Building insulated cover for ARB Fridge

#1
I have a 63 QT ARB fridge. I am in the preliminary stages of making an insulated cover for it. Actually my mother, who is an amazing seamstress will be doing the heavy lifting of putting this together for me. I was planning on making the exterior out of white or very light 1000D Cordura fabric to reflect as much heat from the outside as possible. I'm thinking of making an insulation sandwich with Reflectix on the outside and some other insulation in the middle, encapsulated by the Cordura cover. Right now thinking Neoprene would be a good candidate for the interior of the sandwich, probably an inch thick with an R value of 5.5 to 6.5 if what I have read is correct. Neoprene seems like a good choice to me as it is durable and won't break down as much as say hard foam insulation. IF anyone has any other suggestions for insulation I welcome comments.

One thing I guess I don't know is if adding an R value of 8-10 would even make much difference in the power usage and efficiency of the fridge. Any comments on this would be appreciated.

I'll keep this thread going as we put it together. Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions you may have.
 
#2
Is this something you are planning on sitting on ? If so, then i would maybe make a wooden frame (as thin of wood as you can while still being strong enough to take the weight). You could even fill it with Great Stuff. Then make a fabric cover with snaps to hold it to cooler---kinda like one of these: https://www.google.com/search?q=igl...2&ved=0ahUKEwjFoc6xvd_LAhULpB4KHfm7DXgQsAQIdA

Or, just get one of those & some screw in snaps & use that.
 
#3
That's an interesting idea for the top but it is almost never in a place to be sat on. I think a flexible bag, similar to the one ARB makes is the direction I want to go with it, adding insulation would just make it complete in my mind.
 
#6
Honest question, what is the need to insulate a fridge? Especially a fridge that's as efficient as ARBs unit?

I'm not picking a fight, just curious.
 
#7
Same here... I thought about getting a cover for my Dometic but I live up north where it's never extremely hot. Maybe you guys out in the desert for extended times will see a small benefit from adding more insulation. Let us know if it cuts down on power usage at all. Opening and closing the fridge would also be an important thing to track. When I took mine out of the truck last, it was set to 35 and only had soda in it so I didn't bother plugging it in when we got inside, 2 days later the soda was still cold when I opened the fridge.
 
#8
I throw an "indian"" blanket I got in tijuana over mine, it seems to help the stuff on top stay cooler.
Tom

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Robinson Fuso
#9
Honest question, what is the need to insulate a fridge? Especially a fridge that's as efficient as ARBs unit?

I'm not picking a fight, just curious.
I have a transit cover on my Engel and like it.

It provides some additional protection for the fridge, and in certain environments (like the desert or inside a really hot vehicle) it can really help. Also figure the less the fridge has to work, the longer your battery will last.
 
#10
I agree, but i am not sure what the "point of no return" on your investment would be. Not sure if you would be better off building an insulated box to slide cooler into when in the vehicle, wrapping cooler with self adhesive heat shield or just wrapping it with blankets & a strap or 2. Neoprene would work great i suppose, the thicker the better. My Transit bags have some type of foil looking insulation in them-not sure if you knew that or not. They also fir VERY tight, don't think you could slide anything else in there---no matter how thin it was. My filters will fit though. https://valuhomecenters.doitbest.com/products/air-conditioner-filter I will have the transit bags on both of mine when traveling, along with the foam filters i installed where the air is sucked in, to help keep the dust/dirt out longer. Also, when shore power is avail, & it is REALLY hot out, I have supplimental fans to help aid in cooling. http://www.walmart.com/ip/4-Mini-Personal-Fan-Black/34109009

https://www.google.com/shopping/pro...X&ved=0ahUKEwjBsZae_uHLAhVBWh4KHbRPAHQQrRIILQ
 
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Bbasso

Expedition Leader
#11
I am guilty, I have a transit bag over my Engel fridge in a insulated cabinet...
But I encounter many temperatures, various solar harvest and a few other things so it waa easy enough and I've got no clue if helps with the energy usage. LOL
 
#12
I guess my main thought was to protect my $800+ fridge from bumps and scrapes and wasn't into paying the price from ARB for their bag. Since I'm building this from scratch I figured adding insulation would be a no brainer. Still thinking the Neoprene sandwich is going to be my insulation of choice as I haven't found reasonable alternatives, and it does have some good physical protective properties. I know the fridge is somewhat efficient but even just having it running in my home office, I can feel the sides being cold. This tells me that there is coldness radiating out through the sides. (ok, I know cold doesn't radiate but you know what I mean) A simple test is to take a fridge, or cooler for that matter, and cool it down, now wrap it in a blanket. Give it a a few hours then reach under the blanket and feel the sides. I think you will be amazed at how cold they are.

More insulation will keep it cycling on and off less. In the real world, at least my world, this means running it on less power. It is much easier for me to conserve power than make more with generally about 100 AH dedicated to the fridge. I can and have run it for 4-6 days on that without it depleting the batteries completely with 80's in the days and 30-40's at night. I'm not sure I will be able to, or care to test it to the n'th degree to quantify the benefit of adding insulation the the exterior but while I'm making a cover for it, I might as well just do it.
 
#14
I'm sure National Luna are fantastic fridges, however for the price they want for them I could pick up 2 ARB's. They use the same core components so when I made my purchase decision ARB was an easy choice. In a recent real world test I read that National Luna used MORE power than the ARB. http://www.arbusa.com/uploads/Newsletter/ARBmegaFridgeComparo.pdf Not that it matters at this point, I have the ARB and don't plan on replacing it any time soon.
 
#15
I got both my transit bags for free when I ordered the fridges 82 qt & 50 qt & also a free monitor (that was mail in w/proof of purchase), so they cost me nothing. Seems like a great option to protect them from bumps & bruises & chaffing of the plastic during transit. I did not realize they were $125.40 each !!! Still, for what the fridge cost, I'd say it is a good investment.

I'm thinking that some Pink R-10 foam from HDep & some double sided tape or even velcro may be a cheap & simple way to insulate it when temps are hot. Let us know what you come up with. I am curious for sure.

edit: I just went & felt mine. Yup, the sides feel pretty darn cold compared to inside temp. I may have to install the transit bag on it this weekend & see what the difference is. Edit: After checking it with a Harbor Freight infrared thermometer, it is reading 74* on the lid & 71* on the sides. Weird, house temp is 71* Yet the sides certainly feel noticeably colder to the touch.
 
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