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Thread: 12 volt fridges

  1. #1

    12 volt fridges

    So my Engel 40lt has stopped woring on 12 volt after 14 years of use. Been a good fridge but now as the family is getting bigger I am looking for a bigger fridge in the 60lt range. The Engel 60lt ara around the $1700 mark. Ouch.

    There is a Waeco CF60 at Anoconda on special at the moment for $699. Been doing searches on the net and they appear to have a few problems with the locking mechanism so checked this out at BCF and I can see why. They are made of a plastic little clip which looks like it would break pretty easily.

    Also at BCF was the Companion 60lt on special for $799. The companion looks the most rugged out of all of them and looks like the best insulated. They use slightly more power than the 40lt engel (.05 amps) which is nothing considering it is 1/2 as big again. I can get two of these for the one Engel. Has anyone had this fridge before and what was your experience?

    Anyone use the waeco and engel and how did they go?

    Thanks Goona

  2. #2

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Hey mate.
    Iv had a CF60 for about 10 years now.
    I put a new condenser fan in last year. And yes, I have change the latch a couple of times. But if you close the lid, and not just let it slam, it will not break.

    It it is still going strong.

    I went to buy a second one last year, but they no longer make the CF 60, so I bought the 50 instead.

    I am happy with waeco.

    I have mates with a mixture of waeco, engle, evacool and trailblazza. Havnt had any bad feedback on any of them.

    Dont know now anyone with a companion, so sorry can't comment.


  3. #3
    Ausfish Bronze Member DATCOL's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Have a Evacool Great fridge it has had lots of use in the western heat with no problems
    the manufacturer is extremely helpful
    I had a cable connection problem after a 2 years use & the manufacturer stated that there was a updated 12 volt cable & sent me one free of charg
    Had a mate that broke a hing on his Evacool & took the fridge up to the factory & they replaced the hing free of charge
    They also have factory seconds at reduced price most only have cosmetic blemishes & work fine Cheers COL

  4. #4

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    If you are after a tough fridge, the Trailblaza would be hard to beat although a bit pricey. My inlaws bought one that has lived in the back of their landcruiser almost continously for about 16 years now without missing a beat.
    "I soak the worms in rum. The fish love em and the worms die happy"
    "Alcohol is not the solution to your problems...................but then again, neither is milk"

  5. #5

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Would have to agree with scottar.. the trailblazers are unstopable.. brought mine second hand about 10 years ago still going strong.. travelled around aus on the frontof the camer trailer exposed to the elements 24/7. Took it in to the manufacturer a couple of years ago as it seemed to be turning on/off intermittently..turned out to be a loose wire in the aftermarket plug i had installed.. got them to clean it up and put a new thermostat in it (the only part that they ever have trouble with) and they only charged me about $80 for the parts and no labour.. sturdy well built fridge.. no plastic.. solid as a rock.. wont need to but if i ever had to buy another fridge it would be a trail blazer..
    ...A bad days fishing is always better than a good days working...

  6. #6

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Trailblazer +1
    Mine is 16 yrs as is two of mates. We bought them in 2000 to go to Cape York. Mates dad's is 26yrs old. All going strong and never needed service, hinges or anything else.

  7. #7

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    I will throw another option for consideration.

    After owning a primus fridge for 4years it died from poor handling by me. The aluminium walls inside the fridge had rubbed through from beer cans in the bottom layer. (No baskets were used) causing terminal damage to the cooling tubes inside.

    Now I've upgraded to the giant power brand distributed by Aussie batteries and solar. Same dual zone design. 80L compared to the primus 65L. Same danfoss compressor.

    But now the fridge has fibreglass internal walls to protect against damage. Still has baskets for protection but I will take them out.

    Draws 36A over 24hrs. And 5.5A under full compressor load.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Damo's dodgy boat repairs.
    1993 bermuda by Haines 530f - completed resto.
    1976 cruisecraft rogue 14 - estuary weapon.
    1984 vickers easyrider 156 - future project.

  8. #8

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Don't buy a trailblazer they are too reliable.
    You will be the only one with cold beer at your camp and your flee mates will drink all your cold p155.
    12 years in the ute running 24hrs a day and still running strong.

  9. #9

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Stick with Engel

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  10. #10

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    I agree. If Engel has served you well why change?

  11. #11

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    I have had a few now over the years. Longest serving one so fare is the Primus Mammoth. You can read my report on here about it somewhere, and its still going and its still friggin masssive.

    Recently I wanted a smaller fridge in the 40l range that will sit in the back of the dual cab. Was going to buy a cheap Chinese waeco knockoff, ended up with a genuine Waeco CFX. I plugged the thing into the cig lighter in the navara at Brendale and it was at 4degC by the time I got to Shorncliffe. I left it in the car in the mid power cutoff setting and forgot about it, 2 days later it was still going and I could start the car.

    Fast forward to my 2 week trip in the snowies. It sat in my tent, with a 110ah battery for 2 weeks. Tent was heated with a wood stove and was normally at about 25-30degC. Overcast/raining/snowing everyday and the solar panels had the battery topped before midday most days. The thing chews stuff all power. I was surprised. I would not mind seeing some real comparative testing on the efficiency of this fridge, but initial indications on my past experience make it look pretty good. I have had a few fridges now, but the CFX has impressed me.

  12. #12

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    I bought a 60 Engel about 3 years's been back twice.....thermostat and the cooling panel so far this time so good been running out the back for about 6mths it was sitting around before that.
    The father in law bought a second hand banged up 70 Trailblazer off of a tour guide about 7 or 8 years ago for $500 and has never missed a beat I have used it many times they are a great fridge but bloody big heavy and bulky.

    The price of the waeco's is pretty hard to pass up though.
    Confidence.......the feeling you get before you fully understand the situation.

  13. #13

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Interesting read, never heard of some of these names - but I have now! Let me just climb out from under this rock...!

    Just started the research for a fridge, and/or possibly even a second smaller one at a later date for independent fridge + freezer options, which makes good sense until you try and justify the additional cost especially if they both aren't going to be used that often!

    Has anyone had any bad experiences with ARB fridges? Or own one and have owned other types too?

    4WD Action Magazine's Mega Fridge Comparo of 7 fridges put the ARB at the top of the list (hmmmm wonder if advertising contracts were a factor), but also provided good comparison tables/discussion on all types so you could see their reasoning.

    A few mates have had them for 2 or 3 yrs, and have used them in all sorts of conditions/environments, and have found them to be very good/no problems yet.

    Anyone else have any experience with them?

  14. #14

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Imo a couple of factors should be considered. First is the power supply/charging set up and second is the quality and thickness of insulation. These go hand in hand. If you have unlimited power supply then insulation quality and thickness is less relevant, but if you are relying on solar and/or a deep cycle battery then you want the thickest and highest quality inso available. The better the inso, the lower the power consumption. The other thing to consider is the reliability. The fancy digi read outs and electronic thermostats are not worth considering.

    I have a Waeco 50l which is about 9 years old. The fancy electronic stuff died a couple of years ago, so I ripped that junk out and fitted a Danfoss #1 electro-mechanical thermostat. Run some trials at home to figure out the best thermostat settings and away you go.

    The old school thermostat is robust, and easy to bridge out should you need in the event of failure (and cheap enough to carry a spare). This is pretty much what a trailblazer is. Good quality, thick inso with a simple thermostat.

    On on my boat I have two inbuilt boxes with 100mm (polyurethane inso, I think that is its name). Each are refrigerated by Danfoss BD50 compressors. These draw around 7 amps at full load and down to around 3.5 when cycling. I power this set up with 2 x 120a/h deep cycle batteries, charged via 2 x 120 watt solar panels and a 20amp ctek dc to dc charger which takes its feed from the engine's 120amp alternator. I run one as a fridge and other as a freezer using the Danfoss thermostats. No fancy digital read outs etc. The beer is always cold and bait frozen.

  15. #15

    Re: 12 volt fridges

    Agree with Alchemy about the digital thermostats. I had issues with my old Waeco due to condensation. I repaired mine several times. Didn't matter in the end because I drowned it in salt water and killed most of the electronics! Still works though, I pulled it apart to repair the 240v power supply several times, last time I gave up and its still in bits (could be a project for someone who is only interested in a 12v version.

    The new CFX version is different, time will tell if it holds up. Apparently it does not use the secop (danfoss) compressor but rather waeco's own. I am not going to pull it down to have a look just yet. I have not owned mine long enough to comment if my initial observations of power consumption are accurate, but its looking pretty good so far. Something has changed though.

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