Fridge running time

Submitted: Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 11:11
ThreadID: 3027 Views:2046 Replies:2 FollowUps:5
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Hi all, How long will a caravan fridge -Electrolux- run on a standard Courier battery when car stopped for shopping? Thanking you.
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Reply By: Greg - Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 11:16

Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 11:16
Not very long. You need a very large second battery and good connections with heavy cable. These fridges are useless in very hot weather. They need to be kept well ventilated possibly with an auxilliary fan for maximum efficiency in hot weather.
AnswerID: 11563

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 12:15

Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 12:15
Absorption fridges like your Electrolux take 10 amps continuously on 12vDC as they are not part of the thermostat circuit. 1.5 to 2.5 hours would be the safety maximum if the battery is in good condition.

You can either put in a relay so the fridge is disconnected automatically once the engine is switched off, or you could for safety install a low voltage cut-out. This will automatically disconnect the fridge from the battery before the battery gets to flat to start your vehicle.

I do not agree with Greg that these fridges are useless in hot weather.

If Electrolux fridges are installed to the instructions in the Electrolux manual that is included with the fridge, and the fridge is kept level they perform very well in hot conditions. I lived on Electrolux absorption refrigeration for 9 years and never had a problem. Those I did see with problems was because of poor installation and inadequate ventilation. Once they fixed the issues of poor installation and ventilation they had no further problems.

If you go and download the manuals for Electrolux fridges here:
you will be able to see if your fridge is correctly installed.
If you have a look I think in all the manuals, you will see the top vent is above the top of the fridge to ensure correct and proper flow of air.. To date, I have seen a low percentage of absorption caravan fridges that have been installed according to the instructions.

Another problem is few ever do any maintenance on their absorption fridges like removing the dust and cobwebs from their systems. The dust build up on some fridges I have seen has been horrendous and of course acts as an insulator and then the fridge does not work correctly. This is not the fault of the fridge.

Some caravan manufacturers even pop rivet the access covers to the fridges on. Makes it a little difficult for owners to do annual or necessary maintenance.
FollowupID: 6493

Follow Up By: Greg - Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 15:04

Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 15:04
I agree with Oziexplorer but I have never seen one of these work well in 40 deg C temps. Sure you can survive but a compressor fridge is better providing you have power available. I have a small fridge of both types and find this system works well. The big advantage of absorption fridges is the ability to run them on gas but a good solar panel works well.
FollowupID: 6509

Follow Up By: Mick - Thursday, Jan 23, 2003 at 09:38

Thursday, Jan 23, 2003 at 09:38
For what it's worth, I left my caravan parked with the fridge running on gas all day on a 35 degree day. Stayed very cold. More recently I left my Finch in a tent on 240v on 30 degree days (MUCH hotter in the tent) - cold beer and milk both times. I also had the Finch in my 4wd in Queensland this time last year running on 12v in very hot and humid conditions and it performed beautifully. It's 25 years old and has been on so many rough and demanding situations!! I know of people who've had 3 compressors in 10 years. Who needs that sort of hassle? I've also heard of people rigging up solar battery chargers or even carrying generators to run their fridge if they want to stop more then one night in the one spot ..... I carry a gas bottle (and it boils my kettle and cooks my dinner as a bonus!) It's amazing how easily people are influenced by marketing techniques isn't it Greg?
FollowupID: 6660

Follow Up By: Greg - Monday, Jan 27, 2003 at 11:37

Monday, Jan 27, 2003 at 11:37
Mick I guess we could carry on this argument for ever without resolution. It is a bit like which is the best tyre or 4wd. My only comment is that I live in Qld and also lived for 8 years in the Kimberley and have never over 30 years (I bought my first Finch in 1972 and Engel in 1974) seen one of the absorption fridges work well in 40 deg heat ie internal temp below 5 deg C. I think both types have there advantages and like anything else in the camping world there is rarely the perfect item for a task, everything is a compromise. As mentioned above I use both units on any trip and find this covers all options. My experience with the absorption fridges says that the most important things to keep in mind is keep them level, in an cool breezy situation and use heavy joint free wiring direct from the battery to the fridge.
FollowupID: 6804

Reply By: Phil G - Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 22:08

Monday, Jan 20, 2003 at 22:08

Ozi mentioned using a low voltage cutout. Problem is that the amp draw of your fridge is too much for the commonly available low voltage cutouts. You'll burn out their relay contacts or possibly their FETs if they are the more modern type.

AnswerID: 11600

Follow Up By: Greg - Monday, Jan 27, 2003 at 11:45

Monday, Jan 27, 2003 at 11:45
Phil I have used a cutout and found it cut in and out once around the cutout voltage. This caused my Engel compressor to fail. I use both fridges together. I now have a Waeco which has its own cut out and make sure I only use the Finch with the car running or for a short time on the battery. It is a small finch and only _Affordable_Storage_Drawers.aspx 6amps cf the 8-10 amps for the larger units. The Engel lasted me 26 years - not bad considering it did a lot of rough work in exteme conditions. The first Finch burnt out after about 20 years. My latest Finch is still going well after 10+ years.
FollowupID: 6806

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