Chescold's Freezer Fridges

Submitted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2002 at 01:00
ThreadID: 699 Views:3786 Replies:6 FollowUps:8
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I know the Finch fridge is lousy in very hot weather esp on 12volts but has anyone got any comments on the model with a freezer - (Explorer). I generally go camping bush camping for 3 nights etc but have a 8 week touring trip up through Alice in April and although an Engel would be perfect for this trip, I have reservations if I'll ever use it when I go bush esp if I don't spend another $800 on a dual battery set up.
Comments please.
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Reply By: Brian Noyes - Wednesday, Jan 30, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2002 at 01:00
Adrian :- I have a Chescold Fridge/Freezer (Explorer) and would not swap it for the world. I have travelled over a lot of Australia since buying it three years ago. Have not tried it on 12 volt but am about to start and have been told it will work OK but not to its full capacity but enough to keep the beer cold while you are travelling. (And the food as well if there is enough room). Just plug in to the cigarette lighter holder but ONLY RUN IT WHILE THE MOTOR IS RUNNING or you will quickly have a flat battery. I have a VS Commodore Station Wagon and I have been in some hairy places with it. Some I would say some 4WDer's would not go but where is their spirit of adventure. It works fantastic on gas, in fact you have to turn it right down as it will freeze very easily. Also works wonders on 240volt. I know the Engel is great but they don't make one that runs on gas and I bush camp a lot and a bottle of LPG is a bloody lot cheaper than dual 12 volt batteries, etc.
A little trick I have just learnt about the Chescold. It has no working parts and mine stopped getting cold all of a sudden and I thought here goes, expensive repairs coming up. A local repairman said to me just turn it upside down for 24 hours and then stand it back up and turn it on. Hey presto it worked again. He said those type of Chescold fridges need turning upside down before you are going to use them to circulate the gas in the pipes inside them. A nice cheap way to ensure you fridge works every time you go camping.
Enjoy your trip as we have a great country and I hope to travel plenty more of it over coming years.
AnswerID: 1881

Follow Up By: Adrian - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002 at 01:00
thanks- you motivated me to buy one on the weekend so together with the other advice, I'm looking forward to ice beer!
FollowupID: 676

Reply By: Mal Try - Thursday, Jan 31, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Jan 31, 2002 at 01:00
To get the best out of a Chescold running on 12 volts (or Engel for that matter,I have both)you need to run a set of heavy (3-4mm diameter)wires directly from the battery to the fridge with a fuse (20amps) and a heavy duty isolation switch in the positive line. Use heavy duty plugs or connectors. Get rid of the cigarette lighter plugs. The test for any wireing is:if it gets warm it is too small and you are looseing energy to heat the wire, switch or connector, or there is something else wrong. An auto electrician could easily set it up for you if you cant yourself and going up to the next size wire will add very little extra cost. The chescold will flatten your battery much faster than an Engel.
See you in the scrub and the mud!!
AnswerID: 1894

Follow Up By: Grant - Thursday, Jan 31, 2002 at 01:00

Thursday, Jan 31, 2002 at 01:00
Adrian, I agree 100% with Mal. Do as the instructions say as regards wiring. DO NOT use the cig. lighter. Doing the wiring is a cinch. We have the Explorer 400 and love it. You cannot hear it working which is a little disconcerting. We fitted a switch (h/duty) just by the steering wheel so we can switch it off if we feel we may be away for a length of time. Somewhere visible so you remember. Enjoy!!
FollowupID: 641

Follow Up By: Adrian - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002 at 01:00
thanks - picked one up on the weekend.
FollowupID: 677

Reply By: Colin Johnson - Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00
I think you have all the answers - I have a 20 Y O 3 way Sadec - I have done all the above plus fitted a 12v computer fan and covered frig with self adhesive foil from Clark Rubber - it now frosts up the element on 12v
AnswerID: 1920

Follow Up By: Grant Taylor - Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00
G'day Colin, did you fit the computer fan on/in the frigde, or do you just circulate the air past it? Cheers, Grant.
FollowupID: 649

Follow Up By: Colin - Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00
I mounted the fan against the condensor inside the back cover, so it increases the air circulation - the combination of the fan, extra reflective insulation, heavy wire direct from battery and a "proper" plug have transformed the frig on 12v. I did a 3 week trip down the CSR(well 17 to well 5)last Oct in my '91 Subaru, the frig and car performed terrific. My battery would handle about 2.5 hrs without the engine! The other 2 Subarus had Engels and solar panels, one was run colder to keep the vacumn packed meat. All veges/fruit were stored wrapped in banana boxes.
FollowupID: 650

Follow Up By: Grant - Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00

Friday, Feb 01, 2002 at 01:00
Thanks Colin, too easy! I'm impressed with your Subaru feats. Never been on the CSR but by all accounts it's a toughie. Happy trails.
FollowupID: 651

Reply By: Ray - Saturday, Feb 02, 2002 at 01:00

Saturday, Feb 02, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Adrian,

I use an engel but it's been a costly exercise, I know all the pro's and con's for 12v verse gas but you've hit it in one with the extra cost associated with 12v fridges. Not only is it the dual battery but solar pannels, gen sets etc etc. Though now I've got it I'll never go back, won't be allowed. I have a mate that has travelled to most of the places I have both outback and Cape Melville, he has also spent plenty of time on the Gulf. He has a gas freezer (not fridge)and swears by it. I know that in all the places I've been with him even when it's hot and humid it still freezes only on gas though. The others in our group that had gas fridges suffered badly, inside the fridge was hotter than out. The only draw back is that the shape of the opening is poor and it's a pig on 12v, one day and a very large battery is on it's knees, so stops to go for sight seeing is a bit of problem. He also has to lift it out of the 4x4 every night to set it up on gas. I can't remember the brand I think it's one of the only gas freezer brands made, it's made of blown green plastic and the lid on the top is only small and volume wise it's quite small I think about 30 something litres.

AnswerID: 1923

Follow Up By: Adrian - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2002 at 01:00
thanks Ray - as mentioned above, I bought one so no more thinking!.
FollowupID: 678

Reply By: Drew - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2002 at 01:00
I also have 2 x Chescold fridges. A good idea is to make sure you buy an insulation cover. It makes a hell of a difference and is available from for about 80 bucks
AnswerID: 2066

Follow Up By: Adrian - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2002 at 01:00

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2002 at 01:00
Thanks Drew - did you find the covers improved performance whilst in the car or both car & outside, and have you the fridge freezer model or fridge only. I was hoping the freezer model would have enough grunt not to need the insulation?
FollowupID: 718

Reply By: Drew - Wednesday, Feb 13, 2002 at 01:00

Wednesday, Feb 13, 2002 at 01:00
Hi Adrian
I have 2 Chescold fridge units, the larger (55) has been best used withan insulation cover and I leave it on all the time. When run on gas, the fridge unit will freeze the contents overnight if you are not careful and I typically need to turn it down unless the weather is extremely hot or the kids keep getting in it. I run both units on 12 volt when travelling (1 in car and 1 in camper) and they seem to operate fine.
AnswerID: 2084

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