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Equipping the Overland Vehicle Vehicle accessories - Making your home away from home comfortable, safe and reliable.
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  #1  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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12v Fridge - what type ?

Hi

I'm looking at getting a 12v Fridge for a trip to North Africa later in the year.

I've found that you can get 2 types ,Compression and Absorbsion.
What should i be looking for, and any recomendations would be great.

cheers
Alan
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  #2  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Engel!

Hi there Al,

We have bought two fridges as can be seen here Jenny and Ollie's Big Trip

The Waeco was not good enough at all, although maybe if you are happy running it on gas it could be. Much better was the Engel. In fact I would recommend it to anyone who asked, as it has yet to drain our battery, so I can't say how long it lasts. But at least 3 days.

Hope this stops you making an expensive mistake we did.

Although if you want to make that mistake we do have the waeco for sale
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  #3  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Fridges

A friend loves his National Luna ..
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  #4  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Al,
for vehicle use you really need a compressor type - absorbtion type just will not hack it. Waeco and Engel are the best known and both have very good reputations with the Waecos generally being light due to plastic construction - this is not a bad thing as a 40l compressor fridge is bloody heavy. Engel do have a very good reputation for longevity. It is a bit like the landrover/landcruiser debate i.e. never ending!

I went for a National Luna (from South Africa) and am very pleased. It was not cheap even shipping direct from ZA and in the UK I would probably go Engel. I know some people are not really fridge fans, but for me it is the single most trip enhancing extra I have ever bought as a cold and cheese sandwich is priceless. The NL on a 100amp/hr battery will only take the battery down to dangerously low levels after about three days functioning as a freezer, but having said that after a short time I have killed a cheap lead acid cranking battery by deep discharging it once too often. For safety you really need some sort of split charge system and probably a deep cycle battery if you go the fridge route, but for trips it is no bad thing to have a second power supply that can be totally isolated and run all the extras while ensuring your car starts the next day. Plenty threads here on split charge systems and the various pros and cons.

Gil
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  #5  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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We used the big National Luna (fridge/freezer) - 2 x 105A deep cycle batteries, and with our normal running never had an issue.
It did the whole trip - 9 months, dust, vibration, and not a whole lot of care without any trouble.
They are expensive, but they are quality.

HTH
Graham
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  #6  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CornishDeity View Post
Hi there Al,

We have bought two fridges as can be seen here Jenny and Ollie's Big Trip

The Waeco was not good enough at all, although maybe if you are happy running it on gas it could be. Much better was the Engel. In fact I would recommend it to anyone who asked, as it has yet to drain our battery, so I can't say how long it lasts. But at least 3 days.

Hope this stops you making an expensive mistake we did.

Although if you want to make that mistake we do have the waeco for sale
Note that this compares absorption with compressor. (And indeed highlights the issues absorption has: high energy consumption and not good when held at angles, they often run of gas as well, though).

Waeco, howver, do compressor fridges as well, and I am a happy user of one. THose will be comparable in energy use to Engel (and other compressor fridges).
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  #7  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Absorption fridges don't work for in car usage.

We have used a 40 litre Engel since 1999 and it's still going strong, a bit of rust but that's it. Waeco is more affordable but the plastic outer damages easier and some guys have had reliability issues with them.

Like Graham we have also upgraded to the 85 litre fridge/freezer combo from National Luna. It's expensive as hell but uses less power than the Engel that was half it's size.

Split charging system with second battery is a must IMO.
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  #8  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Thanks for all the quick responses, Guys
I'm glad I asked as I was looking at absorbsion
Fridges, cos of the price.
Looks like I might have to continue saving up a while longer !
and go for an Engel
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  #9  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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Please do .....

Hi Al,

Please do. We wasted £150 on the Waeco. As someone said Waeco do make a compressor variaty, but the build doesn't feel as strong as the Engel.

I'd also recommend maybe buying one from MPS at Billing this year, assuming they are there. You can drop Simon an email via his website ENGEL FRIDGES UK

He is usually doing a special deal for Billing with some bits thrown in and money off. Especially if you buy him a .

Cheers

Ollie
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  #10  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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I've used both extensively - absorption are ok for a weekend if you're putting cold s in and some steaks for a camping barbeque.
They aren't very good a making warm stuff cold, unless it's cold outside, and after a week or more they tend to get smelly and you have a pool of gunk in the bottom.
They drain batterys fast,, I could never leave mine on overnight - did it once and even the AA couldn't revive the battery.
But on the plus side are kind of disposable and you aren't so bothered if you knock one about or drop it. Saying that, I payed £70 for my last 'cheapo' one which I wish I'd just put towards a proper fridge.
The fan motors on absorption tend to die with dust and sand as well.

I've had an engel for a little bit now, cost about £400, but worth every penny.
My only complaint has been that sand crept into the thermostat dial, and the dial also tended to move from its set position, but to be fair I was driving like a loon off road for days, drive a soft top and was too skinflint to buy the nice cover.
They are much better for power consumption, hardly used any power at all, and it will freeze down to -17 very quickly.
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  #11  
Old 6 Mar 2008
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We have been using a Waeco fridge for the last year and have never had any trouble with it. It has never drained the batteries despite us running it cold in hot climates.

As mentioned before Engel vs Waeco is similar to the LR vs LC debate....
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  #12  
Old 7 Mar 2008
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The cheapy ones do sap loads of power as they just have a fan permanently spinning - I haven't tried a waeco one, perhaps they have better insulation being more expensive? Also depends on how big your battery is, but I flattened mine dead everytime I forgot to switch the damn thing off at night.
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  #13  
Old 15 Mar 2008
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Crap batteries...

Just for info:
for my national luna I rigged up a split charge system using a sterling battery to battery charger, clipper battery monitor and a cheap 100a/hr lead acid cranking battery. The first two do exactly what they should (well at least I know they are 'cause the clipper tells me!) but the piece of crap cranking battery lasted the blink of an eye... Now I know a cranking battery should not be used as a deep cycle, but mine was deep discharged maybe maximum 3 or 4 times (all due to tailgate parties and forgetting the fridge for a "while"). Now the damn thing is Kaput. So lesson learned - stay away from cheap crankers as fridge power. The brand was 'Centro' which is apparently German but... Due to living where I live there is not exactly a thriving deep cycle market so as of today the thing is powered by a sealed calcium CAT battery which cost me an arm and a leg so hopefully I get better mileage. Oh yeah and a smaller N70 'Centro' in my company 105 l/c lasted a total of 4 months, so even doing what they are supposed to they are still rubbish.
Costly business cheese and in the tropics!
Gil
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  #14  
Old 15 Mar 2008
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i picked up a good leisure battery from a UK store called towsure - it's lasted three years so far and only cost £25!
Caravan stores are good places to go for kit like this, got a real good split charge system for about £12 as well, been banged, soaked, squashed and fried and still works perfectly.
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  #15  
Old 16 Mar 2008
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I've had an engel for 5 years now - no problems at all. It runs all summer long and is used for weekend trips as well as bigger excursions. I had an oddessey gel battery that would often run the fridge for 3 days and still start the car. Unfortunately the battery lost one cell last year but can't complain too much after 4 years.
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