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Old 06-04-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
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Default Controlling Fermentation Temp with a Dorm Fridge

Well, I thought I was going to get a full size fridge a couple of weeks ago...but that fell through.

I do however have a dorm fridge...does anybody use a dorm fridge to control ferm temps?

Like this: http://byo.com/feature/13.html

Thanks

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Old 06-04-2007, 08:29 PM   #2
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Just got a Johnson Controls external thermostat hooked up to the dorm fridge; haven't used it for fermenting yet, still testing to make sure it's going to work right. Dumb question, but you're sure the dorm fridge will hold a carboy / bucket / whatever you ferment in? I had to bend the freezer section out of the way (with all the coolant lines); didn't spend a dime until I had that done without breaking anything.

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Old 06-04-2007, 08:33 PM   #3
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Not a dumb question...

Nope I'm sure it won't fit... I was thinking of putting cardboard or maybe (if I can get the $$) putting plywood and insalation on the sides, top, and bottom...again like this http://byo.com/feature/13.html

I've got a cup of water with a meat thermometor in it right now set on the lowest setting. I've got class at 6-10 and when I get home I'll check the temp to see if I need an external temp or not.

Anyone have any hints/tips with this sorta thing?

Thanks bird

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Old 06-04-2007, 08:37 PM   #4
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Sorry, didn't read the article! Too busy, I shouldn't be replying...

I know that Dude made a cold box under his bar using a dorm fridge. Seemed like it was working well for him. Search for his "Bratwurts...." thread, you might get some ideas. Basically, I think you just need to insulate the hell out of whatever you end up building; if you insulate it well enough, there are no leaks, and you've got a decent thermal load in the box, it should work reasonably well.

Now, to get proper fermentation temps, you'll still need some type of external temperature controller.

EDIT: This thread... http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=14907

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:29 PM   #5
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Hmm...maybe Dude is onto something..

After thinking about it for awhile I've got an idea.

What if I build a cabinet just an inch or so taller than a carboy + airlock and insulate it with this nasty floor rug I've got in the garage (it's just nasty bc it's ugly as sin...came with the house) and took the door off of the fridge and mount it near the top of the cabinet. The fridge would have to be raised like on a stool or something but I'm sure I could rig it up... I'll try to sketch out an idea on paint

I don't live too far from the ghetto so I think it'll pass...

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:35 PM   #6
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Sorta like this....



the proportions are off bc I suck with paint but I think you can get the idea...

I tested the lowest setting on it last night. When I got back from class (4hrs later) it was holding at 50* so maybe I can use it as a lagering chamber for now....could be cool I've never done a lager.

Does anyone see anything wrong with insulating it with an old rug? Too ghetto??

Thanks

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Old 06-05-2007, 04:41 PM   #7
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Rug + Blowoff = Microbefest.
Use insulation and a cleanable surface.

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Old 06-05-2007, 05:15 PM   #8
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ahh very good point...

maybe I could sandwich the rug between the wood and something else? Like so:






anyone have a sugestion as to the cleanable surface? another piece of wood would be easy but how cleanable would it be?

Maybe plexiglass? I recently put in a "security" grade plexiglass window bc our dogs always look out the window and they eventually broke it. It was pretty easy to work with and I'm sure the lesser grades (cheaper) would work well for this.

any ideas?

Thanks guys

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Old 06-05-2007, 05:36 PM   #9
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Personally, I would scratch the rug idea and first try constructing a cabinet from duct tape and a sheet of styrofoam or some other rigid foam insulation. You'll get a much more insulated enclosure than any rug/wood combo (regardless of how shaggy the rug may be) and it'll be a heck of a lot easier to build and tweak the design. Once you get a setup that works (I like the idea of putting the mini-fridge on a stool or platform) then build a wooden cabinet around the styrofoam structure to add durability and nice looks.

I have one of these little fridges, too, and this is the route I plan on taking to build a ferm cabinet for it. Let us know if you are able to pull this off without a temp controller.

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Old 06-05-2007, 05:38 PM   #10
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Insulation isn't that expensive. Do it the right way. If you get it insulated properly, it shouldn't end up costing you much more to operate than the fridge by itself.

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"no, he just doesn't speak 'stupid'. i, however, am fluent...." - motobrewer
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