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Old 07-19-2017, 07:54 PM   #1
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12 Volt Coolers

We have an exterior 12 Volt Outlet in order to use a 12 V Cooler under our awning. We have yet to purchase a 12 V cooler, and were wondering about their effectiveness. Do they cool beverages as well as the refrigerator? How do they compare with a regular ice cooler? What brands are people happy with? Would you buy one again? Thanks
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:00 PM   #2
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I read, too long ago to guarantee the numbers, that these coolers are only capable of cooling something like 36 degrees F below the ambient temperature. So, if it is 90F out, drinks will be 54F. They also suck power, so you'd best be plugged into a power bush.
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Old 07-19-2017, 08:08 PM   #3
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It depends on the cooler. If you're talking about a cooler "style" refrigerator like an Engel that uses a compressor, they cool far better than any RV fridge, even in high ambient temperatures or left in direct sunlight.

If you're talking about a thermoelectric 12 volt cooler like the Coleman Powerchill or similar, they work well indoors. They're designed for use inside a vehicle, where the ambient temperatures are relatively cool. Outdoors they can still work but once the temperature goes above 80F or so, the cooling drops dramatically, as Glenn inferred.

If I wanted to use the exterior 12V plug to power a cooler, I would probably go with a portable refrigerator like an Engel instead. Expensive, but on the plus side it will keep drinks icy cold, free up internal fridge space, and help the internal fridge cool better because you're not opening the door as much.
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:01 PM   #4
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You also need to match the power draw to the power to the 12v outlet. Find out the capacity of the wiring and fuse to the factory 12v outlet and match that to the needs of the cooler.
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:15 PM   #5
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Coolers

A fellow I know had one of the power chill type coolers. His job was to deliver cold potato salad to a large family gathering. The battery went dead, potato salad spoiled, fortunately nobody died because it was obviously spoiled. That's the way I remember the story. If the engine or power bush is supplying adequate power I think they're probably ok, if just stationary the battery would need continual monitoring.
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:26 PM   #6
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We have a compressor based fridge (Engel) in our truck, when we are at camp we plug the fridge in the trailer that has a 12V deep cycle battery (~100-ish amp hours I believe) the last trip across Nevada in ~90F weather the fridge was 33-37F the whole way (setting #1), we use the same battery to charge our phones and tablets. battery was able to keep up, we have a 100W solar panel to charge the battery when we setup base camp, I don't believe the battery was ever below 50% tho. We plan to use this fridge in our Escape too.

the fridge itself has a 10A fuse (verified)
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caddoster View Post
We have a compressor based fridge (Engel) in our truck
Not sure if the OP is talking about an Engel at $900 or a Coleman at $149.
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Not sure if the OP is talking about an Engel at $900 or a Coleman at $149.
Probably the latter, since the word "cooler" was used.
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Probably the latter, since the word "cooler" was used.
Thanks Guys, I'm learning a lot here! I was asking about the less expensive non-compressor coolers and this pretty much confirms why I haven't bought one yet. Things, especially beverages need to be kept 'COLD', and 36-40* F below outside temperatures is not always cold. ThankYou Very Much!
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:42 PM   #10
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We've used an Igloo KoolMate 40 for many years (decades?). Cools (or warms, if you want) on 12V DC or 120V AC. Great for keeping things cold in the vehicle while traveling, in a hotel room, for extra cold storage space inside our old EggCamper, etc. We never left it outside in the heat, so not sure how good it would do there. We've gone through a lot of regular coolers over the years, and our current is the most impressive - a simple little Igloo Island Breeze 28 Roller with telescoping handle. I don't know what Igloo stuffed in the walls, floor and lid of that thing, but it will fit two bags of ice and hold them longer than anything else we've ever had. Regarding other comments above, if you want an outside cooler that will draw lots of amps, I think it would be wise to plug it directly into a 15 amp shore power outlet and keep the load off your trailer's system.
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