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REVIEW: Portable Refrigerator Resfri AR 18L DIGITAL – 12V / 24V

After the success of the Review of the Resfri Ar 31L refrigerator at MaCamp, the manufacturer made a point of sending us its 18L model. The smaller sister can cause a shallow comparison with the larger model by the proportion between external volume and weight about the internal capacity, which does not let you be accurate, but the real dimensions that occupy the trunk and its well-designed interior space in the doubly surprised, first when you see it live and then when you put it to use daily and when travelling. In this 2020 the model comes with a novelty: Now the RESFRI AR 18L model comes with DIGITAL control panel. Let’s go to the tests?

As we know, the movements of camping and off-road grow too much, and the refrigerator that works both in the car and in the socket is very sought after for these practitioners and families that seek more comfort in the displacements. Although it works basically on 12V batteries (cars and trucks) and 24V (trucks and buses), the refrigerator can be served by the 110V / 220V source sold separately by RESFRI AR itself and operate on four voltages. This gives you the option to connect it to the vehicle and have the facility to connect both at home and the camping served by electric light.

COMPRESSOR: Short and Thick! Refrigerator for the tropical country has to be the compressor. “Peltier” technologies, whose products are commonly called “thermoelectric coolers” do not do the job. They cool the interior, do not make ice and take a long time to lower the internal temperature. Drinks like beers and soft drinks are impossible to refrigerate. The compressor system is efficient even in the most critical situations. It makes ice. The RESFRI AR is equipped with quiet compressor and can be set in the freezer or refrigerator function through the digital adjustment panel ranging from + 10ºC to -17ºC with the voltage control in two schedules to protect the battery charge for car starting.

compressor versus peltier

“FRIDGE” CAMPING: There is nothing better than camping with a 12V electric refrigerator. In the car, 12V battery power is used, which does not discharge while the engine is running and without the use of an inverter, offers significant autonomy when the car is off. In the camping, you can make use of the local electric energy (using a specific adapter), without worrying about the voltage or voltage drop. At home, you can leave the refrigerator on during the week before departure with the supplies and also leave everything on and cooling in the trunk overnight.

REVIEW: It is always a great pleasure when companies that understand and recognize the importance of camp in the scenario of promoting Camping in Brazil send their products to be tested and disseminated in the most extensive channel and reference. Especially in the case of refrigerators, we have a complete range to try it, since we make continuous use of them at home and in the car, in addition to taking on tours and in the camps that we carry out in a tent, roof tent and also a trailer.

DELIVERY / POSTING: This time, the product was not “shipped” to our headquarters. It was delivered “by hand” directly from the owner of Resfri Ar at the motorhome fair. Closed and sealed from the box, it was only opened “at home” at the end of the trip to enjoy the “unboxing” moment.

UNBOXING: Packed in a cardboard box and wrapped in a plastic bag and punctual Styrofoam protections, it has the printed refrigerator wrapper with photo and functions. In addition to the device itself, it comes with the instruction manual, 12VdC cable with lighter plug and specific connector and a gift kit with a glass and cutlery from the brand.

POWER CABLE: The cable is 1.8m long and has a 12V “cigarette lighter” Plug to be connected to the car. There is a fuse in the Plug as commonly happens, in addition to the fuse in the refrigerator panel to increase the level of protection. The Plug is manufactured in BAKELITE that does not catch fire and does not melt at high temperatures; it offers excellent electrical insulation. At the other end is the brand-specific 12V connector that has a threaded system (not to be loosened) and protection against polarity inversion. (Although the refrigerator has protection to avoid burning in case of polarity inversion, it would not work if there was this confusion).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: When we first reviewed the Resfri Ar brand, we were given the power to choose between the two models. We chose the larger model, as we imagined that the 18L would have, even if smaller, a massive dimension for an internal capacity of almost half. None of this is wrong, since due to the compressor, the external volume of the equipment does not follow the same proportion as the lithium. However, even so, the outer dimensions of the 18L end up being very advantageous when placing it both in the trunk and inside the car (in the seat, on the passenger floor or even on the floor of the rear cabin when there is adequate space) in the vehicle. On the other hand, the interior is also very pleasing due to the internal architecture merging the two internal technical areas (chilled and cooled) with the hollow partition that allows for various positions and interior arrangements. The weight was not so pleasant, as the compressor makes the equipment heavy even when empty, but this is a fact of life in “engine” refrigerators. As we do not use it to carry in our hands all the time, the advantage of efficient cooling outweighs the product’s weight factor.

INTERNAL COMPARTMENT: The internal configuration of the 18L model is what pleases the most. the internal divisions of the cold/frozen and cooled environment merge into a very harmonic and physically intelligent solution. The frozen or frozen sector is all over the top at the edges. There, you must sometimes be careful when touching fruits and vegetables, as they can “burn” with the ice. In the lowest part, in the pit that is next to the compressor compartment is the “cooled” part of the refrigerator. This by the law of physics, despite not freezing, receives all the cold air that descends naturally. This compartment also allows larger bottles and long objects to be frozen.

Another extremely useful and pleasant accessory is the hollow internal partition. It allows to be placed in 3 different positions for an internal configuration suitable for each type of use. It is worth mentioning that it also comes out for cleaning or user option.

Position 1: It can serve as a separator of the freezing / refrigerator environments and the cooled area. In this way, you can put vegetables, fruits and vegetables there without being crushed by the objects in the upper area and on top, you can fill, for example, cans of drinks.

Position 2: In the vertical position, being fixed on the side locks, it separates the internal environment at two heights. In this way it is possible to separate the smaller objects from the bottles, observing a much safer internal organization. We cannot forget that the refrigerator was made to be in motion and if everything is loose inside, it will certainly be a mess.

Position 3: If neither of the two internal divisions are of your taste at the moment, just leave the divider collected on the “floor” of the highest area and make use of the entire inner container of Resfri Ar 18L.

COVER: The cover is another very facilitating factor for use mainly in the car. With its opening in the longitudinal direction, it does not need as much headroom for the complete space. This facilitates your “end of course” in which you keep the lid open without having to hold it while accommodating things inside. If necessary, especially when cleaning, the cover is easily detachable at an intermediate point in the opening stroke. Its locking system is straightforward and functional. Just pull in the same direction as the lid opening to unlock. When closing, press the lid in the order of closing so that the lid locks again avoiding opening on the way.

Using Open: In an atypical situation, we took advantage of the format and characteristic of the model to keep a 5 Liter can of Beer cold. Even when open, the freezing walls of the refrigerator were able to keep the container ultra-cold as required by the Brazilian taste in this regard. So you could have a cold beer for hours.

HANDLE: Retractable and easy to handle, just pull up and load the refrigerator. When you release it, it settles in its resting place without disturbing anything. Whether at the time of cleaning or in any other situation that its removal is necessary, without problems. Just hit the correct position in the middle of the turning stroke and pull it out. In our tests, we even suspected their resistance when we filled the refrigerator with beers and it became heavy. Fully approved, the handle has grooves in its plastic designed and injected by RESFRI AR itself.

THE DIGITAL CONTROL PANEL: The RESFRI AR 18L panel concentrates all visual and adjustment functions on display. The four buttons are sufficient for several positions. To turn ON or OFF keep the “on / off” button pressed for a few seconds. To ADJUST the desired TEMPERATURE, just quickly press the “+” and “-“buttons. The display will flash and show the desired temperature. To ADJUST THE LIGHT INTENSITY of the display, just quickly press the “on / off” button, alternating the three settings (weak, medium and healthy). To adjust the BATTERY PROTECTION LEVEL, just quickly press the “high / low” button alternating between low protection (new stationery or vehicle batteries) and high protection (vehicle batteries). This level of protection causes the refrigerator to be turned off when the battery reaches low voltage levels to prevent it from spoiling due to excess discharge or preserving enough charge to start the engine. HIDDEN FUNCTIONS: To SHOW REAL TEMPERATURE INSIDE THE REFRIGERATOR, just press and hold the “minus” key and then the “plus” key (without releasing the other). To SHOW the SUPPLY VOLTAGE that arrives in the refrigerator, just press and hold the “plus” and “minus” keys for a few seconds.

DIFFERENT FUSE: Unlike the older model and the vast majority of 12V vehicle devices on the market, the Refrigerator Air 18L Resfri has a fuse equal to those used in the car. This makes life easier, as it can be found for purchase more easily, in addition to the fact that most vehicles have some spare parts in the fuse box that can be used in the refrigerator. In addition, the vehicle fuse is easier to remove and replace, and it is possible to check its condition without having to remove it.

USE in Function of Portable Refrigerator: There is nothing more practical than using the portable 18L. It is small, versatile and fits in many corners. Even to “live” in the trunk, it is applicable. We made use of camps where we prepared days before and already working with the food we would take, having your last night already in the car. When we arrive at the camp, it is also great, because we don’t have to rush to pass everything to the refrigerator at home. We just got out of the car and plugged in to calmly make the transfer and clean up after doing everything else. At the camping, it is plugged into the outlet through the source, and when the light ends, we still have good hours of the car battery to keep it cool. The fact that she lives in our car also gives us comfort when we want to take something to eat or else when we decide to buy something cold without being in a hurry to get home. Since there is the constant use of cold medicine, we don’t even need to say when the refrigerator helps us. At barbecues, we take our contribution of ultra-cold beers already in the fridge that continues to cool the cans during the “party” and also those that reach other people’s hands. On these occasions, the refrigerator is a huge success.

USE in FREEZER function: We used the appliance for a few weeks in the “freezer” function. We regulate the minimum temperature of -17º and pack the food to be kept frozen. They were meats, butters and some frozen vegetables. The 18L performs this function with mastery and the frequency of shutdown of the compressor shows that it is in a very cool relation of dimensioning of the motor in front of the internal space and the thermal insulation.

IN THE CAR: The 18L is just perfect for use in the car. Its small dimensions make it fit in corners accommodated both in the trunk, on a bench or floors. The opening in the longitudinal direction makes the arch small, allowing easy access to the interior even when the lid cannot be opened fully. Internally the 18L are very well used. It fits a lot. Suitable for picnics, longer trips, camping and even for a market day or when you buy something that needs refrigeration on the way. There were many occasions when we felt the advantage of having a refrigerator even when it was switched off “living” there in the car. Meats, cold cuts or sausages in the middle of that rural walk were bought without guilt or fear that they would be spoiled by the fact that they had to stay in the car until night. When shopping, don’t rush. We put the “ice creams” at Resfri Ar.

NOISE: The refrigerator was very quiet. Evidently you hear the engine noise, but even more from the fan air than from the compressor itself. Whether inside the car or even at home the noise doesn’t really bother you. The question passed the test when we camped with her inside the tent. Sleep was neither interrupted nor disturbed.

VENTILATION GRATES: It is worth mentioning that the air intake and outlet grilles must never be blocked, since besides being able to cause the system to burn, it will cause the refrigerator to consume much more energy to work.

AC 220V / 110V SOURCE: The fact that the 18L is not “quadrivolt” does not exclude the possibility of being used in the 110V / 220V network. Any suitable source or even the source of Resfri Ar that can be purchased separately allows you to use the refrigerator indoors, in the garage, on the barbecue and even plugged into the camping outlet inside or outside the tent. The Original of the brand has the identical design and operation of a notebook font and already comes with the standard and threadable plug. Do not forget and do not need ventilation being completely closed.

CONCLUSION: The younger sister of the RESFRI AR family surprised her. The size, the internal compartments and the practicality and versatility of mobile use. She serves us at home, on trips, on camping trips, on walks, on barbecues and now lives in our trunk. There were very few times that we passed it over to the 31L that we also own (and we make continuous use at home as a freezer). The proportionality of weight and price should never be confused at the expense of the same proportionality in its size. It makes the difference, allied to the sense of opening the door and other features already mentioned.

CAPACITY WITH DRINK CANS: There could be no mention of this. In the photo below, we unload two boxes totaling 24 cans of 350ml of beer. They all fit and there was still room for two more and one more gap for some complement.

CAUTION / WARNING: It is important to highlight here some precautions that must be taken when cleaning and turning the refrigerator upside down. In order not to go into minute details, we quote here the link of a report we made about it. In short, it should be avoided completely turning it over and, if it occurs, respect the “rest” time before restarting the device. On the road and off road don’t worry. It was made to withstand the bumps.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Storage Volume 18 litres; Voltage (V) 12/24 V DC

Temperature Range From + 10 ° C to -17 ° C; Power (W) Approx. 41w; Current (A) 12V = 3.4 ± 0.5 A / h; 24V = 1.7 ± 0.5 A / h; Dimensions (H x W x D) 405 x 452 x 297 mm; Special Functions Adjustable battery protection system (High or Low); UL Certifications – Inmetro; IPX4 protection – Electrical system with insulation against water ingress; Weight (approx.) 13 Kg; Refrigerant and Quantity R134a; 38g; Polyurethane Foam (PU) insulation; System Automatic protection against polarity reversal; Analog thermostat with temperature regulation; Battery discharge protection system; Hermetic compressor with attached electronic unit; Color Light gray / Dark gray; More info Digital controller with 3 brightness options; Transport handle attached to the refrigerator itself; Room separator grid, which can be vertical,

PRICE: At the time of this review, the 18L refrigerators varied on the INTERNET from R $ 1,839.99 and 2,222.10 + shipping, many of which are still in the analogue version. The source varied from R $ 288.00 to R $ 388.50, with some options of purchase with better value. NOTE: This model does not exist in the “quadrivolt” version of 18L, so when it is so defined, it will accompany the external Ac source.

WHERE TO BUY: There are thousands of physical retail outlets in Brazil, and on the RESFRI AR SITE it is possible to search according to the location. It is also possible to buy over the INTERNET.

REVIEW – PRODUCT: This equipment was sent by RESFRI AR, which relied on MaCamp’s know-how to test its products in the Reviews section. Tests were carried out in camps in the cities of Ubatuba-SP, Socorro-SP and Paraty-RJ and also in trips between RJ, SP, PR, SC and RS.