Fridge 2 way versus 3 way

Submitted: Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 19:15
ThreadID: 35339 Views:11401 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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We are about to buy a new caravan and really do not know whether to get a 2 way or 3 way fridge. So called experts tell us it is important as to where you go. We intend to travel through the North of Australia. We are told that the ambient temperature is vital as to the workings of the 2 or 3 way fridge. Any comments whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.
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Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 19:34

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 19:34
My comment...........Archives.
AnswerID: 180681

Reply By: Alloy c/t - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:01

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:01
ARCHIVES ,not shouting but the search function will tell you a wealth of info for and against ,,if it was me only 1 word ends up making sense $ wise , that word is Waeco.
AnswerID: 180685

Reply By: Derek from Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:07

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:07
Hi M,

I threw my 3 way fridge out of my van and fitted a Engel SR90E.

It was the best thing I have ever done. The 3 way fridges (I have had 3 in 10 years in different vans) were a waste of space. The Waeco CF80 in the 4wd carried all the meat and beer. We like to go off road and also don't have time to level the van for a quick stop over. The 3 ways always gave us problems.

Go for the 12v / 240v units.

Make sure to have at least a 200 a/h battery bank and options for solar and charge wire.

Regards Derek.

AnswerID: 180688

Reply By: Old Scalyback & denny - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:34

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:34
goodday marilyn
as a fellow van owner i would never go back to a 3 way we havea waeco coolmatic in our current van and its great
we run 2 solar panels and always havea coldie on hand next van will have same brand fridge but a 2 door (larger freezer)

AnswerID: 180706

Follow Up By: Trevor R (QLD) - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:49

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 20:49
Coldn't agree more about the coolmatic.
I don't have solar so am limited in time away from power but have small genset if I decide to get serious on extended bush stays.

Regards, Trevor.
FollowupID: 436964

Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 23:40

Tuesday, Jun 27, 2006 at 23:40
Marilyn, as you will find in your archive search, i will not use a gas fridge. If you have solar (we used to use one portable solar which we put out when we stopped, with one deep cycle battery), in this great sunny land it will be fine.

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AnswerID: 180750

Reply By: Member No 1- Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 07:52

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 07:52
if you have the room for battery storage, recharge (solar) go two way...those absorption things dont make a noise when they run....anything that dosnt make a noise must be broken...

take your noise it doesnt go......right fellas?
(its really cos i cant fix em..& dont want to know either)
AnswerID: 180769

Reply By: Wizard1 - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 08:29

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 08:29
We've looked at replacing our 3 way electrolux with a 2 way compressor fridge but keep getting scared off at the cost versus benefits comparison.

At between $1200 to $2000 for the the fridge, depending on manufacturer and size.

Then when you do the calculations for power use you need at least another $1800 or so worth of solar panels, not including the battery setup, etc to support it. The added weight of at least 2 batteries and the solar panels is another issue.

Funnily enough speaking with Kedron, they still fit 3 ways to vans where they try and keep the weight down, where the larger ones, usually towed by a larger 4WD have more solar panels and batteries for the 2 way fridge.

We already have a CF50 Waeco, which at times has become the 3 way's saviour.

Three ways are by no means perfect, but do have benefits when free camping using gas and don't need a lot of extra's to keep them running. However 2 ways do work better in the heat, what to do?

AnswerID: 180777

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 09:18

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 09:18

$1800 for solar panels???

What are you buying and where are you shopping mate.

For a CF50 an 80-100AH battery should be adequate and an 80 watt solar panel costing around $800 is all that should be required.

There is always an initial investment in setting up a fridge/battery setup.
But buying the right equipment (I won't go into brand names) will return that investment in trouble free operation for many years.

Some people choose solar panels to maintain their battery(s).
Others use a Genny & charging unit.

My setup (75AH portable battery system) and a 40 watt solar panel works for me.
If the solar panel can't/won't put enough back in, I have the option of charging from the vehicle while travelling, or if s h i t really happens, while stationary.

I have the option of adding another 40 watt panel if necessary but I haven't found the need at present.

The 40 watt panel (BP solar) was bought for under $500, including regulator.


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FollowupID: 437059

Follow Up By: Wizard1 - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 13:25

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 13:25

You obviously didn't fully appreciate the setup I was describing. I too have a second battery setup and run a CF50. However, I was providing feedback based on replacing a 3 way caravan fridge, I assume, with a similar size compressor 12/24 volt unit.

I too looked into this in detail. On advice from the chaps at Solar Panel Xpress, they suggested in order to have enough solar re-charge capabilty to keep upwith the power draw from:

1 x compressor fridge in the van (This draws 65 - 70 AH per day)
1 x CF50 (24 AH per day)
van lights, water pumps, stereo, etc (Approx 5 AH per day)

As you can see that is a lot of power requirements per day to re-charge.

I would have needed 2 x portable solar panels (the wattage I cannot recall, but I think it was around 85 watts each) all wired up for around $1800 for the pair.

The portable units available at most camping outlets would not have provided enough watts. If I were not to have a 12/24 Volt van fridge the story would be quite different and much cheaper.

If add the cost of 2 x deep cyles (cheap 100 ah start around $130 each )
A charge regulator (Arrid twin charge) $399

As you can see it starts to add up.

I have already done some research on the matter but I do appreciate your advice.
FollowupID: 437102

Reply By: Flash - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 10:41

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 10:41
Having said that I've had four 3way fridges and would NEVER ever buy another.
Now have a Vitrifrigo 150 litre two door plus an Evakool portable.
Couldn't be happier with either.
They run rings around absorbtion fridges, but of course if freecamping for much more than about 24 hours you'll need solar or generator.
AnswerID: 180794

Reply By: disco1942 - Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 13:49

Wednesday, Jun 28, 2006 at 13:49
The biggest problem with modern 3way fridges is the installation of them. A lot of manufacturers get it wrong – including Jayco. Check the installation before taking delivery of your van and do not take delivery until it is right. If you specify a Dometic fridge Larger than 115 litres it will have a 'T' rating which means that it will work to specification at an ambient temperature of up to 43°. Above that figure the interior temperature of compressor fridges is liable to commence to rise.

The solar array and batteries will need to be over 150W of panels and 200 A/H of batteries to support the fridge and some lights. Allow 35kg for each of the two batteries and 10kg installed weight for each panel. This will add 90kg to the weight of your van To those considering upgrading their van - weigh your van before installing – you will probably find you are over weight before you start and this extra weight will compound your overloading problems.

If you need to get the solar system professionally installed you will tun up a bill of $2-3K. I have seen quotes of around $3.5K for solar on a new van. Australian Motor Homes price list for Travelhome 5th wheelers lists “Solar panels with regulator – 2 panels.........$2,920.” You cay buy a lot of gas for that figure.

Marilyn – what price are you being quoted for solar installation and what is the size is the installation was quoted on. If the quote was $2K above that for a smaller solar installation and 12V fridge that will purchase 80 9Kg refills @ $25 per refill.

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AnswerID: 180823

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