Upright Compressor fridges

Submitted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 22:04
ThreadID: 78455 Views:9599 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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We are in the process of ordering a new van. We are considering going for a upright compressor fridge instead of the 3 way.

Key reason is for better cooling in hot conditions. Looking at 120 - 150 litre

I have noted waeco models use BD50 compressor as per 80 litre non upright models.

In real life are these compressor model better than the 3 ways. Do they have good insulation to to keep power consumption similar to the 80 litre model.

Is noise from compressor intrusive??
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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 22:19

Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 22:19
Personally i would go with the compressor fridge. More efficient and safer. With our previous old caravan, we removed the three way and put in a 12/240 compressor fridge and used an 80 w solar panel as a portable when we stopped. It was an Engel (they don't seem to make uprights any more), and i could hear it at night. We were bush camping and rarely on mains power and it worked well.

Our present van has a Vitrifrigo (Danfoss compressor same as Waeco use), and you can't hear it working at all.

Even when we had a gas only fridge in a van, we would not light it.

Is the model you are considering one or two door? Our present Vitrifrigo fridge and the Engel in the previous camper both have an internal freezer box. We had no choice due to size of the model and where is has to fit. It is not a good substitute for a freezer and it is flimsy. If you possibly can, get the smallest model that has a separate door freezer.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 15:05

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 15:05
Yep, Totally agree with all of the above, although our vitrifrigo did vibrate a bit at night.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 18:02

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 18:02
We've had two Vitrifrigo. The first was silent apart from the occasional faint gurgle of gas moving - only audible in the quiet of the night if you listened for it. That was the only way to know it was going. We had a fatality with that fridge; i filled the freezer box too full then we went on 300 kms of corrugations. One screw holding the freezer box in place severed and a gas line broke. The replacement fridge was the same to fit in the space as it is the remote compressor model. I can sometimes hear it working at night, but generally the only way to check is to feel the box where the compressor is housed for slight vibration. The new model has two screws holding the freezer box, but they keep coming out. I recommend getting a two door model which we could not do. I don't put much in the freezer section at all now and use a 30 litre Engel under the bed as a freezer.

Mh
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Reply By: Member - neville G (QLD) - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 06:45

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 06:45
Hi Wombat,
We had a three way fridge in our Phoenix and it was hopeless in the tropics. Replaced it with a Vitrifrigo, 150lt. two door, fitted three 130w. solar panels and have cold beer no matter what the outside temp. is.
Cheers, Nev.
AnswerID: 416621

Reply By: Mikee5 (Logan QLD) - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 08:05

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 08:05
A second vote for the Vitrifrigo, they also use the Danfoss compressor. Ours is a 120 litre 2 door unit. Make sure you ask about the Tropical rated model, they are more suited to our climate.
AnswerID: 416626

Follow Up By: Mikee5 (Logan QLD) - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 08:07

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 08:07
Forgot to add you can't hear the motor, only the fan which cools the evaporator - this is a small computer type fan to give you an idea of its noise.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry (NT) - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:55

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:55
agree with Mikee5 comments 100%, we have 120l 2 door and this suits the 2 of us very well.

No problems at all in 3 years and had 11 days over 36C with some to 44 last summer. It runs a bit longer but no problems.

Have used large 3 way camping years ago and would never (personal opinion only) use in van. Friends need 9kg of gas every 2-3 weeks for theirs and cost ranges from $32 to over $40 recently in QLD.

So work out the cost of solar (you will probably have it anyway) versus say $60 per month for gas for fridge (not counting cooking here) = $720 av per year.

If you look at return on investment (solar) over 5 years @ say $720 per year for gas = $3,600. Coupled with advantages of 12V (with 240 transformer when on 240V) you just forget the fridge just like home and only need to defrost as required.

If you are planning solar for van anyway it's a no brainer IMHO.

Hope this helps.
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Follow Up By: Member - Barry (NT) - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:57

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:57
ah our fridge is 150L not 120L as as above (another one of those days)
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 08:13

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 08:13
In the size fridge you are looking at Dometic do a "T" rated 3 way. They are brilliant. I have seen one hold 0 degrees in the fridge section on a day of 43.

Jim.

AnswerID: 416629

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 09:46

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 09:46
We have a 150L Virifrigo 2 door - seems an overall winner to date. Freezer section is top shelf - we have ordered a small battery powered fan that sits inside the fridge section - it is free standing - can be placed anywhere - helps to avoid warm/cold spots in there - ours did struggle a bit while mobile on the Nullabor at 43C but any fridge would I think. I would buy one again.
Re the 3 ways - as mentioned, there are devotees who swear that properly installed T rated models will handle the worst hot weather - many are not properly installed, and that may be where the poor reputation in hot weather has come from. I had to pick one - even though an extra s panel and a battery was required, the compressor won.
AnswerID: 416641

Reply By: Neil & Pauline - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:49

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:49
I have a 220l Waeco and have put insulation batts around between fridge and paneling. Makes a lot of difference to the efficiency. Had no trouble keeping cool before but reduced the power use by around 20% with the extra insulation.
Actually what i did was fix the batts to the paneling and put sisal insulation over that so that I had a surface to slide the fridge into place. Stuck it all place with duct tape.
Without the sisal was too difficult to get the fridge into place. The fridge is quite a tight fit.

Neil
AnswerID: 416657

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 15:22

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 15:22
We installed a 130L Victrofrigo with a remote compressor. That means there is no issue putting an extra 50mm of insulation all around the cabinet to reduce the power consumption.
It is also totally sealed within the vehicle - no external vent to let the dust in. You can NOT do that with a gas fridge.
Only way to go, provided you also have power to run it.

Cheers,
Peter
AnswerID: 416668

Reply By: hazo - Friday, May 14, 2010 at 16:07

Friday, May 14, 2010 at 16:07
Hi
We gave up on 3 way fridges after having tried 3 of them in our previous caravans!
We now have a Waeco HDC 190ltr 2 door in our current van, and it just "works" as a fridge /freezer should, no levelling, no gas fumes, it just does the job effortlessly and quietly.

Could never go back to the old (or new) 3 way !

Yes you do need the battery capacity to power it, if, off road over night, but we have full solar so no worries there.
AnswerID: 416676

Reply By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 06:58

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 06:58
Hi Wombat,
Heres my personal experience with both types.

Contrary to most people on here we replaced the waeco 2 door 190 litre fridge/freezer which came with the van new because of its power consumption. We did have 2 x 64 watt solar panels and 2 x 100ah batteries but that was not enough for more than a couple of nights off road. the fridge made lots of noise as the battery level dropped, kept us awake, and we had to buy a gennie to charge the batteries and keep it running.

We had a a Dometic 3 way 184 litre 2 door installed as soon as we returned home which runs beautifully on all three power sourses but as yet havent tested it in the tropics. The temp inside is around zero in fridge cavity at all times. It is just the same as having our big domestic fridge/freezer at home.

We have had a wire put directly from car to fridge to use when travelling.
We use a 9kg gas bottle every 11 or 12 days (anywhere from $22 to $38 to refill or swap, depending where we are) but do use the gas oven, hot water and cooktop quite a lot too. For us it is perfect as we have freedom as to where we can stay now, but it may not suit you.

Which ever way you go, ensure that there is adequate insulation around the fridge and it is installed correctly as the person who did ours did a hopeless job despite being an authorised Dometic agent. We only discovered this recently when I asked our local RV repair place to check it because the cupboard next to it got hot. Have yet to follow this up with the person involved and Dometic.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Heather G
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 08:11

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 08:11
Heather,
I would suggest the reason your 2 x 64 Watt Unisolar panels did not maintain the 2 x 100ah battery system with the waeco 2 door 190 litre fridge/freezer is they are much too low a capacity for the job required of them?

But then you suggest it did maintain the "Dometic 3 way 184 litre fridge" which I'm sure would have a power draw much higher than a waeco 2 door 190 litre fridge/freezer ?

Maybe someone modified the solar system too ?

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Member - Heather G (NSW) - Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 13:47

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 13:47
Hi Mainey,

it maintains the dometic on 12 v because we have a direct heavy wire through from the car - and only had this done recently - can't believe the difference it has made. When we pull up for the night even when we have travelled for up to 7 hrs the fridge is still as cold as when we left, despite us opening it for lunch etc long the way.

We only use it on 12 v when we are travelling as I am aware they use more power than the compressor types. It runs really well on gas and 240v too and we always use it on gas when staying unpowered. So long as we can get gas refilled we have enough for three weeks with 2 x 9kg bottles.

Solar system is adequate for all our other needs and hasnt been modified- have stayed on one place for 15 days with some cloud and little rain, and batteries still showing 13.8 or higher each day.

I am only speaking from our experience and not trying to influence wombat one way or the other. If he has plenty of solar and battery then he wouldnt have a problem with the compressor.

Cheers,

Heather
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. John Muir

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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 15:23

Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 15:23
Heather,
Here’s me thinking solar was powering the fridge (misinterpreted your post, hence my statement)

You’ve clarified it:
"it maintains the Dometic on 12 v because we have a direct heavy wire through from the car - and only had this done recently - can't believe the difference it has made"
"We only use it on 12v when we are traveling as I am aware they use more power than the compressor types"

Yes, most people won’t spend the extra money it costs to use correctly sized cable and then complain they can’t get full power from “A” through to “B” with-out any voltage drop.

Maîneÿ . . .
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