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EDGESTAR COMPRESSOR FRIDGE REVIEW
DANA 44 FRONT AXLE TECH
If you have ever seen an ARB or ENGEL 12 volt compressor fridge out wheeling or camping, you've probably wanted one ever since. Just the thought of making ICE while wheeling got me interested. But once I saw the price I was shocked, a 40 - 50 quart model runs between $700-$900. Yes they are know to last a long time and are very efficient at under 4 amps of power draw on your 12 volt system (and that isn't a continuous draw, they only draws power when the compressor is running, that is where they really shine over all other types of 12 volt fridges). And once you have a real compressor fridge you will never need ice on the trail again! No more soggy food, no more spolied food, no more warm beer....
Until recently there was no other options then spending big dollars - then along came the EdgeStar brand of fridges. They are sold through a company called Compact Appliances, but they do sell them on Amazon as well The EdgeStar fridges are made in China so they cost A LOT less then the other options. There 43 quart model can be had for about $450.
I bought one directly from Compact Appliances in the spring of 2011 to use in my camper, in the back of my pickup and in the back of my wheeler. I hoped it would be as cool and work as well as the ARB fridges I had seen rolling around. I dream of the day I wheel up some nasty rock climb, get to the top, and offer some other wheelers ice cream bars!
Now for the review, I feel this is a pretty fair review as I have been using the fridge for over a year, and have been testing it recently by running it non stop for 2 months with no failures, turn offs, or warm beer.
SPECS (Copied from EdgeStar):
Operates as a portable freezer or refrigerator
Flash Freeze function
Rounded edges make it safe around the family
Capacity: 43 qt. (equivalent to 60 12oz. cans)
Easy-to-use control panel
Temperatures: -8 to 50 degrees F
Voltage power (AC or DC)
6 foot 12/24 volt detachable power cord
8 foot 115 volt detachable power cord
Side-grip comfort handles
Compressor-based cooling method freezes fast
Input voltage: 115 V/60 Hz
Power: 65 W/0.75 A/115V AC OR 5.4A/12V DC OR 2.7A/24 DC
Weight: 45 lbs
External Dimensions: 20 13/16" H x 24 11/16" W x 17 11/16" D
Warranty: 1 year parts; 90 days labor
All of the specs are pretty accurate, I have tested the 12 volt power usage with an ampmeter and I got a spike amp draw of 5.3 and then it went to a steady 4.1 to 4.2 amps under regular load. Mine runs less than 30% of the time when the outside temps are below 80 degrees and the fridge is set at 37 degrees. It will run about 3 days on a 75 amp hour capacity battery. With an 80 watt solar panel and the same battery in my camper it will run forever, even during the cloudy, rainy spring time.
The one modification I did right away was throw away the factory cigarette lighter plug as it was junk. I cut it off and replaced the end with an Anderson connector, zero chance of failure even when wheeling. I also moved the latch from the front of the fridge to one of the sides. I determined that the screws for the latch where simply taped directly into the sheetmetal outer casing with no backing plate, weld nuts or anything fancy. I pulled the lacth off, tapped some new holes on the side and screwed it back down.
Now for the pictures:
Front view, the factory latch was in the middle where the screws are now.
Inside with the racks in place, they both pull out.
Left and right side views.
Right side view with AC power cord installed. It uses a standard computer AC power style plug. The temp display panel shows the current inside temp in large red LED numbers. All the controls are very straight forward.
Closeup of plug in.
Rear view with hinges.