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Friday, March 9, 2018

New 12 Volt Cooler



Just got in an Alpicool C15 dc compressor cooler. The old thermoelectric cooler is going to land in the next dumpster I come across. Unlike the old cooler, this one is supposed to be a lot more efficient. I paid $199 on Amazon. Because I'm not sure about its long term durability, I spent a few dollars more and sprung for the four year warranty.

Actually, it's not just a 12 volt cooler. It runs on 24 volts too, plus comes with a regular 120 volt AC cord. My house solar electric battery bank is wired up for 24 volts, so I should be able to run it without using the inverter. That's a lot more efficient.

By the end of the month we'll be back to camping at campgrounds without electric power. The little cooler will get a good test then. On paper, my van's 100 watt solar electric system should run it just fine. It's fifteen liter sized. While that's not huge, it should be larger enough for some fresh veggies and meats. Unlike a normal ice chest cooler, all the space is usable as there's no ice crowding out the food.

Speaking of ice, it's not just a refrigerator. It can be turned down low enough to freeze. I was able to freeze a jug of water with it. Some people use these little machines with a normal ice chest. They freeze a block of ice and keep transferring it to the ice chest while keeping a few frozen foods too. Pretty clever, really.

One thing you should be prepared for is a poorly written manual. It's obviously written by someone with only a casual knowledge of English. Another problem for Americans is that everything is in metric, both manual instructions and the controls on the unit. I had to look up the conversion to figure out it needs about 8 inches of air clearance in the back and four inches on the side. Temperature settings on the cooler are in Centigrade. Just remember that zero is thirty-two in Fahrenheit and you'll know if you are setting it to freeze or cool.

The reviews I've been able to find have mostly been by people who've only tested it for a short while. I'm hoping to give a long term review after it gets a good field test.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to your long term review. I bought one of the ones without a compressor a few years ago and it wasn't cheap, either. It was used to keep soda and baits cool in my basement and to use when the power went down. Lasted about 13 or 14 months. Or more precisely, it lasted until shortly after the warranty expired........

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    1. It's like there's a built in timer. Hopefully, the four year warranty should do the trick.

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  2. Is it really a DC compressor ? Or is the power just inverted ? A huge advantage if it is a DC motor.

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    1. DC motor. Built a lot like the more expensive units.

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  3. Six best of the luck with this fridge. if it was me I would use it to freeze half gallon milk jugs for the cooler. sounds like the best of both worlds.

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    1. Some people do that. Keep a few frozen foods and rotate out jugs to a cooler. I think the math actually works out pretty good on that, energy wise.

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  4. Sounds like a good unit. Especially handy is that ice maker function - like you said, makes your own ice for ice cooler. I'm sure some low budget off-grid home owners would kill for that feature alone.

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    1. Plan on using it at home on solar myself.

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  5. Most of the Amazon reviews are pretty useless. e.g. " Haven't used it yet, but it appears to be well-made."

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    1. Amazon pushes for quick reviews. I like to really give an honest test.

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  6. What is the watt draw running ?

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    1. That is pretty much what most marine units use.
      Except , most of them are retailed much , much higher priced than your "current" model...
      Time will reflect value.

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    2. It's supposed to be marine rated. It might be as it's made from a lot of tough plastic.

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