Is a great unit and works well
I have had my unit for nearly 15 years now. It gets used every now and then and then gets put away for a few years and then back out again when camping. Got it out again after 4 years, tipped it upside down for 1/2 and hour to remix the liquids and then light it on gas, still works a treat. My beers are cold and the campfire hot, it's a great unit.
What a shocker!
I hate to admit it but this was a terrible purchase. The safety cut out thermostat failed the first time out. It then has had every other failing mentioned by everyone here and now it's packed up again an just doesn't cool (kinda important when you are in the bush, days from anywhere).
I now realise it was probably because I didn't turn it upside, while standing on one leg, touching my nose with my elbow and trying to get the sun to align with Jupiter!!!!
Gas is a fail
I owned this fridge for several years, most of that time it sat in the shed. For the last 5 months I've used it nearly continuously.
1. The gas is impossible to light. I cut a hole in the back panel to use a match or lighter.
2. The flame will extinguish in the slightest breeze. I did an experiment and just breathed on the exhaust vent at the top and the flame went out. Considering it's meant to be used in a ventilated area on gas, this isn't a great feature.
3. Now it stops running every week or so, I think I've got ammonia crystals starti...
Its a cooler, not a fridge or freezer!
These fridges work better on gas but they MUST BE ON LEVEL GROUND , we have owned one for 8yrs and about 30 camping trips, before starting, tip the unit upside down for a few minutes to let the refrigerant circulate, keeping it in the shade also helps, will chill down to about 04 deg and the more you open it the harder it has to work, 9kg bottle will last about 30 days, another tip is to put a frozen 1.125 bottle of water in the bottom to help get things chilled quicker. To check if its running just hold your hand over the exhaust vent on the ...top left corner every once in a while. We also run a Dometic RC1180 80ltr gas 3 way fridge/freezer- best ever purchase and super reliable and rugged - much better than any 2 way fridge that relies on 12v or 240v power supply and much cheaper.
Waeco fridge, no more ice.
Updated 14 July 2018
2 years and our fridge is still going strong.
We use it very regularly for camping on gas, 12v and 240 at home/parks.
It works best under 25 degrees as the manual states as its an absorption fridge, meaning it cools down 25 degrees from the ambient temp so if you spend all your time inland or in very hot locations in summer instead of the cooler areas like coastal areas then it my not keep your goods under 4 at times.
The ONLY time it didn't perform as well for us was in 40 degree temps at Christmas, BUT it did do the ...
I bought this unit, and as per all the other comments, bloody useless. Had to cut a hole to see if flame is lit. Third time using it, it has refused to start on gas, so much that I in disgust tore the gas tap out. DO NOT BUY. Get a companion instead. I have several 12v fridges and this was the only gas unit. I hate it.
Perfect Top load fridge for Softdrink/ Wine and Stubbies
We needed a top mount fridge at home in our entertaining area so a few years back now when I came across the CA-35. I built the unit it in (Merbu Frame enclosure) across from our Weber at waste height so we/guests could easily drop in a bottle of wine or softdrink. Absolutely love it and has never missed a beat on 240V. Cheers Waeco
CA35 Waeco Not what I expected
Not happy with this unit at all
Bought it to run on gas
Well that didn't work
I have had it on gas at home
With pilot light lit
And no temperature change at all
It stayed warm, very disappointed
I do not recommend this fridge for free camping at all
Only use on powered sites
waeco CA35 6 years use
Using for 4 months each of 6 years: worked excellently on gas, 240v worked well for 4 years, 12v melted the plug after 3 years and only cools a bit.
Add a level bubble, better handles, a thermometer, heavier cable and switch for 12 v and hole for barbecue starter and it is a good unit.
Field test of absorption cooler
Have used this twice, once for 500kms 12v & 3 days on powered site (240v) and more recently for 10 days 4WD with circa 2,000kms on 12v, 2 nights on 240v and the rest of the time (7 nights) on gas. Max daytime temp was up to 33 to 35 celsius on first trip, and 30 celsius on 4wd 10 days trip.
Agree with other reviews on other sites: 12v cools but does not chill, make sure you have used 240v or gas to prior chill all food & freeze some food for bottom of chiller - then OK for long road trip. 240v is excellent and will almost freeze the food. Ga...s on max cooling temp. will almost freeze some food. This product works far better than expected - after 10 days away I was able to return unused food to the fridge at home in perfect condition. The issue I have found is that it is difficult to light the gas pilot light in daylight, when the fridge is is not cold. If the fridge has been running, easy to light - but if it has been standing and the rear fins are not warm - harder to light. The pilot light is very hard to see and it is not easy to work out how to light it. Solution as per prior web review: I drilled a hole through the rear panel (aluminium) and can now see the pilot light in daylight, plus I can now use a BBQ Gas lighter - I can now light the pilot light easily. In my opinion, a great alternative to a more expensive compressor fridge albeit with the above pilot light hole modification.
Yes it is tricky at times to fire up as long as it's level .... but otherwise when lit runs like a trooper and it's always been good , works great on gas , works good on 240v and works good enuf to keep things cold while on the road to where ya going ....
Flame is hard to see when your not used to it ....with a lot of use , you soon learn
Not the best
It has a major design flaw in that you can't tell whether it is going or not. So you have to wait half an hour to see if its getting cold. The work around for that is to drill a 8-10mm hole in the back so you can see the flame. This is tricky to do as you can't tell where the flame would be exactly. It's also very tricky to see the flame if you have it in an allocated space like we do on our boat. I bought a mechanics mirror , picture a stethoscope on an extendable pole. Even then it's hard to see if it's lit. I bought a Companion 3 way ...30 years back that had a sliding peek hole - so they knew about the issue then. Seems technology has gone backwards? Also now the fridge isn't performing well on gas. Waeco said they will look at it but my boats in hervey Bay so have to bring it down. Major pain. I'm going to try tipping it upside down for a few minutes. Nice clean look
Not a good buy
I have attempted to use this cooler numerous times whilst camping as I didn't want to admit how bad a decision I had made buying the product. Out of the 8 to 10 days I have attempted to use the cooler only once did it actually remain cool for a day. Others comments about the pilot light not being visible are correct. On 12V and 240V the ice bag I added thawed quicker than it did in normal cheap esky.
Sorry WAECO but for all the good products you have produced this one is a total FAiL
Does not cool or retain temperature
No better than an Esky
It so rarely works as advertised that I normally purchase ice and use it as an esky. A few degrees off horizontal and it does not work at all. I have purchased spirit levels and it does not help. I feel ripped off by my purchase and I cannot recommend this product.
Rarely works either with LPG or 240 volt electric. I purchase ice and use it as an esky.
Can not see pilot light
You cannot see the pilot light when using gas. When I did find it. It didn't stay a light so I had fiddle for half the day to get it to stay alight . Also your place to light with a match can plastic can and did catch alight trying to light the pilot light. Once alight it works really well but I think a re think on seeing pilot light is something that can be worked on. I had to take back off to get mine working lucky this was at home as if I was camping this happened I would be rope able.
It got cold quick and very good use I have not used it by other means yet as I need it in a area with no power. Thanks.
Pilot light needs a rethink
Great 3 way
good 3 way fridge works great on lpg , easy to light gas with piezo ignition , works a treat in my landcruiser while on the move keeps every thing cold even in 40 + degrees, the lid hinges are good quality the lid also seals quite well and has magnets to keep it closed.
Reliable and quiet, runs for nearly a month on a 9kg lpg cylinder, robust construction
Not supplied with a gas hose and regulator
Questions & Answers
Mine has been doing great for the last year on gas ... now i can feel the heat from vent (so it is alight) but its not cooling at all .... is on level ground. New gas bottle just hooked up - any suggestions please? Thanx - ALL SORTED! Turned upside down for 30min & now working!! Yeeha! :)
What your experiencing appears to be a very common and frustrating problem with these fridges to the point i ditched gas and went the full 12 volt system, much more reliable, the problem you have is more than likely an air pocket in the gas supply pipe work within your fridge itself or a faulty thermostat, with the fridge disconnected from all operating sources tip it completely upside down for at least 30min to move any air pockets (you will hear the liquid gas moving) then turn it upright and reconnect the gas supply, turn on and run, if this fails then i would have the thermostat checked out, these fridges must also be on dead level ground to operate efficiently or at all so use a spirit level.
I have a Waeco CA-35 3 way absorption cooler. I just bought it off a mate who has had it from brand new, never used, and still in the box.( had it for about 4 years) I decided to plug it in to 240 v and give it a try. It just doesn't work. I checked the power source in the wall socket (all good).
There doesn't seem to be a light , or anything to tell you it going. You can't even hear a hum with your ear glued to the unit. I found "how to check the fuse" in you tube, but that must be a later model, because I can't find any sign of a fuse anywhere. Haven't been able to check the 12 volt or Gas system yet, so that might be another problem.
The only way you can tell if it’s working is if the little exhaust outlet gets a little warm after some time. This system is completely silent.
Give it time.
If it heats up, but doesn’t cool down inside then look at other questions about that problem whereby you need to turn the thing upside down for a while.
If it doesn’t get warm, then you have an electrical problem.
My experience with the Waeco CA-35 3 way coolers i found them to be very temperamental and unreliable when you need them most, i would first try tipping the fridge upside down for at least 30 minutes (unplugged), if there is still refrigerant in the pipes you will hear the air bubbles moving, tip it back upright and plug into mains power on full thermostat, it will take an hour or two to chill if its working, hold your hand over the vent to feel for any heat, if this fails check for insect webs in and around the pilot light area, again if this fails it could only really be a faulty thermostat, i hope this helps your enquiry.
Thank you Shane and Garry. I was very surprised to get a response at all. Thanks for taking the time. I had read about the turning it upside down for a while, in this forum, so I've yet to try that. Interestingly, Shane, the top vent area did feel a little warm, but as there was no cooling taking place, I thought I might be imagining it, and thanks also for the info that it is a very silent unit.
Maybe I was expecting too much from it too soon. I will go into the garage and upend it now for an hour or so and then power it up before I go to bed. Hopefully it will be cold in the morning.
Thanks fellers for your help. I will report back to let you know how I got on.
P.S. In the event that it IS a thermostat or gas problem, where would the best place be to take it to get fixed. I live in Brisbane.
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