We installed a Dometic CRX80 fridge in our van and we’ve been using it for the last 3 months as we’ve adventured 7000 miles across Europe.
Watch our video review below!
Dometic CRX 80 Review
Chest vs Standard Fridge
If you’re going to be putting a fridge in a van energy efficiency is key, you want a fridge that won’t drain your battery and allow you to be off grid for as long as possible.
Chest fridges are undoubtedly more energy efficient due to their design. In a chest fridge cold air can’t escape as easily when opened. However it’ll probably take longer to get to your stuff which can be tedious. The comparative fridge in chest format is the ARB 78L fridge.
This uses 1.07 amps on average which is slightly less than what we’ve used. We measured 1.2 amps when we were not using the fridge. Opening for extended periods does greatly increase the time that the compressor is on in the Dometic and therefore it’s power usage.
How much power does the fridge use
1.2 amps on a typical day at room temperature 21 degrees celcius
How big a battery do I need for my 12v fridge
This fridge would run down a 200ah battery to 50% (the lowest your should run a traditional battery) in 5 days. If you’re not going to use solar then you’ll need a hookup regardless, if you’re a weekender then a 100ah battery will do with hookup. Longer trips you’ll need a 200ah battery. For more information on the solar setup in our van check out this post I’d recommend at least a 200W solar setup to go in conjunction with this fridge.
Pros & Cons of Dometic CRX80
- Energy efficient
- Easy access to food
- Good size freezer compartment
- Build quality could be improved on hinges and the latch
Are Dometic CRX 80 fridges easy to install?
There are two connections you need to make to a positive and negative wire (they’re colour coded). We used crimp connectors with heatshrink, alternatively you could solder. It’s very easy to install and secure with 4 fixing points which you will need to drill through on the sides of the fridge. You can then screw/bolt to your walls so that it’s secure.
What cable size do you need for a CRX 80 fridge?
The cable size in your van conversion will always vary depending on how long the distance is from your fuse block to your appliance. The longer the distance the thicker the cable needs to be to carry the current that distance.
For our install the fridge is 2m from the battery and we used 6mm2/10AWG cable as per the installation instructions.