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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I was just down at the boat over the weekend to take some measurements and it seems I can fit two 140w panels over the bimini. I'm wondering if a 10a controler is enough for each panel, or should I go with a 20a. I don't want to spend too much on the controllers as I intend to replace them with better quality MPPT controllers when I have the chance to buy them abroad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Just a quick update! I'm getting ready to fly to Montreal for xmas and to pick up my Engel drop-in fridge. I still haven't decided on which solar panels to go with. I have found some cheaper 150w panels in Brazil and I can fit two of them over the bimini, each on a (Chinese) MPT 20amp controler. The other option I'm toying with is getting one big 240w (but 30 volt) panel and buying a better quality MPPT controler for it while I'm in Canada. I'm still confused about which setup will give me the most energy return (the monetary cost being about the same). Any ideas?

If I go with the MPPT controller (30a?), does anyone know a good source in Canada to buy one? Ideally I'd like something simple and reliable. Any suggestions for brands and models?
 

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so jealous of the engel fridge copa!

good luck and happy holidays man

christian

ps mornignstar mppt 30 amp controller have a great rep...that would be my advice
 
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I was just down at the boat over the weekend to take some measurements and it seems I can fit two 140w panels over the bimini. I'm wondering if a 10a controler is enough for each panel, or should I go with a 20a. I don't want to spend too much on the controllers as I intend to replace them with better quality MPPT controllers when I have the chance to buy them abroad.
Please be very careful with Chinese MPPT's... Some are okay others are actual fakes and are nothing more than a PWM controller with an MPPT sticker.

As for 30A controllers these three are all excellent...

Rogue MPT-3048 MPPT
Morningstar TriStar TS-30 MPPT
MidNite KID MPPT
 

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I ran a stand alone Engel refrigerator/freezer for years off of two 75 watt Siemens solar panels. This past year I added another stand alone ENGEL and the panels still did ok but, really could use a little help. So I bought a Renogy 100 watt flexible panel to add into the mix:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: A LOOK AT THE RENOGY 100 WATT BENDABLE SOLAR PANEL
It has worked great and since it only weighs four pounds I can move it around the boat for maximum solar harvesting. They are very reasonable in price and the versatility is a big plus. You could try one and see how it works. They are reasonably priced and easy enough to move unlike the rigid panels I installed previously. If I were building my solar bimini today I'd probably use them for all the panels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Mbianka, I can't find the Renogy panels here in Brazil, but if I could they would be my first choice. Any idea how many amps per day your Engel fridges use? Which models do you have?
 

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Mbianka, I can't find the Renogy panels here in Brazil, but if I could they would be my first choice. Any idea how many amps per day your Engel fridges use? Which models do you have?
Copacabana:
Too bad you can't get the Renogy panels in your location. My oldest ENGEL is similar to MT27 model. I've been using it probably ten years without a problem. This year I bought an MR040 both ENGELS use under 3 amps when operating. Never added up the amp hours per day as the two 75 watt solar panels handled the one Engel. With the Renogy 100 watt flexible panel added into the mix the two group 27 batteries that make up the 12 volt house bank can handle both units without the solar controller showing anything but a green light for battery capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 · (Edited)
Thanks Mbianka. I've just bought the Engel MB40 and I hope to see the same results when I get my new panels installed. My current setup (2 x 45w) covers my current needs, but the new fridge will need extra juice- hence the two 150w panels I will install.
 

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An Engel MT-45 uses between .7 and 2.5 amps. The drop-in model is the same (MB-40).
Brian.. is that net amps, or 'when running'? What's the typical duty cycle? Good numbers compared to our old AB unit.
 

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The only thing I see as potential issue is the size of the Engel mt27 I can put 4 of them inside my fridge and the freezer section of my installed unit is 24 inch by 24 inch and 6 inches tall and the refer unit I'm installing uses the about 24 ah per day. By the specs he little Engel will use almost the same power
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 · (Edited)
Brian.. is that net amps, or 'when running'? What's the typical duty cycle? Good numbers compared to our old AB unit.
Ron, the Engel fridges have a loyal following who rave about their low power consumption and reliability. That's why I ended up buying one and not building a box and installing a cooling unit. They are not huge fridges though.... The one I am insalling is a bit bigger than my current propane one, but it's big enough for my needs. The cool thing about the Engel is that it can run as either a fridge or a freezer (but not both at the same time).

Here is the engel chart with power consumption:
 

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Thanks Mark.. mighty tempting numbers, esp in 'fridge' function. Would be difficult to give up volume, though, and so far (tapping on own head) our 'old faithful' AB keeps on chugging.... ;)
 

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Copacabana beat me to it. As a fridge my 40 quart Engel was shown as using 17 AH/24 hours in 77F ambient temps. While I haven't measured mine I have no disagreement with this. The dial is scaled from 1-5 and above 1 it freezes. I keep mine slightly above 1 and can keep frozen food frozen if it is around the outside of the box but food in the middle doesn't freeze.

I like them so much we (Trotac Marine Victoria) have become a dealer. My only regret is that the Canadian Distributor does not import the drop-in units. They have to come out of Florida. But that may change.

This is the unit I have:

 

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Brian that's a real nice lil unit and glad to get some real world power data I have several customers considering ice box conversions are the drop ins more efficient in the same basic capacities? My fringe on the s42 is way to big for one of them I'm going holding plate there
 

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I believe the MB40 drop-in has the same power usage. Same interior size (in quart measurement) as well. I would guess that could be improved by dropping it into an opening that was insulated also.

Agree, too small for the Spencer 42. The best large box units I have been involved with are the Isotherm with water cooling. Their water cooling does not require a pump.

Or 2 Engel drop-in units side by side, one as freezer and one as fridge.
 

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Using the technautics with a 2.5 inch thick freeze holding place the original was sea freeze with a one inch plate air cooled will post pictures as I do the job
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
OK so it appears that at an ambient temp of 25 c and using as a refer unit we would use approx 40ah per day for the 42 qt unit
Newhaul, If I'm reading the chart correctly, in a 30c environment and running the fridge as a reefer (setting 1, just above freezing) it uses 1 amp/hour and runs 34% of the time. Wouldn't that be 8.16ah per day? Of course that's assuming no one opens the fridge or puts in any warm stuff!

On the topic of adding insulation- I ended up buying the drop-in unit with the attached compressor (it is attached to the bottom of the box). I'll have lots of dead space around the unit when I install it. Any ideas on how to improve the insulation (without "insulating" the compressor and retaining the heat)? Also, wouldn't adding foam around it create an environment for condensation and risk damaging the unit from corrosion?
 

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I believe the MB40 drop-in has the same power usage. Same interior size (in quart measurement) as well. I would guess that could be improved by dropping it into an opening that was insulated also.

Agree, too small for the Spencer 42. The best large box units I have been involved with are the Isotherm with water cooling. Their water cooling does not require a pump.

Or 2 Engel drop-in units side by side, one as freezer and one as fridge.
I have my two stand alone ENGEL units end to end in the main cabin. They serve several functions. It increases the bunk width size it is butted up to, serves as a seat/bench for the table so I don't have to open up the leaf. I turned the former ice box into storage for things like the bread maker, beer, non refrigerated provisions etc... The drop in was not available when I bought my first ENGEL I might have gone that way had it been. But, I'm also happy with the stand alone units too.
 
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