Truth about EvaKool Fridge+Freezer Combination Units

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 16:23
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Am looking at buying the new portable EvaKool 60L Fridge + Freezer which has a moveable divider in it which creates the separate compartments. Can anyone who owns/uses one of these tell me if the following facts told to me by EvaKool's salesman are correct????
- He says that icecream will stay frozen in the freezer section while the fridge compartment doesn't freeze fridge items at the same time. True?
- We don't want to go to the expense of putting a dual battery system in our car for the day trips & short stays we intend to use it for. He says we don't need to, that as long as we put a direct cable from our battery back to the fridge & have a good lead plate battery, that the fridge will run fine & not flatten our battery. He said the fridge can run a few hours on the car battery after stopping the car without flattening it. Is this true? He also suggested for the overnight stays we could switch the fridge off, turning it back on in the morning as we set off again, and that frozen items such as icecream will stay frozen for those few hours, especially as we wouldn't be opening it. True?
- For the longer stays he said it would be quite OK to run the fridge off of one of our truck batteries conneted by cable & alligator clips. True?
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Reply By: Rod - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 18:11

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 18:11
Rosalie

I haven't tried Ice Cream in the Freezer but I can vouch that you can get as cold as -22 in the freezer and not freeze water in the adjacent fridge compartment.

With regards to your other questions, see message #3553 back on Feb 26th. Since my results there, I have experimented more and can get the average amps consumed per hour down to 1.31 if I set the themostat down low enough that the compressor won't allow the freezer to rise above -7 degrees. -7 may be too warm for Ice Cream but given that I don't leave meat in my camping freezer for weeks on end but only days, I expect -7 will keep most things OK. You can always go colder if you want.

You will read the occasional article about EvaKool horror stories but they seem to be limited to the first model they ever bought out that did not have a Danfoss compressor. I spoke to a few people before buying mine and it seemed that these problems have been long since ironed out.

I spoke to a local caravan fridge repair business before buying my new fridge/freezer. The guy had worked there 4 years and had only ever seen 3 Danfoss compressors fail. I know Engel have had a larger market share for some time, but he said the number of Engel Swing compressors he had replaced in the same time was very high. He also stated that whilst the Waeco's also had a Danfoss compressor, the fancy control system with the lights didn't seem to be reliable and was a weak link. Hence I bought an Evakool. I'm sure there are lots of Waeco and Engel owners out there who are very happy and never had a problem and for their sake I trust they keep powering on forever.
AnswerID: 14514

Follow Up By: bob_h - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 19:47

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 19:47
Rod
Thanks for the great info on the EvaKool fridges (including your response #3553 to my question last week.
I feel confident that the EvaKool will do the job. Still not real hot in Brisbane...
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FollowupID: 8757

Follow Up By: Rosalie - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 23:26

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 23:26
Thanks Rod for your very helpful replies - this & 3553 - BUT are you the Rod Miles who has replied to several other questions? Because if you are, you are the National Manager for EvaKool, and are also the "salesman" I talked to this morning. Thanks anyway. Your info is very helpful and much appreciated but I was looking for some other opinions as well!! I'm looking forward to getting my Brochure from Snowy's in Adelaide as I can't find this model on the web anywhere as yet.
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Reply By: JohnS - Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 23:59

Wednesday, Mar 05, 2003 at 23:59
Rosalie,
I am a great fan of the Evakool iceboxes, they have superb cold retention abilities. With just a couple of blocks of ice you will easily take care of a long weekend trip. I have gone bush for a week mid summer and been amazed how good they are (must drain ice melt twice a day).

The Evakool fridges are the ice boxes with a fridge unit added (can be retrofitted I believe on some models). This means that even if the fridge unit is switched off, the insulating properties of the Evakool box will keep your stuff cold for many hours.

If you only intend short trips and can switch off your fridge during sleeping hours your main car battery would probably support the fridge and still be able to start the engine .... BUT BE WARNED!

Most vehicles can accomodate the next size up in their main battery position, so this could be a cheaper way to gain some reserve capacity.

JohnS
AnswerID: 14540

Follow Up By: Rosalie - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 00:17

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 00:17
Thanks John, Yes we've been thinking we'd get an evakool ice box if we're still nervouse about running a fridge on the one battery, after getting as much info as poss. Thanks.
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FollowupID: 8773

Reply By: paul - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 09:34

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 09:34
Rosalie

If flat battery is your only concern you can buy from Jaycar and probably any other electronics shop what sells car stuff a low voltage cut out box - two alligator clips go onto your battery and you plug in the 12v plug in the other end and it won't let the battery be drained below about 11.4 volts or something like that, should be enough to start your wagon.

Otherwise, for under a $100 from supercheap you can get a protable jump starter - don't use if for the fridge, keep it under the seat so if you ever accidentally drain your battery (which is terrible for a starting battery anyhow) you can start from the box under your seat and drive off and recharge if at home.
AnswerID: 14546

Follow Up By: Rosalie - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 11:48

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 11:48
Thanks Paul, I'm going to check out the info you've given me, as, yes, flattening our battery is our only concern now.
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FollowupID: 8784

Reply By: Rod - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 09:38

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 09:38
Rosalie

Rod Miles?, no I am not him, nor do I know him. Nor do I live on the Sunshine Coast, nor do I have any association with EvaKool. I'm just a happy customer who wanted to do their homework before buying. Just like you.
AnswerID: 14549

Follow Up By: Rosalie - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 11:45

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 11:45
Awfully sorry Rod, Just seemed such a coincidence, since I was talking to the above Rod Miles at evaKool only that morning. Am very glad that you are only a customer like me. That's what's great about forums like these. Thanks for taking the time to share your info & replying.
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Reply By: Member - David - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 11:54

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 11:54
Rosalie,
I have owned and used an Evakool 60L Retrofit fridge freezer for about 6 months now. Performance on and off road including this Brisbane summer has been brilliant. Yes I think all of what the salesman said could be achieved, however,ideally the unit would be more efficiently used with a second battery
AnswerID: 14557

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 20:05

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 20:05
David, I was looking at the retrofit as well (less $$$'s). Have you had any issues with the externally mounted compressor? Does it cop a lots knocks? Is it still as quiet as the "internal" compressor model?

Rohan
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Follow Up By: Member - David - Friday, Mar 07, 2003 at 08:36

Friday, Mar 07, 2003 at 08:36
Rohan, they are good value at the moment. I have not found the unit to be any noisier or in any way different than their every day models. The retrofit , however does not have the "Indel B" suspension system on the compressor. I spoke to the manufacturer and they assured me that a 45 mm foam cushion under the fridge will achieve the same effect. Mine is mounted on a home made fridge slide atop of a draw system in the back of a GQ Patrol. I have had no problems with the fridge and couldn't be happier.
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FollowupID: 8823

Reply By: KAK - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 12:12

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 12:12
Rosalie,

I have a 70 litre with seperate freezer area plus the divider. Fridge and freezer works well. I have a second 68 litre and would recommend them to anyone as long as you be aware of power problems, which is the same no matter what the brand.

A tip that I use is to have some of the kids water ice blocks in the plastic sleeves at the top of the freezer as they will be the first indication of things going soft.

In relation to power usage they say averages about .7 amps per hour. I think just over 1 amp per hour.

I have dual batteries in car and further deep cycle battery in camping trailer through an anderson plug.

I have not long returned from trip in queansland were I had a bit of a disaterous time with the power. (Second battery in car died) However, the main problem came from voltage drops and blown fuses. I will give you a long winded explaination as the method you intent to use will be okay for quick stops but be wary of the following.

The plug that it comes with is a cigarette lighter plug. It is spring loaded with a glass cartridge fuse in the actual plug. It has a light in the plug to show when power is connected. The workings of the plug are very close together and I found that there is a small metal bar that feeds the light. When the fridge plug is inserted into the vehicles cigarette holder this metal bar gets very close to the earth wires in the fridge plug and occasionally shorts out blowing either the fuse in the plug or vehicle. Had to bend this out of the way. Know of others that have had the same problem.

For three days had no cooling occured at all, however the fan worked the whole time which made me think that it was working when I checked on it. We lost the food, beer was hot etc. The problem was from voltage drops. To explain, the compressor has a low voltage cut out built into it for protection. Depending on the model it will either be 10.7 volts or 10.3 volts at the compressor. I found my problem by measuring the voltage at the battery (when the compressor cut in) (which was fine) and also measuring the voltage at the compressor when it cut in. I found that there was a 1.5 volts difference between the battery and what was reaching the compressor. Hence the voltage cut out came into play. (12 volts minus 1.5 = 10.5 at the compressor so it cut out. ) ( Long story as some of the fault lied with the wiring fitted to the camping trailer as well as being fitted with cheap cigarette lighter plugs. I cut the fridge plug off and put the wires direct to the battery and it worked. As I was travelling past Caloundra I called into the factory and they were very helpfull.

Simply put, cut off the plug that comes with the fridge and fit a good quality plug to the fridge and have good wiring to rear of car (or were ever) with a good quality plug which will stop the voltage drop across it. This advise came straight from the factory. I have since changed the plugs in the car, the trailer and fridges and no more problems. There is a number of different type of plugs that can be purchased from auto electricians, Repco, super cheap etc. I know others that have had same problems on long stays. If you read the fine print they recommend fitting better plugs for serious campers.

If you purchase the 240 volt convertor (which I recommend you do so you can cool everything down in the house prior to putting in car or for use if you stay at a powered swight) you will need a lead fitted with the cigarette lighter plug that it came with. The factory supplied me with some extra plugs that screw onto the frdige so I have two leads for each fridge, one for the car and one for the convertor. Problem solved and works well, just took some stuffing around. It was worth it as they are cheaper and better insulated than other brands such as engel etc,



AnswerID: 14558

Follow Up By: Mick n Sal - Friday, Mar 07, 2003 at 00:55

Friday, Mar 07, 2003 at 00:55
On the subject of plugs for fridges, I spent a lot of time looking for plugs that would handle the current of a Chescold ( 10 - 15 amps ) and stay connected through the rigours of heavy offroading. There are a lot of different designs of plugs out there, but the best I found is a self locking high-power audio connector known as Speakon. These connectors have a locking mechanism that will not come undone accidentally, and are a 4-pole connector where each connector is rated at 20 amps. the cost of these is around $25 dollars for the plug & socket. They are a little fiddly to set up in the first place, but once configured they are just about bulletproof. Another option is the self-locking Canon or XLR connector which are rated at 10 - 15 amps depending on brand. All of these connectors can be sourced at any good quality audio component outlet like Jaycar or Altronics.

Hope this is of use to people.
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FollowupID: 8819

Reply By: paul - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 13:29

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 13:29
dunno where people gets these averages from. 4WD monthly did a lab controlled test in September 2001 - yes evakool uses the same waeco danfoss compressor then as it does now, the average over a controlled 24 hour period was 1.9amps. Now if you have increased the cooling pipes around one end to override the other end so one end is more like a freezer then that will increase power consumption and you will end up with an average more like the Explorer (which i have) of about 2.4 amps on a brisbane winter's day.

Don't get me wrong, i love evakool and swear they have the best esky in the world, but you can't get away from the fact that they use the danfoss compressor - and which i believe is the best on the market, but there is no compressor fridge in the world at the moment that with a freezer unit can achieve an average of 1amp on an average day in the sun. maybe overnight in winter down south.
AnswerID: 14563

Reply By: Rod - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 14:32

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 14:32
Paul

Heard about the article you refer to but have not been able to secure a copy. What ambient temperature was the test conducted at, what model was tested and what temperature were they running the freezer at ?

My tests have been at 26 and 27 degrees C in Brisbane. The best I can get is 1.31 amps averaged over the hour at -7 in the freezer with the 60L 3/4 full.

Thanks
AnswerID: 14565

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, Mar 08, 2003 at 23:09

Saturday, Mar 08, 2003 at 23:09
The temp in the test was cycled from 15 to 50 degrees, ie much hotter during the day than most of us would camp in.

I haven't tested mine, but your figure sound close as I can get 45 hours from a 90 Ah battery and still have 11.5 volts in the battery (ambient temp of 28-29).
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FollowupID: 8885

Reply By: paul - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 15:04

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 15:04
Hey Rod

I live in brissy too, can post you a copy of the article if you want - but no need to be that anal. I can see how you can get the average you claimed, its just a matter of the variables being varied, the 4WD monthly test, now i've dug it out, was over 48 hours starting at minus 25C sliding over 12 hours up to 55C then sliding down over 12 hours to minus 25C then going back up to 55C then back down to finish at minus 15C. The fridges started from scratch and were empty.

If you run your fridge down to cycling temp. and if the freezer is 3/4 full with frozen goods (which acts as a eutectic bank), and then measure the current draw over 6 - 7 hours in the shade, i accept you will get that average. I would too.

cheers
AnswerID: 14567

Reply By: Rod - Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 15:13

Thursday, Mar 06, 2003 at 15:13
Paul

Thanks for the update.
AnswerID: 14569

Reply By: Member - Nigel - Saturday, Mar 08, 2003 at 23:03

Saturday, Mar 08, 2003 at 23:03
My folks have a Waeco in a sedan and have fitted an N70 Exide Endurance (deep cycle) battery as their only battery. It happily copes with running the fridge (even overnight occasionally).

I wouldn't recommend running the fridge for more than an hour without the car running if you have a standard starter battery as the life will be reduced greatly.

We have an Evakool 68 litre (fridge or freezer, but not both) and it's more effecient than my folks waeco. I have left it off overnight at times to conserve the battery and while the drinks aren't ice cold, everything is still cold enough. I wouldn't do it everynight tho.
AnswerID: 14697

Follow Up By: Terry - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 21:47

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 21:47
Nigel
Your a bit off the mark making a recommendation like you have. A standard battery, good quality, should carry around 30 -50 amp/hrs. If your portable fridge uses 2amps the battery should last at least 10hrs before you need to charge the battery. If your having problems after an hour you have a problem with your power setup, which is usually the battery.
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FollowupID: 8995

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 21:49

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 21:49
A standard battery has that capacity, but it is not designed to have the capacity used in a cyclic way.
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Reply By: Rosalie - Monday, Mar 10, 2003 at 17:08

Monday, Mar 10, 2003 at 17:08
THANKS EVERYONE for all your help. We purchased an Everkool RF60 - Retro Fitted 60L Dual Temp. Friday 7th for $1200 with 240Adaptor + Protective Cover included. Can't wait to try it out now. Am still looking for any hints/tips on wiring heavier cable direct to Battery, which plugs to get, batteries, etc, etc.
AnswerID: 14781

Follow Up By: Member - Nigel - Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 00:16

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003 at 00:16
I used 6mm cable direct from the Aux battery and changed the plug to an Anderson Plug (yep it's an overkill but will have virtually no voltage drop and can't rattle apart - why not have the best?)
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FollowupID: 8957

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