Engel Insulation

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:17
ThreadID: 31284 Views:5420 Replies:10 FollowUps:17
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Its often stated that Engel and Waeco are not overgenerous on the insulation, and as I'm always interested in getting more out of things was wondering if any Engel owners had removed the steel outer covers and looked at improving on what the factory fitted in there?

I already have the Engel bag and it runs good,(and I dont need to buy a waeco thank you) just wondered if it can be improved on even further??


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Reply By: Member - Tony G (ACT) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:32

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:32
Does it feel cold on the outside of the Engel or hot?
AnswerID: 157806

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:12

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:12
If working as freezer ~ can be cold
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony G (ACT) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:14

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:14
If its cold on the outside wouldn't that mean the insulation is not good enough.
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Follow Up By: Ron173 - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:22

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:22
Thats exactly why I'm wondering if it can be improved upon?
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Follow Up By: Member - Tony G (ACT) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:34

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:34
I'll look on with interest as the outside of the lid of mine feels cold.
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:36

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:36
I would have thought no, most people believe the insulating cover doesn't make a difference, other than protect the fridge. I just a bought a new Waeco and the cooling is amazing, it is so quick and efficient that I don't see why you would want to improve something that is already brilliant. I have the insulating cover, what I will say though is don;t forget these things work better in a cooler enviroment, so in the shade all the time. You could always throw in some techni ice if you want to experiment, don't think however it would make a difference.
AnswerID: 157808

Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:54

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:54
G'day TerraFirma,

I also have a couple of weacos and made a couple covers from some material that is about 1 cm of dense foam and covered with foil (got it from bunnings). I think that if you are looking to get the longest life out of your battery (seems there are a lot of posts on this subject) it pays to reduce the ambient temperature as well, I do this with a window fan. So with the tinnie on top to act as a tropical roof the 2 weacos (1 freezer and 1 fridge) have worked well on our 70 AMP AGM battery. We travelled 3 months in the tropics like this without a problem.

The insulation effect of this stuff was evident when you felt the fridge lid it was cold - not hot as expexted when just by itself.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Mainey (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:40

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:40
Beatit, maybe it should be a plug for the DEEP CYCLE AGM battery ? ?
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 15:10

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 15:10
G’day Mainey,

Well I’ve read the battery posts over many years and had faced the inevitable questions about modern camping some years before that. I found my AGM setup to be extremely efficient for my purposes. To be fair the battery acts as a power filter most of the time (ie. When it is getting charged from either the genie or mains power) and when no power is available it acts as sole power for the 2 fridges. For this reason I give the fridges the best environment for operation.

I have found the AGM battery can take a hiding and come back quickly when charged. A volt and ammeter keeps me informed of its current status. Personally I can’t understand the fuss about the cranking and deep cycle discussions for my usage. In fact a travelling companion has all the troubles often highlighted on this forum, trying to charge big AMP deep cycles unsuccessfully and getting peeved when the battery finally collapses.

Kind regards

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Reply By: Nebster - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:40

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:40
Hi Ron,

Have been thinking about the same thing myself, as we are going on the road indefinetly in a couple of months. What I have been thinking is getting some insulation material I have heard about that has adhesive on one side (Im not sure where to get it from thou), and stick it over the steel.

The only area that I cant see being covered is around over the grill section covering the motor. I have heard that there maybe rust problems, but I dont think that will happen to soon and if it does I think a sheetmetal place could bend another anyway.

I was looking at the insultation being about 25mm or 1 inch thick, that way I maybe able to mod the transit bag a bit to go around the lot.

I'll be keeping an interest in this thread to see what others suggest (other than different makes) ;)


AnswerID: 157810

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:44

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:44

Mine can become cold to touch on outside, which leans me towards thinking it could be improved. Also if I switch it off from fully frozen, it stays cold for a bit, but not like anything you'd measure in days, like some other brands that have been quoted here, it would be a measure of hours.

That said it runs pretty good and I'm not dissapointed in it, but like all refridgeration and ac systems you cannot have too much insulation, hence why I was asking if anyone had perhaps been down this road.

I've not pulled the covers off yet to look, infact dont know how easy/hard that in itself may be, but if I did and found airspace anywhere, I'd be looking at putting exp foam or similar into that area.

The only thing with sticking onto the steel with extra insulation is that it may take on a real daggy appearance and prove difficult to remove if you ever wanted to sell it.

One thing I do notice is that in 40deg heat the top even with bag on can become quite hot just from basic heat soakage from sun, (i try to keep it in shade but you always get it in windows at some point in day) I had decided that next trip I was going to just place on top, one of those windscreen sun reflectors, just folded up suitably to deflect a bit of heat, I think that should be a good simple improvement.

If there are any other ideas out there, lets share them

(although its inevitable that I will get told I need to buy a waereeftrailautoches!)


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Follow Up By: Nebster - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 14:17

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 14:17
Same here we couldnt be happier with our fridge either, but like you say more insulation should make it just that bit better. I made the transit bag for ours and it did improve the efficiency of the fridge.

I have tried the windscreen deflector over the top idea and it does work, thats why I am looking at going down the path of sticking this insulation on because apparently it has a alfoil look on the outside.

I dont think it should take on a daggy look, but in saying that some people I know can make anything look daggy. ;)

Might be able to incorporate the insultaion in the transit bag and avoid sticking it on. My only concern with sticking it on is if the fridge sweats.

I also am not looking at selling the fridge either, its taken everything I thrown at it and still going fine.

It has always run 24/7. (24 beers in a carton 24 hours in a day- Coincidence!) LOL

I'll try and catch up with a fridgy mate and ask him what the stuff is called and what its like, or Member No1 or another fridgy might know.

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Reply By: richopesto - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:54

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 12:54
hey Ron,

I own an EvaKool ED40. Very much an eski with a motor. There is about 20mm thick blown foam insulation surrounding the main fridge and freezer compartment and then an air gap of varying depths between the blown foam and the outer casing - which is just 'eski plastic' - (PVC?). The lid is hollow, with an access bung.
I found wrapping the whole thing (not covering vents!) in a travel blanket (free) and a windscreen sunshield ($2 from the reject shop ) made a heap of difference to running times. Much the same as an insulation cover for the Engel, I guess. I have reduced it from about 50% to 30% cycling in ambient temperatures ranging 26-32 degrees in the N.T. - which gave me an entire extra days capacity from the battery.
Even on cool days down the NSW South Coast, it still cycles around 25%, so I dont know if there is much more efficiency to be squeezed from the Danfoss compressor.
The ambient temperature is obviously a big factor here.
I intend to fill the lid with blown foam too, but Im not sure I'll get a huge result from this. Cool drops anyway.
I havent tested it yet, but Im going to try and make ice in the freezer during the day, under power from driving or solar panels, and use this overnight as a buffer. I think this will be more effective than any 'band-aid' attempts at stopping coolth loss.

hope this has been useful.
AnswerID: 157817

Follow Up By: Muzzgit (WA) - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 22:53

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 22:53
1. Even just turning it up in the morning (while driving) and turning it down in the evening (when parked) will help your batteries.

2. The silver stuff that the waeco insulation bag is made of is VERY GOOD at keeping sunlight from heating up the lid of our waeco. When I have forgotten to fold over the top of the fridge cover the lid gets very hot on top.

3. I have often pondered what I could do to make the fridge more efficient and appart from keeping it as cool as possible (out of a hot car) a 12v fan for cooling the motor seems my only option.
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:34

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:34
Whilst we are on this subject and comparing the Waeco vs the Engel, do all Engels use a metal finish vs waeco which uses plastic. The metal is more prone to scratching although the plastic does also. Just wondering about the schools of thought happening here between the 2 makers.?
AnswerID: 157830

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:52

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:52
Hi Terrafirma,

wasnt in anyway meant to be a waeco engel comparison, that just starts a never ending debate, I was looking for possible Engel owners who may have improved this area.

In answer to your question though, all engels I have seen, except the small shoulder strap models, have all been metal case, and every Waeco I have seen, inc one I owned have all had plastic case.

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Follow Up By: TerraFirma - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:56

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:56
Hi Ron, Certainly not chasing a comparison, just curious as to the schools of thought with regards to metal exteriors vs plastic.?
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:44

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:44
15lt Engle is plastic case ,lid steel.
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Reply By: Longreach - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:41

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:41
Sorry to move off at a slight tangent, but wondering if when running the Engel on freeze, if others find that it works much better on 240v than 12v. I'd have thought it ought to be much the same if your battery is up to scratch.
AnswerID: 157833

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:54

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 13:54
I find no difference in performance on either power source running in either mode, fridge or freeze, unless of course the battery is almost flat.

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Reply By: Member Colin - NSW Bungendore - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:33

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 16:33
I covered my old 3 way with self adhesive, foam backed foil- I got it from Clarke Rubber. It made a huge difference to the temp.

Mind you the frig was responsible for burning my car to the ground - I had had it for 24 years !!
AnswerID: 157866

Reply By: DesC - Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 19:13

Wednesday, Mar 01, 2006 at 19:13
keep the fridge as full as you can get it and you will have less issues with power consumption. I stack it with damp towels etc to take up all air space possible. 45c + and i don't have issues unless the fridge is getting empty. (had my engel for 15 years).
AnswerID: 157894

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 03:18

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 03:18
Now Nudie will no doubt correct me if I'm wrong, but I am led to believe that you can actually have too much insulation which will restrict the fridge from performing at its optimum.

As well as stopping heat from entering the fridge via the walls, the fridge also needs to transfer heat from the inside to the outside, also via the walls.

How many domestic fridges do you see with 6" thick walls?

If Engel, or Waeco could improve on the heat transfer properties of their product lines, you can bet your left one that they would have done it.

If I were you Ron, I'd leave that you beaut Engel fridge exactly the way it is.

I'm diagonally parked in a parallel Universe!

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AnswerID: 157988

Follow Up By: Member No 1- Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:10

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:10
if available room for size of fridge, and costs are not taken into account the thicker the insulation the better....but your sort of right (see post in above thread 31285 where i accidently put it) it just becomes uneconomical to manufacture a domestic fridge/freezer with insulation greater than 50mm considering savings gained from power input, loss of space both inside and out.

most domestic stuff including freezers have a insulation barrier of around 35mm....as they are meant (designed) for indoor use and power is adequate.

But with batteries its a different story.....the benefits gained from using 75mm insulation v 50mm is marginal in our smaller type fridges...but in a bigger fridge it adds up to a far bigger saving....35mm in my opinion is too little for our 12v type fridges....50mm is a lot better...75mm even even better (but it effectiveness does drop away after the initial 50mm, meaning the last 25mm does very little for extra energy savings) and also increases outer volume/decreases inner volume......when one considers the small amount of savings gained.
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Reply By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:24

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 08:24
I did have a cover on the Engel but took it off after it became apparent that on very hot days it was just trapping hot air. A few scratches and knocks just to the character :)
AnswerID: 158013

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 13:58

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 13:58
Thats interesting, you reckon it runs better without it then?

might try that next weekend.

Guess I should just leave it n run with it as is.

The temptation to tinker should be resisted.


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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Australia) - Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 14:09

Thursday, Mar 02, 2006 at 14:09
Feeling all that hot air trapped between the fridge and cover which was hotter than the ambient temperature was enough for me to pull it off.
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