Van fridge defrosting

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:04
ThreadID: 9586 Views:1481 Replies:7 FollowUps:7
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We have problems in the hot weather with the fridge in our van defrosting whilst travelling and connected to 12V. Any suggestions as to how to prevent this? Fridge has been set to maximum cold.
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Reply By: William - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:27

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:27
This will be because your 12v cable is substantially to light in size. You cannot put it through your trailer plug unless you have a trailer plug like a Brylite 12 pin plug which has the standard 7 pins for the flat plug and 5 heavy duty power pins at the bottom. You will need a minimum of 6mm squared wire and preferably 8mm squared wire and an Anderson plug. This is the squared cross sectional area of the wire not the outside diameter. You will need to buy the wire from an auto electrician or auto electrical supplier.
AnswerID: 42215

Follow Up By: bruce - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 10:49

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 10:49
That assumption seems strange to me , we have had 3 different vans and the fridge has all ways worked o.k. through the normal trailer plug..in summer to...perhaps we are just lucky...cheers
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Reply By: Notso - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:39

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:39
If it's a three way, gas, electric (240volt), Electric (12 Volt), in order of efficiency it is gas, 240 volt and 12 volt. On twelve volt you will be lucky to keep it beyond cool. There is, or was no adjustment on the 12 volt thermostat. It will run at full current draw, about 120wats or 10amps at 12 volts full time.

There isn't much you can do but putting a small fan in the cooling vents to increase circulation of cooling air can help a bit.

Good luck!

AnswerID: 42221

Follow Up By: William - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:43

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 13:43
Notso 12v is just as efficient. This is always a wiring problem.
Once the wiring problem is fixed the problem will be also fixed.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:21

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:21
Yep, well I deliver 13.8 Volts to the fridge when the Vehicle is running and she still won't freeze. Does fine on 240 volt and gas?

Maybe something wrong elsewhere??
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Follow Up By: Member - Luxoluk - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:04

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:04
Sorry William, your view is not consistent with my experience. I agree with Notso. My Engel gets me over the problem when in transit then I go for the gas when destination reached and use the engel for drinks. Best set up is a 12 volt compressor fridge in the van IMHO of course.
CheersButcher Country Track - Vic
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Reply By: Member - Alan- Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:23

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:23
I don't seem to have any probs. with my fridge in the van, power runs through the normal plug at the towbar and the wire definitely isn't 6mm.
But I always have it plugged into the mains for 24 hr. before we go so it and the contents are good and cold before we start off. Have stopped overnight on the road, run it on gas then and it's really good.
Maybe it needs a check up by an expert.
AnswerID: 42233

Reply By: Member - Alan- Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:31

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 14:31
Just another thought Janise, are you making sure the power switch in the van is set correctly so it will take power from your vehicle battery.
I forgot to do this once and after much head scratching "rediscovered" the switch, and problem solved!
AnswerID: 42235

Follow Up By: janise - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:04

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:04
Thank you all for your replies. The fridge seems to work OK in the cold weather. I just set the knob on the fridge to 12V when we are travelling. What other power switch should I be turning on, if any?
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Follow Up By: Member - Alan- Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:14

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 12:14
Janise, my van has a switch just inside the door with 3 settings ..... 1 for "mains" power, 1 for "off" and the last for "External 12v". Set it on this last when travelling and you should be right.
Happy travelling and cold beer.
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FollowupID: 304791

Reply By: Viola - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:30

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:30
Darling I had this problem in my new caravan.
Darling I found this delightful man in Mackay that fixed me right up. My poor hubby is an academic and would try to hammer in a good screw. Darling so that leaves me as the half brained half wit technical member of this partnership. Darling the man in Mackay put in a larger 12 volt element and a small deflector so the wind when travelling did not blow the heat away from the element. Darling now I have to make sure it does not get to cold and freeze everything in the fridge compartment. Darling duckie the good man did put a bigger wire with separate plug to the caravan. Darling I will see if I can find the receipt for the mans name as I keep all my receipts for the tax man for 5 long years.
AnswerID: 42244

Follow Up By: Notso - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:44

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:44
Good on yer Vi!

In amongst all of that there was some good advice. Thanks mate!
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Reply By: Rick Blaine - Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:54

Thursday, Jan 08, 2004 at 15:54
irrespective of your problem and the assorted responses I did solve the problem of not much power in an adsorbtion ( not absorbtion) cycle fridge. Simply installed a fan to force circulate air over the rear of the fridge. lets me use less gas or power to get the same amount of "coolth".
AnswerID: 42246

Reply By: David N. - Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 10:05

Friday, Jan 09, 2004 at 10:05
I put up with many years of usually very inadequate cooling in a 3 way fridge on 3 different caravans. All had separate heavy duty power leads/anderson plugs etc.

On my latest van I have gone to a 12v compressor frig. No more flat batteries if you forget to turn it off when stopping for lunch. No more worrying about "Is it level?" No more worries when it's bloody hot etc. etc.- the damn thing actually works and works well!

Suffice to say I would NEVER go back. Sorry janise this doesn't help you, but maybe it's something to consider next time.
However I do endorse all the statements about heavy 12v lead, good ventilation (a small cooling fan in the back will help slightly) and so on. If you (or someone you know) can, check the current draw- with your car running it should be 10-12 amps, with close to 13 volts at the fridge. (you can check this with a good multimeter)
But also don't forget, the fridge will be damaged if you run it off level for very long at all- driving along is fine, but turn it off when stopped or you do risk damage unless properly level. (The internal solution overheats, forming crystals which slowly but surely block the internal tubing. Such damage is irrepairable.)
Cheers and good luck
AnswerID: 42326

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