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Old 06-13-2012, 02:59 PM   #1
TyTanium
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Default Chest freezer can't keep up

I think my chest freezer is dying.

Is it plausible that fermentation is really generating enough heat to out-compete the compressor? Or is my freezer dying? I'm thinking the latter.

A freezer designed to keep things sub-zero should be able keep an ale at 67°...

Have it set to 67°, it can't get beer temp below 71°
Other liquids in freezer are 61°

6g of 1.060 wort actively fermenting
Healthy, active pitch of 2565 Kölsch plus 60s O2

Probe taped to side of carboy, insulated. Confirmed temps w/Thermapen.

Frigidaire FFC09C3AW1 - 9.0 cuft
DIY EBay temp controller build
~80 degree ambient in garage

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Old 06-13-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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Try setting the controller temperature lower and if the beer temperature drops then the freezer is working.

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Old 06-13-2012, 03:53 PM   #3
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Worth giving a shot...how do you think that'll help?

It's set at 67° and the probe is reading 71°, so the circuit is "on".... So if I set it lower, the circuit will still be on, right? So what will that change?

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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First check to see if the compressor is running (it will vibrate slightly), if it is running, check that the coils on the back or that the outside of the back of the fridge is warm ( the condenser coils are on the outer side of the skin so you should be able to feel some warmth). If that is all good, feel the inside walls of the freezer. You should be able to feel the cold.

There really isn't much to refrigerant circuits, if the comp is working and there are no leaks, it should cool. If a minor leak exists, you could need a recharge of the coolant in the system. Or the compressor could just be dead.

How does the controller work? Is it a temperature switch, or a PID? If it is anything but a simple temp switch, the coefficients may need adjustment to keep up with warmth being produced inthe chamber.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:24 PM   #5
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Compresser: running
Back: warm
Inside walls: Cold; ice forms in spots
Controller: Simple switch; on/off

It just seems like it's not strong enough, which makes me think low on coolant. From what I've read, that's not something I can DIY refill myself.

Could it be something with the internal thermostat on the chest freezer?...I have it turned all the way to "coldest", but wondering if somehow it's regulating itself?

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:33 PM   #6
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so, does it run continuously then? if the probe is reading 71 and the sp is 67 it should be on 24/7, unless the compressor gets too hot and it shuts down to protect itself.

if ice forms I'd say your freezer is working fine.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:51 PM   #7
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If ice is forming and all those other points are working, I would say it is working fine. What hysteresis do you have set on the controller? Maybe your temperature band is too wide???

Alternatively, what stage of fermentation is going on? Maybe the beer temp. is ramping exponentially? If that is the case, when you get home today it might have leveled off and be maintaining the desired temp.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:57 PM   #8
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oh, right, what's the deadband? if its set to 4F then it's working perfectly.

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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To me, it makes sense that the fermentation would generate the heat.

Your freezer could be at 67*, but your fermenting beer could be 71*.

What is the external temperature where you are at?

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Old 06-13-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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I've been in a similar situation since day one of controlling temps in my chest freezer: the temperature maintained by the probe is consistently 10 degrees warmer than my johnson controller set point. My freezer works perfectly, the issue is my controller. However, armed with what I need to do to achieve the target fermenting beer temperature, I just compensate with the controller. So should you, I suppose...

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