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Chevy Astro Camper Van Build: Dometic Electric Cooler

Chevy Astro Camper Van Build Phase 13: Dometic Electric Cooler

Tools & Materials


Dometic CFX28 Electric Cooler
Dometic CFX28 Insulation Cover



Video – Chevy Astro Camper Van Build: Dometic Electric Cooler

Project Overview: Dometic Electric Cooler

For me, having some type of fridge is a necessity for long term van living. Dometic is probably the most well known name in the electric cooler market. Many/most of the smaller van builds are using something like an electric cooler, if not a mini fridge or even larger. For me, one person in an Astro van, I’m going with a 28L Dometic electric cooler. It also has a freezer function that I have never used once. The 28L model I bought is no longer available, and the closest options now are 25L and 35L.

Wrapping the Electric Cooler In The Insulation Cover

The insulation cover fits pretty well over the cooler. There’s a few pieces of Velcro and a couple of zippers to keep the cover in places and tightly fitted over the cooler itself.

Choosing The Location Of The Cooler

When I first started my van build, I was thinking the cooler would go in the very back of the van. For some reason, I envisioned opening the back doors all the time and having that be my access to the cooler. But as the van build went on, I realized that is a terrible place for it. Where will I be most of the time, while in the van? Driving, or in the passenger swivel seat. So, I think it makes sense to put the cooler in-between the front seats. I can access drinks and food while I’m driving, and from my main lounging spot inside the van when at camp. Sure, it prevents me from moving from the drivers seat over to the back of the van with ease, but I can do it if I really want to. No matter where I park, I’d open the side door anyways, to place my water jug outside of the van, and maybe a few other things.

Electrical Connection

Dometic electric coolers can be hooked up via AC or DC power. My cooler came with both an AC and DC power cord, and so I was able to plug the cooler right in to my 12v sockets I installed some plugs in the lower portion of my shelving, behind the driver’s seat, specifically for the cooler. This way, most of the length of the cord can be tucked away and out of sight.

One thing I noticed about the cooler is that the male prongs on the plug need to be bent out a little so that they make better contact with the female side of the plug. I’ve come back to my van a bunch of times and had the cooler be off, as I slightly brushed against the cord perhaps, on my way out.

Using the Dometic Electric Cooler

I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as power consumption goes, but the cooler doesn’t draw too much power. How often the compressor runs will depend on how hot it is outside, if it’s in direct sunlight or not, if you’ve had it open for a while and/or recently put hot/warm foods inside. The compressor can draw 3-6 amps when running, but will only run for a few moments at a time. It may not run for hours, if the temps are cooler.

For me, one person, I can fill up the cooler with food and have it last about a week, or a little longer. This, of course, is a supplement to other foods that don’t need to be kept cool.

Previous Van Build Project: 12 – Shelving & Storage | Van Build Project Index | Next Van Build Project: 14 – Passenger Swivel Seat

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