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Author: Subject: Baja ice chests (pt. 2)
Whale-ista
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[*] posted on 6-3-2014 at 09:42 PM
Baja ice chests (pt. 2)


So... I read the comments on my last post re:"best ice chest for Baja?" and looked for one of the electric models Bob Durrell suggested (Whynter 65 qt).

Found a used one for sale, via CraigsList in San Diego, and went over after work to check it out. It's a monster! And turns out that's why it's for sale- the couple bought it to use in Baja in their Westie camper van, and after 1 trip, realized it's too big for them to lug around.

They are using it as a freezer in their garage. Looks solid, certainly kept things frozen solid.

So, glad I saw it in person before ordering online from HomeDepot. (I'm still considering a 45 qt model, though, but didn't buy this one today. I might consider one once I get my place in Ensenada set up, to have it for residential and travel use.)

It wasn't a wasted trip- we had a great time talking and discovering Baja mutual interests: kayaking, whale watching, beach camping.

Just confirms: Small world, big Baja community.




\"Probably the airplanes will bring week-enders from Los Angeles before long, and the beautiful poor bedraggled old town will bloom with a Floridian ugliness.\" (John Steinbeck, 1940, discussing the future of La Paz, BCS, Mexico)
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chuckie
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 05:51 AM


I have used, for more years than I like to think about, either a dorm size frig or a 5.0cf freezer from places like walmart. I power them with an inverter installed on my truck. The freezers I buy for 170 bucks + or- and sell for close to that when I leave Baja...Dorm fridges are almost giveaways....The inverter also powers an air compressor, not one of those dinky 12V things, but one that actually powers up truck tires in short order...just a thought....



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woody with a view
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 06:18 AM


what sized inverter?:O



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Hook
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 06:23 AM


65 qts is big, if you use it in mobile applications and it cant just stay in your vehicle in one spot. Get it filled with liquids (as a fridge) or frozen items and it becomes a chore to move.

65 qts is small in a domestic situation.

I have the 45 qt size that I use in conjunction with my camper's propane absorption type fridge, when we live out of it for 2.5 months. I keep ALL beverages in the 45 qt electric cooler and the food stuffs in the absorption fridge. We make ice, solely for drinks, every 3-4 nights in the absorption fridge freezer.

With a 45 qt., there is room for about 40-45 canned beverages on their sides. In this config, there is also room for three taller beverage containers like a half gal milk, a wine bottle and a half gallon juice bottle. If you reduce down your canned bevs by one row (to 20 or so), you gain room for three more taller beverage bottles.

The compressor (45qt) fridge is powered by a single, group 31 AGM batt with a 140w solar panel powering it. It's an AC/DC unit but we are almost always off the grid. I have taken to turning it off at night before bed to minimize it's noise (Sawafuji/swing compressor) and to conserve energy while the solar is inactive. The thing only draws 2.1 amps @ 12v, while it is running, though. As I mentioned in another post, it only loses about 10 degrees overnight in 60-70 F ambient temps and makes it up in an hour in the AM.

It's nice not having to deal with ice and it's resulting melt. And we're often far enough off the grid that making ice runs would be impractical.

But IF you are considering going with a compressor fridge, you must have an auxiliary means of recharging your battery, if you plan on staying in one spot for more than two days and you are using your vehicle's starting battery. I'm not sure even idling your vehicle engine for an hour a day would do it. And who wants to listen to that, anyway, especially if you are driving a diesel truck.

[Edited on 6-4-2014 by Hook]
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chuckie
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 07:41 AM


Inverter? Mine is a 1250 2500 peak. I used it this morning to run my Craftsman Compressor to inflate the air bags on my truck.....The one I am using now is 4-5 years old, got it on sale from Harbor freight guesstimate 120 bucks (failing memory)......Yeah I know, cant possibly be any good, have to buy xyz zip zap not made in China but these work for me.....I am NOT off the grid for extended periods, and everything redoes while transiting...



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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 07:46 AM


Thank you Hook and chuckie

I have a small "dorm" fridge and considered using that but after testing it at home it appears it requires more energy than I have with my current solar setup.

I wouldn't run this solely off the truck battery. I have a 30 watt solar panel and the 350 Extreme charging system from GoalZero. (I purchased them at the local Costco last year as part of a road show.)

They specialize in lightweight solar products for off grid residential, camping/recreation and emergency applications. But I'm beginning to realize I will need more charging capacity, and additional panels, to add something like a refrigeration system.

If you're interested in a similar setup, Details at http://www.goalzero.com/p/21/boulder-30-solar-panel/23:3/ and
http://www.goalzero.com/p/176/extreme-350-power-pack/

This has been plenty of power for my small electronics (digital cameras, iPad, small computers). But adding refrigeration and compressors ups the energy demand considerably. So I need to explore getting additional solar panels and running them through the charging system.

The 350 is very handy and versatile. It's about the size of a typical car battery, weighs 25 pounds, and once the inverter is attached you can plug in a standard two or three prong electrical extension cord, USB or 12 V plug. They discontinued the 350 and went to a 400 model this year.

I also use some of their other products that are lightweight and charge quickly such as a super bright LED flashlight that makes a good spotlight and a solar trickle charger for charging traditional car batteries.




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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 07:53 AM
Harbor Freight


http://www.harborfreight.com/45-watt-solar-panel-kit-68751-8...



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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 08:12 AM


" I think we're gonna need a bigger solar panel!"

You should probably go 80w, minimum, really. Remember that lead acid batteries like to receive charging rates approaching 20% of their capacity or they tend to sulfate, over extended periods. Yes, even sealed batteries. Even though you might get a 100% charge, EVENTUALLY, the slowness of the charge can be detrimental to the life of the battery.

Although, you could probably use a lesser amp/watts panel and just figure on using a charger back home with a de-sulfate cycle, occasionally. I dont this that's possible with an AGM, though, yet they can sulfate.

I am in the third year of an expensive AGM battery. We'll see how long it lasts. I might just go back to a standard gp 31 lead acid battery for simplicity in charging.

Have you seen these, Whale-ista? I dont know what kind of truck you have. Nothing available for rice burners.




http://www.torklift.com/index.php/products/auxiliary-battery...

It can mean a lengthy run of some serious battery cable to incorporate it into your truck's battery system. And you will need something to isolate it from allowing your electrical appliances from running down your truck batteries. But it is a solution.

[Edited on 6-4-2014 by Hook]
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 08:32 AM


I think that under frame bracket would get knocked around in Baja, and wouldn't last. I run 3 batteries, 2 in the truck and one stashed in my camper. I use an isolator 15-20 years old, to keep ONE of the batteries alive. I generally don't stay in one spot more than a week or so, and careful use of frigs and freezers has proven the setup not to be a problem. I also have a small ? clip on solar panel that I hook up to the camper battery when parked. Understand, that I have a gas frig (Dometic) which gets most of the use. My primary need is transporting meat from place to place on my extended hunting trips. I am often gone a month at a time, collecting grouse in Saskatchewan, Pheasants and ducks in Montana and Nodak, Antelope and elk, then maintaining all that in good shape and transporting it to Baja....Different from staying in one spot, as I am moving every couple of days...Been working for me for along time...I also discover4da couple of years ago by making the wrong setting on my Dometic gas fridge, that it becomes a freezer....



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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 08:44 AM


I appreciate all the suggestions.

Agreed I need more panels, need to see if I can chain them to the goal zero products. Hopefully they are not proprietary attachments.

Re truck- I have a Mazda B4000, basically a Ford ranger, so I don't think the extra battery would fit. And share the concern over having it knocked around while bouncing down the Baja dirt road.

As for battery maintenance, here are the Battery Details from GoalZero:

Cell Type: AGM Battery
Peak Capacity: 350Wh (12V:33Ah)
Battery Voltage: 11-14.4V
Fuses - Standard Car Fuses: 60A, 2x in parallel
Temp Controller: Shuts down input port if temp. is >122 F
Lifecycles: 500-1,000
Shelf-life: Keep plugged in, or charge every 3-6 months

So I can charge it from the wallplug (which I do at home), or keep it charged with the solar on the road. I have not tried charging it while driving by plugging it into the 12v system. Actually I'm not sure that is an option.

Will continue with research...




\"Probably the airplanes will bring week-enders from Los Angeles before long, and the beautiful poor bedraggled old town will bloom with a Floridian ugliness.\" (John Steinbeck, 1940, discussing the future of La Paz, BCS, Mexico)
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 08:52 AM


Stop a lot, find cold Pacifico and forget about it....always an alternative



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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 11:46 AM


True! On shorter trips, that's the plan. But I have more time this summer (a benefit of being a teacher)

This time I just want to stop- and stay- on a relatively isolated beach for a few days, and not sure how long the Pacificos will stay cold...

Quote:
Originally posted by chuckie
Stop a lot, find cold Pacifico and forget about it....always an alternative




\"Probably the airplanes will bring week-enders from Los Angeles before long, and the beautiful poor bedraggled old town will bloom with a Floridian ugliness.\" (John Steinbeck, 1940, discussing the future of La Paz, BCS, Mexico)
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 04:50 PM


Chuckie, the bottom of that battery holder sits ABOVE the muffler. And it is made by Torklift. It would last, unless you're doing a SCORE event. With one of those, you would have two house batteries. You could power things indefinitely.

Whale-ista, that kit that bajaguy posted would not be a bad auxiliary kit to incorporate into your existing setup. But you might be paying for things that you dont want, i.e., the lights and that charge controller (if you already have one). Panels that can be moved are valuable; their only drawback is being subject to theft if you leave it out to operate while you are away from camp.
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[*] posted on 6-4-2014 at 06:13 PM


OK



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