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Chescold RC1180

Chescold RC1180

4.0 from 29 reviews

See the Best Portable Fridges / Freezers in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.

Great fridges

I am now on my third fridge and have never had any issues. Definitely agree they are not a touring fridge but great when you set up camp for several days. I will have cold on 240v before the trip then run on 12v in the car (swapped out the Hungarian plug for an Anderson) & then gas when camping. Tough units which have coped with barge trips to Nth Qld islands and rough 4wd'ing. A service after several years keeps them running like new.

Purchased in June 2014 at BCF Physical Store for $1,000.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance

Problems with 12v

I have a Chescold RC1180. Works fine on gas and 240v, but not on 12v. It’s in a camper trailer, Anderson plug connection. Power is getting through to our trailer as our 12v powered lights operate well. . A battery charges the separate battery in the trailer. The fridge top seems warm when we open up, but this may be just be the heat travelling through the trailer. The fridge was fully serviced 6 months ago by an expert, with no problems.
Anyone got some advice?

Purchased in April 2002.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance

Perfect for Off-Grid Camping

We have had one and it works perfectly on 240v and gas, less so on 12v. Very frugal on gas - I’ve heard tell of a month on a 9kg bottle! Silent and easy to light and set up. Had to buy an aaptor separately for 12v and it basically is of use only travelling from A to B.

Date PurchasedMay 2013

240V replacement element.

I recently had the element replaced as cooling on 240V had stopped suddenly. On gas & 12V it was still ok. I live at the Gold Coast & purchased the replacement element from Dometic at Varsity Lakes. I tried to install the new element myself but that was more of a challenge than I expected so I asked an electrician friend of mine to do the work. I now have cooling again on 240V which is great!

The date purchased below is for the element. The fridge must be at least 10 years old & has been many trips including the longer outback trips.

Date PurchasedApr 2018

Good hard wearing reliable fridge / freezer.

I've been running this 50l fridge freezer over the past 6 years - mainly beach camping, ideally this fridge is a find a camp & stay there for a week deal. Not so much as a tourer stop / start deal every day. Though I've done both with it. There is not one fridge fits all out there. Pro's & Cons. Pro's = lots! as a fridge with a separate freezer (or all one compartment in you pull out the internal divider) very handy for freezing food / bait & planning your week or weeks! Its a tough constructed fridge , travels well. Before a trip if you haven't already been running it on 240v plug it in 3 or 4 days out from your trip to get it up & running nicely, if your travelling from home to your camp site ( 2- 4 hours or so ) you can not worry about 12 v ( I'll come back to 12v that's a storey in its self.) It'll keep everything cold / frozen & hook it up to your gas bottle when you get to camp. It runs extremely well on gas. For memory you can run it for about 8 days ( 24 hours a day) on a 4kg bottle. Now 12volt, I looked into this & spoke to a good auto electrician & chescold fridge mechanic - the best way is to hard wire a Anderson plug to it ( as per pic) the little black plug they supply is terrible - slightly loose & really hard to connect / disconnect all the time & run it on your auxiliary battery while travelling. But you'll need h/d 6mm cable with Anderson to Anderson from fridge to battery - it draws about 10amp per hour ( lots ) where a 2way will draw about 2amp. But there are pro & cons with those as well. I just did 3 weeks across the Simpson desert where I'd run it on 12v during the day while travelling & hook it up to a gas bottle at night - I guess that's the con ( down side). So in a wrap , great fridge best as a stay put camp site fridge but can be used on the move with 12v if you spend some money & set it up right. But think of it as a gas fridge.
Any questions feel free to ask - Cheers!

Date PurchasedSep 2011

Love it...would never go back to dry ice!

Have only used it once on a 6 day camping trip but it worked a treat, no issues at all. We run it for a week on 240v prior to camping to make sure all was good And for a couple of hours on gas (side note - you need to buy the gas cord and regulator separately, they don't come with the unit)
We ran it for 6 days and it didn't even use half a 9L gas bottle in temperatures of 30'c +. It kept everything frozen and even froze the milk in the fridge, we just turned it down to low and the food in the fridge stopped freezing but remained icy cold.
Would highly recommend it.

Date PurchasedSep 2017

Used to work great but now hopeless.

Have a Chescold RC-1180. Does not get cold on 240V nor Gas...flue gets hot on both but no cooling effect any ideas?...Opened up back and nothing obvious. Turned unit upside down and heard the coolant sloshing but made no difference. Any help appreciated. I measured DC element (2ohms) and AC element 500 ohms but I suggest these are ok. Nice blue flame when on gas but not cold.

September 27th 2017 Update: Too expensive to repair

Finally had some feedback from Dometic on the RC-1180....suspect the cooling unit itself is faulty which makes it too expensive to repair according to service agents...terrible. The unit was never abused and always level, kept out of the sun etc. Will now buy an Engel as was advised before I made this mistake. A faulty AC or DC element I can handle but not the cost of its cooling unit. $1299 for rubbish.

Date PurchasedMar 2015

Great product

Have owned the fridge for many years and it has never missed a beat. I have taken it with me on many distant trips to the outback on rough and smooth roads. Before leaving I pre cool it on 240v and place cooled fresh and frozen food inside. I travels in the back of a twin cab ute under the canopy, so not exposed to sun. Due to high 12v consumption I do not run it on this setting when travelling but turn it on gas at the end of the day. Even in hot weather I have had no trouble with frozen food thawing using this method. If camping in one spot for any length of time I place the fridge out of the sun, usually under the van awning, and it runs a treat, and I have to check it regularly to ensure it is not running too cold. I also check the pilot each morning to make sure it hasn"t blown out during the night, which it has on the odd occasion. The only criticism I have is having had to replace 2- 240v elements since I bought it new. The first cost about $66 (a long time ago) and the most recent, $106 which is getting expensive. I trust it will last well into the future.

Date PurchasedSep 1997

Chescold RC1180

We purchased the Chescold RC1180 because the caravan we were towing at that time and we were planning our trip to Ayres Rock (Uluru) and Alice Springs. We looked at many of the models and found that most, at that time, claimed to get the temperature down to say 20 degrees below ambient. But if it was 40+ outside then the fridge temperature would be 20, no good for freezing. The RC1180 and a couple of others actually maintained freezing as well as having a fridge section. The RC1180 suited us best and, although heavy to manoeuvre, it definitely served its purpose. We now also use it when shopping and it stays in our BT50 all the time. We have taken it to places without power (Wilsons Prom) and others and used on gas with no problems. The main recommendation is that it needs a larger 12 volt wire than normal and the regular cigarette connectors will burn out. Make sure you put the recommended wire thickness and convert the connectors to an Engel plug, this was done by Harrison 4WD in Bendigo. We have an Anderson plug as well for the caravan.
The only real problem was when the element needed replacement and the good people at 'All RVs and Campervans' in Bendigo fixed it it no time.

Date PurchasedSep 2009

Good product

Has worked well for over 11 years.

Travelled over 25,000kms of rough corrugated roads and remote tracks in touring alone. More again on camping trips and road trips.

10a continuous power draw at 12v so only use 12v for travelling / short stops.(lunch, shopping, sight seeing. etc.)

I get it cold on 240v before I leave, plug straight into car when driving around to run on 12v and then set up on gas when I arrive.

Basic level on gas and aways cold. By basic I mean that I mostly do it by eye and wiggle it a bit in the dirt or put a rock or a stick under one end.

Heavy when full but that would be the same for any container that size. Handles could be better designed but are sturdy.

All up great reliable fridge/freezer if you understand what they were designed for and how to get the best out of them.

Date PurchasedMay 2005

Not working

Plugged in to two different working 240v gpo's and tried the 12v and still nothing. I think I got a dud. Camping in two days time. Stressing now due to work times clashing with store times and it was the last one as they were on special. Will try to swap it over but a bad start so far..

Date PurchasedAug 2016

Love It.

Works brilliant on gas, ,in cooler months I even turn it off over night to find everything still cold and items in freezer frozen in the morning . Great insulation, last trip I forgot the gas hose, managed for 3 days with the meat and 2 bottles of water i had frozen before leaving home. I have wrapped the outside with foil insulation for the summer months. A bit heavy to lift in and out but purchased a flat top trolley to move it around on. Had 240 volt wired into car for longer trips, run it on electricity at home.

Used 4 times in 4 years and now too expensive to repair

When it was working it was great for getting large volumes of drinks cold but it stopped working on gas even though it had a good flame. Then the 240 v stopped and it's too expensive to repair. Quoted 780 to $1000 and it's only 4 years old and only used around 4 times.
My advice is don't buy this rubbish.

Great camping fridge

We have a RC1180 and find it great for camping. Plug into 240 v a few days before leaving and it cools down well. Our last trip was to Moreton Island and the fridge was off power for about 8 hours before we hooked up the gas. Everything was cold. We camped this time for 6 days and loaded up the fridge each night with soft drinks and beer (and wine). Camp sites near us had people shifting solar panels around and fussing over their fridges, We had nothing to do. Just kept producing cold beer. When we travelled to other spots during the day we just used a Coleman esky fed from the Chescold.

Bought near new off Ebay for $500 this has been a great fridge. Great back up at Xmas and the ham fits in it really well!

I intend putting a dual battery setup into my NX Pajero. Had originally considered an Engel for the back but might just heavy wire up the Chescold. Take it out at Fraser or Moreton and run on gas but considering using it for a Cape York trip on 12 v.

Disadvantages? Maybe on 12 v but once you have camped for a week on a beach and the beer is always cold without any fuss or major spend on solar panels then you become a fan. My sons who are followers of the latest four wheel drive trends and have all the bits on their FWDs are very keen to borrow the Chescold for camping. Initially it was all Waeco and Engel, great fridges too, but just the set and forget of the Chescold with the 16 L freezer has sold them.

Great little fridge

Have had chessman 3 way bushman for 25 years and everything works just fine, the seal on the lid has come adrift, other than that, for its age, doing just great. Has done many a mile over the years and never let me down. Would highly recommend this brand to anyone wanting to purchase a good fridge.

240V element

I've had the green chescold for 15 years,
..Never used the 12V. Blown the 240V element four times. [Always on start-up]. Was told to start and get cold on gas before turning it to 240v which seems to work. Was always careful to not handle it roughly so as less likely to damage element. Runs absolutely fantastic on gas.

no problems

Have had the green 3 way chescold now for about 10 years. Travelled around Oz several times. I use 12v when travelling, otherwise on gas when camping. Love it. Have had no problems since new. As others have stated, You cannot use it when camping on 12v a it uses to much power

Chescold 3 way fridge freezer just what we wanted.

Great value for money. 240v at home or our solar set in camp gas when there's no sun and 12v on the road and made by somebody as well known as Dometic.

Perfect portable 3way

I've had the Dometic Chescold RC1180 going on 3 years, I brought the unit new I have found it works just a little better on gas then 240 volt, it does work well on 12 volt providing you run 6mm wiring directly to the fridge. If you don't then don't bother using 12 volt also please remember these fridges pull continuous power 120 watts so if you don't have dual batteries and isolators you will end up with a flat battery. The handle design could have been implemented better but all in all it's been brilliant, my mate purchase the cheaper jackeroo 3way fridge and the RC1180 out does it in every way possible.

Replaced 3 elements in 12 months

I bought the 39 litre fridge freezer with my land cruiser the heating element burnt out 3 times in 12 months . I spent 400 bucks on replacing elements .i sold it on eBay for 50 bucks as is until chescold can get an element that lasts I would not recommend this fridge freezer .it would be a good fridge if the elements would last
Was able to run on gas
Burning out elements

1 comment
i found it was useful to install a small 12v green light in the top of the fridge near the controls ..When fridge working in the car this light was always on and a quick glance in the rear vision mirror would indicate the fridge hooked up and getting power. saved my bacon a few times (literally)

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Questions & Answers

I have a Grey RC1180, bought in Welshpool W.A. back in November 1993, and it has worked fine until now, probably at least once a month for anything from 3 to 15 days at a time. Now I have a problem - it works on gas and 12v, but has stopped working on 240v. Is the part available as a replacement to repair the unit please, and what is the cost? Thank you.
No answers

Where to buy online that is delivered? Are they still making these? It looks like no places are selling these new.
2 answers
G'day, try Seabreeze -Gold Coast . They should have them ( that's where I bought mine , albeit 10 yrs ago). If not Dometic , they could give you a dealer that has them. I haven't checked but you generally see a few on eBay 2nd hand and new. The big thing with these is the gas component. I own both (2 & 3 way) if you are a stay put camper & want to hook it up to a gas bottle these are your fridge. If your a stop / start tourer camper look at 2 way. Any questions feel free to ask. Cheers Shane.Thanks Shane. The 2nd hand ones look to be pricey, and given the whole gas thing they sound like a bad idea and just asking for problems. I looked at these a year or two back before getting my engel, and from memory there was a good few available online. Now nothing besides bcf and no delivery. Just looks like they are a bit dead now.

Hi, Can this fridge be connected to a gas bayonet, part of a gas system in a camper trailer. the bayonet would be installed external to the fridge box so the only way it can operate off gas would be when the camper is stationery and the fridge box is open. My gas fitter has asked if it has a thermocouple for safety? i dont know what this is, i guess if the pilot blows out the gas stops?
2 answers
No, the gas fitting supplied is a 3/8" BSP-LH (Gasmate) fitting. I've got an adaptor for a POL fitting, but I don't think you can get one to a 1/2" bayonet (maybe difference in regulator). Definitely can only use gas when stationary. It has a thermocouple, which is something to do with the gas safety valve I think.Hi Andrew, Cheers for taking the time to answer mate! All this gas stuff is overwhelming... I have tried looking for the product manual and it does not really go into too much specification detail. I also tried calling them and was on hold for so long the line just went dead. Maybe i should just go batteries and compressor to save the headache.


Chescold RC1180
CategoryPortable Fridges / Freezers
Price (RRP) $999
Type Dedicated Fridge + Freezer Combo
Manufacturer Warranty1 year(s)

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