Evakool 47L Fridge/Freezer initial thought

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:32
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Hey everyone,

So I picked up a new Evakool 47L Fiberglass fridge/freezer from the Sydney Caravan and camping expo over the weekend. This is my first fridge so I was quite apprehensive before buying and tried to do as much research as possible. In the end I settled for the Evakool due to its good reviews from most people of these forums, its simple design (i.e. no gadgets and novelties that could break), its good insulation (being a modified ice box essentially), and due to it being Australian made.

I had initially considered a Waeco but quickly dismissed this idea due to reports of sub-par insulation particularly around the lid, and issues with the electronics. Engel's were out of my price range for the sizes I was looking for. I was almost sold on the Primus 40l or 60l fridge. These were a great price and seemed to have good (albeit limited) reviews from users. However I dismissed these eventually after seeing multiple in person and feeling that the build quality wasn't quite up to scratch. Little things like the red recessed handle on the lid was often loose or off centre, and the latches did not often form a perfect seal making them fairly redundant. Also, the relatively unknown compressor made this fridge a wild card for longevity (would prefer the fridge to last more then a few years ideally).

In the end the Evakool's won me over. Having the compressor on the outside makes maintenance much easier as it is easily accessed. Also this keeps the heat of the motor away from the contents of the fridge thus helping with efficiency. I very much liked the idea of being able to fill the fridge with ice in the (hopefully unlikely) event that the fridge dies when I'm camping.

I have only used the fridge for a few days off mains power to get an idea of how it runs. Firstly as a fridge and freezer the motor has to run much harder. The thermostat needs to be on 6 or higher to maintain the freezer temperature. It will get down to temp quickly but it will need to cycle more often (approx 50% of the time I have found).

The brochure claims a temp of -25c in the freezer, +5c in the fridge @ +32 ambient (and drawing only 1.4ah). Personally I don't know how they achieved this figure. I had the fridge running on mains power on max setting (10) and was only JUST able to achieve a temp of -25c in the freezer and only at the very bottom of the freezer (the top was around -15c). To do this the motor had to cycle 100% so it would have been using much more then 1.4ah. Also at this setting the fridge was significantly colder then 5c (probably around 1-2c). I conducted this test with the freezer about 75% full of pre-frozen ice bricks and the fridge about 65% full of pre chilled drinks and the ambient temperature was about 21-24c. So I really don't know how they could have achieved their claimed results (perhaps some creative temp probe placement like behind the condenser).

But even without achieving their claimed results I felt the performance was fairly impressive. At a more reasonable thermostat setting of 7-9 I was able to maintain the freezer at between -7 to -18 on the bottom and -3 to - 8 near the top, and cycling to drop to around 50%. The temperature difference within the freezer makes me think that a small temperature controlled fan positioned under neath the freezer basket blowing cold air up would significantly assist in achieving an even temperature (something I may look into later).

As a fridge only the Evakool is far more efficient and easier to manage. I found at an ambient temp of 24c I could have the thermostat on setting 1 (i.e. lowest) on economy mode and still maintain a fridge temp of between 0 and 2.5c (depending on where in the fridge you positioned the probe). On this setting the compressor was running for 4 mins on and 18 mins off which I am very happy with. Obviously at higher ambient temps it will work a bit harder but this is a good indication of its efficiency. Also when operating as a fridge the superior insulation was obvious as the temperature barely increased at all between cycles (as a freezer the temp would increase fairly quickly when the motor switched off).

I have not run off 12v yet so cannot give any figures as to power draw but I will post this when I have tested it.

I was very concerned about what size to get and almost went for the 60l to be safe, but with only 2 of us I am sure 47l will be sufficient (60l was just a bit bulky).

Overall I am so far pretty happy with the Evakool. I'll admit its a little ugly. The motor stuck on the side of the icebox is not the most aesthetically appealing design (and the yellow fridge mate fridges are just plain disgusting). But at the end of the day this is a portable outdoor fridge for camping so quality and robustness take precedence over looks. If money was no object I would have grabbed a 57l engel or one of the national luna's, but sadly money is a big consideration on any purchase and I just could not justify the expense of those fridges for the amount of use it will receive.

Would I recommend one? Definitely. The fridge does what it is supposed to, it cools things down. The good insulation means this fridge SHOULD be able to handle high temps and the danfoss motor has proved itself as one of the best. The simple design means that if there is a problem it should be easy to fix, and the lack of digital gauges and gadgets eliminates many items that could break. If you want all the fancy stuff definitely go for a waeco or other brand (I'll admit these features are very tempting). The ability to have fridge and freezer or just fridge gives me plenty of options when going away. The only real criticism I would have is that the compressor (like all dual zones) only extends around the freezer section, and not having any internal fans to assist means that you will get some temperature variations. This can be a little frustrating especially with the freezer, and you will have to ensure that things like ice-cream are placed at the bottom of the freezer cause they won't stay firm at -5c. However a small computer fan positioned properly within the fridge should easily overcome this.

Anyways hope this helps any potential buyers. Happy to answer any questions.

Simon



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Reply By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:31

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:31
great report there Simon.
I too have been looking at Evakool but unlike you prefer the fridgemate, impact and rust resistant.
One thing you may find though, is that when you come to run off 12 volt alone, the cycle times are longer and doesnt get quite as cold.
Probably due to the lower voltage when drawing off a battery (12.7-13)as opposed to a transformer (14+?) and hence compressor spins a little slower.
AnswerID: 484150

Follow Up By: Simon H1 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:34

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 12:34
Hey fisho,

Yeah I can understand the appeal of the fridgemate if strength and impact resistance is a concern. However there are no rust issues with either the fridgemate or the fiberglass (neither have any metal body parts). However the fridgemate definitely did appear much more robust, felt like i could throw it onto concrete and it would just bounce around.

Thanks for the info re 12v versus 240v, hopefully this won't affect the performance TOO much. I will have to do an update once I have done some testing.

Simon
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:47

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:47
hey Simon, the 12 volt thing is the same with any fridge.
Rust-was referring to the Engel type frdge
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Follow Up By: dbish - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:48

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 13:48
Hi Simon, you wont regret your purchase. Also the fridge works just as eficiently on 12V or 240V, the compressor speed doesnot alter with voltage on a Danfoss compressor. I have converted an Evacool 47L esky to refrigeration using parts from a Waeco fridge. And you are right the insulation is nearly twice as thick asa Waeco. If you use a Waeco as a freezer continously they suffer from moisture in the foam insulation eventualy afecting there performance ( I have 2 other Waecos aswell but do like my converted Evacool). This link is to Evacool Esky conversion.http://caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15251
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 14:48

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 14:48
Dbish you are probably right as my Waeco is an older one with the separate transformer, the newer ones are built in arent they?

There certainly was a difference before, only needed to put a multimeter on to see voltage on transformer and battery under load.
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Follow Up By: dbish - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 16:55

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 16:55
Hi fisho64. The newer Waecos have a built in 240V powersupply which supplies 24Vdc. bit more info on the powersuplies at http://caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=16003 The Danfoss compressor speed is set by different resistor values in series with the thermostat aross C & T on the compressor module. 0 ohm-2000rpm. 270 ohm-2500rpm. 692 ohm-3000rpm. 1523 ohm-3500rpm. Long before low voltage would affect the speed of a compressor, the module will shut down the compressor. The lower compressor speeds draw less current.
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Reply By: Kalebjarrod - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 16:23

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 16:23
I have a evakool 47 and a fridge mate 70smothingish

Both are over 8 years old, the only fault I have is the old style fuses never needed to be replaced it ran so smooth so some years later when I went to check them the cracked in the fuse holder, bugger

Anyhow remember that it's heaps harder to keep air cool than it is to keep a chocked fridge cool, try it full
AnswerID: 484172

Reply By: P and JM - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:40

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:40
Hi Simon,

Previously named Supakool our 47 litre was converted and renamed (Evakool) to the Danfoss compressor after all the old Supakool compressors were sold to America quite some time ago.

We have only had one problem with it at Birdsville/Innaminka when the meat thawed out due to no fault of the fridge. We were using it as a freezer and performed 100% till the secondary battery lost some voltage.

We also have an Evakool 40 litre in another vehicle. Both work extremely well.
Have had the 47 Ltr for around 14 years and the 40 Ltr around 18 months. We have the original Supakool cover on the 47 and had one made for the 40. Their mainly for protection to the units.

Enjoy your purchase, you should get many years use from it. Cheers P&J
AnswerID: 484184

Reply By: River Swaggie - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 18:55

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 18:55
Hiya Simon

Sorry if i missed it but did you have food in there when initially testing,This makes a huge diff to temps...

Normally at shows they'll show you the temps and amperage it uses..You know the Engel 60litre is about 18kgs heavier than the Evakool 60 litre...Its usually just me and the girlfriend that go away...if your away for 3 days plus you should have got the 60litre in my opinion...

Anyway Good-luck with it mate....

Oh something that's happened to me,something in the canopy rolled onto the dial,I didn't realize for hours...Everything basically frozen,lettuce,eggs,tomatoes the lot...

So i bought one of these:


Evakool Wireless Thermometer


and it hasnt happened again,i have this wireless unit in my cabin or even on your table at the end of the day....Also if your on Spurs and bumpy areas...Change milk containers from the caps to something like i use CSR sugar containers for my milk and it hasnt spilt again,otherwise you'll open to a milk slurpy on the bottom....

AnswerID: 484193

Follow Up By: Simon H1 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 20:49

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 20:49
Hey swaggie,

You did miss it, as stated in my post I had the freezer about 75% full with ice bricks and the fridge about 65% full of pre chilled drinks. We will be going to 3-4 days normally but the 60l was just a bit overkill I think. I would have appreciated the extra space but I will easily be able to keep enough food and drink cold in the 47l and can put warm drinks in at night if I need to top it up. Also my problem with the 60 was that I would struggle to keep it as full (thus it would not operate as efficiently). Also with the same size compressor and element as the 47l I think the 47l would require less power to bring down and maintain temp. But I was very very close to buying the 60l.

The fridge came with one of those thermometers and the 240v adapter. I am very impressed with the wireless thermometer and Have been using it to obtain the temperatures in my results.
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Reply By: pepper2 - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 09:47

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 09:47
We have found that the moveable barrier works effectively (possibly too well) as a thermal barrier between the freezer section and the fridge section,however if a small gap (remove some foam from the bottom of the barrier) is made this allows cold air to transfer more easily from the freezer section to the fridge section.
Note the brochure nominates -25c in the freezer and +5 in the fridge section this suggests to me that the freezer is tooo cold and the fridge is tooo warm not a good balance.The balance is improved by allowing some transfer of cold air,i susspect that running the freezer at say -10c instead of -25c with some transfer of cool air to the fridge will give a more acceptable temperature balance and less power consumption..

What are your thoughts ??
AnswerID: 484254

Follow Up By: Simon H1 - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:01

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 10:01
Hey pepper,

Yes I'm tempted to agree with. To get the freezer to -25 required it to work way too hard (constant cycling). This does not seem like a practical option when running on 12 volt. Thermostat setting 7 seems to be a happy medium and gives a freezer temp of -7 to -15 give or take and depending on where you place food. This should be cold enough to keep most things frozen (except ice cream). I have heard many people suggest raising the divider slightly or removing a small portion of it. My concern with that is that items placed next to the divider in the fridge section will get too cold and freeze. Another user I have seen installed a small fan positioned over one of the holes on the divider in the fridge section and used a temperature based switch to control the fan. Apparently this only cost about $45 dollars to implement. This seems to be the most effective option by far and would effectively replicate what engel and primus have done with their dual zones. This would mean the freezer could be operated on a much lower setting like -5 to -10 and the fridge would still reach the desired temp (2-5c) without freezing items too close to the divider. I will look into this option.

A small fan would assist equally when operating as all fridge as I have found that even in the small 47l fridge it is impossible to get an even temp throughout (0 to -1 on the freezer side and 2 to 2.7 on the opposite end). This isnt a big concern but would be nice to get an even temperature. A small fan will move air throughout the fridge very easily and thus should lead to an even temp.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 11:59

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 11:59
No fans required. The fridge will do it easy. My 60l doesn't ever need to go past power setting 4.
Fill it with tucker and go camping - you'll love it just the way it is. You'll get more even temp in the 40 than you will in your domestic fridge at home - my fisher and paykel is woeful.
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FollowupID: 759508

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