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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

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Zangskar Valley, India

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Old 26 Jun 2006
Em and Hame's Avatar
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12V mini-cool box

Anyone have any experience with attaching a small 12V cool box to their bikes?
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Old 26 Jun 2006
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Several GoldWingers have tried that. They generally have mounted them on their trailer. None have found it successful. The problems are:
It only cools to about 40F below the outside temperature.
If it is exposed to the sun it probably not be able to overcome the solar heating.
It requires a higher output alternator than stock to meet the additional load.
It will deplete a MC battery quickly when the engine is not running.
Items placed in it must already be cool, it will take forever to cool warm items.
It has a lot of weight/size for it's capacity.

Several years ago I bought one to use in in my pickup. I kept it in the shade behind the seat in the extra-cab portion. It didn't have to work too hard because I kept the cab cool with the air-conditioning. It was plugged in all the time, even when the engine was not running. I was disappointed with it's performance and changed back to an ice-chest and ice. Although items were cool, they didn't have that "cold" feeling that is so important on a hot day (I was fighting forest fires and a really cold drink was very important!). And the 12v. cooler would not hold enough to keep myself and my crew supplied. The ice-chest held more at the start of the day and would cool new stuff within an hour, when the items were buried in the ice. We did have an unlimited supply of ice each morning. If I were in a 4-wheel vehicle, with room and power for it, somewhere where ice would not be available for a long time (the Sahara?) I might use one, but otherwise in general I can't recommend them.

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Old 27 Jun 2006
Nigel Marx's Avatar
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Not great

I have one that I got to use in a cabin in the mountains that I have. Even with a small generator, it was pretty unsuccessful. Slow to cool stuff and hungry for amps. As interesting as the Peltier Effect is, it is no substitute for a real cooling system.


Nigel in NZ
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with . -- 2200 BC Egyptian inscription
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Old 27 Jun 2006
Em and Hame's Avatar
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Thanks for the response, would appear the 12V cooler may be not such a good idea.
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Old 24 Nov 2009
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I guess you have to want a cold drink

I used one on my bicycle trailer during my 18 month loop of north america.
I must say i was glad i had it.
I ran a solar panel across the top of my trailer to keep it from draining the small battery.
After a few weeks eating ramen noodles oatmeal w/powdered milk ,i would have done nearly anything for a bowl of milk and or some cool fruit. i would stop at smal grocers and put the stuff in the cooler for several days.
Tho it will not replace your home refer it was nice on the road.
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