CARAVAN FRIDGES

Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 12:24
ThreadID: 95725 Views:6478 Replies:9 FollowUps:32
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Hi all

Am looking at going solar in my new caravan. I have had a gas/electric fridge (Dometic) before and have been happy with it, but I am considering the Waco 12v x 178L, as I am putting solar panels on the roof, and will have 3 batteries to store the power. Has anyone had experience with the Waco 12v fridges, ie to they work on hot days etc.

Thanks Harry B2
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Reply By: Caravan & RV World - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 13:40

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 13:40
Hi Harry B2,

Waeco fridges are great option for those considering solar power. A lot of the major manufactures are going this way especially in the US.

You can see a bit of a video on the Dometic/Waeco fridges at the link below:

http://www.caravanandrvworld.com.au/waeco/waeco-coolmatic-155-litre-2-door-fridge-freezer

If you need any assistance please give us a call or shoot us an email.

All the best!

C&RVW
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 17:50

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 17:50
And how do you manage to get warranty work and service from Dometic Waeco on their fridges that don't work and they know don't work and Waeco will do nothing about the failure to fix their faulty fridges? Dometic Waeco will not reply to emails and fob you off on the phone.
Sad fact basically 3 brands of compressor fridge for RV's and not one 1st class fridge among them.
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Follow Up By: Caravan & RV World - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:10

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:10
A good question... Dometic/Waeco are wholesales and distributors, not retailers. We are retails and offer a customer service second to none. If a customer has bought a fridge from us and need assistance getting the right response from Dometic regarding warranty we're here to help.

C&RVW
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:18

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:18
How are you going to help when Dometic Waeco don't have a solution and won't do anything about their fridges that don't function correctly. A class action is now in process and hopefully will bring a result.
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Follow Up By: Caravan & RV World - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:54

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:54
As retailers we would take whatever action is necessary to keep a good relation between us and the customer. It's unfortunate that there has been an issue between either another retailer an a customer or the distributor Dometic and a customer. We hope the parties involved whoever they may be resolve this one way or another. Thanks for your concern.

C&RVW
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Reply By: apwaddo - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 13:58

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 13:58
Harry - just be aware to power a 12 volt fridge that size you will need a MINIMUM of 4 x 140 watt panels (560 watt) despite what other experts and salesmen may tell you!
Plus of course a suitable charger and batteries (need minimum of 300 amp hours of storage) and 40 amp charger.

Most people forget that despite it being Australia the sun does not shine all day and every day and things like tress and flat panels on roof etc all decrease from the theoretical maximum just what you can get from them.

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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 17:52

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 17:52
dont fully agree with your stated MIMIMUM

We have a 220L Waeco upright 2 door fridge/freezer in our 'van.
On the roof are 3 x 130 watt Sharp panels
The batteries are 3 x 100ah Full River

The entire 'van is 12volt lights / applianc es etc. At the risk of quoting an average day the use is around 80/90ah.

Only on very rare occasions when the available sun hours were clouded have we had to kick the generator in to pump up the batteries with a good quality 5 stage charger.

We do keep a thermometer on the fridge and try to keep it around 3 deg with minimal planned openings.

Very happy with the combinations above.

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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 08:53

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 08:53
While you may not agree if you work out the power consumption of the Waeco 220L and the power output from your 130W panels mounted flat anybody could see you obviously are telling furpheys about miracle solar panels that don't exist except in your mind - unless you live in Onslow for 12 months of the year.
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Follow Up By: Member - bungarra (WA) - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:04

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 10:04
P2D2

Quite frankly I really dont care what you think about my post or that you think I am telling "furpheys"

You can work oput all the mathmathics you wish..so can I or anyone else for that matter.........and I am well aware of the equations etc...in fact I have survived on solar power camping/caravanning for ther last 15 years and so I do know a bit from real experience

In fact if you read my post I stated on average daily use (stress average)...it is roughly in balance with the theory of available charging hours and the my 3 panels capabilities......and yes there are times it needs a hand

I did state that on rare occasions I have needed to top up........It is about a balance between being over the top on purchasing as against a balance

The original poster asked a question..I answered from my experience.......he can take it or leave it........so can you
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Reply By: ferryman1 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:10

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:10
hi, i have lived on a offshore cruising boat for 7 years - on solar - and then travelled extesively in a kedron caravan - 230L fridge 2 door - - with 3 x 135v panels and 3 x 120ah batteries- 40 amp charger plus gen set.-
we then had a motor home with a 165L - 2 door fridge - 3 x 135 W solar panels and three battteries. the compressor fridges were great in all conditions BUT you had to be prudent in getting enough sun - the fridges are hungry for power. The 165L was the pick as it used less power.
HOWEVER- we are now back in a new lightweight KEDRON with 2 x 135W panels and two x 120ah Ritar batteries a 40 amp charger AND HAVE A three way THETFORD 184L- two door--- e in USA by NORCOLD) and this is our choice of all of the above. WHY???? All Thetford fridges sold in OZ carry the (T) rating meaning TROPICAL . In heat up to forty degrees ours works brilliantly.
We have just been away for four months covering 10000 k . MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET THE ROOOF MOUNTING EXHAUST- As you can imagine this ensures that the heat gets sucked out faster.
We freedom camp and ensure that we are self contained.
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 17:47

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 17:47
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:01

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:01
Thetford fridges are NOT Tropical rated for the refrigeration. Thetford electrics on the fridges are tropical rated. Tropical rated electrics is mandatory in Australia and in no way reflects on the performance of the refrigeration.

You must have a miracle Thetford fridge as your experience of the fridge performing in 40C heat is nothing short of a bloody miracle as nobody else with a Thetford fridge can achieve that. Even a Dometic true Tropical rated fridge that is T rated cannot achieve that.
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Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:56

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:56
Hi Harry,

We have had both types, and had the original Waeco 12v/240v fridge (around 184litres from memory) removed after our first trip to sunny Queensland in winter. We replaced it with a 175 litre Dometic 3 way because the Waeco struggled to keep running after only one or two nights away from power, and made a lot of noise. In the end we resorted to buying a 1kva generator to keep our batteries powered and were not happy about it at all! We only had two 100 amp hr batteries and two 64 watt solar panels so maybe you will be ok with the amount of solar/battery power you are intending to have. Someone else with more expertise will be able to advise you there I guess.

With a 3 way fridge unless you have problems buying gas, or only have one bottle, you will have enough power to run almost whatever else you want, with a big enough inverter.

We find one 9kg bottle keeps the fridge, gas oven and 3 burners and grill, also hot water for around 11 to 12 days/nights.

Others may differ in their opinions...this is just what we have discovered.

Regards,

Heather
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:14

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:14
Whoever fitted 2 x 64W panels would have known only to well that they would not have supplied sufficient power. 128W won't supply sufficient for house power for average user let alone a 176L fridge. Other issue is 64W panels should never be mounted flat on a caravan roof and should never have been fitted. Unisolar will not warranty flat mounted panels. Bizarre somebody would make such a poor choice fitting 64W panels.
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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:44

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:44
Hi P2D2,

Interesting to read your comments....
Five years ago solar panels were not really all that common on vans so we didn't have anyone to turn to for advice at the time we had them fitted.

I'm not sure what brand the panels are, and i guess we didn't know what we needed in the way of solar or batteries to run the fridge when we bought the van...but we sure as hell learned a lot in the first trip. It was when I first became aware of ExplorOz and the information available here...travelling around interstate with my mobile wireless internet, I spent hours online learning about it all.

All I know is since we had the fridge changed, we haven't had any problems with power and that it was the major drawer of power. The batteries are full after a couple of hours of sunshine or a few hours of cloud, regardles of how or where they were fitted. This is our fifth year with them now. We run tv, ipod, laptop, water pump, unlimited lighting, and anything else we want these days with no fear of running low, no matter how many differest things are working at the same time.

I am interested to know why they shouldnt be mounted flat? Is it for safety or efficiency?

regards,

Heather
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 20:47

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 20:47
Hi Heather,
I have one 80 watt solar panel laid flat on the roof of my van and over this last month on the road we were only in a van park on 3 occassions for one night each time. we also encountered some cloudy days and some heavey rain on one day.

Our fridge is on gas as well.

We watched TV nearly every night for a couple of hours which was the only real drain the batteries received. We have LED lighting throughout.

We had nearly full batteries all the time and were not inconvenienced in the least.
On one 80 watt flat mounted panel.

Several people had told me that they were recommended that they only needed one 80W panel.

Your system is working very well for your needs so I would not worry about what anybody else says unless you encounter a problem.

I took away with me our 160W folding unit and did not need it once. Sorry I took it now as it was dead weight.

However I am going to increase the solar array on the van to about 160Watts or 200 Watts in the future but I am not rushing into it.

If it works, it works, end of story.

From what you say, your system is working very well.

Makes you wonder about the advice offered on these pages sometimes.

Cheers, Bruce.
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Follow Up By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 21:17

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 21:17
Hi Bruce,

Yes we are very comfortable when staying unpowered and usually find we run short of clean water long before we need anything else.

The longest period we have stayed in the one place is 22 days but we were able to fill up with water regularly there, and have gas refills as we needed them. The batteries stayed close to full for the whole time.

We are off on another trip to the Corner Country and beyond in the near future and will be mostly unpowered for the whole 8 weeks hopefully. I can't wait!

Regards,

Heather
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 23:19

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 23:19
Unisolar state explicitely in their instructions their amporhous 64W or any other size solar panels should not be mounted flat. The amorphous panels dip in the middle and collect water and often fail if the water is left to lay on the panel for any extended period. Other issue is because of the soft plastic covering it is easy to get a scratch or small hole from going under trees which will allow water into the panel when flat mounted.
You musn't use much power to manage on 128W. Average caravanner cannot manage as much as they would like with TV, laptop, lights etc. If you stay north of the NSW border certainly helps a lot giving you more solar hours a day.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jorgen S (QLD) - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 19:00

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 19:00
Don't forget that NO fridge on 12V fridge will give you a cold beer at 5 PM if
you are camping in 35C deg +.
Save a lot of money and go 3-way
Jorgen
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:58

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 15:58
We have a Vitrifrigo 150L compressor fridge (Danfoss), but thought I'd just comment on power supply - ours uses somewhere between 4.5A and 5.5A (depending on voltage) when running. We have 3 x 100Ah DC - AGM batteries and 2 x 130W Kyocera panels. On sunny days with mild temperatures, the system is brilliant, BUT if temperatures creep up and the sunlight is reduced......supply issues emerge ! Our solution is to carry a 1KVA gennie - that simply supplies the whole van and as such, the internal 240V charger tops up the batteries. Over 3 years, we have had to use it a few times, because the batteries must not be allowed to go below a certain limit and you don't want food to spoil ! Oh...... and some places don't allow gennies !!! (Its a cruel world, that of the traveler :-o)......but I still think the gennie is a better remedial option than more batteries and panels (mainly because it adds a supply option - not just more of the one mode). Reports suggest that the larger fridges simply want more power too - more cabinet, more door, more loss.
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Reply By: sue and shaun - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:42

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 18:42
G DAY HARRY B 2 well after all that information have you come to conclusion i to am looking for the right fridge also the right caravan to go with it . am leaning towards 3 way only that it gives you another option what van did you go for . please keep us informed and good luck
AnswerID: 486481

Follow Up By: Harry B2 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 22:38

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 22:38
Hi Sue and shaun

We have a great 3 way 150 electrolux fridge in the caravan we are selling and have Unisolar panels (shade resistant) that are not being made now. We are looking at the Retreat Macquarie, with control rider suspension, or cruisemaster suspension, as we love gravel roads. Probably will have solar panels regardless of fridge type. where we camp up for months fishing it means a 40km trip to get gas, so we thought solar might be good.
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Reply By: ed c1 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 20:26

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 20:26
WOW !!!! i thought i was the only one with fridge problems,,,,, i have an out back van with a dometic n s (= not suitable) rated fridge that goes apeship at 28 'C.
it cools down to 2'C overnight but open the door 2x for breakie n 2x for lunch the temp goes up to 8 + 'C and will not recover till the next morning...not happy JAN...
i have an outback van that i cant take out back because of the fridge,,,,,,,,
P2D2 i would like to know a bit more on the class action..
buying a new van ?????check the fridge ratings FIRST
just love my engel
AnswerID: 486495

Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 22:21

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 22:21
Hi Ed

Re:"WOW !!!! i thought i was the only one with fridge problems,,,,, i have an out back van with a dometic n s (= not suitable) rated fridge that goes apeship at 28 'C""

Have you checked to see if it has been correctly installed in FULL accordance with Dometic's instructions????
Most are not!!!


Peter
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 23:15

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 23:15
28C where the non tropical fridges drop the guts is normal. Doesn't matter what you do that cannot be improved. 100% correctly installed will only perform to that 28C and perhaps 30C if you are lucky. You will read some miracle claims here by some how their SN fridge works to 40C blah blah but of course it is all big BS. Reason why Dometic only rate the fridge to SN is because that is all it is capable. If the fridge was capable to perform at 40C Dometic would rate the fridge at ST or T. Reason Dometic don't is because the fridges only perform to SN standard of 32C and won't even make 30C.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 09:11

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 09:11
Hi
i Suggest all treat ALL the above poster's comments with the contempt they deserve
I have yet to see a single piece of useful advise on ANY subject. but just ongoing rants .

No matter what comments ,correctly installed 3ways do , can ,are, have been, performing well for many many years
In many cases ,are the only satisfactory solution for some situations
I believe ,that giving facts so each may decide what suits their situation is the best way to give advise
Those who are happy with the fridge, be it, 3way or compressor should feel free to post with out being subjected to that poster's contemptible attitude
but according to the above poster neither 3ways or available compressor fridges are any good!!!
Perhaps ,for once, he may suggest what he would use in each situation ,NOW THAT WOULD BE USEFUL PRACTICAL ADVISE


MANY things will decide which best suits you, seek out ALL the facts, sort the wheat from the chaff then make your OWN decision
Now,having said the above, no one can deny that any compressor fridge will perform better than any 3way
BUT you need to have sufficient power ALWAYS available to run a compressor fridge
You need to give your TOTAL power reqs full consideration & how you are going to obtain that , IF you intend to camp away from mains power for extended periods.
Help is available from non biased persons on this & other forums if you require genuine assistance in determining your power reqs


Power
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 09:45

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 09:45
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:04

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:04
Easy to tell who are the apologists for 3 way fridges that don't function to specifications even if fitted to manufacturers specifications. Peter. If 3 way fridges performed satisfactorily in better than 32C weather there would not be as many compressor fridges used. The reason compressor fridges are in demand and so many remove the 3 way fridges from their rigs and install compressor fridges is because 3 way fridges are useless and hopeless however installed in hot weather.
While the Dometic T rated tropical fridges do perform better than other brands once 35C comes to maintain 4C cabinet temperature means not opening the door or putting in hot food. Fact is you wont find a government department or medical fridge in a 3 way because they cannot keep food or drugs at Australian Standard Temperature requirements.

3way fridges are a failure in hot weather and cannot be denied by anybody.
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Reply By: ferryman1 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 22:17

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 22:17
WOW - P2D2- has very colourful language and have thought that a quieter tone may get waeco/dometic to reply to you. I do not believe that the Thetford people or the norcold people ;lied; to us.l I am 72 and been travelling for a few years including 7 years full time on our little yacht offshore. We visited the USA last year and made sure that we hired a van with a NORCOLD - MADE IN THE USA - 2 DOOR FRIDGE with roof mouted venting. We encountered temperatures up to 35 degrees with no problems. As previously - i wrote that this trip we had temperatures up to forty degrees on one day and had no problems.
When we see people with their wall vents off - extra fans fitted and screens over the wall where the fridge is - one certainly knows that they have cooling problems. we have none of these added bits. As you would imagine the guys at KEDRON CARAVANS have fitted compressor fridges up to now AND POSSIBLE HAVE SOME OF THE BEST KNOWLEDGE OF BUSH /FREEDOM CAMPING. i REITERATE - THE norcold 184L fridge as fitted(with roof venting) is the best alternative that i have ever used. Did you know that in the USA this fridge is fitted for 110V power(mains) and gas. On the highway they run on gas 100% of the time.
Each of our needs is different - and the debate will roll on. We ferry over 200,000 campers annually and hear most of the sorry tales.
happy camping to all.
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 23:11

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 23:11
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 07:33

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 07:33
Ok P2D2 you hae bagged every fridge, power supply,comments so what is the best way in your opinion to go regarding fridges poer etc. Oh and what colour jocks should we wear?
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 09:19

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 09:19
Hi Tony

I suggest ,do not hold your breath
A sensible practical reply to ALL situations may be a loooong time coming .

Peter
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Follow Up By: ed c1 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 21:13

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 21:13
hi oldtrack and other members,,,, i have had vans for over 30 yrs and had no real problems with the three way fridges that could not be fixed till this one...
the van has been checked out re installation .....the guts of the fridge has been replaced twice....fans installed you name it ive done it..its a 7401.... still under warranty
the closest ive got is a gentleman at dometic said it was not a good model,,,well i know that.
at the recent caravan show in syd i asked a lot of questions at dometic and thetford stands,,its funny how they dont want to know you if you have a problem and it must be my fault ,what did you do wrong ???????
i asked about ratings and opperating temp rangers huh !!!! ?????? umms n ahhhs er well,,,,
at thetford they laughed that made me feel good
got a catalogue from dometic on page 7 it says SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE DISIGNED FOR HARSH AUSTRALIAN CONDITIONS... thats it,,,,,,, no where in the catalogue do'es it give opperating temp rangers,,,ie 0 to 32'c,,,or ratings and no indication of which is the best one for the HARSH conditions...
dometic say my fridge is now working to specs so no help there...
i would like a 3 way (that works) as i would like to do more free camping....
im now talking to the makers of the van
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 23:14

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 23:14
Hi Ed


That Model is is is SN rated & should perform OK up to 32C Ambient [in the van]without any mods ,IF fully correctly installed& used
Fans , CORRECT baffling, etc & venting should make that operate ok even @
at higher temp.
You either have a dud OR something is not right with the installation.
I assume it does not get cold enough on ANY energy source ,even when set to max cool???
Do you have the installation manual ?
Peter



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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 08:47

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 08:47
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 11:58

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 11:58
HI ADMIN & other posters

Do we really need P2D2 on this forum ??

Perhaps one day he MAY post something useful
To date I do not recall seeing anything useful
Perhaps it is time he put up useful informative posts or just shut up ,as he adds no value to this forum

Instead he just knocks everyone & every thing & inferring[stating] every one else is brain dead, imagining thing etc
Perhaps he is just a T *##

Despite his assertions there are a great number of very satisfied users of 3ways
They have clearly indicated so.
Many are backed by many years of use under all conditions



Peter
Particularly when they have been correctly installed.

Peter
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:02

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:02
Ferryman if Thetford told you the fridge is Tropical rated you were told a furphy. Thetford cannot give you a certificate from a NATA Certified Lab or anybody else approved to state the their fridges are tropical rated. The reason they cannot supply a suitable certificate is because Thetford fridges in Australia are NOT tropical rated.
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Follow Up By: P2D2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:06

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 23:06
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:36

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:36
Geez P2D2 I think you need to calm down and take a chill pill.


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Reply By: Harry B2 - Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 21:43

Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 21:43
Gd'day everyone

Thanks for your comments re fridges, we will be going solar anyway, so I guess we will go with a solar fridge too. Pretty sure we will have enough energy to use and store from 4 panels. We will get a generator as a back up.

Happy travelling
harryg
AnswerID: 486692

Follow Up By: ferryman1 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 09:04

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 09:04
Hi Tom ( thats me - ferryman)

With regards to Tropical rating.
There is no official climate class ratings within the Australian Gas Certification. Therefore no manufacturer can state their fridge is rated Tropical under Australian guide lines and no manufacturer can show you a certificate to say otherwise.
Climate class ratings are found in Europe. So if a fridge was tropical rated in another country, a manufacturer could say the same Australian models are comparable to one that does carry the T rating.
To pass the Australian Standard, fridges over 100 litre capacity have to perform at 38º.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ignorance is a dangerous thing. and this report above came direct from the inductry.
Appararently the writer has also come accross P2D2 and his "opinions" . misguided Opinions . I stand by what i have written about our Thetford - roof mounted vent) (which is a NORCOLD - AND MADE IN THE usa) AND i KNOW that after four months of use it suits us better than our vitrofrigo 160 litre. Both have been excellent but three panels and three batteries vs two panels and batteries and i give the prize to 3 way..
happy camping
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