3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Questions, comments, discussions and reviews on equipment, outdoor gear etc.

3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby Young Camping Family » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:18 pm

After our first (and very successful) camping trip to the Vic/NSW border we have decided that for the future something we will need to look into will be a fridge of some sort. We survived 3 days of approx 30c heat with ice and an esky, but we would like to try camping for a week at a time, and ice just isn't going to last. We left first thing Friday and by Sunday night the frozen bottles were mostly water, and did the job but everything that was frozen (meat) was slowly defrosting from Friday and luckily we used the last of it Sunday while it was still cool.
The one thing we really missed was a nice cold drink - especially since others were popping their cans/bottles into their Engel and an hour later enjoying an ice cold bevvy. Also the ability to keep leftovers, and maintain frozen meats and dairy products - as well as fresh veggies (where we went fruitfly got into a sealed packet of corn cobs that we didn't have in the esky - go figure?!).
We could look at getting an ice box, but the problem remains that 1/3 of the space inside is taken up by ice, reducing the volume it is able to hold, and you can't really cool anything that you want to add, it has to be cold or frozen before adding it.
We are then left with the option of either a 3-way fridge or a 12/240V model.
After reading the other fridge threads on here it seems that a 12V fridge will not cool - merely maintain temps while running, so I'm not interested in a sole 12V fridge.
We want the option of using the fridge on unpowered sites (all our gear is 12V rechargable battery run or gas), which is why the 3-way appeals, so we can run it off gas. Friends that we camped with do have a generator, so it would also be possible to run it off 240V if we accompany them, but we will likely camp without them as well so can't only rely on 240V.
I would also like the ability to have a fridge and freezer chambers seperate but I'm not sure if this feature is available on 3-way models.
And lastly to be investing this sort of money on a fridge, I want to be able to use it at home as a drinks fridge running in the garage - so it needs to be able to work all the time, not just for camping - which I'm not sure a 3-way can do.

So, with all that in mind (unpowered, fridge and freezer + constant 240V use at home) what is the best way to go?

P.S I saw on the Waeco website they have a CF-32UP 12V/240V model that has an inbuilt battery so it can be run without power, but it doesn't say how long the battery will last.

Rachel.
Young Camping Family
Camping Veteran
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Western Melbourne, VIC

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby GypsyLady » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:34 pm

Rachel, if you are looking at a 3 way then I would seriously consider a Chescold/Dometic. They have a combi which will give you the fridge/freezer combination you desire and is more than happy running on gas and 240.

The only real issue you will have with any fridge on gas is that they must be dead level in order to achieve a good result.


http://www.dometic.com/enau/Asia-Pacifi ... taid=67793


Image
The worst day camping still beats the best day working
GypsyLady
Difficult Customer
 
Posts: 8589
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:50 am
Location: SEQld

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:52 pm

There's a reason 12/240v fridges are so much more expensive than a 3way, their just that much better :mrgreen:

If you can afford the price, get a good quality 12/240 fridge/freezer. I was lucky and picked up a test model coleman for $300 and if/when it stops working I won't hesitate to spend the $1200 odd on another fridge if I can afford it. Their just awesome, use it at home for party's, defrosting my home freezer and so on.

Only downside obviously, is you need the power to use it. In my old 4x4 I could run it for 2 days without starting until the battery was low enough to cause problems. Now I've got 2 batteries in my new 4x4 its a non issue.

Repco and similar have cheaper ones, around the $500 mark I think. Might be worth a try I'm sure they come with a warranty, then you can spend the left overs on a second battery
Life's too short to be grumpy, SMILE :mrgreen:
PM me for all your window cleaning, pressure cleaning, and commercial cleaning needs!!
Nathan's Window Cleaning
User avatar
Ozzycamperboy
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1424
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Right behind you.... watching.... waiting....

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby CampGrrlz » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:51 pm

Young Camping Family wrote:...We are then left with the option of either a 3-way fridge or a 12/240V model...it seems that a 12V fridge will not cool...So, with all that in mind (unpowered, fridge and freezer + constant 240V use at home) what is the best way to go?

Hi there Rachel ... the "best way" is subjective and it's what suits your circumstances!
After buying an 80L 12/24/240v Waeco and finding that I could barely lift it empty never mind full ... one of the most important issues I have is "can I lift it?" That could be a question for you to consider as well.
I used the 80L Waeco as my "executive drinks fridge" in my computer room (a spare bedroom) and it ran for probably a couple of years without a hitch. I finally sold it, still cold, to replace it with an upright domestic fridge when I needed more cold space.
So a Waeco will do duty as a domestic fridge without having to worry about it. Waecos cost a packet, but if you're using a fridge a lot, they are well worth it. And while there's a lot of brands on the market, it's the only brand I have used.
Now 12v fridges ... if you mean a Thermoelectric ... they are truly useless for camping, just OK for in a vehicle so steering clear of them is the way to go.
I have never used a 3-way so cannot comment.

Happy camping from Elaine :grin:
Two old boilers are armchair Glampers ;-)
User avatar
CampGrrlz
Camping Queens
 
Posts: 384
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:46 pm
Location: Deception Bay, Qld

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby HGMonaro » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:18 pm

We have a 40lt Engel (bargain at $997 incl travel bag) but a $1200 dual battery setup to power it and that is only any good if you're touring and can keep it charged! Haven't used it enough to know how many days it will last on the battery but 2-3 is all that's expected. The Waeco with the inbuilt battery won't last long... it's a 36Amp/H battery I think, so maybe a day and it's probably too small for what you want. Nifty ideal though.

We have a 3 way in our camper (upright, built in) and it works really well on gas and 240v. When travelling we run it on 12V from the car and it just manages. One day I'll try not running it on 12V and see if it actually does anything :) If you're planning to sit in the one spot for a week or more, then gas is ideal. For using it at home you'll want it to run on 240V (not sure if you can buy 'gas only' ones)

Remember you'll need to carry a gas bottle. Not sure how long they last, we'v only used ours for a night or 2 here and there and not really kept track of the total number of nights. I did a rough calc from our big trip and I think it was about 15 nights (fridge running and some cooking on stove) for a half full 9kg bottle so I reckon a 4.5kg could be a nice size. Some googling might turn up some more accurate data.

Can't give any recommendations on what 3 ways have seperate compartments, etc. Searching the web should turn them up then you can go along and have a look at them.

Cheers, Nige
HGMonaro
Blatant Padder
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: Melb, Aust

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby Young Camping Family » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:40 pm

So a 3-way will work on a permanent basis at home running on 240V?
And they are available with the 2 chambers... hmmm :)

Now, how long would one last? I know the friends we went camping with have had their engel fridge for over 10 years and it's still working like a charm - could I expect a similar lifespan out of a 3-way or are they just not as good as the compressor models?

Rachel.
Young Camping Family
Camping Veteran
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:45 pm
Location: Western Melbourne, VIC

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby GypsyLady » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:42 pm

Young Camping Family wrote:So a 3-way will work on a permanent basis at home running on 240V?
And they are available with the 2 chambers... hmmm :)

Now, how long would one last? I know the friends we went camping with have had their engel fridge for over 10 years and it's still working like a charm - could I expect a similar lifespan out of a 3-way or are they just not as good as the compressor models?

Rachel.


Rachel, if you look at the link I provided in my previous post you will see the very type of combination fridge you are asking about and yes it will run quite comfortably on 240.

Re life span, my little Gaslec 3 way fridge is about 18/19 years old and is still working well. My son has it at his place and uses it as a drinks fridge in his TV room when they are not camping.

Image
The worst day camping still beats the best day working
GypsyLady
Difficult Customer
 
Posts: 8589
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:50 am
Location: SEQld

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby Ozzycamperboy » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:18 pm

HGMonaro wrote: a $1200 dual battery setup to power it


is that a typo? ::()
Life's too short to be grumpy, SMILE :mrgreen:
PM me for all your window cleaning, pressure cleaning, and commercial cleaning needs!!
Nathan's Window Cleaning
User avatar
Ozzycamperboy
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1424
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 10:14 pm
Location: Right behind you.... watching.... waiting....

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby oldtrack123 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:33 pm

Young Camping Family wrote:So a 3-way will work on a permanent basis at home running on 240V?
And they are available with the 2 chambers... hmmm :)

Now, how long would one last? I know the friends we went camping with have had their engel fridge for over 10 years and it's still working like a charm - could I expect a similar lifespan out of a 3-way or are they just not as good as the compressor models?

Rachel.


Hi Racheal
While no problem running a3way @ home of 240v they are power hungry & you would not like the size of your bill .
Life could be excellant as there are no moving parts or electronics to wear burn out only a heater.
What you realy need to consider VERY CAREFULLY before deciding is a number of factors [some already mentioned] With regards to 2ways 12/240v
#1 how long do you expect to camp away from power without recharging your batteries ?
#2 What capacity aux bats have you got /prepared to get & where do you install them?
#3 What means of recharging aux bats do you have . Genny can be expensive to run ,not always welcomed by others, & actually banned in many nat parks.Genny alone wil not charge the battery ,you would need a charger as well.
#4 what is the expected ambient temp @ the fridge[ winter or summer camping]? The higher the ambient temp the more the fridge has to run.
#5 @ what temps do you want to run the fridge,the colder it's set the more it has to run
#6 How heavily & how often are you going to load it with new ,warm/hot goodies ? /
#7 How often & for how long is the door going to be opened each day.?
Many will tell you "we have run our !~#%^*frig & never had a flat bat ,or "we have run it for xdays etc& etc BUT do not give you the essential FACTS OF HOW THEY USE IT.
A 2 wayon12v can use from 20 to 90amphrs per day depending on how it is used !!!

I have had both for 30 years ,we regularly stay camped in the one spot [ no driving for 1to2 weeks] I have 200watts of solar panels with which I can track the sun to get max output ,200amphrs of aux battery .Also have a 350w battery charging genny. WE have a 40lt Engal ,30yrs old never any trouble,which we use as a freezer set @ approx-16c.we also have Chescold 3way[with small freezer section] which is used for initial freezing space when stocking up & for general frig use, set @ about 3c
On many occassions I have had to run the small genny or shift freezer stuff from the Engal to the 3way when bad weather has hit.
THE 3way is ALWAYS READY & WORKING AS LONG AS WE HAVE GAS.
THe older 3ways do have problems coping with temps above about 38c but the problem with most is incorrect wiring & very poor rear ventilation.
Correctly installed & with good air flow over the condensor to keep it cool [ small fan & suitable baffles make a BIG diffrerance, they will still freeze THIS is true when on 12v , IF the wiring is adequate to ensure they get a min of 11.75v@ their terminals while operating THEY WILL FREEZE
They must always be operated level ,out of level[except when travelling can do permanant damage. They will also quickly flatten bat if left on with no charge from engine atso should be fitted with either an ignition switched relay or a fridge switch which is a motion detector & switchs it off when movement stops.
IF you are buying new 3way make sure you get a genuine TROPIC RATED MODEL these are designed to cope with over 40c
I would not go anywhere for long term fixed camping without a 3way
oldtrack123
Camping King
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:25 pm

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby HGMonaro » Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:50 pm

Ozzycamperboy wrote:is that a typo? ::()


no... was something like that. Doing it yourself would save some $$$. Using a basic battery isolator (I have a somewhat fancy Piranha) would save lots.
HGMonaro
Blatant Padder
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:26 pm
Location: Melb, Aust

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby Jo&Kev » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:04 pm

We have a little K-Mart 3-Way and we love it. Works really well on gas, pretty well on 240V and is a pain on 12V. I had to put in heavy wiring and I chose to put in a Waeco controller, on 12V the can drawer a massive current and if the socket wiggles loose things can overheat and get embarrasing. The Waeco thing is supposed to either cut power to the fridge when the engine is stopped, or there is another setting that cuts power when the battery gets to about 10.5V from memory. Interestingly whatever the voltage is, I would observe that it didn't take long for the fridge to get there one day, and it isn't enough to start a 1982 Landcruiser. I now have a jumpstarter thingy...

If you want to cool things quickly you should consider a compressor fridge rather than an absorbtion fridge.

If you want to be without power for a couple of days and already carry gas then a 3-Way is worth considering.

Kev
Our blog - with bigger pics!
http://actnswcamping.blogspot.com/
Jo&Kev
Post Machine!
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:50 pm
Location: Yass, NSW

Re: 3 way fridge vs 12V/240V models

Postby Komodo » Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:23 pm

Cable 4ga (more than over kill - this stuff will carry over 100amps) is $8.90 per meter x 6 meters (again thats more than enough cable) = $53.40
60 amp manual reset circuit breaker x 2 = $40.00
Redarc isolator $110.00
6 x 4ga lugs = $20.70
Battery box = $75.00 (pre wired)
anderson plugs 50amp x 2 = $29.90
______
total $219 plus battery ($350 for 100amp hour)

plus some time spent wiring it all in - your looking at nearly $600 to DIY (about 4-5 hours) so to have it professionally done I dont think $1200 is too far off the ballpark Oz
Image
A place I'd rather be...
Mitchel Road, Bomjinna. Central West Victoria (Jan '08)
User avatar
Komodo
Grandpa Talks Alot eh?
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:35 pm
Location: Frankston South [VIC]


Return to Gear Guide

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests