Outdoor PA: WAECO CFX-40

Product Awareness by Steve Cooper

The WAECO CFX-40 car fridge was taken through dust and high water, in temperate and tropical conditions, over 26,000km and came out with a glowing report.


Anyone contemplating camping should also be thinking of a car fridge. For more than six years, I have run around the country with a Waeco 40L car fridge, and it has never faulted. Before leaving on a long trek that took in all manner of terrain, I decided to upgrade my car fridge. Not that there was anything wrong with the old model, but the latest and greatest of anything is often an improved model; and so it is with the Waeco CFX-40. The test period lasted more than 14 weeks and covered more than 26,000km of roads ranging from corrugated and rock so rough they would shake your fillings loose, to smooth bitumen. Through creek crossings that reached the top of the bull bar on my Tojo, and then onto rolling sand tracks, the fridge was bustled and jolted. The weather played its part, changing from winter down south to hot, and then to hot and humid across the Top End.

“In the case of the CFX-40, power efficiency is one of its most pleasing aspects.”

I set the fridge temperature at minus 5 degrees Celsius, and for less than five days on that trip did I run the fridge on 240V power, not because I needed to but because I wanted to. The second battery in my Tojo is a crank battery, not a deepcycle battery as some folk use.  An advantage of a crank battery is that, if necessary, you can use jumper leads to start your vehicle. Crank batteries are not supposed to have power enough to keep car fridges going for extended periods. But I guess that depends on the fridge. In the case of the CFX-40, power efficiency is one of its most pleasing aspects. The fridge cut out when it reached the set temperature, coming back on automatically when required. And here’s something you won’t read: the fridge is so well sealed that it holds its temperature for hours. Most fridges should be sealed this well, but not all are. Some have been known to let dust in, and the leakage of cold air means they are forever coming on and off.

The fridge can be used to chill, cool or freeze food, and the powerful compressor unit ensures a rapid cooling rate. The Waeco can withstand a constant inclination of 30 degrees, which makes it well suited to marine use. I proved this: it was fine bouncing along all manner of bush tracks across the Top End. The Waeco assured me it can also withstand the rigours of saltwater. The power supply can be set for 240V mains, 12 or 24V and it has a three-level battery monitor to protect the vehicle battery. When setting the temperature, you have a choice of Fahrenheit or Celsius, and the display switches off automatically at low battery voltage. The unit is portable with folding handles and internally the wire basket is removable.

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