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Old 23-02-2017, 15:09   #16
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Re: Engel Fridg/Freezer; Benefits of hardwiring

I have a seething contempt for ciggy plugs, and 12v power ports, Plugs and receptacles.

Amps are amps but when theses ciggy plugs and the too thin copper feeding them are heating up, they are wasting electricity.

Here is a ciggy plug for a 90 Watt DC to DC laptop converter.

The fuse wound up getting so hot, it also failed, but not visibly.

After my second ciggy plug failed on my DC laptop passing more than 60 watts, I went to Anderson POwerpoles, but not before buying the Blueseas plug and receptacle, then never employing them as intended.

The Engels use the sawafuji swing compressor and I believe these do not have the start up surge of a Danfoss style compressor or their clones.

Looking at Danfoss controller specs they say to use much thicker wire than a maximum 6.5 amp load should require.

The Danfoss spec cheet does not allow for the use of any wire feeding the controller less than 12AWG, and they say to hook right to battery terminals, fused at battery terminal. Not always possible.

i bring this up as the portable units which come with Danfoss/secop style compressors, come with Ciggy plugs, and 16AWG wiring. Which is then to be hooked into a receptacle likely Way underwired as well.

The Danfoss, when the voltage it receives is not high enough, will fire up the condenser fan, if present, but not the compressor, making the less observant human think it is operating, but it actually will not, not until battery voltage is brought back up high enought so that the compressor does actually run.

So while a Ciggy plug might Be OK, for X amount of time, they are certainly not living up to Danfoss recommendations as to wire gauge feeding the compressor controller, and fall well short of their recommendations.

but they could not market/sell these units as easy as they do if there was a clause saying the Ciggy plug receptacel needs to be wired with 12AWG or thicker directly to battery terminals. They know that until battery voltage falls to about 12.4, it will work, and porevent it from discharging battery too much further, at the risk of food spoilage.

The 12v SAE plugs were my initial answer to Ciggy plug receptacle limitations, but I found that they quickly wore out, and heated up massively when passing 20 amps or more even the 10 gauge ones. I've since removed them all in favor of Anderson powerpoles in the 30 or 45 amp flavors.

Now, What does the 12v input terminal on the Engel look like?

I'd save the original power cord when true portability is required, but any other time I would bypass that cord entirely, and use whatever tang grasping clamp connector that would attach to the pins on the Engel, whether quick connectos or something else, Add some strain relief, and wire it with 10AWG right to fuse block.

I've Used Simple butt connectors with plastic removed then clamped it over protuding pins or tangs and compressed it to form a good electrical and mechanical connection, then used red and black heatshrink over them to make my own connectors.

The 16 awg ciggy plug and cord passing 2.7 to 5 amps will heat up some, and so will the Ciggy plug's contacts, and more so with age. Whether this battery power wasted as heat is measurable to the average joe is certainly debatable, but the 12v ciggy plugs are KNOWN weak points, causes of failure, food spoiling and poor 12v compressor fridge performance reports.

Bypass them whenever possible by whatever means possible.

If one insists on continued use of the ciggy plug and receptacle, at least use a quality one and feed the receptacle with 10AWG from fuse block.

This Blue seas combo unit...One can get 12AWG under the terminal clamps in the plug, but will likely have to modify the plastic where it exits the back of the plug.

I had a friends ARB 50 QT chest style cooler with a Danfoss compressor. Using its 16AWG powercord and ciggy plug, it stopped working when battery voltage dropped below 12.35V, and that was on the lowest level of battery protection setting, indicating the Plug receptacle and wiring to the compressor controller were dropping over 2 volts.

I spliced a 45 amp Anderson powerpole inline on his stock power cord, and wired up a fused 10AWG receptacle to power it, and his reports of it failing to keep stuff cold disappeared.

Ciggy plugs are junk. 16awg feeding a danfoss compressor controller is criminal.

As far as the Sawafuju Swing compressor goes,.... in my Norcold de 0040, it was very loud and annoying and could cause harmonics to develop well away from the fridge. IT lasted 5 years before failing due to low refrigerant. This refrigerant loss could have been exacerbated by my attempts to isolate swing motor from fridge body and fridge body from cabinet.

I replaced it with A danfoss BD35f Vitrifrigo with 0.1 more cubic feet interior volume, whose design allowed me to ventilate the condenser much better. The Noise is less than 1/3rd that the Sawafuji, and it uses about 10 to 15% less electricity than the Norcold did and it maintains about 5 degrees colder internal box temps.

The Danfoss does have a 'Clunk' when compressor first fires up, but once running makes a fraction of the noise of My Sawafuji compressor.

Here are 30 amp anderson powerpoles next to a 12v SAE connector for a size comparison:

I monitor fridge consumption with a Wattmeter that has 45 amp anderson powerpoles. In this picture it uses the stock 12AWG leads, but I have modified them to 8AWG.

While my norcold always drew 2.7 amps, My Vitrifrigo's danfoss, without the provided 270 ohm resistor on t stat circuit, starts about 2.8 amps and drops to about 2.2 amps ~5 minutes later when it cycles off. With resistor in place, amp draw was about 0.5a higher and compressor run times about 30 to 45 seconds shorter.

I believe a lot of chest style portables with Danfoss compressors will vary the compressor speed automatically.

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Old 23-02-2017, 18:23   #17
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Re: Engel Fridg/Freezer; Benefits of hardwiring

+1 hear hear, SW you da man, these detail posts!

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Old 24-02-2017, 16:11   #18
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Re: Engel Fridg/Freezer; Benefits of hardwiring

Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Cut the last foot of the cord off, put in Anderson plugs on both sides, then you can put it back with the cigarette lighter and have an Anderson to connect direct too.
Biggest thing for me was to keep the ability to move the Engel around when needed (cleaning, repairing, etc), that's one of its strengths so didn't want to compromise that. So we set it up with its own dedicated cigarette lighter socket (good one from Blue Sea) so we have it on its own circuit but it's still easy to move.

But, well, guess this is why I read the forums... now that I look at the above it's a win win setup... still have the portability, can still run it on any ciggy lighter socket (after all, it does only draw 3 amps) but this way I have a dedicated circuit and a true honest connector that won't fall out at the wrong moment and, you know, let my beer get warm.

Thanks a64pilot

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Hailey, Idaho & Bellingham, WA
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freezer, wiring

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