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Engel 12-Volt Fridge/Freezer Frequently Asked Questions


Engel 12 Volt Fridge/Freezer FAQ

The Engel 12-Volt Fridge/Freezer is an international brand and world leader in portable 12-Volt compressor and refrigeration technology.

Engel 12 Volt Fridge/Freezer 40 years of service

Why Should I buy an Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer?

The Engel name is world renown for reliability in 12-Volt refrigeration. The Engel 'swing' compressor is internationally patented and is considered the Most Reliable Compressor on the Market Today. The Engel 12-Volt Fridge/Freezer only has One Moving Part! Over 3 million units have been sold worldwide.

Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers are Light weight, operating on low power consumption, the new Engel models offer convenient, transportable freezers/refrigerators that run off 12-Volts. They can be used in airplanes, cars, trucks and small boats - basically anywhere close to a 12-Volt power source, including wind generators and solar panels.

A combination of performance, durability, lower power consumption and consistent reliability has made Engel the world's premier brand of mobile refrigeration.

Short Video on the Engel Fridge Freezers by TV Personality & Outdoor Hunter, Rusty Faulk (1.53 Min)

What Temperatures can be Expected from the Engel 12 Volt Refrigerator Freezer?

What Temperatures can be Expected from the Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer?

The Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer is every bit as capable as your own household Refrigerator or Freezer. From keeping soft drinks cold to freezing ice-cubes. Actual Temperature range ability (at 86°F ambient) is 45 to 0 deg. F ( 7.2 to -17.7 deg. C).

Will my Engel make ice, or freeze ice cream?
Yes, Engel models will make ice, or freeze ice cream (except the Engel 30 - this will only make ice). You need to freeze to 10°F, or colder.

How long will my Engel take to freeze ice?

Your Engel will freeze to about the same temperature of your home freezer - therefore it will take about the same time. Actual time varies depending on initial water temperature, volume of water used, how many times the lid is opened etc... Typically it should take about 2-3 hours to freeze a tray.

How long will me Engel keep food frozen after I switch it off?

The answer depends on too many variables - such as out side temperature, weight and type of frozen food, wind speed, sunlight, starting temperature etc. Essentially, the Engel's ability to keep food frozen, and its insulation properties, are similar to a very good quality cooler box.

How much Power is Consumed by your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer?

Refrigerator setting (minimum) and freezer setting (maximum - running continuously) the Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers use approximately 0.9 - 3.9 amps for the smaller units to 1.4 - 3.6 amps for the large 84 Quart MT80 unit. Basically your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer uses less power than most 12-Volt coolers 1/2 their size.  See our Engel Technical Chart for your particular 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer.

If my vehicle's engine is turned off, how long can I safely leave the Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer plugged into my cigarette lighter socket before compromising the battery's ability to start the vehicle?

The safe answer here is approximately 3 hours in most situations. Actual conditions will vary depending upon the number of electrical devices that have been switched on during the last part of your drive (wipers, lights, blower, defogger, radio, cell phone, aux heater, cooler and or other accessories) and what driving conditions have just been experienced (high speed highway or stop and go traffic). Further limitations and factors are the relative condition of the battery and it's charging system as well as season, temperature, and weather conditions.
Under ideal conditions your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer could be run for many hours on just battery power. Under the worst combination of conditions, accessories could potentially deplete the battery in 10 to 20 minutes. Some vans have 10 or 12 bulbs lighted when the interior lights are on. Just these lights can drain a battery below starting power in about 15 minutes, without any other electrical device being present. Good judgment is required when making the decision about whether or not to leave any device plugged in while away from the vehicle.  The best way to understand your situation is to test it before you count on it.

Sometimes I don't know how long I will be away from the vehicle, how do I ensure that I have starting power when also running my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer?

To completely eliminate the burden of energy management, use a Battery Saver. It allows you to leave the cooler plugged in PERMANENTLY. The Battery Saver will automatically switch off the cooler when it senses that the vehicle's battery has dropped below 11 volts. (That is about half discharge in most vehicles). This will leave plenty of power to start the engine. When the vehicle is started, the Battery Saver reconnects your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer and active cooling begins automatically. In conditions where you expect your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer will be switched off for extended periods of time, do not store any foodstuffs that will go bad under these conditions. Stick to soft drinks and bottled water which can be consumed at temperatures above refrigeration range.

How long does the Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezer stay frozen when unplugged?

Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers are extremely well insulated and will provide many hours of cool protection, even when switched off. How many hours will depend on many variables like the out side (ambient) temperature, weight and type of frozen food, wind speed, sunlight, starting temperature etc. Essentially, the Engel's ability to keep food frozen, and its insulation properties, are similar to a very good quality cooler box when unplugged. Try to keep your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers in the shade. Instead of leaving it in a vehicle overnight, use an AC adapter which converts standard 110 Volt AC power to 12-Volts DC and plug the cooler into main power when not driving.

Is there any way to power My Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers while away from a vehicle?

Yes!  All you have to do is plug in the 120 Volt Cord. That's right. All our Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers, except the small (14 Quart) Compact models work on both household and 12-Volt Battery power. And for the Compact Engel we have a Portable Power Pak that has a power socket which can be used to power your Engel or other 12V accessories. This unit has about 17 amp hours of capacity and recharges at home or in your vehicle. The Portable Power unit has booster cables attached so can be used to start your vehicle in case the vehicle's battery has been drained. This unit also comes with a built in air compressor for emergency inflation of tires and other air filled devices.

Can I put ice in my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers?

Yes BUT we recommend putting the ice in a sealed container, NOT a plastic bag. That way you can use the ice for drinks and it will help to rapidly cool the contents on really hot days.

Can I put my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers in the trunk of my car?
NOT recommended. The Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers give off heat externally while cooling. If this heat is shed into a closed space like a trunk, it will eventually heat up that space. These 12-Volt freezers need good ventilation to cool properly.

How do I calculate the volume capacity of my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers.

At the halfway point in depth measure the inside length, width and height in centimeters. Multiply these three dimensions by each other. This will yield so many cubic centimeters. One cubic centimeter is equivalent to 1 milliliter. Divide your cubic centimeters (milliliters) by 1000 and you now have the capacity in Liters. Multiply liters by 1.0567 and you will have the capacity in U.S. Quarts. OR multiply liters by 0.881 to get Imperial Quarts. Of course a much easier way is to pay attention to what you buy. :o)

If I need Warranty work performed or need spare parts, how do we arrange this?

Engel already has a huge network of qualified Service Centers. In the USA, these include over 420 service centers. Internationally, Engel Service Centers can be found in Africa, Australia, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. In the USA your Engel units are factory warranted internationally, for one or two years - depending on the model, from date of purchase! For your nearest Service Center in the USA please contact Engel with your City & State at the following:

Electronic Mail:   info 'at' i-m-d '.' com
Toll Free:            (888) 272 9838 (In USA only)
Toll Free:            (888) 272 9838 (In USA only)
Telephone           (561) 743 7419
Fax                    (561) 743 7420
Postal address:
    1555 Jupiter Park Drive, Unit 5
    Jupiter, FL 33458

Is there any time limitation on running my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers?

These units are designed to run 24/7. Make sure that there is good air circulation to the Fridge Freezer vents. This will assure long life for both.

Can we use a battery charger to operate our Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers?

It is Not recommended. When plugged into a vehicle's cigarette lighter receptacle, a battery charger can be connected to the vehicles battery to keep it "topped up" while your Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers is running.

Why does my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers work on the AC adapter but not in the vehicle?

Some vehicles do not have power to their cigarette lighter sockets when the ignition is off. If the vehicle is running and the relevant fuse is good but the cooler still will not run then get the cigarette lighter socket tested.

What should I check for if my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers is not running at all?

  1. Are both ends of the power cord plugged in?
  2. Is there power coming from the socket or adapter being used.
  3. Check for kinks, knots or other damage to the power cord.

Is it allowable to use a 12-Volt extension cord to run my Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers further away than about 10 feet?

This is NOT recommended. There is a voltage drop in long cords so cooling performance will be degraded.

How much heat do they produce?

Very little heat is produced - Engel compressors are very efficient. The actual heat given off, is less than half a typical light bulb.

Click Here to Enlarge UPS Delivery Time Map
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How long does shipping take to reach me?

The Larger MT60 and MT 80 model only ship by road freight (Truck). Most units will ship within a day or 2 via UPS Ground (within the US). A useful Estimated delivery time is shown on the map below.

What does the Engel Transit bag do?

The transit bag is a heavy duty high quality protective bag designed specifically to protect your Engel investment and to insulate your Engel to help it hold temperature longer so the compressor doesn't need to run as often. Keeping you Engel looking new under your Transit bag will increase it's already high resale value when your ready to upgrade to a larger unit. Additionally the Transit Bag has a storage pocket on the front which allows you to store you cords, user manual and purchase receipt.

What's the difference between a "fridge slide" and a "slide-lok"?

A "Fridge Slide" is a steel tray on rollers that allows you to slide you Engel completely out of you vehicle for access to the contents, then slide it back, for example, under a set of shelves which would allow you to utilize the entire luggage area of your vehicle. The "slide-lok" is used to prevent your Engel from sliding when you turn or stop your vehicle. It is much more convenient then tie down straps because it will allow you to quickly slip your Engel into the locks, while still allowing access. To take your Engel out of the Truck, you jus press the quick release on the Slide-Lok and slide your Engel out.

Why has the Temperature Read Out on my Fridge has gone blank?

Why has the Temperature Read Out on my Fridge has gone blank?

Usually this is caused by the battery going dead. Replacing the battery is easy to do. Refer to your user manual.

  • Simply remove the lid and the Philips head screws holding the top compressor cover in place.  On the MT45F-S and MT35F this includes the hinge screws.
  • Gently turn over the end cover.
  • You will see on the back of the temp display a round cap.
  • To remove the cap, turn it counter clockwise with a flat screw driver.
  • You will see the battery inside.
  • Remove the Battery.
  • Install a new Battery.
  • Replace the cap.
  • Replace the cover
  • Replace all the screws.
  • There are two types of batteries for the Engels. Refer to your user manual or the label on the inside of your lid for battery selection. It will be either an LR44, or a CR2032.

Engel 12-Volt Refrigerator Freezers  (14 to 84 Quarts)

Engel, A Legend in Reliability