IsDons articles and blog

Getting the fridge to work

Category: My first slide-on campervan. Published: 23 Jun 2009

One of the most important appliances I needed for my first slide-on campervan was a refrigerator. The previous owner used a portable esky-type fridge and there was a big hole where the fridge used to be -- the fridge-space was right next to the head of the bed and he said he couldn't sleep with the fridge motor starting and stopping all night so close to his head.

There were lots of options for filling this hole. I wanted the biggest fridge that would fit so I decided on a two-way (12/240-volt), 130-litre capacity fridge with a freezer compartment and an external compressor. The measurements were so close that I had to check if the stated dimensions included the small rubber feet. Having an external compressor allowed more room inside the fridge and I was able to locate this in a small cupboard underneath the fridge that would otherwise have been wasted space. The fridge also required a power-converter that would automatically use 240-volt power if I was hooked up to mains power and switch to 12-volt power otherwise.

I had the fridge installed at the same time as the solar power system. The fridge appeared to be working but actually wasn't. By the time I realised it wasn't working my house was sold and I was on my way. I contacted the supplier in Canberra who contacted their supplier in Sydney and after several days of nobody wanting or able to take responsibility for doing anything I finally agreed that I would get it replaced by the supplier in Melbourne -- but no-one bothered to tell the people in Melbourne that I was coming. They eventually arranged for me to have their repairman look at it -- and he fixed it in about ten minutes.

While travelling, on several occasions after I'd stopped, I found the contents of the fridge on the floor of the van. At first I thought this meant I hadn't closed the fridge door properly, but, after about the third time this happened I knew for sure that I had shut the door properly so obviously it was opening itself while the van was moving. I was in the middle of nowhere at the time so I installed a temporary solution that became permanent.

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