: Member - Smocky (NSW) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 13:31

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 13:31
Hi David,

The Chescold RC1180 is a freezer with I suppose a bigger heater and probably more fins as well we better insulation that the Finch. It's a 40LT and costs around $1,000. We looked very seriously at that before getting the Repco fridge for $399.

I couldn't find my thermomont.... temp guage so will test it tonight (provided I find it.)

The water was cold this morning though and mine will make ice cubes if you put the little silver tray on the cooling thing (technical name).

The cheaper ones like the Repco, Finch are only fridges. If you really have to rely on it and want a 3-way, suggest you look at the RC1180 that Woobla has (green) or the larger blue one which is around $1,250 - $1,300.

Jason.
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FollowupID: 358326

Follow Up By: Member - Smocky (NSW) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 13:35

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 13:35
Woops, correction.

The RC1180 is the BLUE fridge/freezer one. $1,237.50
The F400 is the freezer only model (with thermostat). $944.10

Cheers.
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FollowupID: 358327

Reply By: Woobla (WA) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 01:05

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 01:05
Hi david T,
You are right, there is a 40ish deg difference in the temp, however, I just checked out the current price of these suckers, (I bought the blue one a couple of years ago for around $1100) and they are now around the $1200 mark. I think you suggested that your style of camping doesnt lend itself to the compressor type of fridge, however, you can get a stainless engel at around the $900 mark( on special I think) or an evakool 50 litre for around $1200 you may give a bit more thought to a change. I have the rc1180, which is a 50 litre job but will also get (if Iam allowed by SWMBO and can afford it) the Evakool. If you must use gas...get the RC1180 you wont be dissappointed.
Jeff
AnswerID: 100042

Follow Up By: David T - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 01:15

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 01:15
Thanks for the prompt reply.

I've decided to put the purchase of this item on hold for the moment and when we next go camping, I'll hire one - try it out for a week, run a few experiments at home and make my decision based on that. I realise many people have had success with these fridges, but if the salesman tells you it will only cool 25 degrees below ambient and you buy it and find out he is correct, it makes it a bit hard to take it back and ask for a refund because it won't do the job you hoped it will...

Thanks
David T
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FollowupID: 358265

Reply By: Woobla (WA) - Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 01:25

Friday, Feb 25, 2005 at 01:25
Sound decision David.
Let us know the results of your experience, I will be interested to hear how you go.
Good night.
Jeff
AnswerID: 100045

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