Gday Murray and All
As I understand it, there were at least 3 of us suffering from warm Indel B fridges on Tour 07, mine being one of them. In my view, the problem wasn't so much malfunctioning fridges, it was more to do with inadequate charging systems on board, trying to maintain a strong enough charge in the auxiliary battery to run the fridge efficiently. In particular, Murray is talking about the week of the Tour when none of us were able to recharge our batteries from 240vac, hence all power generation was from onboard sources only. So after just a few days, we were having problems with fridges keeping cold enough. In my case, that's when I started thinking about options for upgrading power generating equipment to address the shortfall such as bigger and newer technology batteries, solar panels or smart regulators etc.
Since the end of the Tour, I still haven't decided on a major equipment purchase for upgrading power generation. Instead and as a possible prelude to that, I've concentrated on reviewing what's already on board and upgrading these items first, for example ...
Getting rid of the piddling old tech Arlec 12 240vac charger installed by Trakka and replacing it with a newer technology 3 stage 30Amp smart charger in conjunction with a new 100Amp AGM deep cycle auxiliary battery. I found this was the largest battery that would still fit inside the original Trakka battery box. The new charger has plenty of capacity to charge a larger battery should I decide to go that way in the future, it also has 2 independent outlets so I now permanently connect both batteries to the charger, I've found this maximises the charge into the batteries and will extend battery life by keeping them in optimum charged condition, particularly when the syncro is garaged for long periods. I've also noticed how easily the starter motor now starts the engine.
I and my auto electrician found that the Bosch 90Amp alternator was down on voltage output so he overhauled the alternator to get it back to the regulated 14vdc as per specs.
In my view, all the 12vdc current carrying wiring installed by Trakka and others are minimal capacities and with limited if any allowances for voltage drop. They also didn't take advantage of the more efficient negative wire chassis return method of wiring; instead they installed long runs of negative cabling as well. So in particular, I've changed all negative (-12vdc) current carrying cabling to chassis return method and instead, added what was the negative wire to the positive wire, effectively doubling the capacity of the +12vdc wiring. This should enable all heavier current drawing equipment to draw or deliver as much current as needed and also limit voltage drop. As an example, it was disappointing to find that the mm2 wiring installed by Trakka to service the Indel B fridge was clearly smaller than the factory installed mm2 wiring that came with the fridge.
So essentially I've upgraded all heavier current carrying cabling such as between the alternator and the auxiliary battery, the smart charger and the auxiliary battery, the auxiliary battery and the fridge, the new and much shorter negative chassis return to the auxiliary battery, much shorter negative chassis return cable to the 240vac charger and an extra permanent negative chassis return cable to the alternator.
Also I found overheating/resistance problems with the bullet connectors Trakka used on their cabling, so I've changed everything to the newer and superior mini Anderson type connectors, these have eliminated the high resistance problems.
There are also a few things to check yourself about the Indel fridge, but first you need to remove the fridge.
At the back of the fridge, look for the built-in "sucker" fan on top of the finned condenser. Is it working? I found the connectors for powering it were reversed for polarity, the fan wasn't operating. Big mistake. Remove/reinsert the plug connector the right way round.
Is the finned condenser clogged up with all manner of rubbish ... dust, insects, lint etc? Lowers the efficiency of the fridge if it is. Gently clean the condenser all over where possible (small soft brush and vacuum cleaner) and gently straighten the fragile metal fins to help the fan pull air through the condenser.
Remove the plastic moulded exhaust duct on top of the fridge. This duct is supposed to direct heat drawn by the fan from the condenser and exhaust it into the room at the top front of the fridge. I found this was pretty inefficient, because the duct perimeter isn't sealed to the metal casing of the fridge it's fixed to, a lot of the drawn heat escapes from the duct back into the cupboard space around the fridge. I solved that by adding double sided sealing tape to all edges of the plastic moulded duct where it fits down onto the fridge metal casing. It now exhausts the heat much better out the front vent and as well, I can now more easily tell if the fan is working by checking the presence of ducted air coming out.
Are the door seals deteriorated? They should be after 16+ years so they should be replaced, but I haven't yet investigated who does the seals for this fridge. If suppliers can cut and plastic weld the seals to suit this size fridge, then that would be good. For now, I've carried out a few repairs on them, particularly the bottom seal as it seems to be the most easily damaged. Give them a good clean and check the mating metal surface as well. Smear some vaseline on the seals to help get a better seal.
The plastic "hold closed" clip at the top of the door gets a bit weak in its operation too, doesn't fully push up (clip) into place when closing the door. Solve this by fashioning some sponge rubber small enough to fit into the space under the clip. The sponge acts like a mild spring and helps push the clip fully up into place for holding the door closed.
To get a stronger door seal happening, try this simple mod. The door clip closes onto the metal screen on top of the fridge. Only for that length of metal screen that matches the length of the door clip, using any tool of your choice, bend (press) the metal screen inwards, probably by a few mm. So now, when the door clip holds the door closed, its applying added pressure on the door seal. Works for me.
If you read the Indel B manual that came with the fridge, one handy hint is that if you fairly closely fill the fridge with items which HOLD the coldness, as opposed to having lots of empty space that simply holds cold air, you will significantly reduce the loss of coldness when opening and closing the fridge. So for example, if you have got all the provisions you need to carry in the fridge but there is still lots of air space, add more containers with, for example, water. Or if you are a bloke ......... beer. Or whatever.
I've just been away for 4 days up to the Barrington Tops with no 240vac re-charging at all. Admittedly the ambient temperature was not as hot as it was on Tour 07. Also I tend to turn down or turn off the fridge overnight to conserve the battery, particularly as I found the fridge was cold enough anyway to get through the night hours, which it did. At no stage did I have to worry about the fridge warming up, the meat froze in the freezer and I maintained a good charge in the auxiliary battery. All good.
I intend monitoring the system when and where I can, whether or not I go the next step and add more charging equipment is still open, depending upon future experience with what I have now.
Hope this is food for thought and action for someone. Cheers.
--- In Syncro_T3_Australia@yahoogroups.com, "muzmarinator" <m.lee@...> wrote:
> Those that were on the Syncro tour would know I was having a bit of trouble keeping my
> fridge cool. it is an Indel B model (in Syncro Trakka 89). The freezer was staying cold but
> the fridge was letting me down big time in the heat. Any advice or the details of repairers
> in the Sydney area would be more than welcome as I'm just getting around to addressing
> this problem.
> Cheers Murray