The following guidelines outline the electrical components and requirements to operate a refrigerated shipping container, commonly referred to as a “reefer” container.

It is recommended that a certified electrician verify the power and electrical entry requirements described below. For more information, please feel free to have your electrician contact our customer service team directly for more information 1-(866)-846-0270.

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  • Reefer containers operate on 460/480 volts (V), 3 phases
  • The units can run on 50 or 60Hz
  • The power supply should be grounded with a 30 amp minimum circuit breaker. The 460V machinery main circuit breaker will trip at 29 amps

Plugs & Receptacles

  • The reefer container includes a 460V power cable which is approximately 50 ft in length
  • Also included with the reefer machinery is an ISO standard quick connect weatherproof 32 amp male plug

There are two options to connect a refrigerated shipping container to the power source.

Option 1 – Plug & Receptacles

Use male quick connect plug included with the reefer and purchase a separate receptacle. Wall mount receptacle options are available as well. We recommend using this type of power connection if the refrigeration unit will be connected and disconnected frequently from the source.

Option 2 – Hard wiring

Remove male quick connect plug, and direct wire/connect to power source.

Step-down transformer

North American standard commercial/industrial building voltages are typically 208V and 600V. These two standard entrance voltages are not supported by reefer containers and will require either a step-down or step-up transformer. The transformer is required to convert the voltage to 460V to operate the refrigeration unit.

A step-down transformer can be provided directly by ATS Containers on the purchase or rental of a refrigerated container. It can also be supplied directly by a certified electrician.

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Power surges

Reefer containers should also be protected from potential power surges. The reefer machinery includes fuses that help protect the fans, components and internal circuits in the event of electrical power surges. However, these protections do not eliminate the requirement for protection from a power surge at the power source. The installation of circuit breakers at the electrical source are strongly recommend.