12 volt fridge

brazos

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The nearly $1k cost put me off for awhile, but ice is just a PITA.

I’m ready to pull the trigger on one.

I want a top-load, cooler-style, compressor fridge. 40-50 quart.

Dual freezer/fridge zones would be nice, but not critical.

Power draw is very important to me, as I am likely to camp for several days in one spot.

Durability, warranty, and reliability are also paramount.

Price is a secondary concern, if one at all.

I’m a “buy the best and only cry once” guy.

Weight matters some, too, but not at expense of the above criteria.

So, any advice from those in the know?

I read this, which leads me to think either ARB or Dometic.

https://www.thewaywardhome.com/12-volt-refrigerator/

Any knowledgeable thoughts gratefully received, including model numbers and where to buy.

Thanks!
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dugal

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i originally got the Dometic 50 and it worked great except when full it was hard to manage getting in and out of the Jeep because it so heavy. It was also too difficult to transport (car to motel or wherever) so I got a small folding dolly. Finally, that also became cumbersome so I did some more research and found the Aplicool CX40. It got good reviews and had a retracting handle with wheels and i never looked back. https://alpicool.en.alibaba.com/ It's been solid and well insulated.

Cheers
 

Mojito!

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The nearly $1k cost put me off for awhile, but ice is just a PITA.

I’m ready to pull the trigger on one.

I want a top-load, cooler-style, compressor fridge. 40-50 quart.

Dual freezer/fridge zones would be nice, but not critical.

Power draw is very important to me, as I am likely to camp for several days in one spot.

Durability, warranty, and reliability are also paramount.

Price is a secondary concern, if one at all.

I’m a “buy the best and only cry once” guy.

Weight matters some, too, but not at expense of the above criteria.

So, any advice from those in the know?

I read this, which leads me to think either ARB or Dometic.

https://www.thewaywardhome.com/12-volt-refrigerator/

Any knowledgeable thoughts gratefully received, including model numbers and where to buy.

Thanks!
I love my Engel! In 95 degree weather it kept steady at 29 degrees.
 
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brazos

brazos

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i originally got the Dometic 50 and it worked great except when full it was hard to manage getting in and out of the Jeep because it so heavy. It was also too difficult to transport (car to motel or wherever) so I got a small folding dolly. Finally, that also became cumbersome so I did some more research and found the Aplicool CX40. It got good reviews and had a retracting handle with wheels and i never looked back. https://alpicool.en.alibaba.com/ It's been solid and well insulated.

Cheers
I went with the 37 quart ARB. There didn’t seem to be much to choose from between ARB, Engel, and Snomaster. I never read a negative comment about any of them. That’s unusual, and encouraging.

The ARB seemed the most popular, and Amazon had it for $775 shipped. The 50 was only $10 more, but I went with the 37 for the reasons you mentioned.

Thanks, both.
 
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Rahneld

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@brazos Joe: I know little of the refrigerator product offerings space. Despite this, I think I can add value for you in the "battery drain aspect" of running this appliance: at least if you have a 3.6L JL.

Not as if this appliance isn't already expensive enough, but I might also invest in a "big ass" booster pack (i.e. deep cycle for longer time frames,) and prior to cranking your rig after camping, having failed first without the booster connnected, hook the booster positive up to the N1 high amp fuse in the PDC (Power Distribution Center--I'll explain) and the negative of the booster to the series of negative cables normally connected to the negative post of the main battery, but for this process, first disconnected from the main battery (so pack an adjustable wrench.) This disconnection process takes the main battery out of the picture temporarily for reasons discussed below.

The PDC, if new to you, is that black box under the hood closest to the passenger's seat. Pop its cover and the high amp fuses are on the extreme right of the box, in a line front-to-back, the N1 fuse being closest to you.


What you're doing here (I hope) is making your booster and the ESS/Aux battery "one and the same," as a power source. From testing, it's been found that the ESS/Aux battery must have charge before the 3.6L will even attempt a cold crank. Additionally, a charged ESS/Aux battery alone seems to be enough to crank the rig as per testing of the aforementioned Youtuber.

Once cranked you should disconnect the booster and reinstall the previously disconnected negative cables on to the main battery so the now running alternator can charge both batteries.

Don't expect any booster but those mechanics have on wheels to work simply connecting it to the main battery. This process of latching on to the main battery's posts, as per the manual, additionally requires a waiting period while both batteries charge (the batteries are connected in parallel while the 3.6L is at rest so booster cables connected to the main battery charge both,) and in the process drain all but the biggest of boosters of engine cranking power. Charging the ESS/Aux battery is necessary when connecting just to the main battery because the previously described test of the ESS/Aux battery prior to attempting a cold crank seems to happen independent of the main battery, and anything connected to the main battery (the booster here.)

That same parallel connection between both batteries while the 3.6L is at rest drains them both if you hook your fridge to either. Ironically, I'd suggest trying to crank your rig as soon as you hook up the booster, and not wait, as time delay equates to the booster charging the ESS/Aux battery, and may rob the booster of crank power.

The 3.6L's test of the ESS/Aux battery here prior to attempting a cold crank is hopefully a test against BOTH this battery and your booster pack: temporarily direct connected to this ESS/Aux battery, unlike when the booster is connected only to the main battery terminals as per the manual.

FWIW, this guy (no affiliation) has sold me the highest quality jumper cables (when on ebay) to facilitate this process, at 1/3 everyone else's price.
https://www.polepalsolarlightingsys...ndard-size-winch-2-ga-wire-0.364#.XUCWBHdFy1s

I have a short "eyelets to Anderson connector" cable's (he'll make anything you like at any reasonable length/price) positive eyelet already connected to N1 and the negative eyelet already connected to the negative cables coming off the main battery negative post--which I keep under the hood-so all I need to do is temporarily remove these cables from the main battery as discussed above before this process.

I also have his "Anderson connector to Parrot clamps" cable so I can connect it to a booster's clamps..clamp to clamp.

As an aside I have another "eyelets to Anderson" cable hooked to the main battery terminals only, (positive and negative), but coming out the front grill, when I need to draw power from it for, say, a winch, or to plug in the "Anderson to Parrot clamps" cable of above to give someone else a boost.

I hope this helps. :)
 

Blu bi Kong

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I have made a decision myself to get a 50qt MarinAire and remove the 30% rear seat and permanently mount it. Access to said unit will be thru driver's side rear door. Same as my thermoelectric igloo I've used. Didn't want the back end to be cluttered with in and out of fridge. This unit is the perfect fit for hole created with removal of that seat. Going to eventually to build a system to solar charge a smaller battery in a custom box on floor behind drivers seat. That's the plan as of now anyway.
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D60

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I just got V1.0 of the ARB 50 and agree it is cumbersome, esp when fully loaded.

I definitely don't miss dealing with ice, though.

That said the ARB is a bit optimistic on temp, I can only assume it's reading from the lowest, coldest point in the floor of the fridge, which I guess makes sense.

Playing around with an ir temp gun I found most things not directly on the floor were not that close to the readout's claimed temp, even after being in there a day. Conversely everything in my household fridge was relatively close to the same temp -- of course almost all fridges run colder along the back wall, too

It still works, but it's difficult to judge how cold is too cold, or cold enough. edit: I understand the rear elevated portion of the ARB is supposed to be warmer; I'm not talking about that
 

intentsrig

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I went with an arb 50qt. Got it for $729 otd using a 100$ gift card I had. Pretty good deal. Arb has great quality and customer support.

I loaded the fridge in the Jeep but pull out the metal cage inside. Load that up and then carry that to the Jeep. Then load other items I want on top. That’s one one I have tried at least.
 

Therby

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How many people travel with you?
Once there is no ice, you realize there is alot of space

I have a whynter 45qt fridge. Lower end but haven’t had a single issue in 2yrs.

The 45 is too large for me for a weekend and even if the wife comes, 45qt is plenty size for the two of us. And the best part, you can replenish liquids(beer) in the morning and by evening there ready to enjoy. Putting warm beers on ice in a cooler doesnt sound ideal
 

Rahneld

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I have made a decision myself to get a 50qt MarinAire and remove the 30% rear seat and permanently mount it. Access to said unit will be thru driver's side rear door. Same as my thermoelectric igloo I've used. Didn't want the back end to be cluttered with in and out of fridge. This unit is the perfect fit for hole created with removal of that seat. Going to eventually to build a system to solar charge a smaller battery in a custom box on floor behind drivers seat. That's the plan as of now anyway.
Screenshot_20190729-170008_Chrome.jpg
Vic: where's your plug in point in the JL going to be to energize this fridge? Curious....
 

vavaroutsos

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The best prices can be had from TruckFridge. I have the 51 liter model and it's made by Indel B with a Dan Foss compressor. It's not even re-branded, it has the Indel B branding on it. You can see the same models on the Indel B website.
 
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