3-way fridges

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:23
ThreadID: 32148 Views:2405 Replies:11 FollowUps:20
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Can anyone tell me the better 3-way fridge brands and their experience with them? Thanks.
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Reply By: J.T. - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:57

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:57
Have the big green 3 way chescold 39lt(I think).Quite bulky but really good on 12v when wired up with correct thickness wiring.Ours is 10 years old and we just had the gas jet replaced.Now also use ours as drinks fridge when not camping and gets about a month on a 9kg gas bottle.Would consider an engel in future but do like the gas option for long periods in the bush.
AnswerID: 162822

Follow Up By: Robv00 - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:15

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:15
Thanks JT, i was thinking about getting the chescold fridge freezer one, had an engel, was good, but sick of having to frig around with either sufficient battery charge or solar panels or whatever. The fossil fuel option sounds great for extended camping in the one spot. How do you go with pilot lights and so fourth? safe in the back of a parked car with good ventilation?
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Follow Up By: jamas - Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 08:43

Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 08:43
Robv00 - I would be scared to run a fridge on gas in the back of a car. The car would carry many litres of exlosive fuel and a naked flame could be deadly. When in the car, I would strongly recommend using the 12 volt option. It's an old cliche, but - "Better safe than sorry".
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Reply By: pjd - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:59

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 14:59
there are not any that will work as good as a straight 12/24 volt unit
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:24

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:24
Take a look at thread 30140.
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Follow Up By: Robv00 - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:41

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:41
Excellent, thanks Mike. So... have you bought a 3-way then?
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:52

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 15:52
At the moment I'm still using my 33lt (or 39lt???) Finch 3 way. I shall probably buy the smaller (green, $1000) Electrolux but as I may be spending weeks (months) at a time in the bush before too long I'm evaluating my options (and it's damn painful! :) and may, but probably won't, make the change to a 12V fridge (Engel) but that means a better gen or solar panels and the complexity of keeping a battery charged etc. I like the simplicity of the gas fridge but I do need one which can freeze when it's 30+ and according to the people on 30140 the Electrolux can

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Pajman Pete (SA) - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 16:39

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 16:39
We bought our 50lt Chescold in Darwin 12 years ago to replace the esky/ice combo. It has done sterling service all around the top end and the rest of the country. Usual tips apply, start it on 240 before the trip and fill the freezer side with already frozen stuff. On 12V it works fine IF you have good cables to it. We have also put in a 12V fan to keep the air circulating when it has stuff packed around it.

In really hot weather it will keep stuff frozen and will freeze left overs overnight, but it did struggle in VIC last January when the temperature soared to 45. Seemed OK in the tropics, even in the wet, but keeping it level is critical and a wet towel on top on hot days helps.

We also have a Waeco 50lt, but if we are planning a trip where we will be stopped in one spot for a while the Chescold gets the pick.

Cheers

Pete
Any mug can be uncomfortable out bush

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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 16:05

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 16:05
Over the years they all seem pretty reliable. I used a Finch and an Electrolux before getting an Engel about 15 years ago. They were fine for camping in the one spot where you could run them for a long time on gas - got over 15 days out of a 4.5 kg cylinder, but these older ones really struggled in hot weather, and were hard to stop freezing in cold weather. The later ones may be a little better in this respect.

Cheesr
Phil
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Reply By: croc47 - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 17:30

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 17:30
We have had a chescold 50 lt for about 10 years..we live in Darwin & do a lot of rough trips-Gulf & Kimberleys. It has been OK but we have had afew problems with breaks in Cooling unit&the jets need plenty of cleaning-the gas you get in isolated places often has rubbish in it. We found it struggled just on gas if the temp didnt drop at night. It will only hold it's temp. on 12v whilst travelling but is great on 240.
We are in the process of buying a new fridge at the moment and after a lot of research will get an elect. only, with the better designs now in them & generators it seems a better option. Are tossing up between the Explorer which have all the features we want & are very solidly built but are very expensive ($2250) an Engel which will probably do the job but not nearly as well built($1800).

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Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 17:52

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 17:52
Best to go 12V

Rather do it now and save yourself a lot of time and money.

Great to have a cold beer and not to worry about how level the fridge is etc.

Regards Derek.
AnswerID: 162847

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 19:57

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 19:57
And how would you power a compressor 12V fridge in one spot in the bush for (say) four weeks? About one or two amps per hour - 24 hours a day - three or four amps if it's hot. At a minimum that is 672 amp hours - a lot of battery Derek?

There is no question compressor fridges are more efficient but it's a lot easier to attach a 4kg gas cylinder to the fridge and forget it for a week or two. Evidence from this forum suggest they work quite well.

Suggestions anyone?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:02

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:02
I love solar power. Its free energy.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:21

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:21
I think we need a little more than that Derek - you know facts and figures - real world stuff...?

Mike Harding

PS. Do you sell solar stuff... by any chance?
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:48

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:48
Mike H ,real world stuff ??? I run an 80lt Waeco and a 15lt Engle , Waeco from 3x80amp Fullriver AGM hgl in c/t ,batt recharged by 64 unisolar+120 kycera ,if no sun ,950watt Scorpion gen does the job for 4.5lt of 2 stroke for a run time of 14 yes 14hrs ,Baby Engle lives in vehicle ,runs off dual batt system ,both batts -start and aux 80amp Fullriver AGM hgl ,Engle will run for 4 days/nights before I start vehicle to recharge aux ,,,and oh by the way I have never yet had a v reading of less than 11.2v ,, Solar+gen+ vehicle altenator NEGATES the need for gas ,be it for a w/end or a 6mth camp.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:59

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 20:59
3 x 80Ah AGM batteries = $1000?

184W of solar panel = $2000?

The two stroke gen = $200?

Oh well... sounds like you have a setup which suits you but it seems a little on the expensive side when LPG is $3kg?

Mike Harding
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Follow Up By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:27

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:27
Ah, yes.

but, you can't charge your car battery off a gas bottle if your alternator fails.

It is also getting more difficult to fill gas bottles, every one does these swap over things.

I just changed over may vans 3 way to Engel SR90E and should have done it years ago. Wasted a lot of gas trying to keep a fridge cold that did not want to know about cold beer.

Regards Derek.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:55

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:55
Mike H ,your maths is laughable , all up I have 5 yes 5 x 80amp Agm ,cost ?? less than $1000 ,184 of solar panels ?? cost ?? $1220 , gen set?? cost ?? $135 , ongoing fuel costs if totaly inclemement weather and only 10% solar ?? 1/4 to 1/3 lt of 2stroke per day = what ?? 30c per day ,, and when the sun is out for more than 4hrs per day my ongoing cost is all of $0.00 ,,lifespan of solar panels = my childrens children will still be able to use them ,, lifespan of AGM batts ?? 10/15 yrs if abused , 25+yrs if used as intended ,, go right ahead and pay your $3+ per kg for gas and keep on drinking warm beer.
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Follow Up By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 22:15

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 22:15
Mikes just having a go at me, nothing personal.

I hope ?

Regards Derek.
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Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 09:14

Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 09:14
Derek:
You needn’t be so defensive. I’m sure most of us would prefer to use the more efficient electric fridges if we could find a cost effective and simple way to power them for long stays of a few weeks or more. Trouble is we can’t.

Alloy:
>Mike H ,your maths is laughable
I’m not so sure.

The prices you quote are very good – far better than prices for similar items from Derek’s website (http://www.sidewinder.com.au/page40.html) – perhaps you would be kind enough to share the details of your suppliers with us?

>all up I have 5 yes 5 x 80amp Agm ,cost ?? less than $1000
Derek = $1100 for 5 x 75Ah

>184W of solar panels ?? cost ?? $1220
Derek = $2100 for 180W + $165 for a regulator

>gen set?? cost ?? $135
You were robbed – mine was $98 :)

>lifespan of solar panels = my childrens children will still be able
>to use them

Not sure what the current specification for solar panel output against time is, a few years ago they were talking 10 years before output was falling but that may well have improved. Unless you break them, of course, and things do tend to get a bit knocked around in the bush.

>lifespan of AGM batts ?? 10/15 yrs if abused , 25+yrs if used
>as intended

The datasheet for my American made C&D Technologies 88Ah AGM battery quotes a design life of 10 years although one person on this forum had a ($300+ I think it was?) AGM battery failure at 16 months recently.

>go right ahead and pay your $3+ per kg for gas and keep on
>drinking warm beer.

Well… it seems most people who use 3 way fridges are aware of their limitations but are still quite happy with them, including me – to the point where I will probably spend $1000 on another one soon.

But, if your setup suits you then stick with it – it’s not a religious thing no one should need to convert anyone else.

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Boo - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 19:43

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 19:43
Evening Robv00..
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Reply By: Boo - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 19:53

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 19:53
Evening Robv00..

We've had a 50 lt Chescold for several years now and have used it for extended stays during 40+ temps and have found it to be fantastic. It freezes very easily on gas even during the extreme heat and we find we have to turn it right down especially during the nights to prevent it freezing up. It also freezes very well on 240v but we find it only maintains the temp when on 12v which isnt a problem for us as we only have it on 12v when traveling to or from a site. Personaly if your plannig extended stays I couldnt recomend the Chescold enough , their great. We also bought a 12/240v downunder 70litre fridge freezer that we use inconjunction with the Chescold for shorter stays and run it from the camper batteries and the dual battery system in the trol. We tend to use the Downunder as a freezer and the Chescold as a fridge that way we use minimum power only opening the freezer once or twice a day to restock the fridge and the Chescold is very efficient at keeping cold when being opened often(kids) when running on the gas..

Hope this helps.
Boo
AnswerID: 162870

Follow Up By: Robv00 - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 22:59

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 22:59
Thanks Boo, how old would you say your checold is? recent model maybe? From what I've gathered the older 3-way fridges maybe can't handle high ambient temps, but sounds like the later models may be a bit more refined. Your "extended stays" how long are we talking? How long would say a 9kg gas bottle last under your conditions? Thanks for the straight answers, sounds like some of those boneheads out there can't keep their cool, pardon the pun...
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Follow Up By: Boo - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 23:54

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 23:54
Havent payd too much attention to the lenth of time a bottle of gas lasts as we generaly dont fill up before we go, we simply run it untill empty then switch to the reserve bottle which lasts untill we get home then the reserve bottle becomes the main and we refill the original and it becomes the new reserve if you get what I mean. But on the average at a guestamit I would say 9kg would last around a month in hot conditions give or take a bit. Since we generaly turn the beast down so it doesnt freeze every thing in it, it only uses minimum gas.. as for the age ..... mmmm... we bought it second hand and at a rough guess from what I can remember from its original owner, I would say its about 8 to 10yrs old now. Its the hard blue 50lt plastic model. Still the current shape/style etc I believe. Has been a flamin great fridge/freezer. What I didnt say before also is they come with a removable insulated divider so you can run them as both a fridge and freezer if you need. We simply remove the divider turn it right down and run the lot as a fridge..
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry C (NT) - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 23:59

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 23:59
Agree with all Boo states and my Chescold performs exactly like his,,, 10 years old,,, uses about 1lb lpg perday.

barry
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Reply By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:12

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:12
We run a 39l 3-way Chescold and have to agree with Mike. The old set and forget of a gas fridge on an extended stop is well worth the reduced efficiency while running on 12V in my opinion.

Depends I guess on whether you're a "daily mover" or an "unpack and stayer..."

BTW what is the best type of wiring to hook up the 12V to the cigarette lighter?
Monday I have Friday on my mind...
The Easybeats 1966

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AnswerID: 162887

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:29

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 21:29
"BTW what is the best type of wiring to hook up the 12V to the cigarette lighter?"

- A cigarette-lighter socket is a poor choice for the 10 amps that a Chescold draws - use Anderson Powerpoles rated at 30 amps.

- The minimum wire size you should use is 8Ga - 4mm copper diameter, 7mm insulation diameter.

Mike
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Follow Up By: Boo - Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 23:57

Saturday, Mar 25, 2006 at 23:57
Just to cut in there ... We run ours in the back of the Trol using very heavy gauge wire and a set of 50amp Anderson plugs, it helps to minimise the current loss.
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Reply By: fnqcairns - Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 00:09

Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 00:09
Got to agree the chescold is a godsend for trip away lasting more than a couple days just set and forget sometimes for up to 7 days.
I have had mine now for years and got sucked into the engle brigade a few years ago. While it was great at snap freezing and weekend warrioring it did nothing but detract from the reason why I was bush camping for a week or more. Carrying 2 9kg gas bottles can be a pain. I no longer own the Engel a quality esky easily covers the hole the Engel made.

The Chescold will maintain -9 to -12deg on gas at 38deg heavily loaded and opened sparingly, the best I ever recorded was -19 but that was during high teens and low 20deg days.
Also don't confuse the old style of gas fridge with even the some of the 20year old ones they are worlds apart, I sometimes believe this is where the gas fridge misinformation was originally passed down.
Today if you decide to go chescold I heard to chase up the model that is designated as the tropical unit, what the true difference is I do not know, mine is simply a run of the mill 40L unit.

cheers fnq
AnswerID: 162918

Follow Up By: fnqcairns - Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 00:20

Sunday, Mar 26, 2006 at 00:20
Actually ATM the chescold is doing a few weeks service at a mates place in Innisfail, he owns an engle that is currently being used as an esky for the milk, marg, bread etc with water frozen overnight in the chescold! He had no other good option but to borrow it.

Whatever you choose I am sure you will be happy, but to be sure the chescold can take it's sweet time compared to an engle.

cheers fnq
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 13:39

Monday, Mar 27, 2006 at 13:39
I have both a 3way, older Chescold model and a new Waeco. I love the gas functionality of the Chescold , it is easy and simple , does a great job, only negative is it takes a while to cool from scratch. The Waeco however is awesome at cooling things down quickly but you need to ensure you have enough amp hours in your batteries , both serve the cause.
AnswerID: 163146

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