ARB fridge - should I buy?

Hi all, I am trying to decide whether to purchase a new ARB 47l fridge or the proven Engel 40l. Can anyone tell me whether you can have both the 240 and 12v connected at the same time for the ARB fridge and if the fridge will automatically use the 240v when it is present and if it is not it automatically flicks to 12v (i.e. when the genset runs out of fuel)? I know the engels do this. I normally connect the fridge up to my Honda EU2 generator via 240v and also have a 12v battery connected to the fridge with a 240v battery charger. I thought this would be the best way for the battery charger to work if I did not have a fridge drawing power from the battery constantly. Is this is best setup or should I simply connect the fridge to a battery and have a battery charger (from the generator) connected to the battery?

To the people who own an ARB fridge how does it perform? Any issues? Would you buy one again?
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Reply By: wizelvis - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:22

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:22
hi Jd

i bought an ARB fridge last august, i didn't think i really wanted a fridge but was talked into it by friends. now there is no going back. i have never had any others to compare but i am wrapped. i plugged it in the day i got home in the back of the car and it has been running ever since. yes it does let you have 12 and 240 connected at the same time and changes over automatically.

on a trip to Ayers Rock last year it seemed our fridge was running a lot more efficiently than our travelling companions but one had a massive Waeco and the other had two older engels.

As i said im totally wrapped, the only real issue is size, but we are planning to buy another to run as a freezer for the next big trp !!

Peter Carr
AnswerID: 418706

Follow Up By: jd2010 - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:34

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:34
Hi Peter, thanks for the reply. Great to hear the fridge has performed well for you.

I currently have a old waeco FF90 fridge which has done a few big trips and it very disappointing as it has never ran off a battery if it is less that 13v (so works when the alternator is working but thats it). I have been in contact with waeco many times and a couple of waeco repairers have tried to fix it without success. This is why I am staying away from waeco. If anyone has any suggestions on how I can solve my waeco issue I would be very keen to hear them!
FollowupID: 688837

Follow Up By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 11:00

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 11:00
jd 2010,

Where are you measuring your 13v from? Right at the fridge itself or the battery terminals?

Most fridge problems can be put down to inadequate wiring and voltage drop.

As an example, I wired my fridge with 8 B&S wiring, but fitted a relay and switch setup so that I could control the fridge from the drivers seat. Thought it would be OK, but there was voltage drop across the relay that was just enough to upset things. I have since re-wired it directly to the aux battery, with a simple circuit breaker, checked all the connections and upgraded where needed and there is 0.1v drop from the battery to the fridge and it now works MUCH better.

It is worth having a good second look through all your wiring, plugs and connections first.



FollowupID: 688881

Follow Up By: jd2010 - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 13:25

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 13:25
Hi Mark,
I have eliminated the possibility of it being the wiring as I have connected it direct to batteries (i.e. alligator clips direct onto battery) in many different configurations and with different batteries and always the same issue.
FollowupID: 688899

Follow Up By: dbish - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 17:48

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 17:48
JD what model compressor is in it ?? If its a BDF 35 the cutout voltage can be changed. Daryl
FollowupID: 688932

Follow Up By: jd2010 - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 19:03

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 19:03
Hi Daryl, from the specs on the web it is:

fully hermetic Danfoss BD50F compressor with integrated control electronics, low-voltage protection adjustable for consumer or starter battery by means of slide switch, electronic fuse/automatic reverse pole protection, dynamically ventilated lamellar condenser, aluminum rollbond evaporator, continuously variable thermostat.
FollowupID: 688941

Follow Up By: dbish - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 19:54

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 19:54
Slight missunderstanding JD, was refering to the Old Waeco FF90 that you was having trouble with. Daryl
FollowupID: 688960

Follow Up By: jd2010 - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 21:37

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 21:37
yea they are the details off the web for the FF90 (appears that they have not updated their site for quite a few years....) FF90 specs
FollowupID: 688995

Follow Up By: dbish - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 22:29

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 22:29
JD, Cant quite understand why the Waeco service cant fix your fridge to work on less than 13v. The BD50 compressor has a module on the side of it with 2 terminals that controll the cut out voltage. The point (C) & (P) should have a resistor across to set the cutout voltage, different value resistors for different cutout voltage. Eg 3.6K ohm resistor for 10V cut off. Daryl
FollowupID: 689009

Follow Up By: ChipPunk - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 03:08

Monday, May 31, 2010 at 03:08
That is one application for a dc-dc converter.

If your are kit happy, Oatley Electronics (Sydney) have a 12-24V or 24-12V 100W converter (ie, ~8A) for ~$22.50 (see oatleyelectronics product_id=250.
I'm certain it can be re-jigged for (say) 11V to 14V etc. (I have the kit - just never used or investigated it in detail.)

But surely something can be done to reduce the Waeco's cut-out voltage?

(Not that I'd use one - I too would get an Engel instead for various reasons...)
FollowupID: 689028

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:28

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:28
I do not have one but they rated very well , I think maybe even the best as far as efficiency goes with a test fom 4wd Action mag not long ago.

When 240v available I would run from that source not via battery on charger, I think you will find that you charge battery much quicker that way.
AnswerID: 418708

Follow Up By: Spana - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 10:21

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 10:21
Having that mag infront of me, the ARB scored 7/10 for power consumption, the Engel 6/10, Waeco 8/10, but the best was Evakool.
however ARB and Engel both scored 10/10 for thermal effeciency, with Evakool the lowest getting a 8/10!
Overall, the ARB came first overall, Waeco second.
But I guess it all depends what features are important to you.

I'm trying to decide wether to go for the Engel or Waeco, hence the reason for the mag out. Not an easy decision, Engel seems to be the strongest, but not the most efficient (more pricey too) Waeco is cheaper, seems to be more efficient, but doesn't seem as robust.
FollowupID: 688876

Reply By: Drew - Karratha - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:45

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:45
I almost bought one - but was talked out of it by an ARB employee - only due to the fact that if there is a problem they have to be returned to ARB, but an Engel can be repaired by and Engel agent (of which are everywhere around Aust inc small towns)
AnswerID: 418710

Follow Up By: jd2010 - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:49

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 21:49
Really? That alone will probably make me go for an engel. Has anyone had experience with the Twozone for the engel? If so do they work well? Any issues?
FollowupID: 688843

Follow Up By: Drew - Karratha - Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 22:15

Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 22:15
I love ARB gear - but it made my decision for me... No exp with Twozone as I got the 57L Combi Box
FollowupID: 688847

Follow Up By: wheeler - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 06:37

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 06:37
Really ? I would have thought there are more ARB outlets than Engel service centres.

I have also had an ARB fridge running constanatly for about 6 months and have had no issues. And yes you can have both plugs in and it will automatically switch to 12v if the 240 is disconnected.

Had some issues with the stick on velcro tape on the insulation bag, but other than that perfect.
FollowupID: 688861

Follow Up By: jd2010 - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 08:10

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 08:10
Had a look on engels and ARB websites and ARB are really only on the coast and the odd large inland town. Engel have so many more service centres in rural towns (I only looked at QLD).
FollowupID: 688865

Follow Up By: Faulic_McVitte - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 16:36

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 16:36
service centres are not an issue with ARB. Any fridge repair place could fix.

Twozone make the Engel compressor run full time. chew power.

Stick to 40L max if you want reasonable power usage.
FollowupID: 688917

Follow Up By: greydemon - Thursday, Jun 24, 2010 at 20:55

Thursday, Jun 24, 2010 at 20:55
I bought a TwoZone yesterday and did a bit of research before taking the plunge. I am using it with a 40litre Engel which is a couple of years old.

The general opinion on the internet seems to be that they are very good. As is often the case with anything, those that have one love it while those who do not have one claim there are problems. I was advised by the dealer that , as with any fridge or freezermobile or at home, they work better when full and he suggested using plastic water bottles as a filler when the level of food drops.

Owners report an increase in power usage but not anything substantial and no more than running an equivalent size fridge (EG my 40l will probably use the same power, roughly, as a 60 litre - fair enough.) Power usage is not a big issue as I have dual batteries in the car and a bettery in my camper van, and solar panels, and run very little else that uses power except a few small LCD lights (lighting and cooking mainly petrol)
FollowupID: 692384

Reply By: al - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 11:22

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 11:22
hi all
will an engel switch automatically to 12volt if both 12v & 240 v. cables plugged in ?
AnswerID: 418751

Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 12:49

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 12:49

Engel will swap automatically between 240vac and 12vdc.

I do not have a Twozone but once investigated the device.
You simply remove the Engel lid which has sliding hinges and place the Twozone on top, then replace the engel lid on top of the twozone box.

The Twozone has its own basket and you can access the Engel by lifting up the Twozone on the hinges.

The idea is to crank up the Engel and use the bottom part as a freezer and the Twozone section as a fridge.

We decided against one as with just the two of us, we didn't need the extra capacity, or a freezer section anyway.

Our Engel only ever runs on setting one which is perfect for our needs and is kinder to the battery supply when running on 12 volts. This is 99% of the time as we prefer to bush camp away from the "holiday hoards".


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FollowupID: 688896

Reply By: Member - Ray C1 (QLD) - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 12:37

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 12:37

I have had a ARB fridge for 8 months fantastic fridge, the fixed a lot of the little problems the other fridges have, Drain hole great for cleaning out fridge, Detachable lid with solid hinge system, good lid seal, I have it in my Cub Escape fridge box plugged into both 12V and 240V, If 240V is connected to the Cub it uses 240V, otherwise it reverts to the Cub 12V supply auto change over

VERY PLEASED With the ADB Fridge

AnswerID: 418764

Reply By: dbish - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 15:32

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 15:32
Hi JD, Dont see why you should have a problem witha ARB fridge as they use the same Danfoss compressor as a Waeco which I have 3 off. Noticed in ARB news letter that they are made by Dometic which make Waeco. Daryl
AnswerID: 418779

Reply By: Member - Paul & Bill M (SA) - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 19:07

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 19:07
Truck drivers opinion but engels seem to be by far the most common in the transport industry. very reliable fridges. i have one 1978 model 40l and one 2004 21l model neither ever missed a beat.
old 40l once got dropped out of a truck about 2 metres fall. im taking that one accross simpson in 2 weeks time its got character. both will keep working till batteries to flat to start truck motor. so voltage drop must be low before they cut out.
AnswerID: 418816

Follow Up By: wizza 1275 - Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 20:35

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 20:35
I have a 40l engel, I decided to go this way because we have been using these on the local fire trucks for the last 10+ years, the only problem we had was the thermostat failed and the drinks froze, spoke to a engel rep and told him what I thought was the issue (being a sparky) and he talked me through the fix and sent the parts in the mail. Really great service... By the way one of the local trucks bounced a engel out of the truck going over a train line and it still works, with a bit of character now...
FollowupID: 688973

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