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Dometic Waeco CoolPro

Dometic Waeco CoolPro

TC-14FL (14L), TC-21FL (20L) and TC-35FL (33L)
3.6 from 30 reviews

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


Seems reliable

Good value, I've been using non stop for 2 months now and works well. Doesn't cool as good as a fridge but you get what you pay for. Recommended product.

Purchased in January 2019.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance

Great "Dry Cooler"

Had the 14 tfl for about 10 years now. Running on 12v only, daily use in a delivery van.
Perfect fit in passenger's side footwell of a forward control vehicle. Fits perfect on floor of Camry & Corolla too! Position behind driver's seat for quick access to beers on a long trip. Just be wary of using lighter plug to power the unit when switching between vehicles if not using ice bricks to assist cooling. Increasing popularity of rear mounted lighter sockets in SUV's could be an issue. Refer to comments on this issue further down regarding alternative and safer power connection options. Controls are easy to use and self explanatory. Lifting handle is a great idea. Load the marge and dairy products in this during your lunchtime shop and margarine will not melt by the time you get home. You then disconnect from power and lift by the handle to take your shopping inside. If not taking the cooler inside nightly, remove the easily detatchable lid and allow cooler to dry. Won't smell if you follow this tip. Lid seals like a drum - suction and magnetic seal holds it down! Strong enough to make a handy seat for a trucky. Will not bend or distort.
Does draw a lot of current. Not a problem for couriers and truck drivers. If stopped for extended periods, switch to 3 - 4 LED's. Fans (and power) will now cycle between standby and low.
Will melt lighter plug. Mine did it and so did the driver's adjacent. He went and bought a Waeco fridge but that meant it will no longer fit in the front of the vehicle where it's easily accessible and takes up a larger amount of space in the cargo section of his Haiyundai. I just hardwired mine to some solid core household cabling running off the battery. No more issues!
Great dry cooler if you don't like sandwiches that have fallen into iced water for lunch.
Does build up a small amount of water in the bottom that must be dried daily. ( I have two ice bricks of frozen water bottles in there to assist cooling so I get condensation). Clean about once a year over the kitchen sink with nylon scourer and Jif.
My tip is to freeze two 'pump' bottles of water overnight in the freezer then transfer to the cooler at the start of the day. Place them in front of the circulation fan. Cooler will initially run on high then cut back to low after about 40 mins.
For truck drivers, buy the next size up.
Do not purchase for camping. Power draw will kill batteries. If you travel with one wet esky (drinks) and one dry esky (food) these are ideal. Set power to low or off if leaving vehicle for extended periods or wire through a relay triggered by accessories circuit.
Tip: install a digital voltmeter at the same time you fit the cooler, or at least have a plug-in voltmeter on the Waeco power lead if moving the cooler from car to car. Doesn't measure current draw but gives some idea of power consumption at various LED power settings.
A 5-10 watt solar panel that you can prop up on the dash plugged into a lighter socket that is permanently connected can also save you batteries if you need leave the car for extended periods.

Purchased in August 2009 at Supercheap Auto for $150.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance

Fair Performer

Some facts:
1. Unit has 2 Fans, a centrifugal fan facing the chest and a vane-axial fan vented to ambient. Both fans start up together. The centrifugal fan circulates the air in the chest over the heat exchanger fins to which the Peltier Device is attached. There is a thermal cutout on the Peltier device side which breaks the current to the device if there is an over temperature. A NTC thermistor is mounted between the heatsink and the vents of the frame to measure the chest air temperature. The vane-axial fan is mounted to removed heat from the heat exchanger on the other side of the Peltier device. So that is the air you feel coming from the vents at the front of the unit below the control panel. This fan basically stops once the set temperature is reached. You can hear it cycle during chest temperature maintenance.

2. AC/DC switching is done on a separately mounted power supply module and voltages are reworked to supply the integrated circuit card where 5V and 10V regulated supplies are maintained.
3. The internal electronics are of clean design with robust construction.

A. Minor Issues:
1. Physical pressure or leakage from chest contents could interfere with the chest temperature sensor as in is mounted on a plastic carrier which, with enough pressure can cause it to back out of the carrier and this could result in temperature control problems.

2. The lid of the unit needs to be firmly pressed down to click closed, otherwise the unit will not continue to heat or cool.

3. Switching between hot and cold modes with a low or high temperature already in the chest, may lead to a delayed operation.

4. The rate of temperature rise or fall is typically Peltier. So, the idea is to throw things that are already at the temperature you want and maintain that temperature rather than trying to heat things up or cool things down. If you are happy to wait a long time, the heating and cooling rate might be around 4 deg/hour.

5. Controls

The LED control has no units, but to give you an idea, 5 LED Dots on Cooling selector using the TEMP button gives about 6 degrees C on an empty chest on a 24 deg ambient day.

6. Heating

The chest can get quite hot on full heat and you have to watch your personal safety when you pick up containers of/or food. I think 65 degrees C is too hot, but if you want to keep it hot for a long trip or camp, be aware of the danger. Again, this unit will not heat up food quickly so hot food is maintained hot should be the trip philosophy.

7. Cooling

The chest can get quite cold but it is not a freezer. Put your cold things in to keep them cold. Frozen things will stay frozen longer but you cannot easily bring ambient temperature water to 2 or 3 degrees on high ambient temperatures quickly.

B. Overall

Well constructed and designed, requires a commonsense approach to expectations of performance.

Purchased in June 2018.

What a lemon.

Bought some time ago and it was kept in the box unopened until we needed it. Worked OK on 240V on trial and packed away. Used once on a road trip Brisbane-cairns where it lived on the back seat and used 12v DC. I would say it "cooled" things and never chilled. It never achieved the claims spruiked by Waeco/Dometic on the box. Went to use it on second trip and now does now cool or heat on either voltage. And of course out of warranty and try getting assistant from Waeco. I have been on hold for the service centre twice for a half hour. A very expensive single use esky! I will check Engell i think

Date PurchasedJan 2017

Useful and durable car cooler/warmer

These units live up to their specifications: they cool down to 20C-25C below ambient and heat to about 65C. It is best to set the unit running on AC to precool or preheat and fill with cooled or heated food or drinks, however, this is not really necessary.
Replacement of an AC socket was the only repair in over 10 years of regular use. The unit can be used as a supplementary fridge but the fan is somewhat noisy in quiet situations such as a motel room.

Date PurchasedNov 2008

Great little cooler

Dont buy it if you want a fridge, this is effectively an iceless esky. If you try to cool something down it will suck, it just doesnt produce a low enough temperature to get a differential and it will be going flat out for very little return...hence i suspect, the negative reviews.... the cooler is just there to evacuate the heat that makes its way past the insulation or comes in with warm air when you reach in for a drink.

if you use it to keep cold stuff cool, it's awesome. we load it full of cold items, and have it plugged in to only run when the car is on, cold drinks when we want them, refrigerated meat for weekend camping, no fear of flat batteries.

for longer trips back it up with a larger fridge or esky and keep that one shut to keep the heat out.

Date PurchasedOct 2017

Power hungry, poor performance

I already have a car fridge and thought this might be a useful midpoint unit for when I dont have an esky at hand.
However as a short term, short transit device it is useless. It takes many hours to get any useful temperature reduction and in that time draws a huge amount of power. If your vehicle is running no problem, but leave this on an haux battery and it will eat all the amps for breakfast and still nothing will be cold.
If you want useful cold that doesn't chew your battery, get a proper fridge unit.
This thing is just a wildly overpriced esky with a noisy fan that doesn't stop.

Date PurchasedDec 2017

its only a cooler! definitely not a fridge

I bought one of these hoping it would provide the functionality of a Waeco fridge. I WAS WRONG. the unit couldnt keep things cool enough - the unit was power hungry and the fan noisy - and it just didnt cool very well.
these units use a device called a Peltier device - which is an amazing bit of technology, but it just doesnt provide sufficienct cooling compared to a real fridge that uses a compressor. Take it from me - if you need a Waeco fridge - buy a proper Waeco fridge - this unit will not do the job of a fridge.

Date PurchasedAug 2015

Chapter 4 .

The 12 volt fault was traced to a poor fuse connection through the plug. A new 240 volt circuit board was supplied under warranty by Waeco. It is now working on both voltages like it should, running on 4 out of 7 lights with cabinet temperatures ranging from 1.8c to 4.0c in room temperatures in the range of 16c to 24c.

Date PurchasedDec 2011

Great little cooler

I bought this cooler for my ute as I do a lot of travelling & love having a cold drink (& not paying $5 for a bottle of water on the Nullabor).
I have it running off my second battery & has been on since Sept 16. It keeps my drinks & food cooler than I expected even on 40 degree days it keeps everything chilly.
The only issue I've had with mine was the internal fan was making a clicking noise & it was due to a bit of ice (lowered the temp & it thawed) so note, don't have it on the highest setting for 7 months straight.

Date PurchasedSep 2016

not a good camping fridge on 12Volt but makes a good house drink fridge

My TC35FL cooler runs very poorly on 12volt battery - not really cold enough to put perishable food in but it will keep water cool. I found it totally useless on hot days where temp gets up into 30's. I had it out of car and kept it in the shade with a heavy duty cardboard box draped over the top to help insulate it At home it ran pretty good on mains power and did keep my drinks nice and cold. Pretty disappointed in its efficiency as its supposed to be a camping fridge which you run from cigarette lighter. One thought i had on this is perhaps you need keep a 2lt bottle of frozen water in it and to keep it in the car on a very short lead as i believe the longer the lead the more power is lost.???

Date PurchasedOct 2015

power pig!

This is a cooler, not a fridge. I plug it into the 240 mains the night before to use it the next day, cause it takes forever to cool. Worst thing about this product though is, its power draw. Its horrendous. don't think u can use it on trips away for a few days to a week, it will drain your battery in double quick time.
It has its place though, a cooler for a day or two for trips to beach or overnight or something. But don't go remote, or for long trips, no battery could feed it for long.
So in summary; needs pre-cooling, massive power draw, will only cool but has its limits based on ambient temperature. May suit some people, but if u want a fridge, don't think this is a cheap alternative - its not. Its totally different to a waeco cfx fridge or similar.

Date PurchasedJul 2012

Wprks great.

Keeps drinks nice and cool. Sits in the truck with me and cant complain. Kept my drinks cold today (was 39 degrees)
Fites 6 water bottles and ny sangas nice and cool. Will recomend to all our friends. The boss is even buying some for the other trucks in the fleet.

Date PurchasedJan 2017

Great little unit should have bought one sooner

Works great icey cold drinks when you need them couldn't do without it now sits on truck seat beside me forever ready cool suggested to friends and family to buy one nice and easy to handle and light too which helps in the truck even my sandwiches stay nice and cool on a hot day bonus.

Date PurchasedOct 2016

Great little cooler for the cost

I have had the 14l in my truck for 3 years getting bashed around and beaten. Works great for keeping lunch and drinks cool. I think People expect too pay $200 for a cooler and want it too do the same job as a $1200 Engel. It's light weight, easy too carry and better than an esky with an iceblock

Better than expected

Temperature sits near 3 Celcius and large enough for a few drinks and containers of food. Light enough to lift easily into back of my 4x4. Can't fault this little TC-14FL, price was very good from BCF. Great on 240V excellent on 12V, big enough to hold a couple of longer bottles if needed.


Excellent Cooler

I purchased this unit as a cooler for a 4wd. It performs admirably it is light enough to be lifted easily and will hold 4 bottles of water and 2 sandwiches and 2 apples easily. The temperature is down to about 3 degrees on a 34 degree day. It is quiet and I cant fault it in any way.


Used for six years non stop.

Despite what the stories say I have had it to minus one degree celsius. I regularly open the end cover to clean out fluff that accumulates on the cooling fins. It makes a big difference. Fan motors sometimes get noisy, then suddenly quiet again. 240 volt power board failed years ago, so I run it through a 12 volt power supply.

1 comment
Yesterday, running on 7 lights, the internal temperature was MINUS 2 degrees on a 23 degree day. I do not need to have it that cold. Switched to 5 lights and is now plus 2.7 degrees in a 17 degree day. Love this unit!

Better than expected

Bought Waeco Cool Pro 14 litre and lent it to my truck driver son while his truck fridge was being repaid. He said apart from size was it was as good as his truck fridge/freezer. Kept drinks and food at a good temperature. Doesn't use much batter to keep it running.


Big Lemon

Bought 21/02/2015. Used once, fishing out of Port Lincoln for 4 days, temp 18 to 20 degrees. Result, a box of rotten fish. What attracted me to the "cooler" was the notes on the box, from "0" degrees. I doubt that this would get anywhere near zero.
I sent it back in October to have it checked. I would have sent it back earlier except my friend, who I left the fish with, did not inform me of the state of the fish until October. Result working ok. I explained that this would not suit the purpose I bought it for to no avail.
Told to use ice packs. It now turns out to be a very expensive esky, which I could have bought at Bunnings for less than $90.00.
NOT HAPPY.


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Questions & Answers

Hi there. Can you please tell me if the internal fan runs constantly with the external fan. Ive got my cooler hooked up to 240volt and the external fan is going but getting nothing from the internal one. Thanks
2 answers
It's supposed to. Internal power supply has two low voltage components I believe. 1 x 5v & 1 x 10. Or something in that range. How those fans are connected up to those power supplies I do not know. Maybe a case of no power to one of the fans or a seized fan. If it's just a fan I used to salvage one of similar voltage from an old computer and screw them into place. These days it's even easier. You just look up the dimensions of the fan on mebay or amazon and source one with the appropriate voltage. All this is presuming you're Peltier unit is still operational....Thanks mate. I have been down and purchased a new internal fan and hooked it up with no joy. Will keep looking.

Can I use my thermoelectric cooler lying on its side?
2 answers
Claudia As the cooling system is mainly solid state electronics with a cooling fan on a heat sink I imagine that it should be ok. It should be like operating a notebook pc on its side.Shouldn't make a scrap of difference, other than thermal leakage as cold air which will flow downhill, leaks out the lid seals. Unlike conventional fridges, there are no moving parts other than fans so issues such as hydraulic lock, caused by lubrication oil getting past compressors when you tip fridges on their side, is not a problem.

The fan runs on my unit and its been plugged in for hours but not cooling down at all.
1 answer
Put an ammeter on it and measure the current in the 10 amp range. Might have to go to an auto electrician to do this as a hobby type ammeter will probably deliver an 'out of range error' if it's working properly. If, however, your $10 multimeter indicates a current draw is minimal, like 600ma or something in the range of what a larger brushless computer fan would draw, then the Peltier device won't be working. If that's the case it will be a 'pull it apart' scenario to see if perhaps a wire has fused a connection.

Details

Waeco CoolPro TC-14FL (14L)Waeco CoolPro TC-21FL (20L)Waeco CoolPro TC-35FL (33L)
Capacity14L21L35L
Height328mm420mm460mm
Price (RRP) $229$299$399
Width303mm303mm376mm
Depth450mm450mm550mm
Weight5kg6kg10kg

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