New Member, New Van On Order

May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#61
Should also mention, I’ve already bought a Waeco CFX65 beer fridge, which we would look to also keep daily food in (to save too much opening/closing of the 3-way throughout the day), so we will effectively have the 171L van fridge/freezer and another 65 litre portable fridge. I’ll probably also look to buy a 200W solar blanket to compliment the 2x160W panels on the roof of the van. Any recommendations for solar blankets would also be appreciated!
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
8,070
14,120
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#62
If you can shell out the $$$$$ for lithium all well and good its the way to go for sure, a mate has 700ah of them, weighs about the same as my 200ah, as for using the waeco as your daily fridge I think the idea will change later on, I could be wrong though............................. I don't like solar blankets to get best use of them like solid panels they require to be moved a few times to maximise power unike solid panels which you just pick up and turn slightly the blanket needs to be set up right, throwing over a vehicle bonnet or windscreen means it gets very hot and heat means less efficiency plus vehicle may not be there...... while I don't have one I have observed and been told by those who have, that they can be a pain moving and setting up a few times a day, probably okay for the weekend camper but when you wander for months not so great...........either way probably have to chuck the standard regulator and fit a decent MPPT reg to get full advantage.....an auxillary battery for the tug would be an idea if your going to have the waeco in the vehicle.
 
May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#63
Thanks Drover, I figured cost was the only real factor in deciding. 700ah... wow, that’s some serious battery setup!

You’re probably right regarding the Waeco not being used as the daily fridge, at least from a food point of view. It will definitely be the drinks fridge. That 171L 3-way would fill up very quickly if we tried to keep the “important stuff” in it alongside the food.

Thanks for the advice regarding the panels over the blankets. Kicka$$ solar do an ultralight 300W panel that looks like it could do the trick, in conjunction with the 320W solar we have on the roof. Particularly if we try to park in the shade on the hotter days. I’m looking to also get a battery box (again, so many choices). At this stage, it looks like it will either be the Thunder, the Engel Series 2 (which looks identical to the Arkpak) or the Projecta Power Hub. Most likely, it is looking like it will be either the Thunder or the Engel, as they both appear to have in-built chargers. I’d load it up with a 120ah battery, or use one of the 100ah from the van if I switch the two coming with it for a 300ah lithium. We can then run the Waeco off the battery box, which we could have connected to the 300W ultralight panel which could be manoeuvred easily enough to capture a few decent hours of sun per day.
 

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
5,005
10,892
113
Mentone, VIC
#64
Thanks Drover, I figured cost was the only real factor in deciding. 700ah... wow, that’s some serious battery setup!

You’re probably right regarding the Waeco not being used as the daily fridge, at least from a food point of view. It will definitely be the drinks fridge. That 171L 3-way would fill up very quickly if we tried to keep the “important stuff” in it alongside the food.

Thanks for the advice regarding the panels over the blankets. Kicka$$ solar do an ultralight 300W panel that looks like it could do the trick, in conjunction with the 320W solar we have on the roof. Particularly if we try to park in the shade on the hotter days. I’m looking to also get a battery box (again, so many choices). At this stage, it looks like it will either be the Thunder, the Engel Series 2 (which looks identical to the Arkpak) or the Projecta Power Hub. Most likely, it is looking like it will be either the Thunder or the Engel, as they both appear to have in-built chargers. I’d load it up with a 120ah battery, or use one of the 100ah from the van if I switch the two coming with it for a 300ah lithium. We can then run the Waeco off the battery box, which we could have connected to the 300W ultralight panel which could be manoeuvred easily enough to capture a few decent hours of sun per day.
Theres nothing in life i truly enjoy more than disagreeing with @Drover, i live for these opportunities. I have 2 x blankets, one a 150w Super Cheap blanket which without testing i alway guessed performed "adequately". I purchased 2 x 250w glass panels for roof fixing and they way under performed horribly. During testing of those cheap panels i used the blanket as a comprison, and took the oppotunity to test it I had the blanket thrown adhoc on uneven rutted ground and it out performed one of my known quality 150w glass panel. Its output was very impressive, and angling it up to the optimum angle made zero difference, which was odd and pleasing. Im stoked with its performance. I throw it flat on the ground, and so long as sun is hitting it, i dont touch it. My only advice is take any solar panel advice with a degree of caution, any claims of my "brand x panels are the awesomely bestest" should be accompanied by some real world user testing.
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
8,070
14,120
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#65
Theres nothing in life i truly enjoy more than disagreeing with @Drover, i live for these opportunities. I have 2 x blankets, one a 150w Super Cheap blanket which without testing i alway guessed performed "adequately". I purchased 2 x 250w glass panels for roof fixing and they way under performed horribly. During testing of those cheap panels i used the blanket as a comprison, and took the oppotunity to test it I had the blanket thrown adhoc on uneven rutted ground and it out performed one of my known quality 150w glass panel. Its output was very impressive, and angling it up to the optimum angle made zero difference, which was odd and pleasing. Im stoked with its performance. I throw it flat on the ground, and so long as sun is hitting it, i dont touch it. My only advice is take any solar panel advice with a degree of caution, any claims of my "brand x panels are the awesomely bestest" should be accompanied by some real world user testing.
First up we all know you bought cheap backyard panels, you should have gone to ALDI and throwing the mat jobs on the ground is fine until you come back from town and find youvé parked on it or the wind blows it elsewhere or at Bingara some damn horse walks over, drops a load to help anchor it down, not to mention some of the morons you find camping nearby....................... You know I'm right admit it ....................

Anyway @Joves , just dream and plan, don't go buying until you start to play with it all and see what fits........................ I'm not all that keen on those Ark, Thumper or Engel Packs, I think they can be lacking in the charge dept ...... of course the Mine Trucker may not agree but I think a good AGM battery in a battery box or an Optima thrown under a seat, charged from a DC-DC unit like the Ctek D250S in the vehicle is heaps better, by fitting Anderson plug/s to the box along with a carry handle it is no drama to unplug and make it a portable power supply and with 2 x Andersons it could be powering a fridge outside the van and be coupled to a portable solar panel to keep it charged.........................just a thought.......

Oh I should also mention Lithium batteries do require a different charge senario than AGM/GEL/Wet batteries.
 
Last edited:

DRW

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2013
2,033
3,217
113
64
Beautiful Burrum Heads QLD
#66
wow this is getting into a real "gone with the wind epic" (i actually loved the movie)
Just a quick note, I was the Supercheap Auto quality/product development manager for 7 years, after that I worked for a Chinese manufacturer for 5 years who make battery chargers, inverters and battery packs/jump starters and solar panels etc.
Whilst I don't know everything and don't profess to by any stretch, but I have personally audited so many factories in China that make all of the above I dont think i have missed too many.
Now @Drover you must remember @Joves drives a Toorak Taxi similar to my Jeep but with less power, (unlike the utility thingy you drive with a 6x3 metre garage on the back) and he has a car load of billy lids so space is tight, real tight!!! Now the guy I hired to replaced me a SCA has become a really good friend and is a caravanner and fisher, he to is an Auto electrician around 10 years my junior and 10 times smarter, only last week we were talking solar blankets and solar regulators and discussing the factories who manufacture their range, long story short they are excellent bits of gear, win win just wait for the specials!!
Now as far as batteries are concerned if you don't want to run a hair dryer or or a coffee machine (not sure as you come from Sydney) why do you need sh!t loads of batteries??? 2 AGM's or of course 2 Lithiums would be more than enough all they do is run a few lights, TV and water pump (you can't carry enough water to run the battery flat pumping water, yes the TV draws a bit but with kids bed time will probably see it off early. Now the importent stuff, the BEER has to be cold, and yes the Waeco is a great means of performing this task (not sure about sharing the space with food, never tried it personally) There are 2 decent battery packs available 1) Thunder (we produced it) it has a very agricultural feel to it, you might even cut your fingers on the p!ss poor injecton moulding but electrically it is a great unit and has the better 240V charger of the lot 2) the Projecta unit, I have tested it and it seems okay as well, these are the only 2 worth considering IMO. For anything else, i.e brake controller, inverters and DC to DC chargers Redarc is the go to place. I hope this ramble is some help
 

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
8,070
14,120
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#67
wow this is getting into a real "gone with the wind epic" (i actually loved the movie)
Just a quick note, I was the Supercheap Auto quality/product development manager for 7 years, after that I worked for a Chinese manufacturer for 5 years who make battery chargers, inverters and battery packs/jump starters and solar panels etc.
Whilst I don't know everything and don't profess to by any stretch, but I have personally audited so many factories in China that make all of the above I dont think i have missed too many.
Now @Drover you must remember @Joves drives a Toorak Taxi similar to my Jeep but with less power, (unlike the utility thingy you drive with a 6x3 metre garage on the back) and he has a car load of billy lids so space is tight, real tight!!! Now the guy I hired to replaced me a SCA has become a really good friend and is a caravanner and fisher, he to is an Auto electrician around 10 years my junior and 10 times smarter, only last week we were talking solar blankets and solar regulators and discussing the factories who manufacture their range, long story short they are excellent bits of gear, win win just wait for the specials!!
Now as far as batteries are concerned if you don't want to run a hair dryer or or a coffee machine (not sure as you come from Sydney) why do you need sh!t loads of batteries??? 2 AGM's or of course 2 Lithiums would be more than enough all they do is run a few lights, TV and water pump (you can't carry enough water to run the battery flat pumping water, yes the TV draws a bit but with kids bed time will probably see it off early. Now the importent stuff, the BEER has to be cold, and yes the Waeco is a great means of performing this task (not sure about sharing the space with food, never tried it personally) There are 2 decent battery packs available 1) Thunder (we produced it) it has a very agricultural feel to it, you might even cut your fingers on the p!ss poor injecton moulding but electrically it is a great unit and has the better 240V charger of the lot 2) the Projecta unit, I have tested it and it seems okay as well, these are the only 2 worth considering IMO. For anything else, i.e brake controller, inverters and DC to DC chargers Redarc is the go to place. I hope this ramble is some help


It's all @Crusty181 's fault for stirring the pot, plus you know I'm right anyway, whatever it was that I said .......................................... I'm just waiting for @Joves to get his rig and show us the pics, anyone who picks a Landrover has to be on the ball ................................



Oh and @Joves that was a fantastic donation to the site, wonderful.
 
Last edited:

Bluey

Well-Known Member
Mar 31, 2014
3,301
5,801
113
50
victoria
#68
It's all @Crusty181 's fault for stirring the pot, plus you know I'm right anyway, whatever it was that I said .......................................... I'm just waiting for @Joves to get his rig and show us the pics, anyone who picks a Landrover has to be on the ball ................................



Oh and @Joves that was a fantastic donation to the site, wonderful.
@Crusty181 stirring the pot you sure thats unlike him hes normaly a quite kind of bloke who keeps his thoughts under wraps :behindsofa:
 
May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#69
Happy for Crusty to have stirred the pot on this one, as I can’t help but think reverting back to the 3-way fridge has saved us a whole heap of hassle.

On a separate note, the 65L Waeco has arrived today and the thing is huge. So long as we can fit it in the car along with everything else, our fridge requirements (whatever they may end up being) should be more than covered with this and the 171L 3-way in the van.
 

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
5,005
10,892
113
Mentone, VIC
#70
Nice big thumping beer fridge!!! We have 150 in the van, 40 in the car, and there's 3 of us plus a dog that eats better than the rest of us ... so you be A OK

You guys must be bursting with excitement. Its quite a big and expensive leap into the unknown particularly for a family and although we all know what is coming to you in the form of good times ahead, its nice to be able to follow along and hopefully keep at least a little of the apprehension in check. Once you get into it and settled you may well start looking to make it your own by changing and modifying, and thats a whole addiction of its own. What do you do for work @Joves, I work for myself in the domestic building industry and my van is stored in my factory where it's always within sight and never more then 30ft away. Its worse than heroin, ideas always pop into my head and there is lots of machines, tools, materials and the ideas. Needless to say Ive spent way too much time buggering around with the van.
 
Last edited:
May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#71
106 cans, apparently!! That’ll see me through for a few days:)

Yep, we’re pretty excited. We should have the new car in about a week or so, then the van a couple of months after, so a little longer to wait for that. A leap into the relatively unknown, for sure. My folks used to have a huge van when we were younger, however, that was permanently setup in a great park called A Shady River in Moama. We used to go there every holidays and long weekend and, looking back, it was such a great time. This will be a little different, being that we will absolutely be mobile, but I’m sure our kids are going to love it. It’s amazing, once you get talking to friends about it, how it seems like everyone is either already doing it or wanting to start. I always thought vans were for old fogies, but apparently not. And, even if they are, i’m on my way to it being appropriate anyhow.

My wife and I own and run a real estate office in Sydney. Not the most conducive industry to weekends away, but we will make the most of every chance we get. We also take a good 6 week stint at the end of every year, so i can see us spending the good majority of that travelling to new places. Should be some fun. Haha... as for your buggering around with the van, i reckon that’s a great thing. If I was handy at all, I’d be doing exactly the same!
 
Likes: Bluey

Drover

Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2013
8,070
14,120
113
Cooloola Coast, QLD
www.expandasdownunder.com
#72
My 41 yr old Engel holds a 30 can block, rip the top off the carton and bung it in, found something interesting today though, I made a new seal for the lid at the start of last trip, we got home 3 weeks ago, emptied fridge, turned fridge off but forgot to take lid off and since it was raining for 2 weeks things didn't get washed, cleaned or otherwise until this week ( other than van fridge) ............... went to butchers today and went to throw big bag of cow in fridge, holy dooley the new seal works for sure, there was a whole new world living in my fridge slammed lid shut to stop things escaping and now a few hours later its been sterilized, homogenised and many other ism's an izer's , which isn't off topic just brings me to an important point, don't turn fridge off without cleaning straight away, especially so with van fridge, turn off, wipe out and leave door ajar, a priority job, must do job...................... I recall a few years back someone on here found chicken in his fridge months later, he thought the missus sorted the fridge , she thought he did, the fridge after many cleaning solutions was removed and dumped ................................ so there you go, a worthwhile subject for a new vanner ...................................................... see I wasn't waffling after all......

Great camp for kids Temora Aviation Museum, van park at airfield and on the right weekends Spitfires, Boomerangs and other great Warbirds flying......
 

Crusty181

Well-Known Member
Feb 7, 2010
5,005
10,892
113
Mentone, VIC
#73
My 41 yr old Engel holds a 30 can block, rip the top off the carton and bung it in, found something interesting today though, I made a new seal for the lid at the start of last trip, we got home 3 weeks ago, emptied fridge, turned fridge off but forgot to take lid off and since it was raining for 2 weeks things didn't get washed, cleaned or otherwise until this week ( other than van fridge) ............... went to butchers today and went to throw big bag of cow in fridge, holy dooley the new seal works for sure, there was a whole new world living in my fridge slammed lid shut to stop things escaping and now a few hours later its been sterilized, homogenised and many other ism's an izer's , which isn't off topic just brings me to an important point, don't turn fridge off without cleaning straight away, especially so with van fridge, turn off, wipe out and leave door ajar, a priority job, must do job...................... I recall a few years back someone on here found chicken in his fridge months later, he thought the missus sorted the fridge , she thought he did, the fridge after many cleaning solutions was removed and dumped ................................ so there you go, a worthwhile subject for a new vanner ...................................................... see I wasn't waffling after all......

Great camp for kids Temora Aviation Museum, van park at airfield and on the right weekends Spitfires, Boomerangs and other great Warbirds flying......
I recall that chicken story, seeped into the insulation. I have old grubby general purpose rags, one each in the front and back seats, and one in the tub and one in the drawer bar box on the van (very handy) The rear seat rag off season storage location is under the lid of the Engel and it religiously goes there as soon as the Engel is turned off. Habits, rituals and procedures are what keeps caravaners from going insane (mostly).
 
May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#74
My 41 yr old Engel holds a 30 can block, rip the top off the carton and bung it in, found something interesting today though, I made a new seal for the lid at the start of last trip, we got home 3 weeks ago, emptied fridge, turned fridge off but forgot to take lid off and since it was raining for 2 weeks things didn't get washed, cleaned or otherwise until this week ( other than van fridge) ............... went to butchers today and went to throw big bag of cow in fridge, holy dooley the new seal works for sure, there was a whole new world living in my fridge slammed lid shut to stop things escaping and now a few hours later its been sterilized, homogenised and many other ism's an izer's , which isn't off topic just brings me to an important point, don't turn fridge off without cleaning straight away, especially so with van fridge, turn off, wipe out and leave door ajar, a priority job, must do job...................... I recall a few years back someone on here found chicken in his fridge months later, he thought the missus sorted the fridge , she thought he did, the fridge after many cleaning solutions was removed and dumped ................................ so there you go, a worthwhile subject for a new vanner ...................................................... see I wasn't waffling after all......

Great camp for kids Temora Aviation Museum, van park at airfield and on the right weekends Spitfires, Boomerangs and other great Warbirds flying......
Good advice, Drover. I’ve had experiences with domestic fridges being turned off uncleaned and kept closed for lengthy periods of time... ain’t pretty!!

Temora looks like a lovely place... don’t believe I’ve ever been anywhere near there.
 
May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#75
I recall that chicken story, seeped into the insulation. I have old grubby general purpose rags, one each in the front and back seats, and one in the tub and one in the drawer bar box on the van (very handy) The rear seat rag off season storage location is under the lid of the Engel and it religiously goes there as soon as the Engel is turned off. Habits, rituals and procedures are what keeps caravaners from going insane (mostly).
Sound like good habits to get into, Crusty!
 
May 9, 2019
36
17
8
Sydney
#76
We’re actually off to Kiama tomorrow for the long weekend, with a hired 18ft Expanda waiting down there for us to test-drive. Loaded a slab of beers into the Waeco... you know, just to see that it works ok... and, low and behold, the first six pack has already disappeared. Guess it must be working just fine....