Thermo Electric Coolers - any recommendations?

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Thermo Electric Coolers - any recommendations?

Postby tdhombre » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:03 pm

We just returned from an extended teardrop excursion to Mexico. Almost 8 weeks and 5,500 miles later we have returned all better for the journey, experiences and people we met.

We were quite the attraction with the "gringos" when we pulled into the Mexican camping spots. Most all were in campers - from class a pushers to van conversions and everything in between. We were greeted, photo'ed and entertained all because of our teardrop. What a way to go! You gotta love it. Some of these folks spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and no one notices when they pull in. Go in with a teardrop and EVERYONE comes by.

What we came back with was a need to be able to have a better way to keep things cool and not have to deal with hielo (ice) every other day in a standard ice chest. Researching on the web provides a possible solution in a 12V/110V TEC cooler/heater (set on "cool" of course.)

Does anyone have any experiences with these things? Any comments or expereinces would be welcomed.

Muchas gracias.
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Postby goldcoop » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:14 pm

Dave-

Here is a quote from Dave @ campadk:

The Koolatron P-65 Kargo Cooler was the only 12V fridge that seemed to fit the lower right area of the galley. This area is 14" deep. You will need to allow for closing of the galley door. The Kargo Cooler fit the bill with a few inches to spare on the side. Laying the Kooler back side down, there is ample room to open the cooler from the top for easy access. This also gives you the option of using ice in the cooler if you are low on battery. This cooler holds 33 quarts (37.5 lites) and measures 20" long X 14" wide X 16" high. The Kargo Cooler draws just over 3A when running. This cooler will cool to 40°F below the outside temperature.

As of spring 2004 we opted to scrap using the Koolatron and stick with a well insulated cooler of ice stored in our tow vehicle. These fridges just use too much energy and don't cool well enough to justify their usage.

Cheers,

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Postby madjack » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:33 pm

Dave, I have had several different TEC's over the years and was left unsatisfied with any of them

...the first drawback is they only cool...MAX if 40*below ambient temps. So if it is in the 90's then you will only get cool to the 50's...this might be OK for some condiments but not much else

...the second is power draw...on a hot day, you can kill a battery overnight...even on 18wheelers with 4 large batteries, I have killed them over a wekeend

...either a super insulated built in type icebox or a "5" day cooler with a pull down latch is a better way to go

...you can also get "real" refridgerators inna small size that run on AC/DC/LP gas but they are VERY pricey....here are a couple(4) of links to them;
http://www.bigfrogmountain.com/engel_products.htm
http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/rv-r ... mrft40.htm
http://www.sailgb.com/c/portable_fridges/
http://www.thecellarstore.com/f86.html
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Postby PaulC » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:36 pm

Dave, Our first cooler was a Waeco Thermoelectric and we found it to be excellent when we had it in our car with the airconditioner on and the cool air directed straight at it. Otherwise it did not cool enough to stop perishables from perishing on an extended stay. We now own an engel car fridge that has exceeded our expectations. For my trailer I am thinking of a 3 way(Gas, Mains,12v) fridge. The ability to cool with gas has many advantages in that you do not need power of any sort.
Just my 2 cents worth.
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Re: Thermo Electric Coolers - any recommendations?

Postby mikeschn » Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:06 pm

Dave Klinzman wrote:

Does anyone have any experiences with these things? Any comments or expereinces would be welcomed.

Muchas gracias.


If you always have electric, why not put in an electric dorm fridge.

If money is no object, then go for the 3 way fridge, gas, electric and 12v.

We will use a cooler for traveling, and the dorm fridge while camped.

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Postby SteveH » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:01 pm

The trouble with the gas refrigirators as I see it, they require a large vent out the top, and a fresh air inlet at the bottom or side, which could be a big problem to install in a teardrop. I've had them in RV's and they do work good, however.
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Postby Denny Unfried » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:25 pm

I have some advice ~ Don't do it. If you're intent on one of these I have a top of the line with brushed stainless finish at a bargain basement price. It draws 3/amps. 14/7 and only keeps things at -40° less than ambient temps. It will drain a R/V battery in one day.

Now, you can super-cool your ice by putting some dry ice with it overnight and it will last much much longer. When going for over a week I sometimes do this and have had ice to throw away after a week in the summer.

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Postby BrwBier » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:35 pm

I guess my opinion is different from most everyone else. We have used a Kool-Mate 50 by Igloo for the past 4 years. We would not travel without it. Now for the disclaimer. We don't travel in the summer, we leave that for the families with kids. We travel when the temperature is 60's to 80's and when we camp we use electric sites and use the A/C to D/C converter. It cools to 44 to 46 below ambient temp. It can be unplugged over night in 60 degree temp with no problems, stays in the low 40s inside. I will admit that if we camped in the summer and stayed for a week w/o electric my opinion might be quite different. We also have used ice in it when it was necessary. Under the right conditions it works quite well.
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Postby Ira » Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:02 pm

Denny Unfried wrote:Now, you can super-cool your ice by putting some dry ice with it overnight and it will last much much longer.


Hey, wait a minute--this is real interesting:

If I dedicated a huge cooler with some dry ice just just for storing REGULAR ice, will it keep the ice frozen for a long period of time?

Wait a minute--I'm getting crazy here. They sell 5-day coolers that really do the trick, and I'm not travelling into any back country for weeks at a time.
Here we go again!
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Postby bdosborn » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:29 am

These are way expensive but I wonder if anyone has an experience with them. 2.7A at 12v according to the website and its a refrigerator so it will get down to freezing. You could run it with a solar panel during the day.
http://128.121.204.56/engel/Engel16main.htm
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Postby PaulC » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:39 am

Bruce, The Handbrake and I have the MT45 Engel and we swear by it. On extended camping trips it is absolutely awesome. They all operate on 12v and also mains(110v- over there isn't it) Ours is kept in our 4x4 with a dual battery set up. You may have to rethink it if you are going to keep it in the trailer. A mate of mine does keep his battery topped up by using solar panels.
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Postby bdosborn » Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:49 am

Paul,
I missed that you had one in your post. I saw these pop up on a lot at 4WD sites for awhile. We don't keep the cooler in our trailer so that wouldn't be an issue. This one is a little cheaper and runs on gas. Is this what you've been looking at?
clicky

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Postby PaulC » Thu Mar 16, 2006 1:01 am

Bruce, The one that comes up from your clicky is similar to what I had been looking at. After reading the responses here about venting etc for gas I am having a rethink. I will probably stick to either an Engel http://www.i-m-d.com/engel/
or a Waeco http://www.waecousa.com/page.aspx?p=proportref car fridge. It's what I'm used to living with out bush so why change.
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Postby GeorgeTelford » Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:28 pm

What about a small mains fridge, on invertor will use less than 3 amps, easy to run via 12v while traveling and on mains when on site, I put a full size mains fridge in My motorhome, could even wild camp (boondock) for a week just on batteries (I did use 10 X 110 AH battery bank) and no probs real fridge and freezer performance for less amperage than these cool boxes.

Mike already suggested a dorm fridge, gotta say its far better than coolboxes or messing with ice.............
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Postby mikeschn » Thu Mar 16, 2006 5:01 pm

George,

My Haier is rated at 1.4A Max Amps 5.3A

What size inverter would I need to power it while driving?

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