Powering a car fridge

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Powering a car fridge

Postby garbage » Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:36 pm

Hi,

I'm interested to find out how people power their Engel/Waeco style car fridges. Does anyone run on their primary car battery? I have a regular stationwagon car - will upgrading the primary battery to a "truck strength" battery do the trick? Or am I just going to strand myself somewhere?

My car is also still under manufacturers warranty so would like to see if I can do this without tinkering with secondary batteries / altenator, etc.

Interested in your opinions.

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Postby Scolers » Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:52 pm

I know a freind of mine who has a 35ltr waeco and he ran his off the primary battery for an overnighter. Persoanlly I wouldn't do it (particularly with a WAECO as they draw more pwoer than an Engle).

If you upgrade your battery it may power the fridge for longer but you'll still need to figger out how many amp hours te thing is drawing or you could, as you say, find yourself getting stuck.

Cheers ...

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Postby Derek Bullock » Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:10 pm

I have a CF50 Waeco. When I got mine I also got the Waeco Battery Pack with it. It is a 36 AH Glass Matt Deep Cycle. During the day when driving I run the fridge off the car battery and when stopped the battery pack.

Battery pack runs for up to 36 hours continuous if the setting is on fridge and not freezer. Freezer setting will see that reduced to 20 hours. They are a bit expensive at around $300 (BCF current price is $299) It has a plug for the cigarette lighter for charging it and I also carry a 12 Amp charger if needed.

Waeco also have as an extra a high speed charging connector that you need to wire in. Havent had a chance to do mine yet. Maybe this week.


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Postby garbage » Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:26 am

Hi Derek,

How long does it take to fully charge the battery from empty? Does it also charge from mains power?

Regards,

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Postby Ozzycamperboy » Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:58 pm

I've run my fridge of a 800CCA truck battery overnight, started no probs the next morning. But I had driven a good 3 hours the day before, so no doubt the battery was very close to fully charged. My fridge draws approx 4.5Ah max, and was left on medium setting overnight, then run all day the next day (with a bit of driving in between).... the FOLLOWING day, after leaving the fridge on for a 2nd night... the battery was dead :armsup :lol:

So that might give you some idea at least.

Derek, that Battery pack sounds like a not so bad idea, especially since a 36Ah battery on its own would probably fetch around $200+. I'd like to build my own one day with a 80ah+ battery in it, just need the time :lol:
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Postby Komodo » Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:17 am

Ozzy 800CCA mean FA

CCA is related to how much current can be drawn for 30seconds before the batteries voltage drops to below 7.2V (talking about 12V nominal batteries here)

Basically that is irrelivant when using a battery for cycling (or deep cycling) application such as running a fridge or lighting (unless its extreemly high output power lighting but thats another issue all together).

A truck battery with a 800AH CCA rating could have a reserve capacity of anything from around 36Ah to inexcess of 100Ah

Then you have to look at the RC (reserve capacity or charge) and find out what method was used to define that RC as there are many ways to do it - as such many ways to make a crap battery look quite good. You should always look to the C20 rating of the battery. This is the 20 hour rating and the most accurate way of comparing apples with apples.

A deep cycle battery CAN be used for start up application. Its not the best use for them, but by the same token its not too bad for them. The problem with using a deep cycle battery for start up is that they are designed in a manner in which doesnt allow them to take charge as quickly as a starting battery therefore longer charge / driving times are required to get them up to capacity.
Starting batteries how ever should NEVER be used to cycling application it kills these batteries EXTREEMLY quickly. A start battery is designed with thinner plates with more TSA to allow a quicker and higher current output at the nominated voltage. The problem with this is that if you apply a continual draw you will slowly heat the plates, especially as voltage drops, causing the plates to warp, buckle and eventually sullphate and internally short dropping cells and therefore never being able to hold a charge.

Deep cycle batteries have thicker plates with less TSA this means lower maximum current draws but also more resistant to buckling due to heat caused by current draw as the voltage drops.

Hope that helps...

if you want more info as and i'll try to answer your questions
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Postby Komodo » Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:39 am

Oh and building your own is easy ;)

Coda batteries in sydney often have secondhand batteries from UPS applications. Most of these batteries have been kept on a maintenance charge have never been discharged at all and are replaced (dependant on application) every 6months to 2 years.

I picked up a 100Ah deep cycle for about $90

Buy yourself a good battery box (i build mine from MDF as i couldnt find one big enough for the battery) fit the battery and run a charge line (8awg cable) from your main battery (with or without a dual battery isolator - i use a redarc isolator available from sidewinder.com.au) to a 50amp anderson plug and fit the other anderson plug to your aux battery box. Remember to fuse it with a fuse at both ends rated at no more than 50amps (as thats what your anderson plugs are rated at).
I personally use a circuit breaker at either end instead of a fuse (they do essentially the same thing but the circuit breaker is easier to cut the feed from the main battery when im stopped over night or removing the auxilary battery to use away from the vehicle) get a MANUALLY resetable circuit breaker automatic or self resetting are no good in this application (IMO shouldnt be used at all ever) you can get these from jaycar DSE or any car audio store. then fit a couple of cigarette lighter sockets or hella sockets (I use 2 of each) this way i can run my fridge and a 12V light my mobile charger and i have a spare socket for on totalfire ban days when i use an electric stove (these are awesome on TFB days - cook pies and hot dogs and reheat meals brilliantly!)

If you want I'll draw some pictures or have a look at http://www.sidewinder.com.au/product2.html and get an idea or buy a ready to go kit.
Derrick from sidewinder is a great bloke to deal with very helpful and ships his products extreemly quickly! I purchased my redarc SBI12D and 4x 150amp anderson plugs from him and recived them within 3 days!
He also lists his items on ebay (how i came across him actually) and you can get many of his products cheaper through ebay.
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Postby garbage » Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:51 pm

Does anyone know of a cheaper alternative to the $500+ Engel - 56 Amp Hour Battery Pack? Like maybe something from Jayco / Tandy / Dick Smith?

Is it possible to buy a car battery with charger and then hooking this up to the fridge? What sort of connectors would I need for this?
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Postby Komodo » Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:34 pm

Garbage read my second post in this thread - it tells you exactly how to make one a LOT cheaper.

BTW a dual battery setup will NOT void your warranty!
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Postby Derek Bullock » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:40 pm

Below is a photo of my Waeco and the Waeco Battery pack. You can plug it into a cigarette lighter socket or clip a battery charger to it. You will see two posts either side on top for that.

I have a 12 amp Mobitronics auto Charger (also made by Waeco I believe and cost me $80 odd.) Have run the battery for around 20 hours straight and there was still plenty left in it. On the charger it took maybe 4 hours to charge.


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Postby Derek Bullock » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:47 pm

In saying that above a much cheaper version is similar to what I have on my camper trailer. See photo.

It is a battery box that currently retails at BCF for $59. Drop in a dep cycle battery for $150 to $180 and you have a neat setup.

Well worth thinking about and easy. Wont charge through your car though.


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Postby Komodo » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:43 pm

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Postby garbage » Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:19 pm

Thanks Komodo! For some reason, I didn't see your responses there until I had a second look.

I'd have to say I know next to nothing about electricity but am pretty handy with assembling PC's. Are there any inherent dangers with attempting what you have managed to do? Or am I better off buying near ready made kits?

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Postby Komodo » Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:43 pm

Garbage as long as care is taken it is no more dangerous than opening your PC to slot in a new graphics card or DVD drive.

Its a little more physically challenging than slotting a piece of hardware into a PC but still easily achieveable.

What type of car is it I may be able to give you some more pointers.

I'll write down a proper shopping list with approximate prices when i get home ;)
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Postby garbage » Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:37 pm

Thanks Komodo! It's a 2006 Subaru Liberty wagon.

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