Chescold 3 way fridges

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 09:03
ThreadID: 3117 Views:7954 Replies:10 FollowUps:29
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I have an Engel fridge that I run off my second battery via an Engel adaptor fed by 6mm cable directly from the terminals to the rear. it works fantastic, best thing I ever bought. I also have a Chescold 3 way with a thermal cover. When working this on gas or 240 volt it is great but I dont have any such success with 12 volt. The Chescold is in my camper trailer which has an additional battery in it. It is charged by 6mm cables running via Anderson plugs from the vehicle.
Can anyone suggest ways to improve the performance of the Chescold when running on 12 volt?
Will heavier cables fromt he battery in the trailer make a difference? Are Chescolds just crappy on 12 volt and end of story?
If ayone has a Chescld that works well on 12 volt, how is it set up?
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Reply By: OziExplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 10:04

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 10:04
Drew the issue is not the 12vDC, it is the bouncing up and down of the Chescold that causes the system to flood and consequently fails to cool.
240vAC, Gas and 12vDC all have the same cooling capacity. However, the thermostat is not operational on 12vDC

There is really no way to overcome this. This is not an issue on Electrolux fridges as the absorbtion units are higher and consequently don't flood. You may find, if you place a towel/similiar over the aluminium cooling fins, it will usually stay colder than running it on the 12vDC, dependent on how much you have in the Chescold. When the fridge is flooded, you are inclined to actually loose cold out through the aluminium cooling plates.
If you have a thermometer on the Chescold, pull it down to around 2C to 3C the night before the day you travel, and everything should stay cold enough during the day while travelling with no 12vDC connected and a towel tucked over the aluminium cooling fins.
Here is a demonstration on how absorbtion works and will give you a better insight into how your Chescold floods.
It is slow so watch it:

Drew you really need to double that 6mm cable to 12mm. 6mm is just not enough to cut it with battery charging and fridge. Even to charge the battery 6mm is a tad undersize.
AnswerID: 11975

Follow Up By: Drew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 10:34

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 10:34
Thanks for the response. I will have a look at the cables that my local 4wd supplier installed to make sure they are of an appropriate size. The battery in the trailer does seem to charge OK though so I may have understated it. In relation to the fridge, the following questions arise.
If the fridge will not cool whilst in motion, is it still a reasonable device to carry when on the move constantly? I must admit that I generally have it plugged in whilst travelling and this must have the effect of heating the contents rather than cooling it.
I noticed in a seperate thread on this forum, suggestions of installing a fan from a computer over the boiler area and operating it on 12volt also and this will make a significant difference. This seems a simple enough operation, will this effect the performance whilst travelling and connected to 12volt?
FollowupID: 6862

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:02

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:02
Drew installing a fan will not do anything, as the issue is not improving ventilation it is the bouncing up and down. If you could stop the bouncing it would cool perfectly. I don't believe there is anything you could do to stop the bouncing. If your camper has shock absorbers fitted and the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, that is it.

As to carrying the fridge while constantly travelling, when you park and use it on gas or 240vAC it will work perfectly, and if you do have a thermometer installed, you can pull it down to the 2C to 3C, wrap some sort of insulation material over the aluminium fins, and it should keep cool all day. If the Chescold does not have much in it, then put a couple of litre bottles of water to give it some mass to help hold the temperature down during the day.

The reason why I no longer use Chescold is because of the problem while travelling. Now use an evaKool running from the auxiliary battery and charged with the engine while travelling, and with solar panels when parked for any period of time.
FollowupID: 6865

Follow Up By: Bruce - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:38

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:38 most humble of opologies , I certainly meant no offence .... but when you ask questions you must expect replies no matter how stupid that they may be and since posting my reply I have found out that indeed a cig lighter socket is most definately not a very good thing to run a Chescold from even though I have been doing it successfully for some years...just as well I have a big gut as I will need it to store the humble pie that I have to eat and I will also have to get my auto elec to install a proper system to run the fridge from..cheers
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Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:55

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:55
Bruce, when you learn the secret recipe to lose weight, please pass it on to me first. I am presently on the see (sea) food diet. The more food I see the more I want to eat (with the odd glass of red)

Bruce, I never take offence at anything, and always only to happy to have a discussion to make sure we arrive at the best result and advice and help others. Hopefully we all learn everyday and put that information to good use and to help others. We are all here for a short time, so at least make it a good time and do all we can to assist others.

However, there are those that are significantly more technically competent that I am like the Truckster, thepublican, Axel and Aliases that can reply in future to posts. From tomorrow I will not be replying. These technically highly competent commentators will be only to delighted to take up where I have left off.
FollowupID: 6934

Reply By: ThePublican - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:11

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:11
Type in fridges in search on this forum,no need for dates,best way to increase performance on chescold on 12 volt is air flow / computer fan extracting hot air,simple and cheap,can increase performance so an all fridge actually freezes on the move in vehicle 40c ambient temp.
AnswerID: 11980

Follow Up By: Drew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:18

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 11:18
This pretty much flies in the face of what OziExplorer said before. I also saw these threads and thats pretty much why I asked the question. So if I take it correctly you are saying if I install a cooling fan in the back of the fridge, it will work heaps better even when travelling?
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Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:03

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:03
Drew if you have your Chescold fridge in a coil sprung soft suspension vehicle, and is level, and keep on the smooth blacktop, the Chescold will work well, however, never quite as well as stationery.

In a camper trailer, with short springs, tyres they are probably fairly heavy duty with little to no shock absorbing properties, possibly your camper trailer does not have shock absorbers, your Chescold will not work well or at all depending on the raod surface. If you were say running up the Hume on the better smooth sections, then you would get some cooling. Does not matter how many fans you install. There is actually no need to improve the performance on 12vDC as the performance on gas, 240vAC and 12vDC is basically identical. With the venting your fridge would have in the campervan while travelling should be more than sufficient draft to create sufficient cooling.
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Follow Up By: Drew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:11

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:11
I have had my Chescold for some years. I have never had any luck with it on 12V. I will try the towel trick and increase the capacity of the wiring from the battery to start with. My camper is pretty well sealed so little ventilation is available to the fridge unless I plan for it. If the fridge is so bad on 12 volt (whilst travelling) it seems a pretty poor product. It is great when in camp on gas so it seems a pity.
FollowupID: 6874

Reply By: bruce - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:25

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:25
Drew..I have travelled with a Chescold freezer in the back of our wagon for some years now...I just plug it into the cig lighter socket...get it frozen first of like a charm...some may say that this is the wrong way of doing it ..but it has worked o.k. for me and my auto electrician says its am I to argue
AnswerID: 11990

Follow Up By: Drew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:39

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:39
I actually have tried this but have found that a really bad smell emanated from the back of my 100 series. it turned out to be the wiring of the rear cigarette lighter melting because the unit draws so much power. You might find the cable getting hot also. I ahve had no luck whatsoever with this unit whilst travelling.
FollowupID: 6879

Follow Up By: Bruce - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:58

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 12:58
You sure do have a problem then...a cig lighter socket is fused at 15amps...a Chescold to my knowledge draws 10 - 12.5 amps..if you have heavy enough wire you should , in theory , have no problems...have you spoken to an auto electrician about it ? They can be very helpful without charging a leg and an arm ..cheers and good luck
FollowupID: 6882

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:06

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:06
Technically a cigarette lighter should never be used over 8amps. Personally, I prefer to limit them to about 4 to 5 amps MAX.
FollowupID: 6884

Follow Up By: Bruce - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:29

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:29
AND why should they not be used over 8amps Ozi..I was under the impression that they were designed to heat an element in order to light a cigarette and that the more amperage that you had the hotter it got..if you limit it to 4 - 5 amps is it not going to take a long time to get this element red hot so that the smoker can light his fag...and why did not the makers of these things consult you in the first place for the proper way of doing it...
FollowupID: 6885

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:44

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:44
Bruce, cigarette lighters are poor power plugs and sockets, and there are some shockers out there. For continuous duty, 4 to 5amps would be the recommended maximum I would put on them. If you read books on wiring for leisure purposes, you will find the large majority if not all will tell you this, and the 8 amp limit.

Cigarette lighters are the bain of fridge manufacturers, and if they had a choice, they would not fit them and insist every vehicle be fitted with appropriate wiring and plug and socket. Probably around 70% of their support/probably warranty claims people think they have are caused by cigarette lighter adaptors and poor wiring.
FollowupID: 6886

Follow Up By: Drew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:58

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 13:58
Having had 2 cigarette lighter burnouts in my 100 series I concur. The Toyota agent even asked me if I had a fridge or something plugged into it when I went to get it fixed. I had the distinct impression that he would have charged me if I had admitted to its usage. Considering the feeble way the wires are connected to these devices I would not want to use them for anything except lighting a smoke...if I smoked.
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Follow Up By: Bruce - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 14:07

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 14:07 did not answer the question...the people that make and install these things in just about every car that is made fuse them at 15amps ..15AMPS..what you are saying is that they are idiots and dont know what they are doing...they design them to do a job and they do the job quite well apparently as many people use them without any hassles what so ever...then along comes us idiots who want to power a fridge from and they are apparently no damn good...well mine works fine and has done so for some years is in a well maintained falcon wagon..and will be continued to be used for just that you suggest changing the fuses...rubbish of course..
FollowupID: 6889

Follow Up By: Drew - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 14:14

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 14:14

Could you have a look at my original question and find something else to do please. I really am just after some advice about how to make the thing work correctly. I already know, believe and understand that the wiring to the lighter is of insufficient quality to do the job. I am after more information, not a discussion about your falcon. Sorry if this offends but you are generating additional email to me which is not warranted or wanted
FollowupID: 6890

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 14:16

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 14:16
Bruce if it works for you, then terrific. As the Falcon is an Australian made care I would imagine they would beef up the wiring knowing the propensity to run large wattage portable searchlights, fridges etc. and possibly at the same time. I can assure you this is not the case on the majority of vehicles. The last few years it has been improving with people wanting to charge laptops, run GPS gear etc. etc. But at the end of the day, a cigarette lighter adaptor is generally a poor power plug and socket and should be avoided. Sure the are a few better quality units, but the design of the positive terminal is not conducive to making a good power connection. I stick with the 8 amps and preferably 4 - 5 amps maximum continuous duty. I doubt many would dissagree with me.
FollowupID: 6891

Follow Up By: Thepublican - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:06

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:06
Drew and Bruce,just remember you CANNOT dissagree with Ozi,he knows it all, if look under early posts on fridges he could not sing the praises of the chescold loud enough, now that fishes rear end has bought an evercool [only because on special] his ego demands that the chescold is not a good idea anymore, just as his expertise in electrics says ALL vehicle manufacturers are wrong in fusing cig and power outlets at 15/20amp
FollowupID: 6915

Follow Up By: Thepublican - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:11

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:11
PS. chescold recomend ,and sell a wire pack,6/8mm to connect straight from battery,fused at 20amp.
FollowupID: 6917

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:24

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:24
Is it not interesting the drunken stupor publican can never post anything intelligent to help others, or try and carry on informed, constructive or technical comment.

publican you can, so they inform me get mental therapy/treatment at all the public out-patients Australia wide, and can admit yourself for treatment.

Do you realise what a fool others consider you?

I have always stated a Chescold is a great fridge but not while travelling.
FollowupID: 6919

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:27

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:27
The wire pack is not actually marketed by Chescold. I cannot remember the name of the company but will post it tomorrow. This supposed wirepack is one of the worst rip-off's I have ever seen in my life. It contains a few metres of wire and a fuse of dubious quality and is something like RRP $59.95. The contents and value of this wire pack would be at best, being very generous $25.00

publican, what is it like being such an uneducated loser in life?
FollowupID: 6920

Follow Up By: Mick - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:55

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:55
Drew I run a Finch from the accessories socket in the back of my Toyota. It works perfectly even if not cooled down the night before .... and as for the bouncing - completely incorrect information .... mine operated perfectly across the Simpson (try 1100 sand dunes for a bit of bouncing!!) Remember too my information is from my experience - not just a theory!
FollowupID: 6924

Follow Up By: Thepublican - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:57

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 19:57
Good to see you dribble bleep em once again Ozi , chescold wiring pack available from most camping stores for $18.95 , male and female Britax plugs included. But of course OZI is NEVER EVER WRONG.
FollowupID: 6925

Follow Up By: Oziexplorer - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:29

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:29
Mick, I never post from theory, I only ever post from experience and follow up information from the manufacturer.
A Finch is a smaller fridge than the Chescold and consequently would not draw as much current.

Mick, were you that bored you counted all 1,100 sand dunes? Is that number exact or an approximation of what you would like to think/dreamed you went over.
FollowupID: 6929

Follow Up By: Thepublican - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:57

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:57
Hands up all who AGREE that it is generally 1100 sand dunes to cross ,or are we all dreaming ,OZI is allways right remember, and just to clarify OZIS EXPERTISE, pray tell when you ozi last did the Simpson.
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Follow Up By: Ray_m - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 13:30

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 13:30
read new post
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Follow Up By: Ray_m - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 14:10

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 14:10
how can you make a picture post here i have the picture for the wiring pack for chescold 59.95 you can buy from snowys outdoors 0260236777
thepublican mate how is the head i think you must bury it
FollowupID: 7050

Reply By: John - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:53

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 20:53
We have a chescold 3 way fridge which we carry in the back of the Jackaroo rather than the trailer. I got the local TJM outlet to run a wire directly from the battery to the back of the vehicle which, of course, plugs straight into the fridge. I'm not technically minded so I can't tell you what size wire they ran but these particular blokes know their stuff so I believe it was of appropriate size.

We put frozen thermal ice packs in the fridge just as we leave and have no problems with keeping everything cold. Without the ice packs it does not operate efficiently. At the end of the day, I don't believe this sought of fridge is designed to run efficiently on 12V while on the move or stationery. Regardless of what the manufacturer says, I believe they are really 2 way fridges, 240v or gas.

Our first job at the end of a days travelling is to hook the fridge up to gas on which it works brilliantly.
AnswerID: 12024

Reply By: Adrian - Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 23:48

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003 at 23:48
Drew, I took a Chescold "explorer" (fridge/freezer model) away with me for 2 mths thru Alice etc and it worked very well on 12V in v. hot conditions.

I had a heavy duty wire direct off the battery ( as the book suggests) and it did the job whilst travelling on reasonable roads - had it open and closing over 8 hour days with a Tandy thermometer hooked up and it hovered around 2 degrees after that time in 35 degree temps - the wiring is important but if it is not the freezer model which draws 10A from memory, I believe they are not much value on either 12V or gas in temps greater than 35 degrees.

As for a bouncy trailer, I have not idea but my 4WD did a lot of bouncing on corrugated roads and the fridge actually performed better than expected.
AnswerID: 12043

Reply By: Mikef_Patrol - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 09:30

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 09:30
Well despite all the crap being thrown around here, I would like to add my own experience to the pile. 5 years ago (August) I went to Cape York for 4 weeks in Vitara SWB. I owned a Chescold 38L Fridge at the time, which I took with me. Up till that time, I has very happy with the unit. It had performed well in most conditions.

In Carins, all my meat was cryovac'd, about 8 days worth. After driving for 2 days I came to the conclusion the fridge was not keeping anything cold during the day. In fact, my thermometer was showing the temperature getting up to 16C inside the fridge during the day. From this, you would have to conclude it was working at bit, but not enough. Despite running it on gas overnight each day (??) to bring the temp down again, next day it would get warm again. By the end of the 4th day, the rest of my meat had gone off, despite the cryovac.

After that trip, I sold the fridge and bought a 40L engel. Great fridge. Sold that 4 months ago because it wasd too heavy and bought a 25L Waeco. Also a great fridge.

Thats my experience.

AnswerID: 12060

Reply By: Cam A. - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 10:20

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 10:20
I had a chescold fridge/freezer that I tried to run on 12 volts with the vehicle moving but had no sucess at all. Running it on gas as a trial with the vehicle moving showed very little cooling effect too. In the evenings I would set up the fridge on the level ( using a spirit level!) By morning the beers and stuff would be icey cold. Running the unit about 12 hours a day was fine for me. Gas consumption was about 4kg a week.
AnswerID: 12062

Reply By: Ray_M - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 20:33

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 20:33
and the conclusion is was ozi right or wrong
AnswerID: 12098

Reply By: Brian - Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:48

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2003 at 21:48
Yes, many interesting comments. I have an Explorer Chescold and you have all missed the most important thing.
Before heading off any where on a trip TURN THE FRIDGE UPSIDE DOWN TWO DAYS BEFORE YOU ARE LEAVING. Then turn it on and it works like a charm.
I have a Commodore Station Wagon and have it wired to the back with a cut off wired in the ignition (No more flat batteries). After the upside down trick the Chescold works great on 12V and extremely well on gas as well as 240V. The movement of the car does not worry it all and it stays nice and cold on the 12V while travelling (Sometimes up to 12 hours, including rest stops).
I went camping last weekend and each day was 44 Degrees and the Chescold never missed a beat. Admittedly it was on gas during this heat.
My unit is only three years old.
I am not knocking any of the others as I have not tried them but this fat duck is more than happy with his Chescold. (Don't forget to turn it upside down before each use).
Don't forget guys that free homebrewed beer still stands if you see the "Country Brewer" Station Wagon in your travels.
AnswerID: 12103

Follow Up By: Bruce - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 13:13

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 13:13
And just exactly when are you coming to the sth west cnr of vic ?.........
FollowupID: 7045

Follow Up By: Bonz - Wednesday, Feb 05, 2003 at 23:52

Wednesday, Feb 05, 2003 at 23:52
do you turn it upside down and then turn it on or turn it on after turning it right side up>???????????
FollowupID: 7346

Reply By: Ray_M - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 13:44

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 13:44
phone my camping shop and ask about the fridge and he tell me to phone service at dometci at melbourne and they say if to rough fridge will not get properly cold and try sit north south make better perhaps than sit east west
truckster thepublican egg and mud on face i think you make apology hey
AnswerID: 12165

Follow Up By: Thepublican - Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 23:51

Thursday, Jan 30, 2003 at 23:51
Ray a eM, itsa bada form a to play so dumbassa OZI.
FollowupID: 7080

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