Engel SB70 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-07-2010, 07:29 AM   #1
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Engel SB70

Hi all, we are thinking of replacing the Dometic 211 3 way fridge in our 13' Scamp with n Engel SB70. I was wondering if anyone has done this and possibly any other thoughts. I am planning on having 2 30w solar panels and will probably have a 2 6v golf cart batteries for a house bank.
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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If you do replace it, would you be interested in selling it? Thanks Joe
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:28 PM   #3
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I haven't used an Engel myself, so this is second-hand, but three friends have used them on small boats (~25') and have been very pleased with them. One is in Texas, one in Florida, and one in SC, so they are giving them a workout. If you like, I can check into what they have for battery bank/solar.

If I can figure out where to put them without worrying about making the camper sag, I, too, would like to have a pair of 6-volt batteries (T-105's or the like).

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Old 10-07-2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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I am sort of thinking about putting them in the place of the single battery. In order to save a bit of weight I was thinking about replacing the single 20lb propane tank with a 10lb fiberglass one (since we would not be using propane for the fridge). It would help offset the extra battery.
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Old 10-07-2010, 02:43 PM   #5
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That could work, as long as the tongue weight is still acceptable. And they're right over the frame there, so that's good.

As you probably know from boating, 10# of propane will last "forever" if you are only using it for a cooking stove.

Since I'm interested in the 6-volt batteries myself, I scratched out some numbers:

Full 20# propane tank = ~36#
Total weight = ~ 36#

Full 10# propane tank = ~22#
Each T-105 batteries = ~62#
Total weight = ~146#

I don't think I could handle that kind of weight so close to the tongue, since my car specifies maximum tongue weight of 200#. But if I do have two 62# batteries I would like them over the frame somewhere. The question is where.

Raya
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:52 PM   #6
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We already have a single deep cycle so one of the 6v would replace that (or maybe just another matching deep cycle to save some money, though I would prefer the 6v). I am figuring on saving 21# with the switch to the 10# fibertank. The previous owner also added a second jack with a wheel. I might take that off, I am guesing about 20# for that. So a rough guess would be adding about 20#. Our truck can take a tongue weight of 350 so we should be good.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:39 PM   #7
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Sounds like you have run your numbers
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:10 PM   #8
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So the Engel is strictly 12/24volt. Correct? WestMarine has models for sale online between $650 and $720. (A new 3-way Dometic is available for less than $450.) Just curious...Is there any specific reason you do not want the 110V and propane gas capabilities as optional energy sources?
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:34 PM   #9
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Hi Robert, good question. The way these 2 fridges work is very different. The Dometic draws 9.4 amps in 12v mode while the Engel draws a max of 3 amps, so the Engel is much more efficient when in 12v mode than the Dometic. I have 2 40 watt solar panels and would like to have 2 6 volt house batteries (which if sunny should take care of the 12v power). We are planning on a cross country 3 month trip and I am not sure I am comfortable leaving the propane on to cool the fridge. With the 12v I do not have to worry about that.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:54 PM   #10
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Good to know! I'd be interested in learning how well the Engel performs for you.

As an aside, I'm finishing a remodel of a 1969 Trailswest Campster. By request of the new owner, I have installed an Avanti AC/DC "Superconductor" refrigerator. It is very much like a small apartment-style frig, but as its name implies, it will run on both 110v or 12v. I have no idea how well it will perform or how many amps it will draw, but it was cheap. I suppose the client plans to only camp where utilities are available, and use the 12V while on the road.

We'll see how things work out...
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Robert Johans View Post
So the Engel is strictly 12/24volt. Correct? ...Just curious...Is there any specific reason you do not want the 110V and propane gas capabilities as optional energy sources?
Actually, as I understand it, the Engel is 12v/110v. And, as Evergreen mentioned, they are much more efficient in electric mode than a 3-way fridge. The absorption (3-way) refrigerators are very inefficient when running on electricity, but that's not usually much of a problem as typically there is either "unlimited" electricity, or it's used as a temporary measure till you can get back on propane.

For a solar/12v primary installation, the Engel would be much more efficient. It switches from 12v to 110v automatically whenever 110 is available.

I have a few sailor friends who have the Engels on boats (where it's typically not possible to use a propane refrigerator).

Raya
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:18 PM   #12
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Sears has a group 29 battery with 200 amp hour reserve that weighs 62 lbs.
You may only need one of these with your solar or generator backup. My trailer is all electric with a Norcold 12v refer and without hookups and no solar I can go about 4 days. I do not have any parasitic propane alarm drain and the refer only runs 50% time. So 3 a/h is about 36 per day. One of your solars should handle that. It will save you money/space/weight with the one battery.
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Old 10-16-2010, 11:48 PM   #13
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Although, 4 days of 36 amp hours per day is 144 amp hours. That's much farther than you would want to drain 200 ah battery (usually it's best to stay under 50%). Still, that's not to dismiss the idea; but only I would count it as being able to go just under 3 days, to stay under 100 amp hours. But then since I would have lights and maybe a bit of music or computer, I would have to probably cut it back to saying 2 days for me (with no sun, as you say).

Of course with solar input things would be improved.

What is the differential between daytime temps and fridge temps where you are running it? (In other words, how hard is your fridge having to work due to ambient temperature?)

Raya
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Old 10-18-2010, 06:02 AM   #14
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We are planning on a cross country 3 month trip and I am not sure I am comfortable leaving the propane on to cool the fridge. With the 12v I do not have to worry about that.
Are you saying you are not comfortable using the propane at any time or just when towing? If it is only while towing, that is when you turn off the propane and use the 12V of your truck to keep the 3 way fridges cool.

In either case, you are going to want to get power from your truck to help charge your house batteries while on the road.
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