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Do I need a voltage regulator for my new Engel fridge?

4088 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Minnewaska
I am about to install my new Engel fridge (MB40 drop-in model) and I came across something in the manual that left me a bit confused. They say to connect the fridge directly to the battery (with a 10a fuse near the source) and then go on to say that higher voltages can damage the compressor. I've seen my alternator put out 14.2 volts, though usually it's a bit less, and my solar panels are putting out more than 13 volts during the day. My question is this- will the higher voltage when I'm running the engine or solar charging hurt the fridge? I can't imagine a 12v fridge made for boats and RVs wouldn't be able to operate in the 12-14v range, but I'm no expert... The manual does mention that a voltage regulator should be installed if the fridge is connected to a generator to avoid surges.

Thanks in advance!
1 - 1 of 8 Posts
A nominal 12 volt system normally is charged by 1 14.4 volt alternator. And the equipment designed for "vehicle power" (car or boat) is designed to handle that. However, a bad regulator can pump out 17 volts and do all sorts of damage. Unregulated solar or wind power sources can do the same.

Some radio equipment is commonly spec'd for "13.8 volts plus or minus 15%" which means they can take 14.4 just fine, but at battery-only voltage they don't work so well.'d have to contact the maker to find out just what voltage range they prefer. Your electronics, etc. may very well prefer 13.8 to 14.4, and as long as your Engel is built the same way, your only worry would be if your system (ay part of it) exceeded that voltage. An overvoltage alarm or cut-off might not be unreasonable to ensure against that.

If your only high voltage source may be an unregulated solar panel, the easy answer there is to add a solar controller to make sure that can't be a problem.
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