Arb fridge... what am I doing wrong?


So I picked up a used Arb 50qt from a guy upgrading to a larger size. He and the deal were legit so I fee this is user error. I have never used one before and I guess I expected it to be like a normal fridge.

He told me the sweet spot was 28 for cold and 18 for freeze when using. I felt the top stuff was to warm. Cans were slightly cold but not chilled.

Is there normally that much of a variance from the digitial read out to actual temp? I need to put a thermostat in there. Between playing around with it I froze all my veggies by adjust the temp to see what it would do.

What temps do you guys keep them at for normal cooler temps (not freeze)


Any River...Any Place
I keep my ARB refrig at 38*, never used as freezer. I have ARB's external monitor but not sure if it reads inside temp or temp from digital guger readout on frig. Either way my food/stuff is always cold. Saying "sweet spot is 28* for cold to me is odd. Normal refrigerators are usually around 37'ish. 28 seems super cold, like below freezin cold.


Well-known member
bottom gets colder and also you need it pretty full to really work properly or at least that is my experience. I have to thermometers in mine and have it set at 32* (I did calibrate mine) so if yours was not calibrated i can see how the sweet spot is 28* on the digital read out. It took me a few days to get mine sorted out. I keep stuff that I want frozen or near frozen on the very bottom and things I don't want frozen up higher. When it is at home I keep it full of beer and pop and have it at 32* and frosty cold but not frozen

Chris Boyd

In my experience, and that is what I’ve heard as anecdotal evidence, the temperature display it is the compressor output temperature and you’re most likely to see that on the bottom right towards the back wall.

As others have mentioned, having the fridge full seems much more accurate to the readout temperature. I too keep mine as the beer fridge when home in the driveway at 32.

While we’re at it, you’ll do much better to pre-cool the unit using the AC side of the circuit before you load it down with food. Especially so when planning to freeze items or for bringing from already a frozen state from another freezer. I have my Shore cord split onboard to both the DC battery charger/maintainer for the batteries and direct AC charge the fridge when it’s plugged in sitting in the driveway.


It almost sounds like your fridge is displaying degrees Celsius.

I keep my fridge at 32 deg Farenheit (0 deg Celsius). Any colder than that and the beer starts to freeze.


You may need to adjust your expectations. This fridge does not have a forced cooling fan like your kitchen fridge, so things down low and touching the cooling coils ( outsides) will be cooler than top center. I run mine about 28 and it keeps everything nicely cold, but water bottles will slowly begin to freeze after 3-4 weeks.

I’ve never calibrated it (you can).

I keep it full of water bottles when unused, thermal mass is important. It runs 24/7 all year long. I plug into AC if I know I won’t be driving 3 days or more.


Thanks guys, after doing some more research a bunch of the Toyota guys (have a 4runner have said they had issues until they got the wire kit with the 8g direct wire due to volt drops. The plot thickens.... and it’s in f. The top cans just never got cold.


Yes, proper wiring is key for the fridge to work correctly. Factory wiring to a cig plug is not sufficient for the initial draw and may cause the fridge to cycle on and off or throw an error code.

I keep mine at 31 to 33 degrees F. at 29, it freezes milk/OJ next to the coils on the side of the fridge. The coils do not extend up the whole side of the fridge or into the 'crisper' so items on top are 10 degrees warmer, pack accordingly. 38 is way to warm in my experience for any perishable items. I have been running mine continuously for 10 years...either in the rig or at home as overflow and beer fridge.

A 12V fridge is a game-changer and worth the money.


Well-known member
ARB's have low voltage disconnects, oversize your wiring for em to avoid premature cut off.

I have a wireless sensor in my Engel at the top and it's pretty much what the display is set to (2C), if I set it lower stuff at bottom starts to freeze. I use an external temp sensor so I can record record highs/lows.. really nice when fridge been running for a few months all by its self I can make sure that it never got warm and then cooled back down, this way I can trust the condiments I leave in there all the time are still good.

Bayou Boy

Anytime I use a fridge on trips, whether it's my 12v Whynter or the junk RV fridges, I throw a cheap outdoor remote thermometer sensor in the fridge to keep an eye on the temps. They are like $12 at Walmart. It seems like I have to adjust the fridge around for the first couple of days to get things just right. This way I can keep an eye on it from the truck and bump it up or down at fuel stops. I can also see if there is an issue before I pull into a camping spot late in the afternoon with warm food and beer.


I’ve never noticed any problems. I usually keep it between 30-34. I use the arb plug and connector directly to a solar powered battery. Has worked very well for about three years now. Just turn it on when I need it.

However, I have never tried using it during our hot summer months in Phoenix AZ. Actually getting ready to take electronic accessories out of vehicle for the season.