Strewth Bruce! Bloody fridges: again!!!

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:18
ThreadID: 30140 Views:2755 Replies:12 FollowUps:23
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In the light of recent events I'm almost afraid to post this – nah… not really :)

I have owned a Finch three way fridge for a few years and have been very happy with it's performance (in Victoria – keep in mind it's currently 41C here!) but I really would like a fridge/freezer in order that when I'm away for more than a few days I can take, and maintain, frozen stuff.

I'm reluctant to go the compressor route because there are a whole heap of issues regarding powering the things when in one place for more than a couple of days – which I shall be, a few weeks in the same spot, even.

Opinions please on the Chescold three way and it's abilities as a freezer for a prolonged period – how have you found it in the warmer climes when the temp is 30+ for a couple of weeks or more? Have you fitted a fan or two and found that improved performance to the point that it was comparable, on the freezing steaks (is that a pun :) to a compressor unit?

How about vacuum packing meat and keeping it in either a fridge or a freezer? How has that worked for you, long term? It's not been great in my experience.

-----------------------

With all this crap we worry about these days it makes you wonder how the old timers every survived doesn’t it? :)

Mike Harding

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Reply By: Darian (SA) - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:33

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:33
Yes Mike - we've come a long way from Tom Kruze throwing a wet chaffbag over a fruitbox containing a few tins of beef and peaches !
I recently sold my Chescold 3 way FF and went compressor - I'm getting into top end travel this year (fingers crossed). Had the 3 way for years (with a 12 V fan in the back) and we only ever asked it to chill - we would be taking food and drinks out continually. Had to turn it down at night in mild weather to prevent freezing. On the other hand, even with good management, it would maintain a chill only going flat out in mid 30's ambient. Best we did was 6 days at 38 plus in Innamincka one April - chilling was fine, but thermo was always flat out. Can't see freezing being a reliable idea, in anything above cool conditions.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 18:44

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 18:44
Thank for the reply Darian

So would it be fair to summarise your response by saying you don't think the Chescold fridge/freezer would work as a freezer for a prolonged period if the daytime temp was regularly over 30(or so)C? Keep in mind I'm only interested in it's performance on gas.

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Darian (SA) - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 20:07

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 20:07
Yep - even on gas, I would not have trusted mine as a freezer in the 30's, even while fussing over it. There are other 3 way using forumites, but from memory I think they mostly set lower expectations than I suggest - "no use in the top half of Oz, etc" - only half true probably, but maybe they're not fridge zealots like us ? A 3 way in Hobart ? Now there is a freezer !
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Reply By: Notso - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:42

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:42
Once you get up North the 3 ways are pretty well useles for anything other than keeping stuff cool.

They are hungry on batteries on 12 volt, and borderline on cooling on 240 volt. They are more efficient on gas but you can't use that travelling around.

Much better to get 12 volt compressor type, one of the better brands,

Using the camper trailer I have an evakool 50 litre that I use for freezer only and it will freeze down to -12 or 13 in the hottest weather. I have an extreme esky and 6 large freezer blocks and I rotate 3 into the esky every 36 hours and freeze the other three. Works fine.
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Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:59

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 16:59
Mike,

The only down side with a 3 way is that the size if the fridge bit, where the food/beer goes is small compared to the overall size of the fridge.

Cryovac meat is the way to go. The fridge has only to be set at beer temperature and the fridge does not run all the time if it was set as a freezer. I have had cyrovac meat in the fridge while I have been on the track for 6 weeks. It does not have to be frozen to keep.

I have had people away with me who thought that they would run the fridge as a freezer and use freezer bricks to keep the esky cool. Didn't really work as the fridge was running all the time.

BTW,and this is a whole new subject, but stay away from meat that has a bone, Rump is the cut I go for.

Wayne
AnswerID: 151111

Follow Up By: Shaker - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:11

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:11
Yep, we were eating cryovacced red meat after 6 weeks, got to be careful with chicken, maybe 10 days. We bought our own machine & vacuum pack it for every trip, keeps the fridge clean & saves heaps of space taken up by unnecessary packaging.
We took the 40l Engel & a 47l EvaKool icebox thru the Outback, & then the Simpson the next year & never had any refrigeration problems.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:15

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:15
The Evakool seemed to handle it OK.

Travelled all over NT WA up North. Food frozen solid -12 -13 on the thermomoter?
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:16

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:16
you mean lamb loin chops cant be vacuum packed?...geezus I gunna die if we dont have a barby
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:37

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:37
I'm with you there Nudie!,

Best meat there it and it comes with a handle too.
Bill


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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff M (Newcastle) - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 20:36

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 20:36
Tell you what Sand Man and Nudie,
You can have all my share of SL Lamb Chops!
My old man was a butcher, had his own shops. When I was a kid the only thing he brought home where Cutlets and SL Lamb Chops.
Can't stand the bloody little grease balls to this day!

Geoff.
Geoff,
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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Widgiemooltha) - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 02:16

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 02:16
Stuff the lamb 16 -17 bucks a kilo - As iff the day i see a lamb chop worth that................ We used to sell the loin chops for 6 bucks a kilo in my day as a butcher at the Central markets - and it wasnt That long ago
Any way yea stuff with a bone doesnt last as long as it gets tainted arounfd the bone area. something to do with the gas and air retained in the bone allowing bacteria to breed
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 07:53

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 07:53
geoff M...sorry to hear it .....

Sand Man...we can still have lamb loin in vacuum packaging...
take a whole rack and cut the bone out...."fillet of lamb"?

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Follow Up By: JJ - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 17:29

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 17:29
... and there's lamb steaks.; just pop the little round bone out before packing.

... lamb cutlets $32–$34 kg on Fraser Coast and enuf meat th feed a sparrow!
Often wonder if anyont ever buys them!
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 17:31

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 17:31
best part of the lamb JJ
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:14

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:14
You can cryovac meat with the bone in, you just need to pad it with special foam, e do.
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Follow Up By: JJ - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:40

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:40
Yes Shaker, of course you can cryovac meat with bone, but it doesn't keep as long as boneless meat. Was just a suggestion for lamb-chop-olics! My fav too, but boneless chops? Nah, takes the pleasure out of campfire feed!

(hope I'm in the right followup)
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:55

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:55
what would be wrong with it boneless...ok, it wouldnt be chops but Tbone steak without the bone is fillet steak?..
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:58

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:58
or is that sirlion...?
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Follow Up By: Jimbo - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 19:56

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 19:56
Both Nudie,

One side of the bone is Eye Fillet, the other is Sirloin or Porterhouse depending on where you live.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 20:37

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 20:37
Its not the bone that make sit go off sooner, its the bone dust on the meat from the bandsaw.
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 21:11

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 21:11
Jimbo....its not the first time i've been right on both occasions
but then again its not ofetn i'm wrong hehehehe
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 21:19

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 21:19
Member No 1

Do you know that your follow up was # 405000

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 21:56

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 21:56
what did i win
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Follow Up By: Wayne (NSW) - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 22:00

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 22:00
You will now be know as Member No 405000.

Very nice title.

Wayne
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Follow Up By: Member No 1- Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 22:05

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 22:05
i'll stick with No 1 thanks....half the ...no make that most of the forumites on here cant count past 2...so i dont want to make it too difficult for them Wayne
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Reply By: Member - Andy Q (VIC) - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:58

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 17:58
G'day Mike, Yeah! I've had three way and compressor type. Still have the compressor type, new ARB(well nearly new), anyway had this fridge for 3years and never missed a beat in all the trips we have done. Admittedly I have a dual battery system, now!.
Years ago I borrowed an ARB fridge ran it continously for 3 weeks of one battery, freezing, refridgerating and cooling.There was heat, cold, and everything inbetween, just remember to turn it down at night.
Yes I'm in Vic and I run the fridge 24/7.
PS it's 42 on our verandah as of 5pm
andy
AnswerID: 151120

Reply By: Mike Harding - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 18:49

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 18:49
Thanks for the responses people - I should have made it more clear that I am only interested in the Chescold performance when it's on gas, ie. will it maintain freezer temperatures (-10C to -20C) when the daytime temps are 30C+. I understand these fridges are not good on 12V and I won't have the luxury of 240V generally :)

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 151132

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:15

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:15
Hi Mike,

I have just sold my 4 year old Chescold to by an Evakool only for one reason. I have a trailer sailer and the Chescold could not run for 8 or 10 hours of sailing at an angle, that was the only down side that it had to be level.
I have been away with this fridge a dozen times ayear to Fraser Island, Lawn Hill National Park, Gulf Country, Cooktown etc and it never missed a beat.
On 12 volts I could get it to stay frozen with an ambient temperature of anything up to 30c.
On gas is where they are most efficient. They love it. I would set up for 2 weeks and a 4kg gas bottle would last for about 5 days. I only used it as a freezer and even at Cooktown in March it was frozen the whole time.
I think you would be happy with it's performance. Be careful of seconhand though. You just never know if they have been run out of level. If they have it is a mighty expensive esky.

Cheers,
Brett
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Reply By: slow mower - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:09

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:09
Have owned and used a Chescold 3 way for more than 15 years. Spent more than a week on a houseboat on the Murray. Day time temps regularly in excess of 40's. Fridge lived on the front deck, on gas running as a freezer. Didn't miss a beat. VERY impressed with it. This would have been the toughest test I've put it to whilst running it on gas.
AnswerID: 151134

Reply By: Member - David 0- Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:40

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 19:40
I have a 60 L Chescold 3 way. I have utilised it for 5 week trips, as a feezer. Running on gas at night and 12 V during the day, I was able to keep it at -10 deg C for the entire 5 weeks.

Running rules

1. 12v computer fan to circulate air around element
2. All items frozen when they went in
3. Opened once or twice per day
4. Kept out of the sun (windows covered).
5. Kept as close to full as possible at all times

Was even able to freeze 2 x milk bottles filled with water for use in esky every 3 or 4 days.
AnswerID: 151140

Reply By: 100TD - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 20:59

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 20:59
i also have a chescold 3 way and find i can keep stuff frozen in temps from 25 to about 33 outside without a problem and a 4.5kg bottle will run it for 12 days(down at night up in daytime)and yes they are horrendous on 12V!
AnswerID: 151167

Reply By: andy - Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 23:06

Thursday, Jan 26, 2006 at 23:06
I agree with the last 3 posts. I have used chescolds for the last 15 years and have had a new one (40l pretty green)for the last 3. The insulation on the new one is very good and traveliing the desert regions each year it has kept meat frozen for up to 4 weeks. If you don't break camp each day the problem is not to let it get too cold and freeze everything. The key is proper management as stated above.
Andy
AnswerID: 151207

Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 14:54

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 14:54
What an interesting set of responses; I make that 5 who have had good experiences of using the Chescold as a fridge and, more particularly, a freezer (in 30C+) and 3 who have not. We generally agree they work much better on gas than 12V and also that a computer fan to draw air over the heat exchanger is worthwhile.

I wonder if the people who had poor experiences ensured they were kept level, I have found this makes a huge difference to my Finch fridge and, to that end, keep a $2 shop spirit level inside the fridge. I guess that regular opening (maybe with children and drinks etc?) would also reduce their overall performance but that won't be an issue for me.

Thanks very much for your responses people. I haven't made the final decision yet but I now have confidence that the Chescold will either do (or come damn close to) what I require.

Mike Harding

mike_harding@fastmail.fm
AnswerID: 151290

Reply By: scottp - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:15

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 18:15
Mike,

We use an old 60l chescold as a freezer on fraser island. We freeze it down on 240 before we leave and fill it with the frozen bait for the fishing. As the bait is used we re-fill the fridge with fish after we have used one of the engels to freeze the fillets.

We find that it will keep stuff frozen, but takes days freeze anything.

Note that when we use it like this we only open the chescold two times a day maby three.

Cheers

scott
AnswerID: 151328

Reply By: Jimbo - Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 20:09

Friday, Jan 27, 2006 at 20:09
Mike,

There are different ratings with Gas fridges. Some are designed for tropical climates and built to suit.

There are Gas fridges that will operate in extreme heat.

My old Chescold 3 way fridge went limp over Boxing Day/New Year in Vic in extreme heat running on gas. The Dometic Fridge in the Jayco coped well in 42C (it held 3C in the fridge and the freezer remained frozen) with the thermostat at full noise. The Waeco in the car (80 L) was as cold as a Mother-In-Law's kiss, but was cycling non stop during the day.

A good 3 way will cope with heat, check the ratings. A compressor fridge can handle almost any conditions AS LONG as you can keep the power up to it.

Mate, it's a juggling act.

Cheers,

Jim.
AnswerID: 151354

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