Waeco VS Engel Comparison

Hi guys, Travis here. Are you trying to decide between a Waeco and Engel? There is a definite price difference, and if you're like me, you want to know what the real benefits are... not just the marketing speil. So, I'm putting them head-to-head and publishing the results right here.

We'll record plenty of data for all to see, but if you've got something you think we should also be testing, let us know!!

We'll compare:

  • Time to reach set temperature
  • Power consumption to pull temperature down
  • Power consumption to maintain temperature
  • Accuracy of the in-built thermostat vs a temperature probe

 

The Gear

We'll need various equipment to carry out this test:

  • Equivalent fridge models. At this stage this will be a Waeco CF60 and Engel MT60FP. These are the units most similar in size.
  • We won't be using transit bags / covers - so we're testing the raw units. (In an upcoming test we'll review the effectiveness of the bags!)
  • Temperature controlled room. While we could sit the units outside, and just compare then against each other, but having a controlled room will enable us to carry out the test again at a later date with different models - ensuring we compare apples with apples. Also, it should give us a consistent result throughout the various stages of the cool-down procedure (ie pulling temperature down VS maintaining it).
  • Thermostat Control Switch- to create the temperature controlled room at about 32°C, we'll use a household bathroom, with a blow heater in it. The heater will be plugged into a thermostatic control switch will will monitor the room temperature, and start/stop the heater accordingly. The device we've chosen is the STC-1000 - which is designed for home brewers (it has 2 controls - on/off for a heater, and on/off for a cooler - we'll just be using the heating ouput). (You can get them on ebay for about $30, but you need to wire up the 240V side).
    Thermostat Control Switch

    STC1000

  • Blow Heater - just a household heater will be fine. We want to get the temperature up to 32°, and I expect this will do it. We'll find out during the test, but might have to accept a lower temperature.
  • Temperature Monitoring Devices - we want to be able to plot the temperature of both fridges, and the room over the entire duration of the test. We could do this with units such as the Waeco RT800 or Engel Wireless Thermometers and take periodic recordings, but I'd like to geek it up, and record straight to a computer so we can plot a constant data stream. So, I've found a dual USB thermometer which has an external probe (which we'll put inside the fridge), and a built-in thermometer, which will measure ambient temperature. But as we need to measure 2 fridges and ambient, I'll be using two of these devices. (Also found on eBay for about $10 ea). [I've be assured in broken Engrish that two devices can work on one PC at the same time, but I'm not confident until I actually see it work...]

    Dual

  • PC - just using a Dell laptop. It's going to have to be in the room for the test.
  • Batteries- we want to test the fridges in 12V mode as if they were being used remotely, so I'll run them off their own deep-cycle batteries. I'll use a 120Ah AGM battery for each.
    AGM Battery

    AGM

  • Power Consumption - This is going to be the most revealing result of the test - how much power do the fridges consume? To measure this, we need an Amp-Hour meter, which measures current draw (amps) over a period of time. We actually need one for each fridge. I really like the integration of the RedArc Battery Management System BMS1215, so I'll use two of these. (They are a complete mains power charger, solar regulator & DC-DC charger with a remote LCD screen. Complete overkill for this test, but I just love 'em).
    RedArc BMS 1215

    RedArc

  •  Contents - I don't want to test just an empty fridge, so for consistency, I'll use some 2L bottles of water in each.

How we'll carry out the test.... stay tuned.