Engel Combi troubles.

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 19:59
ThreadID: 105685 Views:2727 Replies:2 FollowUps:8
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We returned from a camping trip on the 30th of December and when I unpacked the car the Engel Combi APPEARED to be working. It was cleaned and packed away. Today (04/01/14) I got it out to chill it down for another camping trip and found it doesn't work. It is the 'Combi" model (fridge & freezer) and is about 10 years old. When I switched it on, the green 'power' light came on and instead of the usual hum, I could only hear a buzzing sound. Where we live on the northside of Brisbane, the ambient temperature at the time was 44c. Would this have any bearing on the operation of the unit i.e. high temp cut-out? Could the compressor be shot, out of refridgerant, hidden fuse blown? Has anyone got any ideas what may be wrong. Also, can anyone recommend a repairer in Brisbane, preferably on the northside? Thanks in advance, Deejay.
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:15

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:15
Have heard just about every type of issue described on the forum over the years but never a "buzzing". Sounds like a trip to an Engel service agent would be your best bet.

I would also recommend that you use the search function on the forum page as that will turn up plenty of info as well.

QLD service agents

Cheers Mick
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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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AnswerID: 523881

Reply By: Ross M - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:51

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 20:51
Just before you give the fridge mechanic a job!

Engels are usually quite reliable. Seeing it was working and now NOT, I would suspect the electrical connections.
Since you have likely wrestled the 12v plug out of the back of it and then refitted the plug it is likely the folded crimp type hollow connectors inside the plug have become spread open. If that has happened it may turn on and supply enough current to light the little LED but not well enough to supply the inverter with any amps much at all.
That will cause it to buzz and not quietly rattle as they do, because the compressor isn't actually running.

I suggest a pair of multi grips and carefully squeeze each hollow pin so it is compressed slightly. That should tighten the two contacts and vastly improve it's ability to carry the current which it requires.

My 40L did that, and I noticed the plug was hot from the resistance in the plug contacts
After the careful tightening by the multi's it hasn't given any more problems.

I have noticed nearly everyone wrestles the plug out and not just pull it out. That action loosens the grip of the pins.

It is possible the cable is a poor connection at the feed end too and it will cause the same problem. They really like a dedicated ie hardwired feed instead of the ciggy plug supply which is universal but not really for serious long term use in a vehicle.

Ross M
AnswerID: 523885

Follow Up By: Deejay - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 21:17

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 21:17
Thanks Ross, I'll look at the pins right now. I forgot to mention however that I was running it on 240v when I noticed the problem. Maybe it is the pin problem which you've suggested but on the 240v lead. I am also going to test it on the car right now. If it works on 12v and the pins on the 240v lead are ok, could I assume the voltage reducer (240 to 12) has packed it in? Looking forward to your reply. Deejay.
FollowupID: 805480

Follow Up By: Ross M - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:10

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:10
Yes the 240V plug can easily suffer from the same thing and it will most definitely BUZZ then as the arcing is taking place.

Same squeeze, just make sure it is power off and unplugged or you may be BUZZING TOO.

Ross M
FollowupID: 805490

Follow Up By: Deejay - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:21

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:21
Ok Ross, I checked the pins (12v & 240v) and they looked fine but squeezed them anyway as you said to. I then ran the fridge on 12v and the symptom is the same. I also noticed that the temp' reading hasn't changed - like as if it's stuck. Does that mean anything? I trawled the archive and found a post that implied Engels flash a code if there's a fault. Is this true? Thanks again. DJ
FollowupID: 805493

Follow Up By: Ross M - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:21

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:21
Sorry didn't answer the last bit. I would imagine, (no experience with this though) but if the 240> 12 or so is not working I thought it might just be silent and not operate. Can't say for sure what would happen there.
I think it is only a transformer which steps the voltage down as per a normal transformer and then rectifies the current for use in the inverter section. The voltage is switched on and off as an alternating DC current to pull the compressor piston to and fro. No swingin" as claimed, just an oscillating piston. The voltage at the two crimp connectors on the compressor wiring should read around 22vac ie an alternating dc voltage. That is working so it seems the supply to the transformer is SUS, either they burn out or open circuit and no go. if a buss is still suspect the connection of the lead. Maybe the 240 lead has a break in in and IT is arcing internally along it's length somewhere. Can test with multimeter while disconnected from 240Vac, using a LOW OHM setting to see if continuous or high resistance in one of the wires inside the 240v cable.

All the best with that.

Ross M
FollowupID: 805494

Follow Up By: Ross M - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:22

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 22:22
BUZZ not buss, damned lysdexic keyboard.
FollowupID: 805495

Follow Up By: Deejay - Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 23:46

Saturday, Jan 04, 2014 at 23:46
Thanks for all your help Ross. It's now beyond me so I'll take it to a repairer on Monday and see what they find. Thanks again. DJ
FollowupID: 805500

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 10:25

Sunday, Jan 05, 2014 at 10:25
Let us know what the outcome was DJ. Thanx mate.


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FollowupID: 805513

Follow Up By: Deejay - Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 at 09:03

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 at 09:03
Bonz & Ross,
This is what the repairer said. First, it cost me $85 for him to diagnose the problem (this was waived if I went ahead with the repair). He said there were really only 2 things that can go wrong with an Engel - the power unit or the compressor. He then said the compressor and fan were shot and that parts and labour to repair it would be $900. Needless to say I won't be getting it repaired which is a pity as the whole unit is in a very presentable state (looks almost like new, no dents or scratches) and all other components are presumably still working. This also makes the transit cover redundant as I won't be buying another Engel. I bought the thing because it was a 'Legend in Reliability' - seems a bit of a misnomer to me! Anyway Engel didn't seem to care or want to help in any way so I've ordered an EvaKool (because the guy said he repairs 6 Waecos to 1 Engel and that EvaKool repairs were as infrequent as Engel ones). I'm not at all happy about the situation but this is not the place to vent. Either way, Engel have missed out on at least one sale in 2014.
FollowupID: 806198

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