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Mr Wato

vitrifrigo fridge

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Hi All

We have the normal 230 vitrifrigo fridge in our T/E, I have put a Remote temp sender (engel brand) inside to try to keep an eye on temp. We Have been losing food due to the fridge not being cold enough.On hot days the inside of the van can get really hot and then so does the fridge. Should I be turning up the thermostat to combat this ??? We currently run the fridge on about 4.. I have defrosted the fridge a couple of times and have been shown how to check for ice.. the warmer the weather is the warmer the fridge is...I have a sixty year old fridge which I have had for 25 years it has always lived in the shed and has always kept the beer cold, I dont even know where the thermostat is !!!!

Does anyone have a solution ??? PLEASE

Cheers Phil :sad:

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I had a similar problem which also included the fridge running a very long time without cycling off. The problem was solved by opening the outside access door to the fridge and giving the wiring connections a tweak and spray of WD40 type stuff.

On hot days the fridge thermostat will also need turning up to max and leaving the access door open improves ventilation to the tiny condenser which also may need de-dusting if you have done much dirt road driving.

Hope this helps.

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On another forum Webby recently said that she has slightly pulled forward the tray between the freezer and fridge sections (the one used for catching defrosting ice) so that there is a gap at the back for air to circulate. A number of people have said this helps.

But it may not be the complete answer to your problem of course.

Chris

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Hi Phil

We found our fridge works a lot better when it is full.I don`t why that is but it seems to be a lot more efficient.

Plus as Zolle said,leave the outside vent open when you are stopped for airflow.We have never run it over 2.5 since having the electric controller unit replaced in WA last year.

Cheers

Rick & Lea :thumbsup:

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Hi All

Thanks for info,,I open the vent door when ever we stop,I pull out the tray,I have checked the wiring in the back door,we have had the gas levels checked.. surely we dont have to turn it up and down morning and night...I am going to try and contact manufactures.

Cheers Phil :confused1:

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The Vitrifrigo in our first Kedron played up - frequent cycling, temperature control issues etc. We eventually got onto the fellow (Ian Robertson, I think was his name) who did all the fridge work for Kedron and only got onto him because there was a sticker on the compressor in the rear compartment with his name on it. In those days, we had to leave our van 'resting' for long periods of time because that 'w' word interfered with our lives :biggrin: .

When leaving the van we would switch the fridge off at the thermostat dial in the fridge compartment and Ian said this is the worst thing one could do to those fridges and suggested I buy a new thermostat (easy enough to install). Also, at that time, Kedron had no other way to isolate the fridge circuit (they do now) so I manufactured a simple switch in the rear compartment which is how we isolated the fridge circuit when not using the van.

We had no further problems and the fridge worked extremely well - always on 2 from memory.

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Phil, We have the same fridge and have had the same problem. Contacted Kedron and was told if I could find a better 12v fridge to let them know. I went to vidcam and bought a computer fan about 100mm x 100mm and it bolted straight onto the condenser (which I reckon is rather small for the size of the fridge)and wired it in with a switch and we really only turn it off during winter. It certainly did make a difference but in really hot weather we remove the tray under the evaporator plate. This certainly makes the fridge colder but still keeps the top compartment frozen. In hot humid weather we find we have to defrost every 10 days. (Kedron did say not to turn the thermostat up to full and it would work better)???

Regards Bill.

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Hi Bill

Thanks for the info....My fridge does have a fan (not on condenser) .did you fit a second fan???

Cheers Phil

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Yes Phil, I did add a second fan. It's just a 100mm computer fan cost about $20, simple to fit don't even have to drill holes as the holes in the second fan match up with original fan frame. Just tap into pos and neg fridge feed wires and use a switch to turn off the second fan when required.

Have added a photo (if it works) not very computer savy.

Regards Bill.post-656-1296730537_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Bill I will get the fan tomorrow, today I came home and the van was 39c and the fridge was on 7.2c,

we are currently building a covered area to park the van so hopefully that will help

Cheers Phil :thumbsup:

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Morning all,

This may sound dumb, but when installing the fan, is it sucking or blowing past the condensor, ie which way round is the fan?

Regards

Chris

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Chris, Just install it the same way as the original, the second one is just to increase air flow through the cooling fins on the condenser. The air is drawn from the front of the condenser, through the fins towards the compressor. You will still have to defrost on a regular basis, especially if there is high humidity. You could wire up second fan to the original so the second fan will only run when original starts. I just leave our's on all the time and sometimes it is running when original fan is stopped, has been doing this for over 12 months now and seems ok. Before I installed the second fan the original never cut out, meaning it was struggling to cope with the cooling in hot weather. You need to blow out the condenser fins with compressed air now and then depending on the dust. We were working in the Territory last year and it was amazing the amount of dust that collected there. We have a small food thermometor hanging in the fridge and when the temp rises above 4-5 deg c we think about defrosting. We have found that these fridges don't work too well in hot weather if you open the door and leave it wide open even for a short time.

Hope this helps,

Bill.

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Hi Bill

I took your advice on the computer fan and added to it..I got a light sensing switch from JAYCAR which can be used for day or night switching..it has a light sensor built in. I have put it inside the back door of fridge so when the door is open in daylight hours the fan will start up and turn off before we go to bed.I have also fitted a fuse and master switch so we can turn it off.I am yet to see the out come as we are having cooler days. Yet the fridge temp is on 3 deg c and inside van 30 c.post-1028-1296984309_thumb.jpg Bill do you know what temp your fridge runs at ?

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Hi Phil,

I am in the process of 'copying' your fridge fan setup. Have bought the Twilight Switch from Jaycar, but am having trouble trying to get my head around the wiring diagram that came with the switch.

Sorry not very electrically minded, although I can follow a sketched wiring diagram.

Do I have to do a separate circuit, one for the power side and one for the fan side or can I just join the 2 circuits together off a common positive and negative.

I realise that I have to join the power side up to positive and negative power, but can I join the fan side of the switch to the same positive and negative. Obviously the power would have to pass through the fan first then back to the negative terminal.

Hope your following what I am trying to say.

Would be really appreciated if you could somehow put a sketched wiring diagram of your setup for me to follow.

Regards

Gazza

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We installed a separate fan which stands approximately 3-4 inches away from the original. This is operated by a separate switch inside the van. If the fridge looks like it is getting hot....or needs a bit of a boost, we just flick the switch inside and the temperature drops.

Also good if the original fan goes and we're away from a service centre, we have the second fan that will get us by until we reach civilisation to have it replaced.

Having said that, we have only "flicked the switch" twice as our fridge temperature is usually pretty good.

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Hi Guys

Gazza i will try to do a wiring diagram for you,Is your twilight switch the same as mine ?? Can you tell me what sort of temps your fridge runs at, this thing is driving me insane, first thing in the morning it is 1-2 c.. outside temp about 18-20c,, in the arvo when i get home 29c the fridge is on 6c...the fan runs all daylight hours.. I just dont think this is right

Cheers Phil

post-1028-1297155806_thumb.jpg

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Hi Phil,

These fridges seem to struggle on the hot humid days. We found the extra fan helps but defrosting often is the only way to keep the desired temp. Our fridge runs at around 1deg after defrosting,with the temp increasing as the ice builds up on the evaporator plate. When the temp reaches 4-5deg its time to defrost, although you can get a few more days grace if you remove the tray from under the evaporator. Kedron reckon they're about the best 12v fridge you can get but I think they leave a lot to be desired.

This fridge seems ok in the cooler months.

Hope to meet up one day and have a cold beer if we can find a "cold" one.

Cheers, Bill.

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Hi Bill

thanks for the update, I think I need to pack up and go somewhere cooler Tasi maybe

Cheers Phil

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Hi Phil

Thank for the wiring sketch. It is much easier to follow than the one I got with the switch. You must have an electrical background or you have been into electrical wiring for some time.

Phil what I did was to take out the top vent above the fridge. I then cut pieces of polystryine (spelling) and filled up the cavity from on top of the fridge to the 'ceiling'. You will have to lift the 1st piece and place the second piece under the first. You will also have the cut it in half lengths to fit them in as the pieces will not fit in one whole piece across the fridge. I cut pieces to length and fitted them from wall to wall.

If you do not bring the 'ceiling' down the hot air stays on top of the fridge. With the polystryine in place the 'ceiling' is then down to the top of the vent. Hope this makes sense.

I then wired in 2 x 80mm computer fans and secured then to the inside of the top vent. I ran the wiring to the side of the fridge and put a common household double switch wall plate, to the inside wall of the van. From there I can turn both the fans on or only one at a time as needed. This was to get rid of the hot air produced by the fridge within the cavity.

Another thing I did was to cut pieces of 2mm aluminium to fit on top of the shelves. These are secured by putting 2 small holes (in all corners) in the aluminium and securing it with small zip ties. I did not put any other holes in the aluminium sheeting but looking back I think I could have. Not that it would make much difference. I used the aluminium as a 'cold sink' as opposed to a heat sink. When the fridge and the contents are cold and you open the fridge most of the cold air drops out of the fridge and is replaced by hot air. When you close the door hot air has entered and the air is cooled quicker and the fridge does not take as long to cool down again.

I even made up another shelf out of aluminium and put edging on it so I could have another shelf.

I have thought about putting in roof batt insulation to the sides of the fridge, but I think that I would need to pull the fridge part way out of the the cavity to get them in. I looked at trying to get something in from the outside but it would be too hard through the opening. So at this stage I and using the fans to get rid of the hot air.

Another thing I did was to place a 125mm x 25mm x 2mm (roughly) piece of aluminium under the thermostat 'pipping' where it attaches to the inside of the fridge. In my opinion when the aluminium cools down the thermostat switches off and it does not switch on again until the aluminium strip heats up. I think it gives a more stable temperature range than when the 'pipping' is connected to the plastic side of the fridge.

Hope this helps. I have not taken any temps, but I do have a wireless weather thingy, and I can put 2 x remotes into the fridge and it will tell me at what temp. the fridge or freezer are at. Mainly use it to make sure the fridge is still working and I am not going to lose any food.

Gazza

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I've been sitting her biting my tongue...

Have you tried turning the fridge up?? It goes up to 7. Ours runs on 6 and I have a temp sensor and it maintains a constant 0-1C. If it starts rising, we defrost.

We have no extra fans or switches- theses are needed for 3 way fridges.

I have actually added some batts to fill the fridge cavity but these have made no noticable different at all.

We have been in +40C temps and the fridge has been mainatined at 0-1C. The key is the defrosting. In the humidity you will have to defrost more often, if the door is being opened and closed.

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Hi Dave

I have had the fridge up to 4, it was defrosted only days ago and the van has just sat in my driveway nobody opening the door. today I took out the tray under the freezer and it made a massive difference and have moved the van undercover so I hope that will also help.thanks for your input.

Cheers Phil

:thumbsup:

Hi Gazza

no worries glad it helped (no electrical genius here)

Cheers Phil

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Hi all,

Forgot to mention I also glued a piece of polystryine on the bottom of the fridge, above the compressor to stop the bottom of the fridge heating up. There's a bit of heat that comes off the compressor when it's working.

Regards

Gazza

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Hi all,

We had the same issues. Initially I read up on the control circuit and found that the tappings on the rear of the fridge for motor speed are quite critical. I ended up moving the connector to the second fastest speed as the fastest speed was causing the compressor to run too hot.

I could achieve reasonable (safe) food temperatures if I used the maximum position on the thermostat dial, but this seemed counter-intuitive to me because it simply meant that the fridge duty cycle was such that the motor was running almost continuously - something you don't really want when you rely exclusively on solar for power needs.

In the end, after having one fridge changed under warranty without any real improvement, I took the fridge out and fitted Styrofoam insulation cut to fit the cavity around the fridge EXACTLY. Not a milimetre of space around that fridge anywhere, top, back or sides. I also insulated the underside of the fridge above the motor so that the heat from the compressor didn't affect the fridge. The top vent no longer does anything and is blanked off. I also used aluminium tape to seal every join in the foam insulation.

The end result is that we now have a temp of 3 degrees in the fridge with the thermostat dial on less than a quarter of a turn. The duty cycle is around 30%, ie on for 10 mins, off for 20 mins. I was even able to speed the compressor up again (which allows us to freeze things quicker.) And this is in warm climatic areas too. We have never taken the van further south than Evans Head in NSW and Geraldton in WA. Usually we are up the "top" somewhere.

We can park the van with full Sun belting onto the fridge side, without problems. We always open the vent hatch when parked.

Cheers

Russ

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Thanks Rus for the tips!

Sounds like a project to add to the list of many. :-)

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Hi Russ,

Appears that compressor fridges suffer the same fate as 3 way fridges - RE HEAT hanging around for cabinet.

Haven't got to the stage of putting insulation around the sides of the fridge, but that will be another project in the future.

Hate having warm/cool beers after a looooog days drive.

Regards

Gazza

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