Should Portable refrigerators Have energy star rating?

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 18:41
ThreadID: 4639 Views:4746 Replies:6 FollowUps:25
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With all the Miss information, about power consumption for 12V dc refrigeration, should there be a Energy Star rating system the same as A domestic refrigerator. take a look next time you are in a white goods shop!
would save a Who heap of confusion and miss information, you cant sell a domestic refrigerator without having this information available why should a 12 Vdc refrigerator be any differant?
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Reply By: colin - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 19:31

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 19:31
hi old jack, to many variables, insulation on the fridge, size of battery, do you live in the tropics or in the ice age ( sorry talking about south of QLD lol ) type of compressor, how the fridge is wired to your vehicle, type of fridge, how many people does it feed, does it have to cool beer ( homer AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ) my way of thinking is insulation main priority then compressor (danfoss ) and has to be aussy made because we know best for our conditions, i am biased because i havnt been let down yet. Col
AnswerID: 18696

Follow Up By: Old Jack - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 11:21

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 11:21
The reason for setting standard's and testing under standard conditions is to remove the variables, effienicy is inherant to design & engineering of the piece of equipment. As stated by others some of the equipment has ratings under a european system. the star rating system take into account a common set of conditions for operation of equipment.

The star rating is valid for an appliance that is used for only short periods of time. Enery effiecincy dosn't change with duration of use!

This Question was not posed as a form of Fridge bashing for people to bagg brands. You can find that in other places.

The battery dosn't determine the effiency of the frigde it is only the energy source!

FollowupID: 11743

Reply By: joc45 - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 20:06

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 20:06
The star system used on domestic fridges relates to KWH used over 12 months. Not what we realy want to know.
I recall some mfr's like Autofridge have quoted Amp-hours over a 24 hour period (assuming a 12v system), but usually only measured at one temperature. What one really needs are two ratings for a given ambient temperature, say 25deg and 40deg, then get everyone to use the same formula.
This is basically the bottom line which tells you how the fridge works in normal and hot conditions, and reflects the efficiency of the compressor and the insulating qualities. All other factors are really then irrelevant.
A useful figure of merit would be the above measure divided by the cubic capacity of the fridge.
And the system makes it easy to dimension your power requirements.

One fridge (now defunct) quoted the smallest current draw, but seemed to run nearly all the time, so yes, there needs to be a way of comparing apples with apples.

If all mfr's used the same system, then one could get a pretty good comparo.

But they may have a good reason for not doing that......
AnswerID: 18704

Reply By: wherethefugawi - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 21:00

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 21:00
Cant agree more to have a rating system put in place...why havent the manufacturers done it before now...they want to confuse us with their terminology of what really happens within a fridge (in this case a box with a refrigeration system)
Old Jack and I know that all is not to be believed by those who are trying to sell.
I made my own 70mm insulation with early model danfoss compressor and must admit it (looks very much like a Trailblazer but with some increased room for efficiency such as more condensing surface area and room for a condensing fan if needed). Unit works fine in 55C ambient but still used more energy than i expected...not unusual i now reckon in those ambients. Normally get around 2 days use at ambients up t0 40 at -15C freezer temp.....
KWH or Amp hrs over a period of time are not any different ( if i am not mistaken) as either can be converted to either or!
Some of the wallies that on here professing to know that a rotary is more energy efficient than a swing v a recip v a scroll nned sto understand that is only the compressor performenace and does not in most caes e include electrical losses...this is where the star rating comes includes all losses.
okay how do we force the issue of having them star rated
AnswerID: 18727

Follow Up By: Old Jack - Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 17:13

Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 17:13
yes kwh can be converted to amp hrh
I have personally built several units that have been all over Australia on the back of trucks & utes, most have been custom built to suit each user, all used the 12 V DC danfoss compressors so they could be repaired by any "Compertant" refigeration mechanic. Never had one fail yet & these are all now over 6 years old.

I did a custom request once for a full 500lt chest type freezer to run off 240 volt with generator, 150mm( better insulation than 250mm of styrene) urathane panel lid was 75mm urathane. Used a "standard" Kirby AJ34 compressor with special mounting & hoses. This was one special BOX! Condenser was a custom order full copper with dual fans either of which was sufficient for the job by itself up to 55c ambiet.
could run down to -30 no problems
We tested the whole this by putting it on a car shock absober testing machine & left it turned on for the weekend!

when half filled with water and cold could be left for days without running due to the insulation & the shear mass it was storing!
Cost the guy heaps but it did exatly what they wanted.
Kirby never offerd any warranty on the compressor used in Mobile applications, we just had one in the workshop at the time and a sense of Humor!
The whole thing came about due to having over 100 years experiance between the mechanics that built it!

The guys spent 6 month in the cape & came back complained that it took to long to defrost after the power was turned off!
FollowupID: 11843

Follow Up By: Member - Wherethefugawi - Friday, May 02, 2003 at 10:55

Friday, May 02, 2003 at 10:55
Have heard of 240 v compressors being used on mobile plants before and contemplated when i made mine. We have a company in Adelaide who recondion sealed units and i was going to get them to cut one open and remove internal springs, which they have done a few times in the past on larger compressors, but the all up cost of new compressor and having it cut open and modified was greater than the 12v danfoss..... which i now believe and feel was the best outcome. Didnt need an inverter either!Cheers all
FollowupID: 11901

Follow Up By: Old Jack - Friday, May 02, 2003 at 15:50

Friday, May 02, 2003 at 15:50
Hi, if you read the compresor type that was used you would realise that even the db 50 danfoss in way way to small to do the job they wanted the freezer to do 700 watts refigeration capacity @ -25c is a big ask for anything running of single phase power so even off 24 Vdc the Db50 is way short of the mark @ about 70 watts capacity at -25c(if it was lucky)
The compressor of choice would have been a semihemetic instead of a tin can, no internal spring mounting, very effiecient if it's a copeland discus compressor, but we did the job on the cheap as it was for a trial, as far as I know they are still using the original compressor, I made the frame up to take a copeland for when you wanted something bigger!

And yes for small stuff the danfoss is the way to go with present techknowlagy. when they miniturize the scroll compressors further it will take over, probably the next four to five year will see smaller newer compact scrolls, the inverter tech is available know to run them it's just a case of makeing the compressor smaller!

present batch of A/C inverter scroll units are achiving efficiency levels un heard of due to infinitly variable speed smaller size & very very quiet compared to piston compressors.

10 years ago it was only very large, 3 phase units that used scroll compressors now they are as cheap as or cheaper than rotory and piston compressor with very low starting torque, & extreamly high motor power effiecinecy.

meanwhile we will for low voltage applications make do with the best of available technical knowhow
FollowupID: 11923

Reply By: William - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 22:00

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 22:00
There is a rating in place for fridges and the majority of imported fridges are rated. The CEN (old DIN) standard has the following ratings
Climate class N: room temperatures +16°C to +32°C
Climate class SN: room temperatures +10°C to +32°C
Climate class ST: room tempretures +14°C to +36°C
Climate class T: room temperatures +18°C to +43°C

Presently only Electrolux and Evakool have a T rating.
Some of the Electrolux 3 way fridges have the T rating but no chest type box fridge that is imported has any more than an N rating.

The only chest type fridge that has a T rating is the Evakool and suggest some of the other Australian made fridges would make the grade if they applied for certification to the standard.

All your Waeco, Vitrifrigio, Engel, Bushman, IndelB etc are only N rated. This is in chest type and upright caravan style fridges.
AnswerID: 18749

Follow Up By: joc45 - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 22:43

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 22:43
OK, sounds good, but does it reflect the efficiency of the fridge, or just what temp it bombs out at? ie, a T rated fridge at 43deg ambient might be running continuously.

The above ratings are interesting - I understood that the 3 way fridges performed much worse than most compressor fridges when the going gets hot, but the above seems to indicate differently. Engels will certainly run well at above 32deg (class N), as does my Autofridge. Perhaps we've been believing the rhetoric of mfr's advertising.

Guess you've seen the rating doco - how does it work?
FollowupID: 11706

Follow Up By: William - Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 22:55

Tuesday, Apr 29, 2003 at 22:55
Here is one of the links. I have the whole document and it covers every aspect and can only be described as comprehensive.!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&numdoc=396L0057&lg=EN

Three way fridges with modern technology over the last seven years have improved dramatically. The current Dometic/Electrolux made in Sweden models are supurb in every way. Major issue in Australia is still poor installation and always has been.
FollowupID: 11710

Follow Up By: Solar King - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 07:33

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 07:33
Engels will run above 32C but they chew battery power due to the length of time they have to run. The reason why Engel sell cover bags is to try to improve their poor insulation and stop the compressors from burning out. The failure rate of Engel is high in the tropics and people cannot afford to repair them as the parts are so expensive. Only the Australian made fridges like Explorer and Evakool have sufficient insulation and meet the required Australian standard.
FollowupID: 11725

Follow Up By: joc45 - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 09:17

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 09:17
Hi Solar King -
yeh, appreciate that the Engels have poor insulation and above 32deg they chew power, but then most fridges will consume proportionally more power as the temp gets higher. Reliability seems to have fallen off- the Engels of years ago were quite reliable, and generally only failed due to abuse ( I used them with work for over 20 years). Perhaps we were just lucky.

Re repairs of Engels, the compressor has to be the simplest compressor I've seen (one moving part), yet a replacement unit cost is astronomic compared with rotary compressors (tho 12v Danfoss don't come cheap). Engel have been making these since the late 60's - surely they have recovered development costs by now. And the electronics are certainly not rocket science.

William - thanks for that url, will follow up. Interesting to hear that the 3-ways have improved. By the same token, compressor efficiencies have improved, both on Danfoss and Engel (70's versions of Engels drew about 6A - now about 3A). Just a pity that Engel have not seen fit to increase the insulation thickness in 30 years. I personally use an Autofridge, tho an earlier R12 version.
FollowupID: 11733

Follow Up By: David N. - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 12:39

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 12:39
Strange thing these ratings, seeing my NEW Electrolux 3 way that came with my NEW 'van last year was installed correctly as per Electrolux specs and was nearly useless in hot weather. (I am not just talking about 12v either)
I guess there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Give me 12v/Danfoss anyday.
FollowupID: 11747

Follow Up By: William - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 18:45

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 18:45
David N see what the plate rating on your Dometic/Electrolux is stamped. The plate should be inside the fridge part normally on the left hand side. It should have an S SN ST or T
To be T rated it would normally be made in Sweden.
I have heard there are Dometic/Electrolux fridges being imported that are not approved to the required standards and what they call grey imports.
FollowupID: 11764

Follow Up By: David N. - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 21:46

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 21:46
I believe my Dometic was T rated- it was made in Sweeden with all appropriate documentation. I sold it at Christmas and now have a Danfoss powered 12v fridge and am much much happier with it in every respect. (the new fridge is also an extra 30 litres bigger - in the same size cutout in the van.)
FollowupID: 11792

Follow Up By: Solar King - Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 20:07

Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 20:07
David N so you are saying you have installed an inferior rated fridge. You have taken out a T rated fully Tropicalised fridge for an N rated fridge suitable to a Melbourne or Hobart climate.

A Danfoss powered suitably built and rated fridge is great, but unfortunatly besides a chest type you cannot buy in Australia a proper quality front opening correctly rated for Australian conditions a Danfoss or Sawa Fuji powered fridge. Your Waeco, Vitrifrigio, IndelB, Engel are all only rated N which is the bottom of the barrel.
FollowupID: 11862

Follow Up By: David N. - Saturday, May 03, 2003 at 22:18

Saturday, May 03, 2003 at 22:18
Your name isn't Scott by any chance is it?
Like I said lies, damned lies and statistics (ratings)!!
My Danfoss powered Vitrifrigo thrashes my ex Electrolux in every possible aspect (except it won't run on gas- who cares!)
The 130 litre Vitrifrigo was given a MAJOR workout over Christmas in disgustingly hot weather and being opened constantly by the wife and (grown up) kids.
Great Ice cream, ice cold beer etc etc. and according to my digital temp readout perfect results- under 4degrees all the time except when the door was actually open!
You can have your Electrolux- as far as I'm concerned they don't even make a good boat mooring!
Cheers ( my beer is bloody cold )
Each to his own...
FollowupID: 11975

Follow Up By: David N. - Saturday, May 03, 2003 at 22:22

Saturday, May 03, 2003 at 22:22
I also have an EVAKOOL chest fridge freezer and it's the bees knees!
I can't fault it except that it doesn't refill itself. (haven't found any brands that do YET)
FollowupID: 11977

Reply By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 04:47

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 04:47
It's probably why the Engels, Waecos and rest of them don't have ratings- MAJORITY of these type of units are used that on and off and are designed for the on/off purposes that they'll never come up with any accurate usage readings compared to the old fridge/freezer that sits in your kitchen all year round in a controlled environment. One minute the old, "Engel" will be in the vehicle in the hot sun, and the next it'll be in your a/c house or next to your lounge chair in front of the AFL grand final. If Engel or Waeco came out with 'Specs' forms you'd be printing out countless streams of sh*t relating to environmental conditions, locality and the rest of it and battery quality etc. Also, as if the companies are going to put their arse on the line by putting a usage rating on their products with so many differing factors.
I guess you would have differing views thrown at you in regards to this question. Yep, no easier than that.

But I know for a fact there's a reason why the emergency services ie. SES, Police, and etc in W.A. use Engels (most expensive for a reason)Love the bush.
AnswerID: 18780

Follow Up By: Solar King - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 07:39

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 07:39
Engels are not any better than a Waeco, Vitrifrigio or Bushman. An Engel is just a fridge with a failure rate equal to the other brands and higher in some circumstances and unaffordable to repair. The Australian made fridges like Evakool, Explorer and Trailblaza are substantially superior fridges to an Engel. Because the WA gov like paying top dollar for average quality unsuitalbe for Australian conditions and putting Australians out of a job does not make them smart state. Engel fridges are massively overpriced for average quality.
FollowupID: 11726

Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 12:28

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 12:28
I knew someone woud take the bait....blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

HaHaLove the bush.
FollowupID: 11745

Follow Up By: Solar King - Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 20:10

Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 20:10
Chris (W.A.) the reason why the fridges that do not have ratings is because they are not able to be rated. Reason they do not even come up to the basic N standard. You cannot sell a product in Europe that is not CE or CEN rated. Should be the same in Australia but then anybody can dump any rubbish here into the market and there are more than sufficient suckers as you demonstrate to buy unrated product.
FollowupID: 11863

Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 23:31

Thursday, May 01, 2003 at 23:31
I'll admit that the comment about being the most expensive was a tad snobbish but I chose the Engel because of the many good reports I've had about them. Hell of alot more than negative ones. I've seen 20+ year old ones with the most outrageous dings in them and still working. Most people with car fridges I know own engels so you can't blame me, the sucker, for buying one.
I never specifically stated the other makes were of poor quality. My mate has a Waeco and he never complains about it. I'm sure that if the absence of that CE or CEN rating thing was a major issue none of the major shops ie ARB, Opposite Lock, Ranger Camping etc would sell them.
If there is an issue about 'patriotism' with sticking to ozzie made products then why should they conform to European standards - what makes them so good. After all we have australian standards, why not stick to them. Europeans would'nt have a clue about harsh australian outback conditions. If I remember correctly the Engel is of German design? The germans are well known for their ingenuity and quality workmanship - maybe engels are that well designed they can put up with any conditions. If it's not German then I stand corrected. Apart from that, I'm going to get a beer out of my top notch, good quality, non CE rated, overpriced Engel.
FollowupID: 11883

Follow Up By: William - Friday, May 02, 2003 at 07:46

Friday, May 02, 2003 at 07:46
Chris WA Engel are made by the nightmare auto electrical manufacturer of Japan Sawafuji. Engel have never seen or been close to any German expertise.
Chris you are ignorant of standards and Australia does not have standards for many things and Australia then defaults to the CEN standards. Of course the European standards know all about Australian conditions. What the hell do you think is so special about Australia compared to other parts of the world with the same climatic conditions. You can see 20 year old anythings but that does not make them good or quality. Some things will always survive, but consider all the ones that have failed along the way.
FollowupID: 11889

Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Friday, May 02, 2003 at 13:35

Friday, May 02, 2003 at 13:35
....and another beer. Of course European autobahns are exactly the same as the Canning Stock Route, deserts of south africa etc. Obviously all your appliances in your vehicle, house etc are australian made and don't contain one japanese component. Long live Engel.Love the bush.
FollowupID: 11911

Follow Up By: Old Jack - Sunday, May 04, 2003 at 21:18

Sunday, May 04, 2003 at 21:18
To all who read this far, I hope you get to the point that a star rating on your home fridge is a "guide" to It's efficiency, the manufactures can produce a graph tha gives its performance at any ambient temperature that would be simple to view rather than a list of figures.
there is NO reason a "guide" for your portable fridge not being available other than being manufacturer being slack & not required by legisaltion like your house hold appliance
(by the way under 3 starts is "illegal" to be sold in Europe as it's to in efficient for a domestic appliance!good one for the greens)

The people talking about CE rating, this has nothing really to do with effiency, actually electrical interferance & compliance. most of the Australian fridges don't have compliance to CE and probably the C tick as well

As for europe, some parts have conditions that are as harsh as Australia for wet weather, cold & heat. go to parts of the former USSR, they get +50c in summer & minus 40 in winter (no wonder they love large
women & vodka)
a lot of stuff from europe goes into africa, it's bigger & more Extream than anything we have here. Australian product are exported to africa, Explorer & trail blazer fridges end up in africa for W.H.O we sell a few car to them as well.

if Australia was actaully really really good at making things we would do better as a county, we are unfortunantly classes as a second rate nation on a world stage, Austria & sweden make more cars in month than OZ in a year if our gear is so good then why don't we see our cars on American TV shows, why are we buying imported 4WD's?

you all love your NP's & TL's etc. pitty we never made a Good 4wd in Oz, we invented the ute(sort of), the black box flight recorder, remote control planes, the magnatron( Microwave oven& hi frequency radar), made vapour compression refrigeration a commercail reality, now we Don't even make refrigration compressors in Australia anymore.

as said before this wasnt about bagging any manufacture, actually all of them make reasonable equipment (some of it more reasonable than others), otherwise they would have been out of buisness years ago.

pitty you cant compare them properly as a consumer. a fridge is a fridge is a fridge. A waco, engle & an evakool portable refrigerator, all do the same thing.
They should be able to be compared by any reasonable consumer just like a Westinghouse, fisher&Paykel & General electric fridge.

FollowupID: 12019

Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 02:08

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 02:08
I agree with you Jack.
In regards to climate differences in different countries I wasn't specifically referring to temperature alone but the corrugations, ruts, dunes, dust, bumps & bangs (and whatever else that can transmit shock to the fridge) you get on tracks in Oz ie. CSR which is supposedly the most challenging/longest/ isolated track in the world - and is longer in distance than then a lot of countries.Australia would have more of the above than any other country. To other readers, there may be similar tracks in Europe (none that I know of) but 'alot' less to those compared to the above mentioned locations.
You've explained your point as clear as day re ratings, you seem to know more about it than anyone.
I guess after that load of crap I should've just posted a subject re "What's the harshest country for 4x4s with combined conditions of all types in the world?"
FollowupID: 12029

Follow Up By: Old Jack - Monday, May 05, 2003 at 11:53

Monday, May 05, 2003 at 11:53
Chris, the point being that Australia isnt the only place on earth with extream conditions, with a population of 20million this is as you pointed out a country with many remote locations, there are probably few readers here that has spent time overseas to get a comparison, we certainly don't own the patent on corragations or Deserts.
The OLd USSR probably would win for most extream conditions & remote places like most people we like to think we have the biggest & greatest.
One thing we can be proud of is we have all the most toxic snakes & spider on the planet! let alone the sea life :)

I would welcome readers to take a look at a map of northern africa, there is a little belt across it thay you could lay Western Australia across it with room to move it around that is all desert, most of it sand, people live in it unlike here! Most of these places dont have formed roads either like most of OZ. probably why a lot of them still use camels!

a friend lived in South africa for 10 year & worked in most parts of north africa while he was there, Sudan & ethiopa he rated as diadolical. he said though doing the simpson desert was a geat holiday after driving up & down the midle of Africa, at least you could trust the locals & everyone spoke the same language, he couldn't wait to finish his last contract to get back home In Oz

If you want to see something getting shaken take a look at the strain a space launch puts on things!
FollowupID: 12042

Reply By: haze - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 15:26

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 15:26
Old Jack, I think you are right on the money with this one. And if an organisation such as Choice could be persuaded to take it up I am sure some some very objective results would be obtained. Unfortunately we have to rely so much on O/R magazine assessment which is usually so subjective as to be worthless. As so many people in other threads have observed, the refridgerating unit is simply a heat pump, and the more heat you want to get rid of the more energy is required. Efficiency of the insulation is a large part of the equation, but you cant keep chucking hot cans of VB in and expect the battery to last 3 days! For my money a larger volume fridge is superior to a small one, min. 75mm. insulation and certainly a rotary compressor.
Perhaps blah blah blah could have something interesting to say!!!
cheers, haze
AnswerID: 18825

Follow Up By: wherethefugawi - Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 17:46

Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 at 17:46
Refrigeration equipment are not heat pumps. Heat pumps are designed to operate at higher condensing pressures and are designed for heating,

However, all that refrigeration equipment do is shift heat from one area to another be it by heat pump or refrigeration....

FollowupID: 11759

Follow Up By: Member - Chris (W.A.) - Saturday, May 03, 2003 at 14:04

Saturday, May 03, 2003 at 14:04
Yeah, he's right. That's pretty damn interesting.

CheersLove the bush.
FollowupID: 11958

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