Run a Fridge in your truck
One of the best things you'll ever add to your van, truck or car is a fridge. Add the fridge and you add a new set of issues, Keeping it powered and clean.
Here's what I've learned in brief in 20+ Years of portable fridge use:
* Spend the money on a low current draw fridge. The more you spend on the fridge, the less you'll spend on the really expensive stuff....Batteries.
* Times the power your fridge uses in Amps/hr by 24 hours - at 40 Degrees celcius (Do this worst case scenario - If your in Aussie you car will hit over 60 in the sun) You'll get a figure like this -
2.4 amps per hour x 24hours = 57.6 AMPS.
* Now that you know how many amps you need to store - You can buy the batteries. Lithium batteries run at full power until flat, then they just cut out. They also have virtually limitless charge cycles. (Very long life).
* Your charger can be one of two types. Solar or DC DC or possibly both. Older vehicles showing 14.5Volts at the battery when running can use a simple Dual battery Isolator switch - Redarc does a great one - check your alternator's voltage output first as most modern car's have voltage management built in that render a simple isolator completely useless.
* If you rely on solar - you get about 6 hours of charging time a day (As long as your not in the shade) -So you need 10Amps per hour to deliver you the 60 amps required . That's a big panel. 250w would almost do it.
* If you rely on DC DC chargers - You'll need to be running the engine for about three hours a day to fully charge the batteries - presuming you have a 20AMP/Hr DC DC charger. (20amps per hour x 3 hours = 60amphrs). Go to a 40Amp charger and you'll be able to halve the driving time...
* Combinations of DC DC and Solar Regulator can charge faster - if you have the room on the roof for panels why not! The Redarc BCDC 40 or the Enerdrive BCDC 40 is a great option in this case as they manage power from both solar and the alternator and rams it into the battery as a combo.
For happy fridge use!
* Don't run an inverter
* Don't buy Chinese anything
* Don't buy a fridge and try run it as a Freezer
* Don't run Heaps of batteries and forget about the input power. Power In must equal power out.
Why have we gone totally Lithium?
Do the math over years of use and our only regret is that we should have done it sooner. Its cheaper. AGM, Deep Cycle, Lead Crystal, Lead acid. - We have run all of them. None last. Batteries in General don't like to be run flat - and camping generally means lights and food comes first - battery health comes a sorry last.
Lithium is seemingly quite immune to degradation from over use and the energy supplied is strong right until flat.
Workshop Calculations on Battery/Charger needed to do the job below:
"Victorian Winter kit" - $830.
This kit suits customers that meet the following:
1. Low power fridge - 32/40 Litre Engel is lowest in our experience - with the fridge set to between zero and 4 Degrees...
2. Drive more than half hour a day
3. No room or no desire for solar panels on roof
4. Leave fridge on Every day all day with infrequent re-fills of the fridge. (Keep the fridge full)
* Victron 18 amp/hr DC DC charger,
* Cabling to reach from Battery to charger, charger to battery and battery to accessories plug shown.
* 3d Printed Accessory Plug, One Cig socket, One Anderson, One Engel plug. LED Voltage monitor built in. Flush mount.
* Invicta 20 Amp/hr Usable, Lipo4 Lithium Battery.
This Combination works well in casual/Daily drive vehicles living predominantly in cooler areas (Victoria, Tassie) where its handy to leave your engel on and carry a few cold drinks etc. The Lithium battery weighs around 2 kg and can be mounted in kick panels saving space... One hour of driving, even at idle, will close to fill the Lithium battery each day.
Installation is simple, Run the long cable from your car battery to the rear cargo space in your car, connect it to the Victron DC DC Charger, Connect the DC DC chager to the battery, Mount the Accessory panel in an easy to get too panel...Connect the Accessory Plug to the Battery. Download the 'Victron connect' APP from the APP Store, all your battery and charging stats are displayed on your phone.
The "Frugal Use" Kit is expandable up to 4 times its storage size - with the option to keep adding Batteries where necessary. Add $419 for each additional Battery.
See video of this kit in my own truck here -