Bushman Portable Fridge Freezer – Reviewed

Written by Joe Baker on . Posted in Miscellaneous

Bushman portable fridge freezerNever before have I seen a portable fridge freezer capable of so much. It should be called the Transformer rather than the Bushman. You can change its storage capacities from 35, 42, 45 or to 52 litres in a few seconds.

We believe that the Bushman portable fridge freezer eclipses other well known brands such as Engel and Waeco in overall operation advantages such as lower power draw, less running time and better insulation capability. One can only wonder why these companies have allowed themselves to become complacent, but even they would now see the innovative Bushman as becoming a huge threat to their future sales. But enough! Let’s have an in depth look at more advantages and see why, in the years to come, the Bushman portable fridge freezer will  become a “must have” for campers and caravanners alike.

Options for sizeWe need to state that as campers doing this review; we consider the four following to be of the utmost importance.

1. Low power draw
2. Low weight v/s capacities
3. Ability to have controlled minimal variance temperatures at various levels within the fridge
4. Ability to have optimum changeable capacities which then can  lower power draws further.

 ASSEMBLEY

What you getSeldom have I seen a better packed product. The fridge freezer is very unlikely to ever be damaged in transit. Unlike other brands, each Bushman fridge freezer is constructed in Australia in each State at point of sale, making it extremely easy to contact the right person should you need any warranty work. There is a constructer and quality control Manager in each state. We found build quality to be excellent with the designers being very mindful of consumer needs.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • CAPACITY:    Low-lid 35 litres, High-lid 42 litres, Low-lid and collar 45 litres & 52 litres when using the extension collar and High Lid
  • CABINET:    Powder coated steel with polycarbonate linear.
  • LIDS:    High impact polycarbonate.
  • HINGES:    Chrome plated steel.
  • LATCHES:    Stainless Steel
  • EVAPORATOR:    Internal roll bond
  • CONDENSER:    Fan assisted type
  • COMPRESSOR:    ACC GD30FDC Brushless 12v/24v current electronically commutated
  • REFRIGERANT CHARGE:    60 grams R134A
  • FAN:    120mm Brushless DC rating 0.40A
  • THERMOSTAT:    Electronic digital with constant LCD temperature readout, with blue back light
  • BATTERY PROTECTION:    Standard cut out between 10-11V. High/Low cut in/out options available on request
  • TIE DOWN POINTS:    4 x 3mm zinc plated tie down brackets
  • LEAD:    2.9 metres, cigarette lighter fitting with built in fuse, right angle connection with ridges to avoid accidental removal.
  • FEET:    4 X hard rubber detachable feet 

Unlatched 35 litreDIMENSIONS WITH LOW LID (35L)
HEIGHT:    (Standard Low Lid) 380mm
LENGTH:    (Not including handles) 660mm
WIDTH:    385mm
WEIGHT:     20kg

Unlatched 42 litreDIMENSIONS WITH HI LID (42L)
HEIGHT:    (With High Lid) 470mm
LENGTH:    (Not including handles) 660mm
WIDTH:    385mm
WEIGHT:    20.5kg   

Its now deepDIMENSIONS WITH COLLAR & LOW LID (45L)
HEIGHT:    (Collar & Low Lid) 458mm
LENGTH:    (Not including handles) 660mm
WIDTH:    385mm
WEIGHT:    21kg

Unlatched 52 litreDIMENSIONS WITH COLLAR & HI LID (52L)
HEIGHT:    (High Lid & Collar) 548mm
LENGTH:    (Not including handles) 660mm
WIDTH:    385mm
WEIGHT:    22kg

FEATURES

  • Rugged steel cabinet and base with thicker insulation all around to prevent temperature loss which further reduces the compressor’s running time (35mm Walls and 45mm Bottom).
  • Internal full surround evaporator for efficient operation under all conditions.
  • Rubber mounted compressor.
  • Using the 10 Litre extension collar increases the total capacity to 52 Litres.
  • With the refrigerator set @ -4˚C with an ambient temperature of +24˚C the BUSHMAN uses a mere 16amp hours per day.
  • The installed type of thermostat is superior to others as the LED constantly displays the inside temperature. This gives the user the ability to properly monitor and manage performance without having to open the refrigerator which will result in a loss of temperature. Any loss of temperature means longer run time for the compressor which is consuming valuable energy.
  • The digital thermostat allows the user to set the fridge in a range of + 10˚C to - 22˚C by 1˚C increments. A differential of around 2˚C either side of the set temperature eliminates compressor hunting. This allows for far more efficient management power consumption.
  • A digital control does not require constant knob adjustments as ambient temperature changes; you simply set it and forget it.
  • A large 120mm fan unit is installed to allow for efficient cooling of both the condenser and compressor.
  • The GD30FDC compressor is designed to operate silently, efficiently and reliably even with an incline of 30 degrees, and works with the environmentally friendly refrigerant R134a.
  • Protections- Battery protection, Fan over current, Starting failure, Compressor overload, Electronic overheat.
  • Start and overload protection, if compressor doesn't operate at set speed. In this instance the compressor will enter a cycle where it will attempt to start at approximately every 60 seconds. (Note: This can be caused by the wiring which provides power to the fridge being faulty or substandard) Minimum 6mm should be used
  • Electronic driver overheat: if the temperature of the control's electronic components becomes too high, an internal sensor will stop the unit.
  • The unit has battery protection to prevent excessive discharge. It is designed to cut out if battery output falls between 10-11V. Cut In/ Cut Out voltages can be varied upon request to suit customer needs.
  • Extremely silent, smooth and efficient operation with the ability to continue operating even when out of level.

Setting temp in fridge

OPERATION
We selected the capacity we wanted and then connected the Bushman portable fridge freezer to a 12 volt battery via the cigarette type lighter socket. We found the LCD display and button configuration extremely easy to operate.

The most current this fridge drew was 3.5 amps at start up. It also cooled to our set temperature extremely quickly, then switched on so infrequently thereafter that I was concerned that it was not working. However, a quick look at the stated inside temperature (and verified by thermal probe) found that all was working perfectly and temperature was within the standard deviation as specified.

The Bushman fridge freezer was found to have excellent insulation qualities which certainly minimises power draw when ambient temperatures are high.

PROS

  • When compared with other brands, the Bushman fridge freezer was at the forefront of advancements in technology and this became very evident in the four fields which mattered to us the most.
  • Unlike some other brands, the Bushman worked efficiently and reliably, even when put on an incline of up to 30 degrees.  This removes some of the frustration when camping on uneven ground.
  • Due to the incredibly low power consumption at start up and running, the use of solar power becomes an extremely good option.

CONS
The only negative item we could find was:

  • We believe that if you are hard on equipment then you may need to be careful not to damage hinges when flinging the portable fridge freezers lid back. We would suggest that the manufacturer consider providing optional stainless limit wires to prevent that type of damage on the hinges being possible.

CONCLUSION
We will not go into individual tests performed, but we are happy to state that the unit equalled or exceeded in the tests relating to all of the positive features or specifications claimed by the manufacturer. To illustrate technological advancement, we compared the power demands of this fridge with an older type Waco 45 litre. And have now decided that we will no longer retain the Waeco, as the daily power consumption (amongst other things) was significantly more than that of the Bushman fridge freezer and would require us to take a extra battery or additional solar panels on our camping trips.

Overall we believe that collectively, the Bushman was better than all other brands in relation to all four of the features that mattered to us.

Available at www.bushman.com.au at a suggested retail of approx $1195 Aud for the whole package, we find it the best value for your dollar.

We give it the double thumbs up!

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