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4 x 4 Australia - - Gear -

1THE cor­rect power sup­ply is para­mount. To min­imise volt­age drop from your bat­tery to the fridge, use the largest di­am­e­ter and short­est length ca­ble avail­able. A com­mon rea­son why fridges often don’t work is be­cause they are plugged into the ve­hi­cle’s cig­a­rette plug in the rear cargo area – too thin and too long wires aren’t good enough. To give your fridge the best chance of work­ing cor­rectly run ded­i­cated wiring from your (aux­il­iary) bat­tery.

2VENTILATION for your fridge is im­por­tant. The higher the tem­per­a­ture in your ve­hi­cle or camper trailer the harder the com­pres­sor has to work and the more bat­tery power it’ll use. If safe, leave win­dows down (if the fridge is in your ve­hi­cle) or the fridge box open (if in a camper trailer) to al­low the heat to es­cape. Don’t pack other camp­ing gear on or too close to the vents of the fridge.

3ENSURE the lid seals are work­ing as they should. To do this, put your torch (turned on) in­side the fridge and close the lid. If the seal is not seal­ing, you’ll see light com­ing out. This method works best at night. You can also close the fridge lid onto a piece of pa­per and try to slide the pa­per around the seal. If the pa­per slides, your seals are stuffed or the latches are not com­press­ing the seals ad­e­quately.

4ONLY put non-cold items in the fridge before driv­ing. This will re­duce the amount of pure bat­tery power used (or wasted), as the fridge will be run­ning at its max­i­mum to re­duce the new food or drink’s tem­per­a­tures while the bat­ter­ies are be­ing charged via the ve­hi­cles al­ter­na­tor. Where possible, use 240V power to bring the fridge temp down before fill­ing it or head­ing off on your trip.

5

CON­SIDER the ben­e­fits of ther­mal mass. Keep­ing your fridge as full as possible helps re­duce the run time of the com­pres­sor. The higher the mass, the longer the cold will hang about within that mass with­out hav­ing to re-cool it by run­ning the com­pres­sor. Smaller amounts of cold food will lose their tem­per­a­ture faster than larger amounts of food.

6

WHILE keep­ing your fridge as full as possible is good, also con­sider cold air cir­cu­la­tion. In­ter­nal bas­kets help avoid over-stack­ing of food, while a sep­a­rate evap­o­ra­tor plate (as com­pared to an integrated one) al­lows su­pe­rior air cir­cu­la­tion, as there is a gap be­tween the plate and the walls.

7

MIN­IMISE open­ing and clos­ing the fridge lid. Cold air may fall – and all these fridges have top-open­ing lids – but the less you al­low cold air to (po­ten­tially) es­cape and hot air to in­trude, the less your com­pres­sor needs to run.

8

THE jury is out on fridge cov­ers. If fit­ted cor­rectly an in­su­lat­ing fridge cover can keep a fridge cooler by ob­struct­ing di­rect sun­light and heat, but if the heat is al­lowed to build up, the cover could also keep the heat in. So make sure it’s fit­ted cor­rectly.

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