Operating a 12 volt fridge-advice sought.(just bought myself an Engel)


After quite some time of looking at these camp fridges,I finally ordered one,(its a major investment!).

I ended up with a Engel MT45 series II 40 litre metal body job.Its size worked well for me,and they appear to have a good reputation,and well-I just had this money I wanted to invest in my field trips (its rare to have such a big lump of money).

I notice the Engel connection system,is good how the cig connector can be removed and engel socket can be put on heavy cable,I like how it screws in,I am getting such a cable made,until I get the 'PosBox' system.

I am looking for advice on using this fridge,I did hear someone mention on should carry spare engel fuses,so will look into that-(where and which ones do I need).

Any advice and pointers would be really appreciated-I have never owned such a piece of kit (and not likely to be purchasing one again soon-so do not want to have any derailments)

Thanks so much-Chris
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Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:06

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:06

Firstly do the same as at home. Don't open unless necessary and close asap.

You are right, a fuse is handy. I have a whole bunch of different fuses I carry in the console. At least two for every type accessory used in the car. And then another group covering the standard engine ones.

Next get one of these Battery low voltage monitor would help. It switches the power to the fridge off if the battery voltage at the fridge gets too low. That way the fridge will not flatten the battery/s. Next in this line is to look at a separate battery (under the bonnet) that can be used for fridge and camping stuff. And if necessary be brought on line to assist with starting if main battery goes kaput or flat.


AnswerID: 478136

Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:21

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:21
Hi Chris,

There is not really much you need to know upfront. You will learn the best setting for your fridge to maintain a suitable temperature.

Perhaps one word of caution is the circuit you plug the fridge into.
The cirarette socket in your average vehicle will take the current load, but is not the best for good contact between plug and socket when travelling. You also want to ensure you don't inadvertently flatten your starting battey.
The best solution therefore, is an auxiliary battery supply.

An ideal 12 volt supply will consist of:-
1. An auxiliary battery to run the fridge for a prolonged period of time. An AGM style is best to protect against spills, etc.
2. The ability to maintain a charge on that battery via the vehicle alternator and external means such as a 240v/12v charger and/or solar panel.
3. An isolator to keep the starting battery and auxiliary battery separated so the starting battery wont be drained.
4. Heavy duty cable if mounting the second battery in the rear of a vehicle.

One other point is that the Engel (a great fridge by the way) does not have a low voltage cutout device (battery protector) and an external one should be considered to protect whatever battery you are plugging the fridge into, from being discharged to the point of complete exhaustion. (Flat)

What I did with my fridge cable was to replace the plug with a hella socket which allows connection to a standard cigarette socket, or a much better merit style socket which is "standard" on most good battery boxes available.

I also changed the standard plug and socket on the Battery Protector device to the hella/merit type which ensures a good connection.

Hella Style plug and socket

The best battery box on the market

Another option is the Blue Apple Thumper which is a 75Ah battery pack enclosed in a waterproof box with all plugs, voltage display and an in-car charge kit included.

This is available from The Home of 12 Volt.
Unfortunately the web site was down at the time of posting this reply so I couldn't provide a direct link.
Home of 12 Volt


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AnswerID: 478137

Follow Up By: darter - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:33

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:33
Thanks very much Bill.

I found this helpful.I am aware of some of the aspects you mention.

To start out with,I plan a 'thumper' style battery arrangement.I will look very closely at the battery protector bit,you and Phil mention.

Thanks-Cheers Chris
FollowupID: 753627

Reply By: darter - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:29

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 15:29
Thanks Phil.

Looking into those aspects you mention.I am going to buy a 'Posbox' (made in Marybough QLD)-I saw one at battery shop,comes with cable etc to connect to car battery-to charge battery in box,but can the box can be in back of ute or anywhere,and taken out and carried around camp to wherever.

Have not found an on line site selling these 'Posboxes' they are $279 from battery shop-the look very useful.

Cheers Chris
AnswerID: 478140

Reply By: robert s4 - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 17:30

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 17:30
darter what r posboxes.my electrican made up a portable electrical clipsal box works a treat.from the second battery the cable runs under the carpet to the back of the wagon(2007 patrol) which keeps the 80 litre cold when we stop we can take the fridge out this were the box works he made works he made the lead from battery 2 metres longer to start i asked him to make 10 metre extension lead the box has one cigy connection and 3 din plugs i can run my fridge and lights from the box 14 metres away from the car thats including the lead that came the fridge its works great with us as we camp at boolumba creek
AnswerID: 478151

Follow Up By: robert s4 - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 17:32

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 17:32
engel only fridge to bye
FollowupID: 753641

Follow Up By: darter - Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 18:33

Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 18:33
Yes Robert-these 'Posboxes' are basically the same as your made up one,it has isolator,volt read out,anderson clip for car battery charge to go in,two plugs for goodies to go plug into-they can be moded to whatever plug,rather than usual cig plug.

I cannot find them on google,the battery shop in Kingaroy sells them for $279,they are made at Marybough QLD (so I'm told).They come with cable to go from your car battery put it in your car where ever,then carry it around to where suits your camp.

You just by this box put a 100 amp or 120 amp AGM in and away you go (with a much lighter wallet too;)

The appear basicllly similar to thumper box?

RE-'only fridge to buy'-they all seemed good,but this brand does appear to be well thought off on these outdoor forums.It looks very posh too!-if 'Harrods' sold camp fridges-these look like the ones they would sell.

FollowupID: 753650

Follow Up By: robert s4 - Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 20:28

Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 20:28
i was lucky i bought my 80 engel for 1500 at anaconda morayfield 40% off very nice i thought
FollowupID: 753753

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