Bodega 12/24-volt RV Refrigerator review – Portable cooling when you need it most

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REVIEW – I can think of plenty of situations apart from RV camping when portable refrigeration would be advantageous – power outages, a little extra ice or food storage for a family reunion, and emergency medication storage come to mind. If you need cold, Bodega’s R50 RV refrigerator is fabulous!

What is it?

The Bodega R50 is a 1.2 cubic foot capacity, low voltage, portable refrigerator.

Hardware specs

  • Dimensions: 340 x 479 x 532mm (14-15/16 x 18-7/8 x 20-15/16 inches)
  • Weight: 16.2kg (35.7 pounds)
  • Power: 12 or 24 volts, DC, 60 Watts
  • Capacity: refrigeration : 34 liters (1.2 cubic feet), freezer : 8 liters (.28 cubic feet)
  • Noise: Less than 45bD
  • Temperature range: refrigerator : 0 to 8°C (32 to 46°F’), freezer: -20 to -12°C(-4 to 10°F)
  • Climate categories: T/ST/N/SN

What’s in the box?

  • Bodega model R50 refrigerator
  • User manual

Design and features

The Bodega model R50 refrigerator arrives in a large box.

Packing is tight with plastic pallet straps keeping everything together. I used the straps to lift the heavy refrigerator from the box.

The manual is…well… ok. I found it a bit cryptic. Most of the information needed to operate the fridge is there, but not in the clearest of terms. Don’t fret, dear Gadgeteer, it’s a refrigerator, not rocket science or brain surgery.

The Bodega model R50 refrigerator is beefy. I was immediately struck by the solid construction. The body framing is steel and should hold up well.

When I volunteered to review the Bodega model R50 refrigerator, I expected that I would be receiving a light-use, Peltier-based cooler-type refrigerator. I was wrong. This unit is a heavy-duty model with a real compressor that does an outstanding job of keeping the contents cool.

The Bodega model R50 refrigerator is powered through a hard-wire connection and can be operated at 12 or 24 volts.

The schematic and info are on the back.

There is a 15-Amp ATO in-line fuse for protection. When the compressor is cycling, the current draw shouldn’t be more than about 5-Amps running from a 12-volt source (60 watts is the specification).

I measured a maximum of 3.8 Amps with the compressor running.

For testing, I used a 12-volt, 5-Amp adapter that plugs into an AC socket. This adapter isn’t included with the R50, so plan accordingly if you plan to use the R50 on AC in your home.

Powering the Bodega model R50 refrigerator the first time I had a little surprise. The display had been mounted upside down at the factory. It took a few minutes to figure it out, remove five screws, pop out the display and reattach it in the correct orientation, but it was no big deal.

The Bodega model R50 refrigerator can be configured as a refrigerator, freezer, or both simultaneously. The dual cooling allows the temperatures to be set independently. Once power is applied and values set, it took about an hour to reach the desired temperatures – typical for any refrigerator. Using an infrared thermometer I found the temperature display was within a few degrees of measurement. That’s good in my book.

While running, the compressor makes some sound but is very quiet. I would have no trouble sleeping with the R50 running in the same room.

There are several parameters available in the R50 setup menu that are not mentioned in the manual. Changing them unintentionally can render the fridge inoperable. Thankfully, resetting to the default parameters is simple. After some digging, I was able to find a list of the settings I believe are compatible:

The door on the Bodega model R50 refrigerator is ingenious! To open the door, a pair of retractable pins on the top and bottom disengage when the handles are pulled. Because there are two pairs of pins and two levers, this clever design allows the door to be opened toward the left or right without hardware changes. It’s a brilliant design!

The door pins on the bottom are secured by sturdy hinges.

There is even a lock to prevent the door from opening even on the roughest roads.

An additional feature of the Bodega model R50 refrigerator is WiFi connectivity. I think this concept makes more sense in a “stationary” model, but since Bodega’s fridge is designed to be “on the move,” reconnecting it to multiple campsites, hotels, or rest stops might become onerous.

Adding the R50 to the app was a simple process.

Bodega was wise to include Bluetooth communications in the absence of a WiFi signal, but keep in mind, connection through Wifi is a requirement before Bluetooth will function.

The app requires an account and email verification. It also has a few extra features like locking the R50 controls so they can’t be accessed from the onboard controls.

When it comes time to defrost, there is a drain plug on the floor of the fridge.

If the Bodega model R50 refrigerator is permanently installed, a drain hose (not included) can be attached to the back.

The interior of the refrigerator won’t hold a two-liter bottle of your preferred beverage, but there is enough room on the door for some small bottles.

The interior has enough room for a loaf of bread or two, a few jars, and a separate area with a see-through door for veggies. Shelves can be moved for the best configuration for your needs. Nice!

The interior is illuminated effectively by white LEDs.

The freezer can accommodate a few ice trays or a few other small items.

What I like

  • Dual temperature controls
  • Low current draw
  • Very clever door design
  • Quiet operation

What I would change

  • Add all of the parameter settings to the manual.

Final thoughts

At the time of this writing, Hurricane Ian was dumping rain and whooshing winds on Florida and The Carolinas. With its low-current 12-volt operation, I can imagine the Bodega model R50 refrigerator could be a lifesaver in natural disaster situations, preserving essentials like insulin and nebulizer solutions using a car, backup power station, or even a borrowed battery from a lawn mower. The Bodega R50 does a super job keeping the cold stuff cold. The dual controls work well, its solidly built and is a superb addition to your RV, work truck, tiny house, cabin in the woods, or off-grid domicile.

Price: – $499.99
Where to buy: Bodega and Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was supplied by Bodega.

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