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Old 12-01-2019
eksjay  eksjay is offline
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Default How do you power your fridge/freezer - what size?

After being a longtime eski/ice user (as in ice cube bags), I am finding myself looking at an ARB fridge freezer 35L or 47L.

After 18 years, I am once again doing long range journeys and find that places I would buy perishable food supplies many years ago have vanished.... e.g. if you plan an extended stay in the Flinders Ranges or further north, you have to buy your fresh food at Port Augusta as choice and availability in Hawker may be scarce (esp in peak Season). With ice bags, your storage capacity is stretched in a conventional eski.

I am thinking about how I am going to power the fridge in between powered AC stays. There is insufficient room under bonnet for a dual battery setup, and I seriously don't want to take up room in cabin with a battery box.

How do you keep your cool on a hot days? I am thinking about a solar blanket. Should I be plugging an ARB fridge directly into the car's 12V socket while I am on the road?

How do your electrics cope with a fridge freezer? What size fridge do you have? Is a 47L too big for the back of an XJ? The current draw diff between a 35L and 47L is marginal and these units can shut off before power is lost from the main car battery when the car is not running. I think I am going to need a battery box solar solution... or a generator....
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Old 12-01-2019
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amlav  amlav is offline
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Another solution would be a 3 way box fridge 240/12/gas .
They are fairly cheap. There is no compressor in them just an 12v/240 heating element and a gas(lpg) burner .
On the rod it can be pluged in to the 12 V cigaret lighter socket or any 12V outlet . I think it draws around 4-5 Amps .
When camping it can be pluged in 240V or generator or if bush camping can be turned on gas .A small 4.5l gas botlle will last at least 2 weeks .
Eficiency is less than a compressor fridge and in hot climate they struglle to keep temperature down to 4 degrease .
It takes about 8 hours to cool them down unless the food is frozen previously in a different fridge .
Compressor fridges on the other hand are much quicker in cooling and hold a stable low temperature . The hotter outside temperature the more often compressor will turn on .
Average power drain at 12V is 3Amps while compressor running .
Wire gauge wise the 4mm should do for 2-3 meters lenght. If more than go with 6mm.
Deep cycle battery of 100 A/hour should be ok as long as is recharged every second or third day. Solar recharge should be OK too as long as solar panel
pushes out at least 10Amp . Deep cycle batteries need more current to charge .
Try and Google any caravaners forum and you will find quite a few answers.
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Old 13-01-2019
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humdingerslammer  humdingerslammer is offline
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Seriously!! R U still using ice blocks?

If u r a serious camper then I reckon u should go for a serious set up that will last.

Re fridge- I think the biggest that u can afford is better, up to about 60 litres. I use a WAECO 60L and it is more than enough. I also use a 45L Engel from time to time which I find a little too small. At this time of year u could go a brand name at their sales prices (ARB, Waeco) or you can buy a cheaper and just as good lesser known brand. They work just as well and have similar (if not the same but superseded) tech.

By the time u pay $400+ for a 3way u would have spent half the cost of a lesser known fridge and have a less efficient one at that. 3way fridges r OK but they struggle a lot to get the job done in hot weather and really need to be OUTSIDE a hot tent etc in the hottest days, where they r better ventilated, and under cool shade, to work best of all. This means they r a thief's delight. A heavy duty chain and lock for security is a necessity. They run best on gas, which will mean that u will need an extra gas cylinder etc.

To run the fridge, you should install a proper stand alone dual battery power set up if you can afford it. U could do this yourself. Get the info from the many forums on the internet. I did, & mine has been working for 12 years.

U will need a second (deep cycle) battery (100-130amps would be enough about $250)), a control box/regulator that can take solar (eg C-TEK about $300) fuses, thick wiring (I use battery jumper cables; they r cheap), a battery holder (about $100), connectors about $30) and eventually a solar panel (say 120-200 W about $250) and a security chain and lock, a fridge slide (built by u about <$50). For about $1000 u have the perfect system that will last. You could probably save a few hundred if u buy the bits on-line.

U can add a solar panel later when u have saved up enough. Ideally u should also set the system so that the 2nd battery charges while the car is driving. The key to all this is to use big wiring and to solder joints where possible, for trouble free operation.

The car cig light is ok but the problem is the wiring is usually very small, meaning the fridge will not get as cool as it could if bigger gauge wiring was used. Also the wiring gets quite hot. This should only be an emergency alternative.

Well, u could go a generator (another $700 about) but by the time u fit it in your Jeep, where will u store the fridge. Also, what about the extra fuel u will need ( petrol as opposed to diesel). A lot of places frown on generators. I have not found a need for a generator in the last 13 yrs of my remote Jeep JK travel.


Hope all this helps. It's just my tuppence worth.

Last edited by humdingerslammer; 13-01-2019 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 13-01-2019
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Great advice, thanks.... Budget is not an issue.

Most of my touring in a previous life was during July/Aug where the ice blocks lasted for days on end.

I can't do touring during these months now due to work reasons which means that I can only do this touring during school holidays in Autumn and Spring. I found last year to be too warm for ice blocks as temps in April and Sept reached over 30 deg c on some days. I also found fresh food closer to campgrounds scarce or non existent.

I wanted to know if the XJ 12v wiring/alternator could handle a small to medium fridge while the car was running, but I always have reservations about putting any pressure on the car battery or 23 yo electrics in remote locations.

I agree with the generator restrictions, even a small Yamaha unit would need it's own fuel, and the campgrounds would probably want a shut down at a certain time. A deep cycle battery box and solar blanket would probably be the go...
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Old 13-01-2019
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We keep a small fridge in the jeep all the time. When we go to the supermarket on hot days it is running on the trip into town (1/2hr) to cool it down. Then all the frozen stuff goes in it to keep it from thawing on the way home. The fridge is more like an esky with a cooling unit in the lid. its a Peltier cooler (google to find more info), they are very inefficient. uses about 10amps via the ciggy lighter socket. When away traveling we use it as a day fridge on the road. The main fridge in the camper is an adsorption type fridge & is run on the car 12v via an Anderson connection from the car to the camper (about 6 amps) when on the move & on LPG when we are camped. The extra load is not an issue, less than a set of driving lights.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Having taken delivery of an ARB 47L Fridge Freezer last week, I received an AGM battery 115 ah and a Kings Battery box today. I also have a Redarc 10amp charger on the way. This will give me sufficient power for 2-3 days and weather permitting, renewable power with a solar panel/blanket.

Cargo space has suddenly shrunk and the weight of the additional items in total would probably exceed an extra adult, when the fridge is full. For anyone that has never carried an AGM battery, it alone, has a deadweight of 30kgs.

Experience from prior travels had me update the rear leaf springs long ago (add a leaf) giving me a 2 inch lift in the rear only, and new Bilstein shocks that stop the car from sagging under load.

I have to now figure out how to pack the cargo bay even more efficiently. I thought I had it down to an art. Where I previously had several box pieces, I now need to consolidate those into maybe 2 larger heavy duty cargo cases for stackability in lieu of a drawer system. I really wish that the rear seat was a split fold or I could take a saw to 40% of the rear bench and backrest. I could do with a usable flat surface. As it turns out now, I use that space for soft items e.g cargo bag, and a 20L water canister (footwell).

With the Oztent (and its accessories), the second spare tyre, camp chairs, and the max trax, I think my pioneer rack is maxxed out.

I think my car is maxxed out.
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