Heading north chasing Barra’ and other top N.T. sport fish always creates problems, one of which is how to freeze fish and keep the beer cold for two weeks. On our first trip we took a small generator and one 80 watt solar panel. After the generator spiked and burned out the inverter in my Liemack fridge we were left with one 80 watt panel to run both the Liemack and the Explorer we had just purchased. Big headache - it was obvious two fridges off the one panel was not going to work. With the Liemack drawing twice as much power as the Explorer, we had to try and cram everything into the Explorer and limit the amount of fish we kept.
The Liemack has been repaired but for our trips up north we now have a second Explorer. The Liemack (now sold under the Reefer brand name) is a fantastic fridge; it freezes faster than any other 12v fridge I know, and being a front-opening instead of top means no fridge slide is required and it still stays in the back of my Cruiser for all but the long trips up north. For versatility I still think it is one of the best fridges on the market.
The camp about 50 metres away ran 2 chest freezers off one large generator, this was started at 6am and ran all day until 10pm so a quiet relaxing time was out of the question. This started me thinking - Generator or solar?
Generator: Expensive to buy and run, noisy, requires some kind of maintenance. Most parks or camp grounds do not allow generators. Where we camped it was 70km to the nearest fuel; it was hard enough carrying 150 litres of fuel for the boat without finding somewhere to fit another 50 for the generator.
Solar: the initial outlay can be as much or more than a good generator but with no fuel, no fumes, no maintenance and QUIET!