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.