camper trailers tech tips

Rob & Carol's Repco 3way fridge





The AC-DC Pro 35 litre fridge from Repco

We started looking for a replacement for our 23 year old Finch 3way fridge when it wasn't working the way it should. Isn't it funny how things break when they are just out of warranty. A 3way fridge might not be everyones cup of tea, but it does suit our style of camping. We have a very low 12 volt requirement with a basic setup in the Patrol of an ARB solenoid operated dual battery system which mostly only runs a couple of fluro lights at night. We like the freedom of not have to rely on 12 volt.

      We eventually opted for the 3way fridge from Repco, AC-AD Pro XC-35L, for $377 as we just couldn't afford a more popular brand at $700 plus. We had a good look over Robert Martin's Repco fridge at the groups Shallow Crossing meet. I asked Robert to write an article on his fridge for the tech tips page  He looks at another couple of brands with similar prices coming from China also. This article is intended to complement Robert's. A couple of members have had trouble with these cheaper brand fridges cooling efficiently & have taken them back to Repco with no questions asked.    

      Don't expect miracles when it comes to the cooling efficiency with a 3way fridge, they do not compare to that of the 2way fridge/freezer. Also don't expect to throw a heap of food or beer in at room temperature into these fridges because it will take a long time for those items to get cold. What we have found over the years is if you replace an item as it is used ie finish a carton of longlife milk, you then throw another in so it will be cold when you want it next time.


opening the box

      On opening the box you will find a gas regulator & hose, a 12 volt lead with cigarette lighter plug, a ice tray & a two ended spanner. The 240 volt 3pin lead is permanently attached to the fridge with hooks on the back to wind it around. The fridge is made from plastic, has a fresh modern look about it, with no sharp corners.


240 volt

      The fridge works well on 240 volt. Of course it is best to run the fridge on 240 a couple of days before going away for the weekend to cool everything down. When plugged into 240 volt a red light comes on next to the control panel to let you know it is on. On opening the panels lid there is a nob to control the temperature of the fridge while on 240.

      What the stats which came with the fridge say............................


240 volt/90 watt/0.375Amps

external temperature 32 degrees celsius

hours after start up internal temperature
1 13 degrees celsius
2 10  degrees celsius
3 9.5  degrees celsius
4 9  degrees celsius
running temperature 4.5  degrees celsius


12 volt

      I have only run the fridge on 12 volt power for one day while travelling with it in rear of the Patrol, however it does seem to work well partly due to the inbuilt fan in the back of it to help dissipate the heat.

      Written material that came with the fridge says it will run at 4.5 degrees on 12 volt, the same as 240 volt. 

      These types of fridges are renowned to be inefficient when it comes to running them on 12volt. They draw a large current which will quickly flatten your battery when parked. However the Repco fridge does come with a 'turbo' fan. This is a small fan that takes the hot air away from around the back of the fridge to provide efficiency.

      I like the fact the 12 volt plugs end can be removed so the plug can also be fitted to the more popular & positive fitting Narva type sockets despite. We have had the 12 volt cigarette lighter plug slightly melt due to the fact my wiring is too small for the load placed on it.

      The correct size 12volt cable that feeds the fridge from the battery is also an important factor. Plenty is written in the groups archives on this, however check Collyn's page at The 12volt lead is fairly long itself at 2.5 metres. You could have it on the back seat & plug it into the cigarette lighter. If you have a 12volt outlet in the rear of your vehicle you could cut this lead in half. This would help with the efficiency. They run well on gas & 240volt. When going away for the weekend we usually run it on 240volt for a day or two before throwing it in the back of the vehicle. Most times it is only a 2 hour or so run to where we are camping so we do not bother plugging the fridge into 12volt.

      What the stats which came with the fridge say............................


12 volt/90 watt/7.5Amps

external temperature 32 degrees celsius

hours after start up internal temperature
1 16.5  degrees celsius
2 11  degrees celsius
3 10  degrees celsius
4 9  degrees celsius
running temperature 4.5  degrees celsius



      The fridge works extremely well on gas. Once lit it runs flat out without any regulation of the flame. I can't see this a problem though as material with the fridge say the lowest temperature on gas is 2.5 so everything is not going to freeze into a solid mass.

      Seems to be a little trick to lighting the gas. After clicking the piezo lighter you need hold the knob down for a short period of time to let the flame catch, watching the 'intelligent gas operation gauge'. When it moves into the green zone release the knob & move it anti-clockwise. I was releasing the knob too early & the flame going out before it got a hold. I suppose its better if you do read the instructions before using it.

      Once the gas is lit the flame cannot be adjusted, however I do not see this as a negative thing to using the fridge.

      There is a handy 'intelligent gas operation gauge' next to the control panel that lets you know if the flame is working or not. On our previous 3way fridge I had a small convex $2 mirror from Super Cheap that I could hold at the back to view the flame. Another way is to hold your hand over the flue to feel for heat.

      I also like the inbuilt bubble level next to the control panel. It is best to keep the fridge in the shade & not exposed to directly to the sun.

      What the stats which came with the fridge say............................ 


Gas/LPG 2.75 KPa/consumption 0.60MJ/h

external temperature 32 degrees celsius

hours after start up internal temperature
1 11  degrees celsius
2 8.6  degrees celsius
3 5.5  degrees celsius
4 4.6  degrees celsius
running temperature 2.5  degrees celsius



      The spanner which came with the fridge is a very poor fit on both the nut which attaches the hose to the fridge & also the regulator to the bottle. If you wish to use it, it needs a hit with the hammer to close the gape slightly. Alternately use a shifting spanner like I do.

      I found the thread on the regulator not a good fit to the bottle either. It was slightly tight all the way down. I have used my old regulator & will keep the new one which came with the fridge in my spares locker for emergency use.

      We have only used the fridge on 12 volt once & the end of the cigarette lighter plug was slightly melted. I will be shorten the 2.5 metre 12 volt lead & fitting a decent plug. The plug from our 23 year old Finch is still in good condition. 

      I do not know how 'attached' the tie down points are which are screwed onto the side of the fridge. I do not know if there is a plate behind the tie downs or whether they are just screwed into the plastic body of the fridge? If I am going to use these tie downs I will be adding a plate behind & screw the tie down into it for added strength.


      Overall the fridge is good value for money & does keep food cold in the 30 degree heat we camped in. Remember this is not a freezer. The features we do like about the Repco fridge are
  • inbuilt bubble level 

  • inbuilt flame condition needle

  • cigarette lighter end slips off to fit Narva type sockets despite it melting on our first use. 

  • piezo lighter

  • gas hose & regulator

  • 12 volt fan

  • LED AC & DC indicator lights

  • tie down lugs




 the Repco fridge & accessories spanner supplied recessed carry handles & tie down

a look inside a look behind control panel
cigarette plug removable cap melted plug



 by Rob