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Old 13-03-2006, 09:33   #1
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Anybody "build in" an Engel fridge/freezer?

I'm planning to have a separate freezer under the counter on the nav side; rather than do a built-in system with all the carpentry and mechanics involved, I've lately been wondering if I can't just buy one of the Engels (which I've heard very good things about), and seat it down into a simple box, with some fiddles/framework around the top to keep it in place. I'd probably put a hinged hatch over it just for aesthetics.

Anybody do something like this? If so, what kind of clearance and/or ventilation did you provide for the unit's own vent areas? Did you add more insulation to the mounting box, or assume the unit was sufficiently insulated on its own?
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Old 13-03-2006, 10:12   #2
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No, never used an Engel box, but I did add insulation to one of my built-in iceboxes, then converted it to a freezer.
Works great, and the keyword is: The more insulation, the better.

Plenty of good threads on that subject over @ Kollmans forum:

http://www.kollmann-marine.com/phpBB...731084b94d8d58

That would also be the place to ask detailed questions.

For stuff on my system, search around the Kollman forum, I think I put down a pretty in depth description on what I did.


Good luck
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Old 13-03-2006, 10:20   #3
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I second the advice to go out to Kollman and find out. He's got some great books (I bought one).

I knew only the basics about refrigeration when I first found his site. Now, I am fully confident to install, charge and diagnose problems with refers.

Insulation will be key if you want to minimize power consumption. That's really the killer on freezers. To keep a freezer cold, it takes a lot of energy. If you don't have enough insulation, it will take substantially more energy.

What are the ratings in Amps per hour per day on the unit you are thinking of installing? Can you electrical system handle this additional power requirement?
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Old 14-03-2006, 05:54   #4
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I may be wrong (If so - always happy to learn), but the only cool box that are worth considering for this are the new Waeco top of the range ones. The reason is that these have now been fitted with proper danfoss compressors just like most marine fridge and freezer installations, and thus are economic on power. Furthermore, these can also be run continuously whereas most coolboxes are not rated for more than occasional use.

If going for a freezer, the best solution is to do it yourself, cause a cool box does not have enough insulation to minimise the power use.
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Old 14-03-2006, 06:09   #5
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From the Engel-USA website: http://www.i-m-d.com/engel/

Q. Can I 'build in' my Engel freezer?

A. We do not recommend this practice. The area around the compressor needs to be ventilated - warm air needs to escape, and cooler air needs to be able to replace it. With this in mind, we suggest leaving a space of at least 2 inches all around the unit - especially near the compressor vents.

ENGEL USA
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Jupiter, FL 33458
Electronic mail: info@i-m-d.com
Toll Free: (888) 272 9838 (In USA only)
Telephone: (561) 743 7419 ~ Fax: (561) 743 7420
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Old 15-03-2006, 05:13   #6
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We have heard nothing but good about the Engel portable refrigerators. When we were outfitting the boat several years ago we wanted to install one in place of the ice box, but it just would not work out well. So we ended up installing a refrigeration unit in the existing icebox after adding insulation. We still would like to find a space for a small Engel and use it for another (colder) freezer unit. The amperage draw is very reasonable.
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Old 15-03-2006, 09:37   #7
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Two good friends have also recommended the Engel highly. I am making a triditional built-in fridge with Frigoboat running gear (no room for a freezer box). I figured a separate freezer made sense, as it's accessed less often. Rather than go to the trouble and expense of building, wiring and plumbing yet another true built-in system, I thought maybe a drop-in situation with a good low-draw dc unit might work.

Roger, sounds like you're thinking along the same lines.

Gord, your comment about ventilation was my main concern; I wonder if providing louvered panels around the Engel's own vents might avoid problems? Engel's admonitions are a bit confusing; 2" doesn't seem like enough room around those vents, and I wonder why they'd want space around the hard-sided areas; I would think that additional insulation there would be a good thing...hmmmm.
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Old 15-03-2006, 10:31   #8
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Geoff:
I’d suggest mechanical ventilation (fan), in lieu of simple louvres, which wouldn’t be effective. This would seem to minimize any of the advantages of the “drop-in” option.
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Old 15-03-2006, 11:53   #9
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You're right; adding another amp draw would kind of shoot the pooch.

Well...where I hope to put it is inside one corner of the nav counter; if I could live with the aesthetics of some open frames in the woodwork (ie, exposing completely the vents of the Engel), would it be any worse for the unit than ordinary open-air use?

Sorry to be so obstinate here...I'm one of those "there's gotta be a way" types...!
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Old 15-03-2006, 12:00   #10
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I plan to do the same

I plan to do the same on my Catalina 27. I will be framing the opening with a frame that is vented. Here in BC, the water temperature doesn't vary by more than a couple of degrees in the summer and winter. The cooler will be going below the water line on the boat, so it will be in a cooler area already. By adding venting to the framing, the Engel will be okay.

I've only heard good things about the Engel freezer/fridges. They are also modest in amp consumption as well.
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Old 21-03-2006, 16:59   #11
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I built in an Engle (almost) I put mine on slides under the galley counter top. I pull it out for use and return it when not in use. I did leave 4 inches around the compressor end to ventilate. I use mine as a refer. I Have the model 35 and the average temp. in the last month has been 79 degress and my compressor cycled about 3 minutes out of 10 or 18 minutes per hour. At temp (45 degress, I like it cold) it draws .7 amp hours, If I did my math correct I should use less then 5/AHr per day. I did add insulation to the space I put it in except the compressor end.

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Old 21-03-2006, 18:16   #12
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Matt:
Are you saying that the Fridge only draws 0.7 Amps at 12 VDC (<10W), when running (after initial 'cool down')?
How big is the model 35 (volume)?
How often would you (typically) open it, in a day?
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Old 22-03-2006, 12:28   #13
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I have model MT35 there it holds 34 qt (54 cans). I can not tell you for sure the current draw. Occording to the spec sheet. The unit draws .7 - 2.5 amps. Once to temp it draws .7 Ahr. in Refer mode. I get in about 3 times a day. Quick an calculated entry. I have timed the cycling with my stop watch over a hour perioid at diffrent time of the day. The average is about 16.5 min. per hour. When I get the time I will put an Amp meter on it to see what the draw is and let you know.

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Old 22-03-2006, 13:18   #14
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Thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on Engels...

Engels use very little power. I have an Engel 45 that I used in a Land Rover. I could leave it on freeze in the sitting truck for a week to 10 days in the Summer and still have enough power in the battery to start the engine. It was typically 1/2 to 3/4 full and I always used the Engel zip on insulation cover.

I'm going to be on a mooring this year, so I plan on finding someplace to keep the Engel as my built-in reefer uses way to much power. That way we can leave some food in the Engel and de-power the reefer for the work week.

One potential downside to an Engel is that the manual says that it may be damaged during jump starts or high current charging over 5 amps. This statement applies to cars, I don't know enough about typical boat electric systems to ascertain if it applies to boats or not? It also has warnings about generators and inverters. Something to check before buying...
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Old 22-03-2006, 16:18   #15
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Amfivena,

I manually switch mine off when I charge batteries. then switch it back on when I am done.Seems to work..
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