Battery Current Saver (BCS) from VGR Electrics

Submitted: Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 16:22
ThreadID: 54603 Views:2830 Replies:2 FollowUps:13
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Has anyone used or had experience with the Battery Current Saver (BCS) device offered by VGR Electronics in vic. I like the idea for those hot days when the fridge seems to be cycling continuously, just curious if anyone has one
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Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 16:44

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 16:44
To keep a given mass, in a fridge, at x degrees below ambient for a given length of time requires a given amount of energy - end of story.

It doesn't matter how you play around with the control system - this device controls via time rather than temperature (a strange thing to do with a fridge) you _cannot_ overturn the laws of physics.

I suggest you hang on to your cash.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 287644

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:17

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:17
Mike, for once I have to give you some good advice. I have a BCS unit controlling our 80 ltr Waeco. Without it connected we get 1 day out of the battery in hotish conditions but with it in line we get a full 2 days. The reason being that the startup of the fridge uses much more energy than just running so by limiting the starts per hour you extend battery life. Sure, the fridge temperature might cycle though a wider range but who cares if the beer is 3 degrees or 5 degrees. The freezer stays frozen due to the mass of cold stuff.
I have the fridge running normally (without BCS) while driving but connect the BCS when stopped over night.
Believe me it works and works well.
Ian Hocking
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FollowupID: 552911

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:33

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:33
Hi Ian

>The reason being that the startup of the fridge uses much more
>energy than just running so by limiting the starts per hour you
>extend battery life

A normal induction motor will certainly have a high startup current compared to its running current however with the light load of a fridge compressor that will be for a very short period of time hence the _overall_ energy used will be small, additionally I understand Engels use a "swing motor" which doesn't incur high startup currents.

As for fridge temperature; the VGR website quotes a high of 8C - I believe it is essential to keep food at 4C or better to avoid rapid bacteria growth.

A quick Google also reveals this post from four years ago:
Link to Ex Oz post

If you're happy with beer at 6C or 7C and don't keep food in the fridge then just turn the fridge thermostat up a bit.

Additionally a time based controller cannot take into account changes in the system load ie. putting warm stuff into the fridge, unless you constantly attempt to manually adjust it - the standard fridge thermostat will do that for you.

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 552912

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:47

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 17:47
Mike, I understand all that but the BCS does extend the battery life and that is a fact. It is also a fact that fridge temp is not as constant as it would be without the BCS but it certainly stays around the 4 deg if you set the timer to run correctly which takes a bit of practice.
The timer gives the option to have one startup in each 45 min period and will run for how ever long you set the timer but I find about 7 min in 45 will keep everything at about 4 degrees. Mind you we don't have kids onto the fridge every ten minutes.
I feel you still won't believe it but TRUST ME, it does work.
Looking forward to your words of wisdom on all other things electrical.
Ian Hocking
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FollowupID: 552913

Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 21:18

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 21:18
I'm sure a BCS unit will save power as it is keeping the fridge warmer than the standard thermostat would ever let it get simply meaning for a considerable period of time the fridge isn't running.
As you say Mike fine for some drinks but for milk or meat I wouldn't feel confident that it's being kept fresh. The only fridge I would see this unit being compatible with is the Autofridge that has Eutectic fluid to maintain the temp below 4 degrees over long periods with the compressor turned off.
Cheers Craig..............
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Follow Up By: Richard Kovac - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:13

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:13
Ian

I have had and run one for about 8 years now and agree they work, and it is much easer to manage the ruining of the fridge.

food spoil not so far..

Cheers

Richard
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FollowupID: 552941

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:42

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 22:42
Thank you Richard.
It seems hard to convince those who DON'T have one that they work. I used ours for 3 weeks on the cape last year and no one got sick. Funny that.
Crackles, It doesn't "keep the food warmer", it just cycles between 3 & 5 degrees instead of 3 & 3.5 degrees for twice as long before the battery suffers but anyway if you don't have one and haven't used one how could you know?
It could not care less whether you use one or not. I was just trying ti help.
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Follow Up By: Crackles - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 23:01

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 23:01
Ian you said it yourself, without the unit the fridge gets up to a maximum of 3.5 degrees. With the BCS it gets to 5 degrees & according to the VGR website as high as 8. Is that not warmer? You've convinced me it saves power, no argument there! I may not have one but it's the same principle my Autofridge works on of which many owners use timers to minimise cycling.
Cheers Craig..............
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FollowupID: 552958

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 07:50

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 07:50
Crackles, if you want it to remain colder just run the fridge for longer in the 45 min window, say 12 min in 45 then it will but I find on a typical day that about 7 min is enough. Any way, I tried to help but can do no more. Whether you like it or not it works.
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FollowupID: 552990

Follow Up By: Gronk - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:44

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:44
Of course it works but..........I like my beer cold !!!!!! No more than approx 2 degs...

Camping doesn't have to be a compromise ??? you can have your cake and eat it too !!!!! Bigger batteries !!!!!!!

But if thats all you can afford, then thats OK as well....

I used to struggle with cycling the beers thru a 3 way fridge before seeing the light and getting a Waeco, but can understand peoples reluctance to spend money on a system that works !!
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:55

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 08:55
Of course you will save power if you keep your food and drink at a warmer temperature, but -

1. I don't want to risk my food going off by storing it at a higher temperature.

2. I could achieve the same result by turining up the fridge thermostat - without wasting money - without reducing system reliability by adding another device in series.



There are better ways to save power - putting a towel or blanket around the fridge will recuce power significantly.
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FollowupID: 553003

Follow Up By: Member - Ian H (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:12

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:12
I'm sorry I tried to help with advice gained from experience but there is no helping those with closed minds.
I'll say it again........IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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FollowupID: 553005

Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:32

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:32
It's sad to see people who can't stand opinions contrary to their own being expressed, without falling back on emotional statements, rather than sticking to the issue being discussed.
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FollowupID: 553009

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:54

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:54
Ah Ian… don’t be grumpy with us :)

We’re not having a go at you but simply trying, perhaps poorly, to explain what is going on.

When you use this device to control your fridge you observe the fridge uses less energy from the battery in a given time – I accept that as correct. The reason it does so is that the fridge is getting warmer that it would if the thermostat were controlling it. You could achieve the same result by turning the thermostat up a couple of degrees.

Consider another scenario: it’s been a 30C day and your fridge has been cycling for 10 minutes per hour (or whatever) and maintaining a temperature around 5C. Night comes along and the ambient temperature drops to 10C – unless you reduce the 10 minute per hour cycle to, maybe, 3 minutes your fridge temperature will fall to well below freezing because you are now putting too much energy into it. In reality what probably happens is that the thermostat cuts in and try’s its best to do its job.

By using this device you turn a “closed loop control system” into an “open loop control system” and you must regularly adjust it to maintain optimum efficiency.
Have a look at this link:
Open loop control

Mike Harding
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FollowupID: 553014

Reply By: Racey - Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:50

Saturday, Feb 16, 2008 at 09:50
Well what an interesting debate to observe. Mike Harding hit the nail on the head in the first post. There is no free lunch. What I find interesting is despite all of the sound technical arguments, there is still the claim "it works, but it does work". The bottom line is, it saves battery capacity by efectively having a higher temperature in the frig. Me thinks money could be saved by simply changing the thermostat a couple of degrees - that is if you don't mind your beer being a few degrees warmer. The whole thing is a total waste of time and money.
AnswerID: 287749

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