What is one of the first things anyone who heads out to the great outdoors packs? That’s right! An ice chest with loads of food and drinks and lots of ICE. That may be ok for a quick short trip, but for longer drives and multiple days out in the open road nothing beats a good 12 volt fridge. And for that, I introduce you to the newer Engel MT-45 Platinum 12v/110v Fridge/Freezer model. After months and months of drooling over the idea of getting a 12v fridge, I finally was able to get one and I couldn’t be happier. Below I will go over what is recommended to properly install this fridge as well as an in depth review after using it on one of our day trips.
Product Specification from the manufacturer
This new model also includes a user-friendly digital control panel with LED display as featured in the Australian 50th Anniversary model, along with built in battery monitor. We have designed this new model in the industry standard Engel 45 cabinet to ensure its compatibility with the current range of MT45 accessories. Supplied with both cords, the 12 volt cord that plugs straight into your vehicle’s adaper socket and the 120 volt lead with three pin house plug. Auto switching as standard removes the need for the user to switch power sources manually.
External Shell Material: Galvenized Steel
Gas Type: HFC134-A
Power Consumption: Variable from 0.7-2.5 Amps (12V DC)
Power Source: 12V/24V DC & 110V/120V AC
Internal Dimensions: (LxWxH) 15.4″ x 10.8″ x 16.4″
External Dimensions: (LxWxH) 25.5″ x 14.3″ x 20″ (Excludes Handles = 1.5″ each)
Shipping & Packaging
Since I received the fridge directly from Engel, I can only comment on how the packaging was from them. If you order from a 3rd party, I’m pretty sure it will come packaged in a similar fashion.
The fridge comes very nicely packaged and protected. It’s packaged in a padded wrap inside the actual Engel box and that itself is packaged inside another box. See pics below to see how you will or may receive the fridge.
Whats in the Box?
When you remove the fridge from all packaging, this is pretty much what you have.
All the contents are included inside the actual fridge. This include manuals, spare door hinges, the necessary power cords, handles, basket and fridge mat.
Installing the Handles is pretty straight forward. It will be 8 screws total (4x per side).
Fridge Setup and Installation
Here is where things get serious. It is recommended by Engel to power the fridge directly to the vehicle battery. The reason for this is that most vehicle 12v plugs or 110 plugs (inverter) use a thin gauge wiring. They are usually meant for phones, phone chargers, lights, etc. While the fridge will work on a normal 12v cigarette lighter plug, you run the risk of losing amps and your battery may not have sufficient amps to start the vehicle.
12V Plug Installation on Jeep JL Wrangler
The vehicle this fridge will spend most of its time in is my 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL. Even though I already have a 12v plug in the back, I still ran a dedicated wire directly to the battery.
Now, Engel does have a wire kit for the fridge which was out of stock at the time so I ended up cheating at purchasing the ARB Fridge Wire Kit :). You can purchase the wire kit by clicking my affiliate link Here(no added cost to you).
I’ll spare you the lengthy details on the install but basically you will just run the already terminated wire to the Battery and run the open ended cable through your firewall and to your desired location. In my case I ran it along the driver side floorboard to the back of my Wrangler. You can see a few pics of how I did this below:
Connecting and Powering on the Fridge
Since the Engel and ARB wiring kit are a SCREW TYPE PLUG (Prevents fridge from unplugging). You will have to TWIST off the the normal cigarette lighter portion of the cable. In doing so you will then a have a cord that looks like this:
You will then be able to plug in the fridge into the ARB or ENGEL socket. It can only go one way so you will need to make sure you wire the Positive and Negative wired correctly.
Once you have plugged in the fridge you are now ready to power it on by turning the knob to your desired temp. I like to keep mine in FRIDGE mode and run it at about 35-37 degrees.
The control panel is very simple and easy to use. Your main functions are temperature knob, Mode to select a few settings like Hi/Lo Voltage shutoff and Select button. The Hi/Low voltage shutoff is there to protect your battery from draining. If the fridge senses your battery voltage drops below a set voltage, it will shut the compressor off to save your battery from draining.
Thoughts and Actual Usage
I have to say, I was very impressed with how quickly this fridge cooled down. It went from 80 degrees to 35 degrees in about 10-15 minutes. Once it reached the set temperature it pretty much didn’t draw that much power, it would only turn on a few seconds at a time to cool back down to the set temperature. On our first trip out with the fridge, we stopped and picked up some gatorades, bottled water, pre-packaged sandwiches and some cold snacks for the kids. I have to say, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to using the traditional ice chest with ice again. Having this fridge was so convenient. We spent several hours at the beach with the Jeep off, as well as 6 total hours on the road and the fridge hardly dropped the battery voltage. This fridge is so efficient it boggles my mind. My family was so impressed with the convenience of having a fridge on the road. The MT45 size is perfect for our family of 4.
We can’t wait to go on more road trips and camping trips with our new Engel MT45. I’m also planning to fabricate an actual slide system for the fridge. I don’t like anchoring it with just a bungie cord so I want to build a slide mounted system for it. I’ll post back on my blog when I do that.