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Old 09-26-2013, 09:59 PM   #1
Edbert
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Default chest freezer for fermenting

This maybe the wrong forum but i searched for a sticky in any that seemed appropriate.

Are there any DIY plans for adding a digital thermostat to a freezer for keeping wort chilled during fermentation that you can direct me to?

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Old 09-26-2013, 11:19 PM   #2
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This is for an STC 1000, which I got on Amazon for 17$.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay...-build-163849/
That should get you started... I used a computer power cord and other things from around the house to keep my total budget around $20.

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Old 09-27-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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earlingy sent you in the right direction. There are a ton of brewers on here that use a STC-1000 for temp control. Just plug the freezer into the cool side and some sort of heater into the heat side and you are well on your way. Tape the temperature probe to the side of the carboy and insulate the probe with some sort of material. Bubble wrap, pipe insulation, old sock, whatever, just try to insulation the probe from ambient air.

The heater part is whatever you are comfortable with. Me, I use a 60 watt light bulb inside a plastic gallon paint can. Seems to work fine. I even used an old hair dryer once.

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Old 09-27-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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I appreciate the leads, not sure I'll ever need heat source indoors in Texas, then again 'ever' is a long time and i may want to move to the garage some day.

I think a household incandescent bulb would be enough. Was thinking it would be slick to use the one already in there for illumination, just tie the door-open switch into the plug. But it is not made for a normal bulb and probably not worth it...maybe just a small heating pad if I ever use the freezer in the garage. I need the cooling even inside the house, during summers i cannot get the wort below 76-77.

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Old 09-27-2013, 09:52 PM   #5
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I use the heat side to run the fans.

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Old 09-30-2013, 01:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
I appreciate the leads, not sure I'll ever need heat source indoors in Texas, then again 'ever' is a long time and i may want to move to the garage some day.

I think a household incandescent bulb would be enough. Was thinking it would be slick to use the one already in there for illumination, just tie the door-open switch into the plug. But it is not made for a normal bulb and probably not worth it...maybe just a small heating pad if I ever use the freezer in the garage. I need the cooling even inside the house, during summers i cannot get the wort below 76-77.
The only time I've ever needed a heat source inside the fermenter chamber is when I had my freezer in the garage as we had some really cold nights last winter. I used my paint can fermenter heater.

+1 on the STC-1000. I have three and they continue to work flawlessly. Here are some helpful resources if you want to build a controller box.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/stc...5/#post5538096

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay...-parts-261506/


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay...-build-163849/


http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html
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Old 09-30-2013, 08:33 PM   #7
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I'm wondering now if it doesn't make sense to plan for kegerator duty in the future, maybe with a full-size fridge that has a freezer. Can i rig two of these digital thermostats to handle both sides separately? I figure it all comes down to the circuitry of the machine, but to keep one side at 60-65 for fermenting and the other at 35-40 for drinking has this been done?

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Old 10-01-2013, 03:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
I'm wondering now if it doesn't make sense to plan for kegerator duty in the future, maybe with a full-size fridge that has a freezer. Can i rig two of these digital thermostats to handle both sides separately? I figure it all comes down to the circuitry of the machine, but to keep one side at 60-65 for fermenting and the other at 35-40 for drinking has this been done?
Lots of folks have wondered about doing this. The answer, unfortunately, is that it's very difficult to make happen as you might envision. A typical fridge w/ freezer has but one compressor which cools the freezer. The temp in the fridge is controlled via an air-balance baffle.

I started brew life using a chest freezer w/ STC-1000 for fermenting. Later, when I decided I'd like to keg, the chest freezer became a keezer. I replaced it with an upright freezer and a fridge (both from CL) for fermenting, cold crashing and lagering. Those units enable me to do pretty much whatever I want temperature-wise.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BigFloyd View Post
Lots of folks have wondered about doing this. The answer, unfortunately, is that it's very difficult to make happen as you might envision.
I get it, and expected that answer. But still I wonder...

I am 100% sure this would vary from machine to machine as well as where said machine was stored (cool basement vs hot garage) but; if I put the thermostat on the fridge side to stay at say 60 degrees for fermenting (far warmer than most normal duty fridges) would the freezer side be running enough to keep a corny or two below 32? I expect much experimentation would be needed with the air ducting, maybe even modification. But I can see the disparity under normal operation from 25 to 45 degrees being nearly appropriate at 40-60 degrees for our purposes.

If that can be rigged, then the next question is how to convert the ice/water dispensers in the freezer door to a tap :-D
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