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Old 05-08-2008, 03:29 AM   #1
dragonlor20
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Default Fermentation Chamber, Thermostat Help?

Hi, I live in Central California which, to the surprise of many, is unbearably hot during the summer months. Temperatures get above (and stay above) the 100 degree mark on a regular basis and energy out here is just crazy expensive. Basically it boils down to keeping my house at fermentation temperatures during the summer months is just not possible. I need temperature control, and keeping an entire freezer going during the summer is pretty hard on the wallet as well. I loved the idea of the Son of a Fermentation Chamber due to the effectiveness and the fact that it's easy on the energy bill (no more than a few computer fans!).

I want to build something similar out of an old dresser I have sitting around, and the dimensions are almost perfect, so it will be an easy conversion. I will have the 3 ice chambers on the top shelf (where the top drawer was) and have fans pretty much keep a circular flow of air through the 3 chambers and into the fermentation chamber and out of the fermentation chamber again into the ice chamber. I will of course still insulate and seal the entire interior. My question is this:

I will need to operate 4 fans, and I would like to do so with a digital thermostat if possible. What would I actually need to do to use a digital thermostat and have it run about 4 computer fans?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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Old 05-08-2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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I'd go get a cheap spare fridge off of craig's list and an analog temperature controller at your LHBS. I'm sure your system will work fine, but I can't help to think you'll end up thinking the convenience and accuracy of it will pay off in convenience and higher beer quality in the long run.

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Old 05-08-2008, 06:40 AM   #3
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"Cheap spare fridge" is kind of an oxymoron. Running a second fridge has a dramatic effect on your electricity bill (my dad put a second one in his garage, his bill went up quite a bit). I suppose you'd only run it when you need to, but I'm not sure if occassional usage is good for the fridge itself.

Son of a fermentation chiller is something I plan to do this summer (if time allows.) It seems like kind of a pain to put the whole thing together (I'm a n00b with DIY projects) but it seems very easy to maintain.

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Old 05-08-2008, 06:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevorino View Post
I'd go get a cheap spare fridge off of craig's list and an analog temperature controller at your LHBS. I'm sure your system will work fine, but I can't help to think you'll end up thinking the convenience and accuracy of it will pay off in convenience and higher beer quality in the long run.
Thank you for the reply. The point though really is to avoid adding refrigerators to my home. I already have the kegerator and when I say that electricity is expensive, I mean it is very, very expensive. If the Son of a Fermentation chamber can maintain a constant temperature with just changing the ice every few days, then I don't see the difference between a constant temperature there and a constant temperature in a fridge. A little more labor on my part, but I would save the electricity.

It is the wiring and voltages that I am concerned with. I have looked all over for instructions on how to substitute a digital thermostat for the manual one in the instructions and how to add multiple fans but I haven't found anything yet. I just need the fermentation chamber for the summer months anyways, after that I can probably do fine with just fermenting in the average temperature in the chest freezer while it is off.
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:38 PM   #5
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Running computer fans is simple, just get an old PC power supply or brick and plug that into the controller. I use a laptop brick to power the fans that move air from the kegger into the conditioning cabinet. I patched my controller into a power strip & plugged both the kegger & the cabinet fans into it.

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Old 05-08-2008, 01:48 PM   #6
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Maybe this would help:

http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/Remote-Sensing-DIY-Controller-for-Less-Than-$25

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:06 PM   #7
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+1 on the power supply. Hook up as many fans as you need, then simply plug the supply into the thermostat.

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Old 05-08-2008, 02:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
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That's pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Now the question becomes how do I add multiple fans so that I can blow the cold air in a circular pattern through 3 in-line cooling compartments?
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
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+1 on the power supply. Hook up as many fans as you need, then simply plug the supply into the thermostat.
From what I have seen this would require an external thermostat, correct? Normal digital thermostats aren't going to take or power an entire power supply? Or am I wrong about this?
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:32 PM   #10
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Does anyone recognize that running this ice box is going to take the same, or more energy than a dorm fridge would? Making ice is not free. You're going to argue that well, the fridge is already running and plugged in so making some extra ice won't matter. This isn't true at all. You put a bottle of water in the freezer, it gives its heat off into the box and causes the compressor to kick on. Making ice for a fermentation chamber is really just spending the money up front and moving it into another box where it's then consumed. Using a standalone fridge just takes out the middle man and the constant moving of ice.

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Last edited by Bobby_M; 05-08-2008 at 02:36 PM.
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