car fridge alternative

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 20:23
ThreadID: 3470 Views:2655 Replies:9 FollowUps:1
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hello, as i find myself going more and more outdoors these days i have though about getting a car fridge. I read a lot of Q&A's in this forum and realise that it would be a worthwhile investment. i'm be looking at something in the 60-70L size but the relatively high cost has made me think about the following alternative, i really welcome any thoughts, comments suggestions from people who may have seen this in their travels or have set it up themselves.

basically i thought about getting a small 240V bar fridge. these cost around $200 (65-70Lsize) for new units from shops or even less much less for new/ as new units in the trading post. Then getting a 200-300W inverter to power it. The inverter would cost a furhter $200-$250 making the total around $400, which is considerably lower then most 60-70L car fridges that i've seen so far.

further for those who like the hands on approach, i considered making the inverter from an old dissused computer UPS (Uninterupted Power Supply) module. These basically run off a built in 12V lead acid battery, and once the battery has died the system is usually useless. one then throws out the battery and connects the UPS to the cars AUX battery. this way i would have a inverter which costs around $20, which is the cost of the old UPS module, and one which gives atleast 500W.

this way i have a car fridge as well as a decent inverter for a fraction of the cost.

look forward to any feedback on this setup or why a proper car fridge would be so much better.
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Reply By: desert - Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 20:38

Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 20:38
Well, you do the sums, but I reckon the current draw on the 12V dc side would be the weak link. Maginal whilst driving and the alternator doing it's job, but what about battery life when camped for a day or two? And, I guess if you have a Troopy, then the upright nature of the cabinet would not be a problem?
AnswerID: 13610

Reply By: Joe - Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 21:33

Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 21:33
I imagine that you would have to do a fair bit of work on making it corrugation proof.
AnswerID: 13613

Reply By: Phil P - Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 22:08

Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 22:08
Just buy an ex demo fridge from the Fridge shop !

go into the "factory seconds" section to see the prices.

AnswerID: 13616

Reply By: colin - Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 22:54

Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 22:54
your set up with the invertor on twin battery set up would last only acouple of hours with out the engine running. Spend the dollars dont cut corners and get a decent fridge designed for the job, that way we wont have to waste our time jump starting your vehicle when you whsh to leave camp. Col
AnswerID: 13617

Reply By: bigfoot - Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 23:47

Thursday, Feb 20, 2003 at 23:47
thanks for the feedback, a little ambitious must agree. i'll keep a lookout at the fridgeshop but last i checked they were sold out of the ones i was after. i also thought that constant 4wding would sooner then later play havouc with somethin made for keeping stationery. i realise from relatively limited experience that if u want to rely on 4wd equip there are no real shortcuts.

thanks again
AnswerID: 13619

Follow Up By: Phil P - Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 06:01

Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 06:01
If you ring the fridgeshop and place an order (verbal, no cash required) they will ring you when they have one available. I did this and received my fridge after 3-4 weeks !
FollowupID: 8015

Reply By: DINGO - Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 09:16

Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 09:16
hi big foot. i am not right up with all this ,but did look into it at some depth a few years ago as i wanted to be able to run a small tucker box freezer off a 12v batt. but there were 2 main issues ,1 was that there are different types of inverters that create different types of sign waves which apparantly affect what type of equipment can be ran from them,and 2nd even though the freezer only drew a fairly small amount of power to run ,it required something like five times that amount to start and therefore the inverter had to have the capacity to deliver the start up current. happy hunting ps i am too in a delema,i have an engle that struggles in extreme heat,it is in a bag ,we put a computor fan on it which helped a fair bit but it still seems to be lacking if hot,so i then bought a liemac and it would cool the beer on mars i recon, but it is hungry on power.
AnswerID: 13628

Reply By: Jack - Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 14:22

Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 14:22
Hi Bigfoot:

Found this on the net at ... .. not the sort of thing I would want to do but you may find it of some benefit. It is about converting an esky into a fridge.
Good luck
AnswerID: 13653

Reply By: diamond - Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 21:57

Friday, Feb 21, 2003 at 21:57
i had the same idea as you a cpl om months ago bought a small bar fridge 80ltr bought an 500watt inverter didnt work asked a few refrigeration mobs about wattage to run fridge and was told anything from5 times the fridge wattage use ours says 75 watts on the fridge and others said could be 1000 watts to kick the compreser in.last week i bought a little genny 950watt from repco i put a post in the other day small chineses genny i think it was.i ran the genny for 1hr freezer starting to freeze had ice and used about 10 mm out of fuel tank not sure how many litres tank is got it with a tank of fuel was guessing maybe6-8 hrs if only running fridge. ps genny $350
AnswerID: 13707

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Sunday, Mar 02, 2003 at 16:14

Sunday, Mar 02, 2003 at 16:14
You'd need a much bigger inverter to get the compressor started as static 240v fridges use very inefficient induction motors to run the compressor. Also the motor would waste a lot of power as heat unless your invertor was pure sinewave

And that's on top of all the problems already mentioned: short battery life, vibrations, etc.

A Waeco is better than nothing on a budget (my folks have one - works well), but the australian made fridges have better insulation, so get better run times from the battery.
AnswerID: 14305

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