Can you take a regular fridge offroad?

Discussion in 'Camping & Outdoor Gear' started by e9999, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    So, I got this mini fridge for free cuz it wasn't working. I fixed it easily enough. It's cooling things down amazingly well, easily -20F. It's a little cube thing that students would have in their dorm rooms. Working as fridge or freezer (not 2 zones).

    Always thought it is great to have a fridge out in the boonies but the $700 or so for an ARB etc made me wait for a more compelling reason to get one.

    Now, of course, having tinkered with that free fridge I feel compelled to try it out out there, since I have nothing much to lose. All the same, I'd rather keep it alive.

    So the question is: would a regular -city if you'd like- fridge survive a trip on the trails? I know that ARB etc advertise their fridge as being able to do 30o slopes and maybe they have a special design for that (or not?). Would a regular one survive working tilted? This is one with a normal-looking spherical compressor.

    Am I looking at immediate self-destruction on serious trails?

    If so, would fire roads at least be OK?
     
  2. Awl_TEQ

    Awl_TEQ Supporting Vendor

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    I have no Idea - but don't "they" say to let your freezer sit for an hour after you move it? :meh:
     
  3. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    indeed, always heard something like that, although more minutes than an hour.

    And interestingly, this little fridge can't have the compressor turned back on for a few minutes after stopping. There must some sort of timer or heat sensor to it.

    Now, the absorption cycle fridges can't run if not close to level, but that's a different story, I think, more that the refrigerant should be able to drip back down, or something like that.
     
  4. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch

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    I think it's likely a dorm fridge will draw more current than an Engel. I would check into that if you are going to keep it running overnight.

    I guess opening from the front might be a PITA in a vehicle. You can put a latch on it to keep it from coming open but it seems like the contents might shift and want to fall out every time you open the door.
     
  5. titanpat57

    titanpat57 Bigfoot?!...never heard of him... SILVER Star

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    And would you rewire it to run on 12vdc...or run an inverter. I think for the price I could put up with a little inconveinance as far as opening if you were sure it would run and not kill the battery. As far as tipping maybe wait a little while if you wheeeling before turning it on??

    I like where your going with this though...:popcorn:
     
  6. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    no doubt it would not be as convenient as a real offroad fridge. Yes, the door is an issue. Falling out not so much cuz one could use containers. But you need the room to open the door and then you lose all the cold air (although one could put partial inner doors).

    I'm thinking it may be nice to have around town too to go food shopping etc.

    It's drawing 130W on start up. That'd be about, what, 11 or 12A with the inverter losses? When it's running full-time (-20F) it's drawing about 70W. On mild fridge setting, it's only cycling like 10 or 20% of the time. Still probably a lot for a single battery system, though.

    May just be too impractical overall, but could come in handy to keep a bunch of stuff frozen going into a trailer camping trip.

    Anyway, for now, I'm just curious about the technical aspects of running something like that on trails (slopes etc).

    So anybody ever run a regular fridge over rough terrain? And what is different about the design of the Engels etc?
     
  7. knoll0351

    knoll0351

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    I'd probably look more into RV refrigeration systems myself. The reason for the "rest" period on a fridge is to let the fluid settle back to the bottom though. Not sure all of the mechanics but as long as it isn't too crazy it shouldn't mind too much. We used to knock them over all the time in the barracks rooms. We did have to have several replaced though also...
     
  8. NorCalDoug

    NorCalDoug problems solved daily...

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    I can't speak to the viability of using the type of fridge you describe (I saw the other thread you have going)...

    however, you do know that if you search craigslist often enough that you can find a used norcold/engel/arb for around $200 (or less).

    I came across a 2nd fridge -- a larger 64 quart model -- for $200 a couple years ago. it works just fine outside by the pool in the summer and I use it as a 2nd fridge/freezer when I take the tent trailer on various trips.


    as for the reason for waiting a set amount of time before starting a conventional fridge after moving said fridge is to allow the coolant (freon) to settle (wherever it lives) before the compressor kicks on. I don't know if it's a wife's tale or if it's truth, but that's my understanding for why one should wait.
     
  9. NorCalDoug

    NorCalDoug problems solved daily...

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    just saw that... :D
     
  10. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    sure, I keep looking at CL, but no success. This ain't Sac, ya know... :)

    I do realize this would likely be utterly impractical, but eh, that never stopped me from trying something out and having fun with it while learning a bit too... :D
     
  11. hoser

    hoser SILVER Star

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    If you must buy new, you can get an Edgestar right now for $395/shipped. Even cheaper if you search for online coupons. People seem to be happy with them so far. Though, I'd still prefer a used Waeco/Engel/Norcold.
     
  12. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    Eric, you are a crack up. Rather than yet another exercise in cheapness, decide if you want an off-road refridgerator or not. If you want one, then buy one. You own an 80 and a 100 and you're professionally employed full time, so if you want one, you can buy one. Engel, ARB, Norcold, Maybe Waeco (I don't like the Tupperware exterior), all are engineered to work in a mobile and unsteady environment.

    If you want to continue with more experiments that any idiot can see will not work, then proceed. In a vehicle you are severely limited by size constraints and power availability. Does that seem like a good place to use a $100 craptoid chinese dorm fridg with a huge power draw??

    Wern't you trying to use an RV propane fridge a few years ago? How did that turn out?
     
  13. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    so, I take it that meant that you have no idea whether it would work or not, and why or why not... :)
     
  14. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Only comment I'd make on this experiment is that whether you convert the power supply to 12v or run an inverter, I wouldn't do it on a single battery. If you were running dual batteries then what the hell, give it a try. Just don't strand yourself with that thing draining your only battery!

    Personally, I'll stick with my ARB!
     
  15. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    good point. Only have 1 battery installed, but I have my HD jumper so I can start it if the main battery is dead.

    I'm running some tests on this thing right now. Measuring the power consumed and the temperature in there. It's interesting. On freezer mode at low setting it's using about 70W when down to about 5F inside. But only running 50% of the time or less. So that would be an average of about 3.5A at 12V. (I'm counting on 10% or so losses in the inverter.) A bit more than the ARB etc which have a stated draw of 2.5A or so (average?). Surely cuz the portables have better insulation or more efficient motors. But not that objectionable.

    Just playing. Not everyday I'll have a free small fridge to put in the truck and try out.

    (You guys seem to think it'd be easy to convert to 12V. I don't see that. You'd have to put in a new motor etc. )
     
  16. Awl_TEQ

    Awl_TEQ Supporting Vendor

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    Keep playing with it. I for one am interested in your findings. I may not go with a dorm fridge, but I am interested....:hmm:
     
  17. Brentbba

    Brentbba Former Golfer SILVER Star

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    Be very wary of your power consumption. My ARB has drained a main battery (when I had a single) and my Optima Yellow top over a weekend. That being said - both weekends were hot in SoCal. Parked the truck Friday evening and didn't start again until Sunday morning. Not in/out of the fridge much at all. It'll happen quicker than you think.
     
  18. titanpat57

    titanpat57 Bigfoot?!...never heard of him... SILVER Star

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    and I'm still liking where this is going!! Ignore the naysayers and skeptics Dr. Fridgenstein...go forward with the experiment!!!!!

    MUHAHAHAHA...its alive!!, its alive!! :p

    I work at a college and probably chuck 10 of these a year that are left after the kids move out...if you need parts or something let me know:clap:
     
  19. Cuerno Largo

    Cuerno Largo SILVER Star

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    Because sometimes it is fun to see if it can be done?

    Keep posting up what you find. I am interested in this thread also, just for the novelty of seeing it done or not. If it works well enough, I might put the one I have stored in my attic out in my rolling deer stand I built from crap that most people would throw away.:beer:
     
  20. knoll0351

    knoll0351

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    Never throw away beer :grinpimp:
     
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