The first look at the new line of premium fridges.
The portable fridge market is getting exciting. Just about every accessory manufacture has its own version and Opposite Lock is no different. This company’s introduction to the market has it aiming right at the top with a high quality stainless steel line of fridges in 40, 65 and 72 (dual-zone) litres. The Opposite Lock fridge line is manufactured in unique versions by SnoMaster which has been building fridges (and compressors) for quite some time.
The stainless steel exterior (apart from looking great) is tough, durable and corrosion resistant even when it gets scratched up. The hinges and latches are also overkill – which is great, because they are usually the first thing to fail. The unit is fitted with the 66W SnoMaster compressor, which it claims is the biggest on the market for any portable fridge. The compressor is assisted with 60mm of injected polyurethane insulation and the lid has a magnetic seal much like your fridge at home – which is a big plus. If you are frequently in and out of the fridge, the latches aren’t required; even over rough roads the magnetic seal does a great job.
Unfortunately, inside there isn’t a drain plug for those long trips where moisture can build up (or in case there is an unlucky spill). However the aluminium lining won’t corrode and it’s easy to clean. All of this makes for a fairly stout build, coming in at 35 kilograms empty. That’s something important to consider if you need to move the fridge regularly or are choosing a fridge slide – it could end up over 70kg when loaded.
The unit has an LCD screen on the rear of the fridge that gives you a battery voltage readout as well as the internal temperature. Setting the temperature is as simple as pressing the ‘Set’ button and using the +/– buttons to adjust. The battery cut-out voltage is adjustable to 10V, 10.7V or 11.8V. There is also a button to put the unit into low speed once it has reached the set temperature.
The unit will run on 12/24/240V, so in the box there’s an AC lead and a vehicle lead. The unfortunate letdown to this big unit is the fact that the manufacturer thinks a cigarette lighter plug is suitable to reliably (and safely) power such a big unit. I found that I was getting about 1V of drop across just the plug and cable, causing the unit to cut out under full load. To get the fridge to work I had to cut off the standard plug and replace it with a 50A Anderson plug.
Of note is the handy open-lid alarm – brilliant for when the kids spend too long staring into the fridge, or it inadvertently gets left open. There is also a nice bright LED to help you see what you are doing.
Straight out of the box you get a travel bag, remote temperature and voltage display and three interior baskets.
The travel bag is made of a lightweight canvas with a small amount of insulation. It has an extra ‘flap thing’ on the front (I’m not sure what it’s for), and a pouch to keep your cords. A little bit of Velcro is required to keep the cover stuck to the lid so it doesn’t fall off.
The remote temperature monitor is almost necessary with this unit, so I’m glad it’s included. The LCD screen is virtually impossible to see in most mounting configurations, so the little unit that plugs directly into a cigarette socket is very handy. It gives a read-out that is identical to the LCD on the fridge. It shows the actual voltage at the fridge and the interior temperature. One step better would have been the ability to adjust the fridge temp… maybe next time.
The plastic-coated baskets include two hanging items for the top portion of the fridge and one large one in the base. The hanging baskets allow for the best use of the available space; and being able to easily lift them out means you don’t have to dig around through layers of food to get to the bottom.
The bag is the main letdown for me. There are far better quality bags included with other brands. It will inevitably wear through where the fridge fittings sit (there are no holes), and it’s a poor fit overall. The unit itself is well designed and it’s one tough fridge. Only time will tell how it goes when it’s up against the elements… but I’m looking forward to finding out!
The 66W Compressor
On High Speed (3,500rpm) the compressor will rapidly draw down the temperature of a fridge cabinet to the required operating temperature; while the Low Speed (2,400rpm) option can be used once the fridge is at the desired temperature. The compressor draws 5.5 amps when operating at High Speed and 2.5 amps on Low Speed; and typically 4.5 amps when on Auto.
Why cigarette lighter plugs suck for fridges…
Although hugely versatile for small accessories, they don’t do well for high-amperage devices that have a long current draw (when cooling a fridge on a hot day, for instance). Two issues exist. One is the poor contact point with the socket. This poor contact means voltage is lost, and this increases resistance in the plug, and resistance generates enough heat to melt plugs and sockets and (worst case) possibly start a fire. The second issue is insecurity – the plugs have an ability to be pushed out of their sockets by the spring-loaded pins; or they can even just shake out due to vibrations on rough roads. Not great if you don’t realise quickly… replacing all that food can be costly.
What we liked:
- Tough exterior and fittings
- Proper remote temperature/volt monitor
- Magnetic seal
What we dislike:
- Cigarette lighter socket plug had to be replaced with Anderson plug
- The location of the LCD
- The bag
- Weight: 35kg
- Dimensions (LxWxH):
75.5 x 56 x 45.5cm
- Low Battery Protection: 10V, 10.7V or 11.8V
- Voltage: 12/24/240
- Temperature Range (ºC): –22 to 10
5 years on Compressor;
2 years on everything else
- Price: RRP $1,549
- For more info visit: oppositelock.com.au