Engel 40L Combi Experiment

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 11:36
ThreadID: 139860 Views:12314 Replies:3 FollowUps:7
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Hi fellow Isolationists,
Just sharing the results of a little Engel Combi Test.
I removed the divider, Green Mats in and loaded up the baskets with pre-frozen food. Put the temp on -8 (AC) and low and behold everything remains frozen 3 weeks on.
Engel recommends Fridge only with the divider out because of air flow design.
NB: This was a shed experiment ONLY with pre-frozen food and the Lid rarely opened. Do Not run without the divider in the field.

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Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 12:31

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 12:31
Michael M34
I am puzzled as to what you are proving, if anything. -8 is below freezing and if set to that should keep the contents at that -8 setting until the fridge fails to operate correctly. The (AC) I presume is meaning running on 240V AC. It shouldn't matter if on 12v dc or 240v ac, if the inverter section powered by either it should perform exactly the same on both, same power to the reciprocating compressor.
Internal circulation is able to happen by having the wire basket so it should all freeze ok. Why is "in the field" and different to "in the shed".
My 28YO 39 L has ben running the last two weeks on 240V and at -16, -8 is frozen but not really cool. Food lasts longer when deeper frozen.
The experiment proves the fridge works. I did similar in 30 C shed to test mine for suitability a while back. It ran at -18 with heavy insulation added to the outside, with just the fridge as originally supplied -1 was the max it could achieve and ran all the time. They have poor insulation.
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 14:36

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 14:36
Same here - not getting it - I would be concerned if the contents were not frozen after the time frame with the fridge running at -8.

Sorry what have I missed?
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 14:47

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 14:47
I think Michael is proving that the entire unit can work as a freezer if desired. I have the 75 Litre combo and it will definitely not freeze over the fridge section with the divider in no matter how hard you run it (the lettuce being left to close to the divider being the exception :-)). The divider in the 75L combi's is actually mounted and does not slide out. I presume this is the same in all Engel 'combi' models. It prevents circulation and cooling on the fridge side relies on a spill over effect through a grill centrally located on the divider

Given the amount of time I am usually out between shops (anything from 4-9 weeks) I pack very carefully to maximise freezer space then spend a few days getting it down to maximum (-22) prior to the trip.

Once on the move I monitor the fridge to keep the unit around -12 in the freezer section and -1 to 4c in the fridge compartment. -12 is ample to maintain deeply frozen food for that period of time and does not overly drain the battery levels in hot conditions or when camped for a few days.

I'd suggest that temp fluctuations in a mobile vehicle environment would be afar greater than in a garage environment RMD making very different circumstances in terms of fridge cycling and power consumption in maintaining consistent internal temps.

Michael, I must confess I have 2 x 140AH AGM's on board and enough solar to power an outback community so I actually pack a second 40-50 litre if I require an extra fridge of freezer space. Still requires active maintenace but gives a degree of comfort that battery storage will last. One day I'll be able to afford lithium...sigh. Always seemed a bit complicated to pull the divider panel out. Nice to know she'll freeze down suitably considering the refer paneling is confined to the freezer end.

Thanks for posting. You've also motivated me to 'consider' tidying up my gear in the shed, something I'd been putting off to avoid the distress that comes with the realisation that I won't be travelling the outback this year.



''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 15:46

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 15:46
Mick, maybe you should consider giving Telstra some lessons on how to size a solar system. They clearly need them.

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 16:46

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 16:46
Zippo, that's what happens when you live in a remote community the roads to which are subject to periodic flooding. I noted that power was still running in the town so I wonder why Telstra wouldn't have a contingency plan that involves the town generator or an emergency generator. That's an oversight on their behalf for sure.

I feel confident that there were other options possible that the ABC may have overlooked in their reporting like the fact that Tjikarla has a staffed health centre, 3 diesel generators, an emergency communications base station, a police station at Santa Theresa and the town administrators have an override authority on the power distributors that allows them to override the card system! Didn't take much to find that out so wonder why the ABC didn't mention them as mitigation?

150 people without mobile phones and cut off due to flooding for 30 hours....wonder how the Gippsland and NSW communities felt a month earlier with their infrastructure destroyed, roads blocked and cut off for weeks! Good on ya ABC for highlighting the major issues.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Zippo - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 19:14

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 19:14
I know this is getting off-topic, but ...

"Didn't take much to find that out so wonder why the ABC didn't mention them"

Mick, you give the "journalists" at the ABC too much credit. They take copy handed to them on a plate from whatever source and regurgitate it as fact. And like most media these days (A Current Affair being the outstanding example) they take one side of a story and turn it into a beat-up.

Notwithstanding that, if Telstra did use the "man with the genset couldn't get through" as the excuse for it failing then they didn't know about the alternatives or hadn't availed themselves.

In my previous life I have established solar-only radiocommunications facilities for multiple agencies (including fire/ambo), and one thing I did was size the entire system for 11-days- no-sun. The *only* time there was a shut-down on low power was when the entire solar array was stolen. And yes, I was the guy with the gen-set ...
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Follow Up By: Gliderguider - Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 21:42

Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 21:42
I live in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Certainly within 1 hour of the CBD. In one of the recent wind storms, the power failed due to fallen trees. We lost 4G connection due to no batteries in the local cell tower.
Fired up the generator, that got essential power and internet going. That was good until the batteries in the local telephone exchange failed after about 6 hours and took all phone and internet.
The power came back at about 11PM. Unfortunately with the batteries in the exchange now flat, it took another 9 hours before we had dial tone or internet.
In the old days, there were 2 banks of batteries in every exchange. 1 was powering the exchange and on charge. The other was on float charge and ready to take over operation of the exchange if required. Typically this would give you a couple of days of operation.
I know these are first world problems, but it shows the lack of planning in the design and construction of our infrastructure.
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 13:48

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 13:48
World Health Organisation recommend all frozen food to be at -18 or lower.... I always set my 40 litre engel MAX when used as a freezer and it sits on -18 day after day..
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Follow Up By: Michael M34 - Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 15:56

Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 at 15:56
Thanks Bigfish, after talking with Engels Support Manager he clearly explained why 40L Combi's are advertised at 17/22L or 22 freeze and 17 Fridge or all Fridge. NOT a 40L Freezer.

* When purchasing a Combi; ie mine 5 years old; MT45F - G4C - P, point of sales and homework clearly say that taking the Divider out does not provide a 39L (for the pedantic ones ;) freezer.

* A mate said the 40L Freezer does work with pre-frozen food AND the Engel on freeze. This prompted the "Experiment" Just a home thing.

* Engel said they cannot guarantee that a "Divider out Freezer" can hold minus 16 to 18 that some food needs thus the restriction on sales and manual advice (litigation avoidance - my comment)

* Interestingly, Engel do not recommend using an inverter due to frequency fluctuations - at least that's stated in my 4yo manual - that should throw the proverbial Redarc cats amongst the pigeons :)

In summary, the mates advice proved true as expected but the "some foods need deep freeze at minus 16 - 18C" caught me. Our home freezers are in fact around that but after years of remote travel; our first Engel was 34yo when sold where still here however I take the -18C advice with thanks.

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Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Thursday, Apr 02, 2020 at 06:19

Thursday, Apr 02, 2020 at 06:19
Absolutely correct bigfish, I am not sure how many people out there know this. You should always set your freezer temp. to at least -16 in order to maintain your frozen food at its optimum condition. In my case, my Engel does not have a temperature reading, only min. - max. settings, I have to rely on a temperature probe & external gauge.


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