Engel Waeco Pros and Cons

The Australian 4WD Action Magazine – Did a very good set of tests on the power consumption of 40 litre portable fridges.

They didn’t compare apples with apples, with the comparison between the Engel 40 litre and the Waeco CF-40.

I have both fridges, brought for different reasons, and I can’t fault either as they each do an excellent job.

A more valid comparison, for power consumption purposes, would have been between the 40 litre Engel and the 50 litre Waeco.

The Engel has a full size evaporator and will hold a total of 60 cans of beer all contained within the evaporator zone.

The CF-40 will only hold a total of 46 cans and doesn’t have a full evaporator.
Therefore only 38 cans fit within the evaporator zone and the remaining 8 in the upper warmer zone and dairy section.

Solution - beer on the bottom and the wife’s drinks on top.

The Australian 4WD test showed that the CF-40 used about three quarters of the power of the Engel, which is to be expected considering the size of their evaporator zones and useable capacities.

Others have commented that the Engel compressor runs twice as long as the CF-40; this is true but again it is to be expected as the Engel draws 2.5 to 3 amps whilst the CF-40 draws 5 to 6 amps. This also becomes a consideration when sizing your supply cable, because you will get twice the volt drop using the CF-40.

The reasons I brought each fridge (cost wasn’t a consideration), are as follows;

Engel 40 litre.
Robust steel construction (it gets knocked around), holds more beer, no dairy section (waste of valuable cold space) and not as prone to volt drop problems.

Waeco CF-40
Light and easy to carry, very quiet (we sleep alongside it in the caravan) and low power consumption (we run off solar power).
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Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:31

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:31
Why would you NOT compare two fridge's of *exact* same cabinet capacity ?

I believe both fridge's should hold the exact same capacity, if not your comparing 2 different size fridge's and they have to give different results.

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:39

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:39
Mainey – do you have a problem reading English?
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:52

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:52
Dennis,
No I don't have any problem reading English

The post states: "A more valid comparison, for power consumption purposes, would have been between the *40 litre* Engel and the *50 litre* Waeco.

The Engel has a full size evaporator and will hold a total of *60 cans*
The CF-40 will only hold a total of *46 cans* "

These two fridge'a are very obviously different capacities, because the post states they are (in English too) or can't you see that ?

Maîneÿ . . .

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:56

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 14:56
What can I say Mainey - other than try the experiment and see for yourself?
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 15:20

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 15:20
Dennis,
My reply was in reference to your statement:

"A more valid comparison, for power consumption purposes, would have been between the *40 litre* Engel and the *50 litre* Waeco"

I was not querying your test results in any way.

I have stated your test results must be totally different, because they are relevant to two different fridges, using different type of compressors with different capacities and contents and also with different insulation too :)

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Glenndini - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 15:41

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 15:41
Damn Mainey,
it's not that hard.
The 40 litre Engel has 40 litre refrigeration compartment.

The 40 litre Waeco has a 31 litre refrigeration compartment plus a 6 litre dairy compartment. Hence these two are not the same size. The names of the units might quote the same number but they are not really the same.

The 50 litre Waeco however, has a 41 litre refrigeration zone plus an 8 litre dairy compartment.

The refrigeration zone of the 40 litre Engel and the 50 litre Waeco are closest to the same actual size refrigerator and might have made for a better comparison.

And in English it should be "if not YOU'RE comparing" not your.
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 15:48

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 15:48
Dennis,
Yes, I'm aware of the "total" internal fridge capacities :)

Maîneÿ . . .

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:21

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:21
Mainey that wasn't me it was Glenndini.
You'd better quit while you can, or you'll need a highlift jack to get your foot out of your mouth
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:43

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:43
Yeahhh I'll quit as you suggest, as Glenndini says the two fridge's are different so the current draw also has to be different too :)

Maîneÿ . . .
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Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:23

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:23
Hi All

As long as the Beer keeps chilled who cares, I have 2x Engels 40 ltr and 29 ltr, and never had a problem, my son has Waecos and he has had no problems, again Horses For Courses,

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL

Cheers
Daza
AnswerID: 397098

Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:38

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 16:38
Dennis, I have just read The Australian 4WD Action Magazine article on their website and cannot see where they have presented a compilation of power consumption. Perhaps that only appeared within the hard-copy magazine?

There are a few references to power consumption within the text but not for all fridges tested so how did you reach a conclusion?

Furthermore, they have confused their expressions of amps and ampere-hours (not uncommon!) so how valid is the rest of their analysis?

They rate the Waeco as having 40 litre capacity whereas the Waeco site states 37 litre. Nevertheless, it is a close comparison and more-so than your proposed Engel 40 and Waeco 50.

Your technique of comparing based on the can capacity may only be appropriate if your fridge is to contain cans only. The A4WD article stated that they were ".... trying, as much as possible, to replicate how people actually use their fridges in the wild." So they used a mix of contents and not just can capacity which, incidentally, depends on the actual internal dimensions and not just on the litre capacity.

Really, Mainey makes a quite valid point.




Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:26

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:26
Allan the figures I used are from Waeco, Engel, the 4WD mag, and confirmed by my own measurements. Before I retired I worked as an electrical designer and these are simple calculations – bread and butter type stuff.
As for the capacity of the fridges, the cans test was the easiest practical way to show the useable capacity of the fridges. My wife also tried to pack food containers into the fridges and came up with the same limitations. If you filled the Waeco with a single bladder of water, you would get to about 75% of the Engle’s capacity (excluding the dairy section). We could go on forever debating the fridge’s capacity, so do the experiment and check it out yourself. Alternatively take the wife and do a visual inspection of the fridges, as the difference was quite apparent to my wife prior to my testing.
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:35

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:35
Allan,
the main testing results published were "cabinet temperatures" with each fridge.

The Energy consumption results (pictured) are published on page 61

Image Could Not Be Found
(problem using round drink cans to measure capacity is the excess gaps between each can)

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Member - TJ (VIC) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:46

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:46
I believe the Beercanometer is the correct Australian measurement for fridge capacity.
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:49

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:49
Dennis, I wasn't questioning your competence, merely where the numbers came from as I could not find them within the A4WD article.

I know they are simple calculations so why cannot A4WD get their Amperes and Amp-hours expressions right? Even in the tabulation that Mainey has kindly posted they have confused it again!

And the true scientific method of capacity is volumetric, not cans or food containers. And being critical of the evaporator size is inappropriate. Does your domestic fridge have an evaporator that covers the entire inside of the fridge?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:51

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 17:51
Mainey, thank you, that table was helpful and answered my question.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 18:22

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 18:22
Allan the domestic fridge has a large capacity evaporator at the top called the freezer.
The cold air from this then falls down through the rest of the fridge.
The design of these portables prohibits the evaporator being attached to the bottom of the lid.
Otherwise you would have to cut a hole in the side to get your beer out.

Re the table - the third column is obviously amp hours.
You will see it confirms my statements about power consumption.

Thanks also to Mainey for the table.
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 18:37

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 18:37
Yes Dennis, It is obvious to you and me that the third column is amp-hours, it's bread and butter after all. But the text above the table says that the third figure is amps! Do you have a problem reading English? LOL

No wonder that the average bloke gets confused when even an "authority" gets it wrong within the one sentence.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Shaver - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 07:53

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 07:53
Surprisingly there used to be a portable Fridge a few years back that had the Compressor & Evaporator in the lid. I think they were called Fridge Mate. They died a slow death with faulty Compressors & other Warranty issues. I had one ,& it seemed to work OK for 15 hrs before packing it in, again getting it repaired, & then finally using it for a Esky. Maybe if they had used a reliable Compressor it may have been OK !
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 15:34

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 15:34
Mainey ,those figures in the chart for the Waeco 80lt , recon they are pretty spot on seeing my 80 has for the last 6+ yrs used 63 per 24hrs on avg. LOL.
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 19:21

Thursday, Dec 31, 2009 at 19:21
Moral of the story is

Dont believe tests conducted by journalists


Have seen other errors in mags from same stable.



AnswerID: 397111

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 10:29

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 10:29
Dennis,

"the Engel draws 2.5 to 3 amps whilst the CF-40 draws 5 to 6 amps.
This also becomes a consideration when sizing your supply cable, because you will get *TWICE THE VOLT DROP* using the CF-40"

Engel 40 litre:
"Robust steel construction, holds more beer, no dairy section and *not as prone to volt drop* problems"

"Waeco CF-40:
Light and easy to carry, very quiet and *LOW power consumption* - we run off SOLAR power"

No wonder some people get a bit confused :)

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 10:51

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 10:51
Mainey – those figures are correct and can be verified by checking Waeco and Engel’s books or websites or by doing your own measurements. They obviously confuse you but they won’t confuse electricians or engineers. It's not possible to teach you electrical theory on this website - take the figures along to an electrician and get him to explain.
Happy new year.
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:05

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:05
Dennis,
Please explain (in detail) your statement: "because you WILL get *TWICE THE VOLT DROP* using the CF-40"

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:12

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:12
Mainey this is getting ridiculous – you need to find someone that can give you tuition on electrical theory on a face to face basis – It’s too difficult and time consuming on a website like this.
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:18

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:18
Dennis,
I only want to know why one fridge gives *TWICE THE VOLT DROP* of the other fridge.

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:35

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:35
Dennis,
You have said:
"This also becomes a consideration when *SIZING YOUR SUPPLY CABLE*, because you will get TWICE THE VOLT DROP using the CF-40"

So we are talking about the *Voltage drop* in the SUPPLY CABLE from the battery to the fridge, that's your starting point.



Question is:

Why is there *TWICE the VOLT DROP* using a fridge consuming LESS power ?

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:47

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:47
Mainey
Volt drop is proportional to the current flowing in a circuit.
The CF-40 draws twice the current of the 40 litre Engel and over any given length of cable the voltdrop will always be double that of the Engel.
When considering the drain of a fridge on a battery, we don’t look at the instantaneous current draw but the amount of current drawn over a period of time.
The CF-40 uses less power in amp hours as its thermostat runs its compressor for a shorter time than does the Engel.
Therefore the CF-40 uses more current in short bursts but its overall power consumption is less.
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:55

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 11:55
By bursts I don't mean seconds but a number of minutes, depending on the tempuratures inside and outside the fridge.
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Follow Up By: Maîneÿ . . .- Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 12:00

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 12:00
Dennis,

Yes, as you say: "When considering the drain of a fridge on a battery, we DON'T look at the *instantaneous current draw* but the amount of current drawn over a period of time"

As you say the Waeco uses LESS current in 24 hours and its OVERALL POWER CONSUMPTION is LESS and you still claim it has *TWICE the VOLT DROP*

Maîneÿ . . .
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Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 12:11

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 12:11
Mainey we are getting nowhere. This is my last statement on the issue.
Voltdrop is proportional to the amps flowing in a circuit at any given time – you seem to be stuck with the idea that it is proportional to power consumption (amphours).
The CF-40 has a higher current draw (therefore higher voltdrop) but uses less power over a period of time.
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Follow Up By: Member - Andrew (QLD) - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 12:52

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 12:52
Volt drop is directly proportional to cable length and current.....doubling the current (ie. "the Engel draws 2.5 to 3 amps whilst the CF-40 draws 5 to 6 amps.) will result in a doubling of the Volt drop.

Hope that helps.

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 15:40

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 15:40
I'll try.

Mainey, consider two fridges. Same size cabinets, both 40 litre with identical contents. Both running on the same size battery, same size cables. Both set to attain the same temperature.

Fridge 'A' draws 2.5A when actually running and runs on a 50% duty cycle (2minutes running, 2 minutes idle in a 4 minute period)

Fridge 'B' has a more powerful motor and draws 5.0A when actually running but runs on a 25% duty cycle (1 minute running, 3 minutes idle in a 4 minute period)

So fridge 'B' draws twice the current when actually running but runs for only half the time of fridge 'A' so they both achieve the same result and both use the same amount of power in a day. (The battery will discharge to the same level for each)

However as fridge 'B' draws twice the current (5.0A) when running it creates twice the volt-drop on the cable. So the cable needs to be a larger cross-sectional area for fridge 'B' if we are to maintain the same efficiency.

Does that make it clear Mainey?

Incidentally, this is a good example of power loss in cabling. Here we have two essentially identical loads, yet one (fridge 'B') will "waste" four times the energy of the other if the same cable is used. This occurs because the power loss in the cable is given by the formula W=I²R. So double the current in the cable and you have four times the power loss. Accordingly, it is necessary to use a cable of four times the cross-sectional area to maintain the original power loss. Gets expensive doesn't it?

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - Flynnie (NSW) - Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 23:32

Friday, Jan 01, 2010 at 23:32
This is partly why fridges with a high/low switch or turbo/normal switch should normally be used in the low or normal setting when running on battery power. The power consumption will be less.

Just going back to the first post, I do think it is relevant in choosing a fridge to be aware of how much of the volume of the fridge is effectively cooled. My old Waeco is a bit poor on this, the top part is not that well cooled. My new Explorer DC65 is a lot better in this and other ways.

Flynnie



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