Thermoelectric portable fridges

We have a fridge in the caravan but would like additional refrigerated space for fruit and vegetables. I recently read the excellent article "Portable Fridges" by Mike Ricter and would like more information about the thermoelectric versions. They evidently have less cooling capacity than other systems, but may be adequate for fruit and veg. The article suggests that in hot weather (40+) they may not get below 20".
Has anyone out there used a thermoelectric fridge or can provide me with info?
Thank you,
Ines Parker, Adelaide.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:25

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:25
No idea Ines, as we have 30 and 40 litre Engels, so one can stay in the car for lunches and drinks, and the other under the bed - last trip used for fruit and veg and storing additional milk. I plan to use this as a freezer next time.

What size is your caravan fridge and what size freezer? If you are looking for a cheaper way to keep veges cool, and you have enough freezer space to freeze a two or three litre juice bottle of water, just get an esky, and put and exchange the bottle with one from the freezer each morning.

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Follow Up By: ines - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:04

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:04
Thanks Mother Hen,
I am considering the Esky option but our caravan fridge is only 100L with a small freezer - no room for anything else if we are freezing ice continuously.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 22:36

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 22:36
You may be better to get a second hand Engel then Ines. They are usually readily available on the second hand market, although they may not be as power efficient as the modern ones. We got our 40 litre one second hand, and it is of a similar age to our 30 litre which we have had for a long time. They seem to last forever.

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Reply By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:30

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:30
They are very heavy on batteries (about 6 amps continuous),my Waeco 32ltr will get to 0deg on a good day and works easier with a ice block as well. They do work well with a 240v adapter. B
AnswerID: 353252

Follow Up By: ines - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:10

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:10
Thanks for that info. Can you run it off the car battery while travelling?The Waeco 32ltr is what I am considering. Would you recommend that for my purpose? I haven't checked any prices but presume the thermoelectric fridges would be less expensive than compression or absorption.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barnray (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:48

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:48
Yes but better on a second battery,(make sure you disconnect it if you are staying put for a couple of hrs if you only have your start battery) the tropicool in the 32ltr is rated to go to 30deg below ambient temp. Be warned they do use battery's. Use a 240v adapter to bring it down to temp before loading and for overnight stops. B
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FollowupID: 621421

Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:58

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 16:58
I had something like that years ago and it didn't last long...but I was using it to keep the drinks cold and it just didn't work and it was very thirsty and drew allot of power
AnswerID: 353255

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:32

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 17:32
I have a ~10 litre thermo-electric for keeping cold cans cold. I use my Engels to cool the cans but, as its behind a cargo barrier, cannot access it while driving. The thermo-electric only runs when the vehicle motor is on as the power draw is too high IMHO to leave on all the time.

I reckon its easier to use than an esky and ice blocks when all I want to do is have a few cold things available while driving (car air-con keeps vehicle at ~25C). But if you want to cool and store things then perhaps you would be better off with an Engels (or equivalent).

Cheers

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AnswerID: 353261

Reply By: toyocrusa - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 20:24

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 20:24
Hi ines.I have the 32ltre Waeco as well and find it very good all round,especially when travelling. I did forget to turn it off one night and it flattened an 04 Prado V6 battery overnight. I have since fitted a low voltage cut out plug to aviod any more flat batteries. Something like this on eBay. Item number: 390035684332 Regards,Bob.
AnswerID: 353289

Reply By: Boobook2 - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 20:48

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 20:48
I have tried many Thermo electric coolers and nbeen really dissapointed.

However I recently got one of these Waeco Soft body cooler as a shopping bag and was pleasently surprised. It performs quite well as Peltier devices go, and it is easy to place in the back seat around other stuff. In my case it sits on the floor snugly. At about $110 it is not a bad price. OF course it is no substitute for a fridge but its a great in vehicle cooler. It even gets stuff cool whcih is a feat no other thermo has achieved properly.
AnswerID: 353295

Reply By: Rockape - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 21:06

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 21:06
Pulled fridge pans around the traps one or twice, 5 degrees is around the mark for keeping fruit and veg.

Everything willl keep for awhile, you just have to work it out.

Green tomatos/spuds/carrots/freeze dryed peas and beans

AnswerID: 353297

Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 21:23

Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 21:23
As others have said , very heavy on power , 6 to 12 amp draw constantly , waste of time trying to cool /chill ,best use is only put already cold items in , best systems still only manage 20/30c below ambient so useless in summer unless your from the old dart and like warm beer ,,, better off with a decent esky and make your own ice in the fridge you already have , ,,, Waeco now make a good esky or a Evercool / Bailey,s ect if cannot justify cost of another compressor type fridge.
AnswerID: 353302

Reply By: HappyCamper - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 11:06

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 11:06
G'day Ines

While I agree these fridges are power hungry the one I have will freeze everything, so on a long trip I turn it off overnight and wrap a blanket over it for insulation and the contents are still frozen in the morning. Frozen OJ for brekkie is great in the summer but I've had strange looks when I've warmed (melted) it on the fire for breakfast!! LOL Frozen milk on weetbix is not much chop either!

Sorry, don't know the brand, think it was a no-name but I've had it for around 25 years and it's still going strong...rotten thing will cark it now I've said that! Originally it was bought to keep lunches/drinks cool in the boat and since then it's done lots of camping trips all over the country. I've also got an AC pack which makes it even more usable but I would buy another one in a heartbeat. BTW, I also have an Engel which is used as a freezer and the thermo as daily fridge as well as the fridge/freezer in the van, so plenty of options.

Hope this helps?
Bronwyn ;-)

AnswerID: 353387

Reply By: muzzgit - Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 23:51

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 23:51
Don't do it. An esky with ice packs or even a soft sided chiller bag or maybe a small compressor fridge would be my favoured options.

I had one of these thermo thingies. Flattened my aux battery way too many times.

Even if we put frozen stuff in it. They would stay frozen a day or two then slowly defrost and be warmish after 3 days. YUK
AnswerID: 353523

Follow Up By: ines - Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 09:44

Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 09:44
Thanks to everyone who responded - it has been an interesting research project!. Yesterday I bought a Gasmate 3 way absorption fridge from Repco, for $329. We like to camp in National Parks, so the gas option is important. Here's hoping I've made a good choice!!??
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FollowupID: 621692

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