advice on 3-way fridges

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advice on 3-way fridges

Postby runaround sue » Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:59 pm

Would someone be able to give me some advice on portable fridges as I've never owned one before.

Firstly, my car doesn't have a cigarette lighter and am looking for advice on the best type of fridge I should buy. I'm planning to stay both caravan parks, and in a national park with no power supply for a week or so roughly, hopefully the fridge's power supply can last that long!

On discussing my dilemma with a few people they seem to think that I would be better off going for a gas-240V-battery-run fridge, and I think that sounds perfect for my needs. Is there a drawback with this system? I just wonder how I would go about recharging the other battery as I've been told that I shouldnt disconnect the battery in my car because it can cause problems with the car's computer and that I'd need to get a mechanic to do it. Can I use solar power to recharge the battery? I'm open for suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby Scolers » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:38 pm

You've asked a couple of questions and have raised a few issues.

Firstly, a solar power unit for a camping fridge is great IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT. The fridge itself (new) will cost a minimum of $1000. If you have enough disposable cash you could get a battery/ solar power rig but be prepared to spend upwards of $2000 PLUS your fridge.

You say you don't have a cigarrette lighter in your car ... is it an old car? Even cars that are 20yrs old have a cigarrette lighter. Note: you don't need the lighter itself, just the socket for the lighter as that is where the 12volt DC socket will go.

In regard to the length of time the camper fridge will last for on gas. This depends solely on the the size of the gas cylinder. You will need a dedicated gas cylinder for your fridge so if you need to get a new cylinder consider purchasing a 4kg cylinder or larger. Most gas ffridges will use up between 300 and 400mg of gas per day. That gives you approx. 12 days of continuous running and by that time you could easily be out of a non powered camping area and be at a caravan park where you can use the 240volt power supply and refill your cylinder.

The other issue you rasied was getting another battery for your 12volt supply. Again, are you REALLY sure there is no cigarette lighter? Even if you haven't a cigarrette lighter you could probably purchase one at Repco (or some other auto store) and have it fitted. A dual battery system is a great idea but complicated to set up as BOTH batteries must be charging when the car is running and therefore you need a competent auto-electrician to set it up which means ... MORE MONEY.

If you have a cig. lighter then you dont have too many problems and I would recommend a chescold fridge (50ltr) largely becuase of its size (only 50ltr gas/12v/240v in its range) and they are also a popular unit.

If you don't have a cig lighter I feel (my opinion) you should get one fitted as it would be the cheaper option and save a lot of problems in the long term. The K.I.S.S. formula applies here ... :)

I hope this helps.

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Postby DQ » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:59 pm

Goodness Scol - you're a font of fridge knowledge!! :shock:

I've never heard of a car without a cigarette lighter (or socket) - my shiny, new, ice-blue Kia Sorento has 3! :D
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Postby Scolers » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:01 pm

As does the RAV 4 ... :D
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Postby DQ » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:02 pm

mmmmmm - yeah, but is it shiny?? 8)
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Postby Cheiffy » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:42 pm

Hi Sue,

I have an ARB dual battery system at the moment and run a 60ltr Engel fridge/freezer off it. This system is great due to the fact it will not allow the fridge to run off my main starting battery whilst the car is off. The only problem is you may need quite a decent sized battery to last a week unless you run the car. I am about to add 2 x 100amp AGM batteries because the one 55amp that was fitted is unable to run my fridge and camplight for any decent amount of time. With the extra 2 batteries running the fridge and the original one running the lights, I am hoping to be self sufficient for a week without the need to start the car.
You mentioned that you may go without mains power for up to a week. If this is the case, you should consider either solar or even a quiet generator such as a Honda or Yamaha. Dual batteries may not be the best for you due to the amount of amps you could use over the period of a week.
I cannot help in regards to 3way fridges but from what Scols said, it certainly sounds like a cheaper alternative.

Hope this helps

Cheiffy
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Postby runaround sue » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:56 am

Thank you everyone for your advice.

Yes, you did read right, my car doesn't have a cigarette lighter - we are non-smokers and it is an ex-government Holden Commodore which we bought at the auctions back in 2003 (I didn't think of this at the time as I used to go camping on my own and never bothered about a fridge before, but now my son comes with me, and if he has a good days fishing, we dont have anywhere to keep the fish cold). So, instead of paying to stay in a cabin in a caravan park which costs a fortune I thought I'd be better off putting the money to a fridge and then being able to stay away for longer.

How much do you think it would cost to have a cigarette lighter fitted?

I was hoping to avoid having to get into my car and having to run it to charge the battery, because of the price of fuel it could get expensive. How long/far would I need to drive to charge the battery? How many days would the battery last, roughly, before I'd have to get in the car and drive?

Going by what's been posted, I'm leaning towards running it off gas because some parks dont allow generators and its my perception that they are quite large, heavy and expensive to run. But the other problem is that I've been told I shouldn't run the fridge on gas whilst travelling in the car. What do you think? I'd hate to have it explode in the back!

I supppose my next move will be to hit the shops and get brochures and talk to the guys in the shop.

Just another question, if a fridge runs on lower watts is that better?

If anyone has any further ideas, please let me know as its all so confusing.
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Postby Scolers » Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:36 am

Sue,

Not sure about the cost of having a ciggy lighter fixed but if you go to an auto electricians I'm sure they will give you a quote. Ring a few up first to get a general idea.

If you have a ciggy lighter, AND the firdge is gas you wont have to worry about chargint the battery. While you drive t your location the battery will charge automatically even tho' you are running a fridge. When you get to the location just switch your fridge from battery to gas so you dont drain the battery while the car isn't running. OK? With this set up you won't need to worry about chargin the battery ( I siad it again so you realise you won't need to run the car to charge the battery ;))

In regard to the wattage ... not sure ... but if you stick with a reputable brand then you wont have any problems. There are a few 3 way fridges on the market but IMO Chescold is the best. A touch more expensive but they are bigger hence you can fit more food/ bait/ beer in them. A lot of the cheaper versions are 35 litre which is quite small if you are going away for 4 days plus ... the chescold is 50 litres (but more expensive) but worth it ... have a look in the Trading Post or other classifieds if cost is a problem.

Hope this helps.

:)

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Postby Kramer » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:35 pm

Sue don't run it on gas in the car, either it will explode or you die from asphixiation (spelling?), but all three way friges will run off 12 volt, but if you stay mainly in caravan parks just get yourself a 12 volt fridge as they all nearly come with the 240V connection and grab yourself a powered site!
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Postby runaround sue » Thu Mar 30, 2006 2:53 pm

I just like the idea of not being tied down to staying in a caravan park as I like to go "feral" now and then and go-it-alone. I was thinking of heading down to the Glenelg and Discovery Bay NPs as I've heard there is good fishing that way and they've also got good walking tracks.

I'm just trying to work out the best way to run a fridge so that I could stay for a week or so in one spot without problems, and hopefully, I'd run out of food first :)
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Postby Scolers » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:29 pm

Then the 3 way is the way to go.

IMO and from what you've said, the best way to deal with this is to:

1. Get a ciggy lighter installed
2. Get a 3 way fridge (and like Kramer said don't run it via gas in your car).
3. Have a great camping trip.

That's it in a nutshell.

You can get inverters, solar panels and all the other stuff if you have heaps of cash but it just isnt as simple as the ciggy lighter with a 3 way.

I also agree with Kramer re. a bar fridge. We havea 90 litre bar fridge that we use all the time when we go to caravan parks and the fee's are only around $25/$30 night for pwoered sites.

Keep asking 'dem questions!

:)

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Postby runaround sue » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:44 pm

What's an inverter?
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Postby runaround sue » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:44 pm

What's an inverter?
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Postby Scolers » Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:23 pm

An expensive piece of equipment that you don't need ... :)

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Postby Cheiffy » Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:56 am

It is a little electronical gadget that will convert 12volts (i.e. your car) to 240volts in order for you to run electronical devices you would normally use at home.
I think the 3 way fridge would be best for what you have told us. I am surprised that your car doesnt have a cigerette lighter installed already. Is it just a case that the glow plug isnt there? If you do decide to have one installed, get them to install two or more while they are doing it. You never know if you might want to charge some batteries also.

Cheers

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