Fridge: Advice Needed





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  1. #1
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    Default Fridge: Advice Needed

    OK, so i have decided that I am going to get a fridge for camping. Sick of spending money, time and diesel on ice ice ice. I dont need one of the mega expensive ones as I dont plan on doing any major overlanding trips. And most campsites have electricity these days. My budget is about R2500 max...

    Popped in at Outdoor Wearhouse and they sell the Waeco.

    40l CombiCool 3 Way (Gas, 12v, 240v) 30 deg C below ambient - R2099

    40l CoolFun CK-40 (AC240v Only) - 18 deg C (Freezer/Fridge) - R1999


    I dont know which one to go for. Can get a converter to run the Fridge/Freezer, which can apparently last about 8hrs on a standard bakkie battery.

    Who stocks Engel in Cape Town?
    Last edited by dirtbike; 2007/04/04 at 05:54 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbike View Post
    OK, so i have decided that I am going to get a fridge for camping. Sick of spending money, time and diesel on ice ice ice. I dont need one of the mega expensive ones as I dont plan on doing any major overlanding trips. And most campsites have electricity these days. My budget is about R2500 max
    First things first : a decent fridge/freezer is not only for major overlanding. Believe me a weekend's camping is significantly easier with one of these. We had the 3-way Waeco and having got the Engel we have not looked back. (alhtough Stadleroux seems to be getting good value out of the Waeco we sold him.

    And I don't know where you camp but very few of the campsite's I go to have power

    40l CombiCool 3 Way (Gas, 12v, 240v) 30 deg C below ambient - R2099

    40l CoolFun CK-40 (AC240v Only) - 18 deg C (Freezer/Fridge) - R1999


    I dont know which one to go for.
    Personally I would go for the 3 way because it's more versatile and gas is very effective (and you're not tied to power.

    Can get a converter to run the Fridge/Freezer, which can apparently last about 8hrs on a standard bakkie battery.
    Tried that... flattened a Scenic battery in 2.5 hours and my colt battery in 5 hours - not worth the risk!

    Who stocks Engel in Cape Town?
    All the 4x4 places like Safari Centre, 4x4 Megabucks sell Engel
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Simon...

    GRRRR.. Tough decision. I dont wanna get the 3way and then be dissapointed with it. I have used a old 3way from a caravaan a couple of times and it did the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbike View Post
    Thanks Simon...

    GRRRR.. Tough decision. I dont wanna get the 3way and then be dissapointed with it. I have used a old 3way from a caravaan a couple of times and it did the job.
    DB... it IS a tough decision. I don't really know how far you are prepared to stretch your budget, but a dedicated 12v compressor fridge is IMO one of the best investments you can make (not forgetting a dual battery system is almost essential)

    Seeing as though you HAVE considered 240V only as an option and if you can't afford a DB system then you can still consider an Engel or Waeco compressor fridge which do run on 220/240

    If you simply can't go the compressor route, the flexibility of the 3-way is key for me, but they do not perform on 12v, reasonably well on 240 and best on gas...

    look.. we were very happy with the 3-way when we had ours so I wouldn't write it off...
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    Dirtbike what Simon says is very true.

    In the long (and possibly very short) run buying a 3 way fridge is really not an option. Rather then try and stretch to get a Waeco. Even if you end up with a smaller Waeco than the 3 way, at least you can freeze blocks for a cooler box.

    BUT

    If budget is too restrictive, also have a look at the used market, you should be able to source a 3 way for quite a bit less. I am not sure what the difference in freezing capabilities are between the 3 way and 240, but if you go for the 240 it will be really restrictive. I have a Zero 35l 3 way, and it works much better on gas than on elec.

    (Used 35l Zero's normally sell for about R1k.)

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    I have been looking around for the last month or 2 for a second hand one but have not found anything.

    I could/will eventualy install a dual battery system in my bakkie. So that is another reason I am leaning towards the compressor one, but not the one that runs 12v DC and 240v AC. I would have to get the one that is 240v only and then get the converter to change 12v to 240v...

    amaDisco, the 3 way does not freeze (as far as I know) only works as a fridge...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbike View Post
    I have been looking around for the last month or 2 for a second hand one but have not found anything.

    I could/will eventualy install a dual battery system in my bakkie. So that is another reason I am leaning towards the compressor one, but not the one that runs 12v DC and 240v AC. I would have to get the one that is 240v only and then get the converter to change 12v to 240v...

    amaDisco, the 3 way does not freeze (as far as I know) only works as a fridge...
    DB... I'm not that knowledgeable in electronics, but I was under the impression using an inverter was pretty inefficient (at least for fridges). Also a decent inverter isn't all that cheap, so you gotta factor that in too!

    Ultimately your decision is based on what works for you and your budget... so good luck!

    BTW, the 3 way fridges work pretty well at maintaining stuff frozen particularly if well packed and not opened too often.
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    Dirtbike,

    I have the same dilemma. I have now done the following. I bought a 80l Kellerman 220v only freezer for R2999-00. A comparible stainless NL is 12k. I then bought a 1000W inverter for R1600.00. It drives the freezer no problem. The 500W didnt want to start the freezer. I measured the current consumption of the whole lot last night. When the fridge starts up it spikes at 28Amps (12v) and then settles at 8amp while it runs. I recon on a 105AH battery I should get about 20hours usable life depending on the duty cycle of the freezer. When the fridge is not running the invertor draws about 500mA (idle current).

    I agree with you that most camping places have 220v anyway. The only question now is how long the compressor will last if used while driving?

    I considered using two cooler boxes with ice dry ice and whatever, a decent fibreglass type cooler will set you back R1500 for a 40l. 2x = R3000.

    If the compressor should fail I will replace it with a Danfoss anyway.

    Time will tell.
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  9. #9
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    Grrr. The sales people told me that a 500w (R599) invertor will be enough for a 40l 240v fridge to run off battery!

    Has anyone heard of a Edesa 3 Way fridge?

    SimonB - Thanks for all your input. I think I might just take the safe route and go for the 3 way! The last thing I need is a compressor or something breaking...

    BigD - Where did you get your Kellerman from?

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    I could/will eventualy install a dual battery system in my bakkie. So that is another reason I am leaning towards the compressor one, but not the one that runs 12v DC and 240v AC. I would have to get the one that is 240v only and then get the converter to change 12v to 240v...

    Simonb is right all the way I am using a 60l 12v/220 fridge/freezer x2 one in trailer one in bakkie I pre cool them on 220 before hand and them put it on 12v when i am ready to go if the site got 220 it is a bargin if not my 105ah batterys wil keep them going for +- 20h

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    So can anyone tell me the difference between the 12v/240v Fridge/Freezers and the 240v only Fridge/Freezer? Do the 240v use more power than the 12v/240v running on a converter?

    Jeez I am confused on what to do. Proberbly end up using the coolerbox with ice again...

  12. #12
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    dirtbike,

    I got the freezer from Mooikloof caravans in Pretoria. 012 480 1219 Theunns Niewoudt. The kellerman is also sold under the snomaster name. The one I got is stainless with thick, approx 60mm insulation. It is also available in 12/24v for double the price.

    Was abit worried about the durability, I had a long chat with the owner about these fridges, he use 2 x 220v 80l units for fishing trips. He reconed the last time they went up he ran them on 220v at -22degC until leaving the next morning. Got home 18hours later and when he plugged them in it was still frozen solid at -6. His units are on the back of his bakkie and have lasted for about three years now.

    I wanted to got the same route with the Waeco 220v 40l unit. The sales guy at outdoor warehouse told me that the Coolfun 40l 240v is not suitable for 4x4 use as the compressor shakes about quite noisily. A bit pissed of at that I phoned Waeco SA Tech helpline and the guy told me that it is true and that these unit are OK in caravans as they are softly sprung and wont do damage to the fridge. Not good for the trailer mounting.

    I will be mounting the Kellerman in the front of a trailer on shockmounts anyway.

    At the risk of sounding like a Kellerman rep, they are available in a few different sizes. some in stainless and some in tough plastic. also have the three way gas,12v, 220.

    I see that you are in CT, Give Theuns a call and find out who else does these fridges if you are interested.

    Winding on.

    I also did research on a local manufacturer in vd Bijl Park. Staycold. Spoke to the guy who makes these things. They do a nice 40l and 60l in 12/220 and in 220 only. Again the 12/220 at double the price about R4500 for the 40l 12v. He uses a Danfoss compressor in the 12v. Had a long chat about the durability of the 220v as well. He reckoned it should be fine to run the 220v through a invertor in transit if it is strong enough.


    In answer to your question about the difference between 12/220, 200 only and three way. the 12/220 usue a special compressor "Danfoss" which makes use of special switching circuitry to allow it to use a wide range of voltages, very efficient, uses about 4Amps when running on 12v. The 220v only is the same as your normal fridge /freezer compressor and can only run on 220v. It is rated about 90w and like i said uses about 8-10 amps 12v when powered through an inverter. the three way is an absorbtion type and uses heat generated by a 220v or 12v element or a gas flame. uses a lot of power on 12v up to 10 amps, does not have a thermostat so it doesnt cycle, it draws 10 amps all the time while switched on. It will only maintain the temp when on 12v. It also only cools to 20degC below ambient (Waeco) on gas.

    Hope this helps in your decision, like I said only time will tell whether this was the right way to go.
    Last edited by Boyscout; 2007/04/05 at 09:22 AM. Reason: More info
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    I was under the impression that the Waeco CoolFun CK-40 uses a 'Danfoss' compressor just not the same as the more expensice 12v/240v version. I was also told that they are not a rugged etc as the 12v/240v one, but to be honest the amount of times I would go 4x4'ing with my fridge in the back is .5%. I generaly only go camping at campsites (where I can fish of course) and most of them tend to have electro.

    The 40l Waeco 240v only goes for R1999.00 + converter R599 (500w) = R2600

    Or 55l Waeco 3 Way - R2599.00

    I know I am rambling on and on about this, but this is alot of money for me and I wanna make the correct decision...

    Thanks, I will give Theuns a call.

    Thanks again for everyone's input...

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    Can one rent a 12/220v fridge somewhere?

    If that is the case it would make sense to me to go for a 3 way or 220c only since I only went to 2 places with no electricity in the last 18 months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by benhur View Post
    Can one rent a 12/220v fridge somewhere?

    If that is the case it would make sense to me to go for a 3 way or 220c only since I only went to 2 places with no electricity in the last 18 months.
    not that I am aware of in Cape Town, but dont know about other areas. Yeah, most places these days have electricity...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtbike View Post
    not that I am aware of in Cape Town, but dont know about other areas. Yeah, most places these days have electricity...
    I suppose that's where we're different!! I avoid those places!!!

    The ruggedness of these things I hadn't mentioned... the 12v options are generally much more robust and can operate in quite harsh conditions. In fact the Engel manufacturers claim operation at angles around 30 - 40 degrees (and I tested mine and it does work OK at that angle).

    Note your 3-way fridge will have to be level for maximum efficiency they do not like working at an angle.

    But Benny has a point, when you do really need a "proper fridge " then hiring might be a possibility, but before I bought my Engel many people had stopped hiring them out, and when they did I could pay for the fridge after 14 days hire!!
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    DB,

    Have a chat to the guys at Affordable Offroad in Brackenfell. Last time I've been there they told me that I can rent the 40L Minus 40 fridge for R50/day.

    I've been through the same excercise as you wrt buying a fridge. Decided at the end of the day to go for the 50L Waeco and am very happy with my purchase. Going to test it thoroughly this weekend as I'm leaving for Mabuasehube today and now my beers will stay cold at least (still have to decide where to put the food)

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    A VERY BIG NEGATIVE of the 3 way unit are that they only work well if 100% level, thus it does not work much whilst in the vehicle or trailer while travelling. In fact, whilst my Edesa 3way used to be able to freeze meat and water overnight, it (and all the contents) always defrosted in about 6 hours while travelling. A 3 way is only an option if you are going to one place and you plan to stand there for a week or so.

    In my opinion, a 3 way is a waste of money and you will be in the market for a big name brand in a year or two.

    I sold my Edesa and bought one of the early Rhino's (12/24/240v). Mine was one of the double door units and it drew about 8 amps and this caused continious battery problems. The walls were too thin for decent insulation and the compressor ran most of the time. Also, the configuration of the fridge / freezer was such that they both ran off the same gas rings.

    I have not had a days problem since buying the National Luna 4 years ago. The Minus 40, the Weaco and all the other big name units are much of a muchness, but if you do not have the cash for one of them, rather buy a smaller (30 or 40l) unit, but make sure it is a 12/240 unit. Even a 2nd hand one. Later, when you have more money, you can then go for another unit and use the one as a fridge and the other as a freezer. So many campsites that I have visited have power problems, like circuits tripping, faulty plug points etc.

    The saying goes: "goedkoop koop is duur koop". I did the "Duur koop" route. Avoid it !!

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    I'm happy enough with the 3-way CoolFun I bought from SimonB, but I would also like to get a compressor-driven fridge one day. At the moment I don't really need one though, because I prefer to go to a place and stay there for at least a couple of days. When the 3-way is plugged into the cigarette lighter it's little better than a normal coolbox, if at all, so I pack everything frozen, with three (if there's enough space) sheets of Techni-Ice and get it onto gas as soon as I can at my destination. I'm still looking for a small ice tray, because if you put it right on top of the "element" (for want of a better word) it will freeze ice. I'm single, so I don't need that much space, but I'll be taking a friend along on a trip soon, then we'll see how it manages. Think I may have to pick up some dry ice just before we leave...

    The new CoolFun models have a digital display, iirc, but I think it's a nice-to-have. I'd keep looking for a 2nd-hand one if I were you, because in very good condition they're about half the price of the new ones.

    I see there's a 3-way Edesa in the CapeAds, but I'm not a subscriber, so I can't see the price. It's in Rondebosch, if you're interested.

    Edit: Just to add that mine is 40 l and now there's also the 55 l, which wasn't an option when I was looking, so that may also be a more convenient size for you.
    Last edited by stadleroux; 2007/04/05 at 12:11 PM.

  20. #20
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    From my experience a three-way fridge is a waist of money, in summer it merely a cooler and in winter, it freezes everything. When you put it outside you must use bricks to raise it from the ground or it burns a hole through the groundsheet. Further to that, they must be 100% level and totally out of the wind to be merely almost effective as a cooler. A cooler box with ice is more effective than a three-way and you can buy dozens and dozens of beer for the R2099. Don’t even think of going to the thermo-fan type fridges either!!!

    My 40 l, Staycold, 220V, fridge/freezer on the other hand kept our stuff frozen even under conditions in Moz where we only had electricity from a generator for about 3 hours a day. I have also tried the 500W inverter trick to run this fridge from 12V but it would not start the fridge and I thought that the 1500W inverter is to expensive therefore sold the Staycold and bought a 220/12V Danfoss compressor type fridge/freezer.

    My 40 l, Minus40, 220/12V, fridge/freezer works permanently as a bar fridge at home, on holiday I set the it to freezer at -10 ºC and keep it on the back of my bakkie where it runs from a 105A batt (with DIY dual charging system) and at camping sites with electricity I run the freezer from mains. I then also charge the batt with a charger (CTEC 3600). If there is no mains I switch the freezer to 0 ºC overnight, so far managed to keep food frozen for 14 days during winter. I use the freezer mainly for meat and ice, etc and still use a cooler box and ice for my beers.

    My recommendation will be to firstly go for a 220/12V, Danfoss compressor type fridge/freezer. However, if the budget is tight, go for at least a 220V compressor type fridge/freezer (that you would most probably land up selling at a later stage). If the budget is also tight for that go for a cooler box and ice but do not spend all of the R2099 on beer but rather start saving for that 220/12V, Danfoss type fridge/freezer.

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