Waeco Fridge opinion

Submitted: Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 15:58
ThreadID: 29747 Views:4960 Replies:10 FollowUps:3
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Ive had so much information and advice from various forums, including this one, I thought Id offer my opinion on Waeco fridges as an experienced user having owned a CF-50 for around 4 years in case its of use to the people like myself how browse the forum looking for opinions ......

Here are the good things Ive found :

The CF50 was excellent value for money comparing ONLY the capacity (50L) and price versus the equivalent Engel at the time.

The interior light and reversible lid are good design features.

The fridge will cool or genuinely freeze stuff solid.

It has endured a desert trip, use in a 4wd when off road and use on a boat.

Its purely subjective, but I run a 40L Engle upright and the 50L Waeco side by side on my boat. There is no doubt whatsoever that the Waeco is running far far less than the Engel, so much so that if I run just the Engel it will run for around 2 days. The Waeco will run for a minimum of 3, and usually 4 off the same fully charged batteries. As I say, totally subjective opinion, and results will depend upon what's in the fridge, its temperature setting, ambient temperature and so on. However its a 100% consistent observation (ie the Engel never ever cycles less than or even the same as the Waeco). But when you can hear both fridges duty cycling on and off overnight while trying to sleep you soon realise one is running far more efficiently.

Here are the bad things Ive found :

There was (and may still be, but you'd hope not) a design fault where the thermistor falls off the interior casing causing the contents to be frozen regardless of the setting. Mine was fixed under warranty, but at expense getting it to and from the service agent.

The low voltage cutout is a good theoretical idea. However, should your wiring or connectors be anything less than perfect (bad/loose connection etc) the fridge will cut out with no audiable alarm and with plenty of power left in the battery. You may say, well make sure your connections and wiring are all good, but sadly Waeco's own power connector on the base of the fridge becomes faulty over time and causes the above problem. The result is warm fridge contents and a battery with plenty of jiuce in it. Now mines out of warranty Ive bypassed it completely. I should point out that this will only become a problem if you're running you batteries fairly low, for me typically after being static for 2 days or more. But my experience is I would have been better off without the low voltage cutout for the trouble its caused me.

The lids did (and may still, but you'd hope not) warp causing a bad seal, and the interior light not to go out, vastly increasing your battery drain and warming the contents to boot. These are $100 new, although catch it within warrenty and you'll be fine. Mine was actually out of warranty and Waeco still replaced it. Makes you wonder if they should perhaps have had a recall. I certainly think so.

The temperature control buttons are digital, and some people (like myself) find the setting you'd really like is somewhere between two of the settings. But its a minor point.

The temperature control buttons have no lockout or cover. So if, like me, you keep it on the back seat and small children or rummaging adults share your car, sooner or later your beer will be a lot colder than you bargained for ! Again a minor point.

I still believe the fridge to be a good buy when considering value for money. But you do have to consider that you get what you pay for.

I hope this is of help to at one person trying to decide what to buy ! .....

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Reply By: gramps - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:13

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:13
Thanks Terry. I have'nt had any of those problems with my 40l Waeco but forewarned is forearmed.
AnswerID: 148938

Reply By: Member - Kingsley N (SA) - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:21

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:21
I have had a CF50 for about three years. It was on sale at Ray's for a substantial discount and included a 240v power adapter and an additional console cooler that holds about 6 cans and a couple of sandwiches. I have been very pleased with the units and used them extensively without a single problem. The lid did not warp and no electrical component has failed. I always put a piece of high density foam underneath the fridge when mounting it on the slide. Maybe this has protected it from the corrugations (Or maybe it was the superior OME suspension?)

I agree that the controls are very easy to accidently change when your hand is resting on the front edge. We have accidently swiched it off once or twice.

The new WAECO models look good (see my previous post about the 2006 catalogue). The equivalent models now incorporate a 240V plug (like the ENGEL).

I haven't noticed any substantial discounts on the new models as yet.

AnswerID: 148940

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:44

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 16:44
Thanks Terry, I also own 2 of these and agree with your findings. Also watch the bride, caught mine trying to increase the number of lights because it wasn't cooling. The unit was on 3 and the problem was that she wasn't closing the lid properly - no doubt would have worked this out after she had frozen everything.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 148945

Reply By: dags666 - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 17:10

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 17:10
Thanks terry ive had 110 litre waeco for 3 years now and it has been good the other half accidentally turned it off once putting a cover on it .makes me laugh when I watch Glen Ridge on the boating show standing or sitting on the lid. waeco must replace some lids; I don’t let anybody sit on mine I 'll keep in mind about the connection thanks. dags
AnswerID: 148956

Reply By: scottcamp - Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 19:49

Monday, Jan 16, 2006 at 19:49
I can only add to the praise, own a CF-50 and a CF-18. Both are fantastic and my only minor complaint is the children find the LED lights too much a temptation and they push the buttons. I have found out if you position the cover correctly you can cover the LED and they leave them alone. Both fridges have performed perfectly and the CF-18 gets some rough use.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 148993

Reply By: Muzzgit (WA) - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 00:36

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 00:36
Same here. Part of the reasoning for getting the waeco were --interior light & reversible lid & butter compartment & slightly larger (50l).

I used to hire engels whenever going away where I couldn't get ice, so I was fairly familiar with them, and I had no hesitation getting a waeco when the time came to get my own fridge.
AnswerID: 149061

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 00:49

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 00:49

You have given a good subjective viewpoint of your experience and no one can deny your observations are valid.

One little point that isn't evident though is how old is the Engel in your comparison?

Older model Engels did use a considerable amount of "juice" to run.

The more recent models however draw much less current. About 2.7 amps maximum and of course they don't run all the time.

So just be sure you are comparing "apples with apples".

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 149064

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 11:37

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 11:37
I'd be interested in reply to this one too.

As I have a Waeco thermo cooler, its ok, but has its limitations, for serious cooling in excessive heat you need refridgerant gas which means a compressor fridge, and I'm looking to move up to one now.

I like the Engel especially for its 'new' (dont know how new this means) one moving part motor, but note it only has a 3yr warranty.

Waeco gives 3yr plus 5yr on compressor, so they must rate them pretty good.

I'm a bit undecided at present so very interested in opinions on here.

I'm also torn between a chest or go combi. I reckon the chest so use as fridge on day trips, but freezer on long trips when caravan fridge will do for drinks etc.

looking at 60ltr for 2 adults, 2 children, I currently have a 32, and its a bit small.

Would be interested in any other opinions here too,


FollowupID: 402273

Follow Up By: Fat Terry - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 13:35

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 13:35
You know you wouldnt believe the number of times I reread my post to make sure Id included everything, and sure enough I ment toinclude that detail but forgot !!

The Engel was purchased in March 2005, so its a lot newer than the Waeco.

I did consider that the Engel is an upright model, and I feel that every time you open the door the cold air "drops" out far more than on a chest type arrangement. Of course this is less of a factor if the fridge is full (usually the case), but relevant all the same. So my very subjective comments on the observed running time apply strictly to when both units are not opened - specifically at night when I can hear them both quite clearly (I dont sleep well !).

So it might be fair to observe that the Engle would take more juice on account of the upright opening factor and having to work harder to recool the contents, since the fridges both get opened during the day. This would persuade me to get a chest type unit every time.

Anyway the efficiency wasnt the main intent of the post, its far too subjective for that Id expect to get murdered if it was (and Id want to do some real measurements first ... and maybe I will since I have both fridges !) ...

I have also observed the same with the turbo, your power supply and wiring needs to be in A1 condition. I have a long run of heavy guage wire on my setup for in the house, and it wont run turbo unless I up the power supply voltage to 14.5V to overcome the increased voltage drop in the cable.
FollowupID: 402287

Reply By: hl - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 07:19

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 07:19
I have the CF40AC and it does have an issue which I suspect quite a few units will have. When you press the turbo switch to cool things down quickly and the unit is running on 12V, it will cut out with a low battery warning.
I have done some research as I knew that my battery and cabling are fine. I connected the fridge to a 25amp 13.8V supply, and it still cuts out.
The problem I found is actually a solid state circuit protector inside the AC power supply. That device is rated at 5 amps but the fridge can draw closer to 6 amps in turbo mode, which will eventually (within a few minutes) heat the device to the point where it's resistance increases enough to cause a voltage drop. That will trigger the low battery protection. Note that the device will actually not trip itself as the low battery cutout in the compressor electronics shuts off just before the device will trip.
It will never happen when the fridge is running on AC, as the AC power supply runs the compressor at 24Volts, thereby halving the current and the device stays well within it's rating.
My fridge would actually also cut out occasionally in normal mode due to this in very hot weather.
The problem is this, if you load up the fridge, press the turbo button and drive off, thinking it will all cool down quickly, it may not! The fridge will never get out of turbo mode and therefore trip every couple of minutes, i.e. it will run for about 1 minute, then stay off until it resets, which takes a minute or so. This cycling results in it never reaching the desired temperature.
The fix is not to run it in turbo mode, or, if you have to, run it on AC (even through an inverter in the car is fine).
The other fix is to return it to WAECO. However, at this time of year their "Best Mate" warranty which promises a 1 day turnaround or a loan unit, does not work.
I am quite sure that most people who have noticed the problem have been told "it's you battery connection, mate" and have probably accepted that explanation.
AnswerID: 149081

Reply By: Treading Lightly - Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 08:44

Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006 at 08:44
My wife surprised me this Christmas and bought me (Santa left it under the tree) a Waeco 60 Ltr (same footprint as 40 Ltr) and although it has not been used yet on a extended trip we have used it on short day and O'nite trips.

For day trips it does not get filled up but so far we are happy with performance. This model now has the AC built in and also incorparates a new digital display for temp showing both the set temp and reverting to the current internal temp.

I am still comming to grips with the correct temp setting. At the moment we set it at minus 5.


AnswerID: 149094

Follow Up By: Mainey (WA) - Thursday, Jan 19, 2006 at 01:12

Thursday, Jan 19, 2006 at 01:12
If, and I say if because I've not tested the temperature sender in a Waeco fridge, if the temperature 'gauge' is accurately reading the fridge cabinet area and you set the fridge temp, as you say to minus 5, then everything in the fridge should be frozen...

If it's not frozen then there is a fault .... somewhere ?
FollowupID: 402787

Reply By: wendsvet - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 15:49

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 15:49
We are having all the same troubles you have listed with our Waeco CF50. We want to bypass the low voltage cutout too but dont know how. Can you please help us. I'm sick of warm beer!!!
AnswerID: 151097

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