fridges 3 way V compressors

Submitted: Saturday, Oct 29, 2005 at 23:56
ThreadID: 122303 Views:5807 Replies:3 FollowUps:3
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advice please on 3 way V compressor fridges.Have had off-road van for 8 yrs. Intend to upgrade. Weighing up WHETHER to go with 3 way to run on gas in bush and 1x120w solar panel plus 2x105ah deep cycle batteries to power lights , pump etc OR go with compressor fridge and 2x 105ah and 2x120w panels. Suspect latter set up would see me out of power in bad weather in two days or so ! Dont want to lug around the extra weight of more batteries,panels and (noisy) generator etc so inclined to go with first option of 3 way / one panel/ 2xd/c batteries. What do the experienced bushies say ? Are compressor fridges all that much better anyway ?
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Reply By: Motherhen & Rooster - Sunday, Oct 30, 2005 at 09:16

Sunday, Oct 30, 2005 at 09:16
Without having personal experience with a three way, i understand from other fourms that they are not as effective in the hot weather as the compressor type. Personally i am paranoid about fire, and would not have a gas one. I have seen caravans go up in smoke very rapidly. Our previous van (one of those wind-up things) had a 3 way which we pulled out and put in an Engel compressor caravan fridge with freezer compartment. It ran off 12 and 240 volt. We carried one portable solar panel which we put out when we stopped, which charged one deep cycle battery (also charged from vehicle when driving). We were heading North into sunny weather. Being mostly inland, nights were cool, in which case we turned it off overnight which helped with the battery levels. We even trusted to luck and left the generator at home. Very happy with the result.

Our BT has a 12 volt only fridge - i would prefer to have 240 for back up, but we could easily recharge with the generator, which we got so we could use the air conditioner (wise move). It is a standard size caravan fridge with small internal freezer section - i would prefer a slightly larger, two door type fridge which would fit in the same spot only be taller, for long term travelling.

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Follow Up By: Mike h - Sunday, Oct 30, 2005 at 23:05

Sunday, Oct 30, 2005 at 23:05
Thanks very much motherhen.You seem to confirm the conventional wisdom that a compressor is a better wat to go. I'll be interested to see if there are any 3 way defenders out there
Thanks again
Mike H
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Reply By: Mike h - Sunday, Oct 30, 2005 at 23:02

Sunday, Oct 30, 2005 at 23:02
Thanks very much motherhen. You seem to confirm the conventional wisdom that compressors are better. I'am interested to see if there are any 3 way defenders out there
Thanks again
Mike H
AnswerID: 567355

Reply By: Bushtracker - Monday, Oct 31, 2005 at 22:00

Monday, Oct 31, 2005 at 22:00
Hello Mike H,
When in doubt, you could always ask Bushtracker... The Ranger might know, he has only dealt with the thousand or so, so he might have clue or two.... Ha!

On the matter of the three-way fridge, the best one was the old Electrolux, and many years ago we used to use them in most vans. But we got complaint after complaint. They do not have compressors, and built in Sweden they don’t see weather over 30 C. Years ago, we tried everything to get them to run more efficiently, but in hot weather over 30-35 degrees, they were all in big trouble.... We ran larger vents, we put in muffin fans, we used large radiator after market cooling fans, all in all it was a dismal failure. We could get them to work, but the cooling required power enough to not make it worthwhile… We even had the Electrolux Engineers out to test five of them set up in our Shop, as they were keen to save our Business with them. Of the five operating out in the open, two were OK on a hot day, just marginally legal for keeping milk, and no where near the heat of a locked up van. Two of the five were very poor performers, not legal, and well below most normal standards. One of the five was so poor, they rejected it and took it with them… From here and north, we have just found that about 90% of them operate below Customers expectations, no matter what we did. There was the occasional out performer that did work well with a complete vented door the full length of the fridge or a cooling fan, but too many failed to satisfy the Customers…. Far less than 5% of Customers from here north end up being happy with three way..

Look, the truth is, the last "Hold Out" for three-way fridge, demanded that we put in a Three Way Fridge.... They were back 12 monts later to have it yanked out and a Danfoss Compressor drive unit installed...

Our fridge has the worlds leader in 12v compressor drive technology, Danfoss. It is being used by the Australian Army, United Nations, UNICEF in Africa; world wide it is the leader hands down... American box, Italian box, Australian box, never mind, all use the German Danfoss as a majority without much challenge...

Our Customers tend to be the more experienced travellers who have already been fooled by what the competition has on to offer. Other people are building the look of 4x4, the style of 4x4, but cosmetically only. We are building the real bones of 4x4 and are equipment is also born of experience and necessity. 19 out of 20 of our customers would not have a three way fridge again. My first 18’ Bushtracker had one, and even as far south as Canberra, when my kids were little it would not keep milk in a hot spell for two days. In the tropics, the performance is even more dismal. In fact, in the next eighty odd Bushtrackers we are building, only one has a three way heat absorption fridge ordered for Southern Climes....

No offence intended, but I am inviting you to come here for a visit to the Factory, to get a bit of an enlightenment about what the BEST really is.

Kind Regards from the Ranger at Bushtracker
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Follow Up By: TroopyTracker - Tuesday, Nov 01, 2005 at 05:38

Tuesday, Nov 01, 2005 at 05:38
What about the "T" rated electolux 3 ways? They're supposed to work up to 42 degrees. Any experience with these.

Love our compressor fridge though, nothing to think about (other than battery voltage). No switching from 12 volt to gas to 240 to 12 to gas etc.

Often wondered though re the T rated fridges, would need so much less solar/batteries. Although mate with 200litre gas fridge was telling me how much gas it went through, something like 2 weeks for a 9kg bottle! Bugger that, soon pay for the solar in gas costs and PITA of getting it refilled all the time.

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Tuesday, Nov 01, 2005 at 21:22

Tuesday, Nov 01, 2005 at 21:22
No, I have not heard any positive reports... There may be a breakthrough in heat absorbtion units some day, but keep in mind that they are built for European conditions where it rarely is over 30 degrees, for a market that is 50 times larger than our little market... So I would not hold my breath... The truth is that everyone that has shown and interest in 3 way fridges in ten years, seemed to be more financially motivated that performance motivated, trying to do without solar...

And yes, they go through gas, and have to be switched over whenever you stop as the 12v element hardly works and pulls 10-12 amps continuous, and no I doubt I personally will ever have one again... My experience is that you almost have to be on 240v for 24hours to load the fridge with warm food after shopping, or if you are travelling on 12v at the end of the day it is still warm... Not for me.

Kind regards from an open minded Ranger, always looking, but likes to see the "proof in the pudding"...

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