I wrote a post a while back about installing our Kings fridge but at that time we hadn’t tested it out while travelling completely off-grid. We just got back from a two week trip to western NSW where we spent quite a few nights free camping without power so I thought an update on how it performed was worthwhile posting.
If you read the first post you will see that we are running the fridge from the 135Ah AGM battery in the caravan via a lead plugged into an external Anderson socket. The battery is charged by both the 100W fixed solar panel on the van roof and our folding 160W panel which I reposition a few times a day to capture as much sun as possible. We had a couple of days of cloudy weather with patchy sun but the performance of the fridge impressed me. Admittedly, we were running the fridge at 4 degrees rather than as freezer and I would expect the voltage of the battery to drop more overnight in freezer mode, but it stayed above 90% full at all times.
We had a couple of days in a row running off grid and with cloudy conditions (but captured as much sun as possible by following what sun there was to be had with the folding panel). On the second morning after not getting a full charge the previous day, the voltage had only dropped to 12.7V so I would have expected that the battery voltage would still have been fine with another day of little sun. We had a sunny morning however and the battery fully recharged from the panels in just a couple of hours, which shows that it does pay to have more solar capacity than you think you’ll need.
The observant reader may notice the small modification I have made to ensure the plug doesn’t fall out of the Pajero ciggy socket. I would have replaced the socket with an Anderson plug (or installed one beside it), however I couldn’t figure out how to access the wiring or even take the socket out so decided to just retain the ciggy plug! I drilled a couple of tiny holes and made up a clip from wire to retain the plug in the socket. It has worked well and takes away the worry it will fall out when travelling.
So the overall experience with the Kings fridge has been very positive. I will state though, that the insulation may not be as good as other brands as I have noticed that even though I have a thermal cover on it at all times, the temp does increase by 3-4 degrees after less than an hour in the car, which was sitting in shade. I don’t know if this is normal but had expected it to retain coldness for a bit longer. Like any fridge though, this does depend on how fully stocked the fridge is and ours was only half full most of the time.