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Old 08-02-2007, 05:25 PM   #21
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Wow, thomcat, that frdge hardware looks really neat standing there sans cabinet. Looks like some fine craftsmanship of your frame, too.

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Originally Posted by thomcat333
I've got a PID and thermocouple in the mail, so that's on deck. I'm glad that there are others that enjoy going overboard on things like this. I've never been a minimalist I guess. Wish me luck!
Just make sure you use that controller in On/Off mode instead of PID mode, lest you want to burn out your compressor. On/off operation can still give you a pretty tight tolerance.

iamjonsharp, that's also a nice looking setup. This may be a silly question, but does the compressor need to stay upright or could it be mounted on it's side or upside down?
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:57 PM   #22
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I'm not 100% sure, but I've heard that you shouldn't keep a fridge on its side or upside down...so the compressor should probably stay upright. Anyone know for sure?

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Old 08-02-2007, 07:05 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by iamjonsharp
I'm not 100% sure, but I've heard that you shouldn't keep a fridge on its side or upside down...so the compressor should probably stay upright. Anyone know for sure?
I hear the same on this. I would keep everything in the position it was originally mounted in.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:52 PM   #24
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i actually just finished doing the same thing last week with my old dorm fridge. i built a 4'x2'x3' box with extruded polystyrene as the insulation and the gutted dorm fridge as the my source of cold air. i also bought a temp controller device to precisely control the temperature of my fermentation. it'll hold 3-6 gallon carboys and a couple cornies. oh yeah... getting the components out of the fridge wasn't very fun, but everything else is pretty easy!

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Old 08-02-2007, 11:32 PM   #25
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Yes, compressor must stay upright, lest all your toils go to waste.

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Old 08-02-2007, 11:32 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamjonsharp
Taking apart larger fridges and freezer will start to get more complicated as the coils can be wrapped all over the fridge and the fridges/freezers also may have fans. I would be careful when looking into taking apart a bigger fridge or freezer to see if it would actually be feasible to do
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Yeah, my freezer is a small model, but it's pretty much jacketed in steel. I'll take a look at all the hardware and see if I can get the guts out without having to use a cutoff tool.
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:30 AM   #27
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8/3/07 update:

So in the past day or so, I've made a bit more progress (thanks for the comments!) and I've received some goodies in the mail.

Ok so on we go... first I got the outer panels on. The pic below is in process...



After they were on, I started cutting foam insulation to fit. I used 2" styrofoam board only because it was staring at me in Lowe's. If they sold the 2" extruded stuff, I would have used it, and that's what I'd recommend for those who know where to get it. The foam board is messy, but the effect should be comparable.



And here's a rear shot. That foam board is thick!



With the insulation in place, I lined the inside with a water-resistant board that Lowe's sells for laundry rooms, etc.



Oh, and the duct tape you see around the outside is to keep the styrofoam board from breaking apart and hold it just a bit more snugly. Not the prettiest bit of work, but I'll probably cover it eventually. I'm still working on the door design.

It's been a good day of building. I'd keep tinkering tonight, but the neighbors downstairs wouldn't approve, and they're nice enough, so I'll leave them in peace.

continued...

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Old 08-03-2007, 04:33 AM   #28
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Lastly, the previously mentioned goodies in the mail...



Ok, so the temp controller I purchased has a green and red digital display (green = ambient; red = setpoint (or maybe it's the other way around)). Oh, and yes, I'll be using ON/OFF control mode to keep the compressor happy (good call!), but it does have PID capabilities if I ever needed to use it for something else requiring a variable input, so that's cool. Alongside is a Type K thermocouple. If any of you go this route, I'd look into RTDs which can give better accuracy, but the type Ks are cheap and pretty good. The controller has a built in relay, but they could be set up for an SSR also so I'm told. I'm not sure where I'll mount the display, but it's looking like it'll be in the back somewhere right now.

I took the old thermostat off of the compressor unit today and may get to do some wiring tomorrow. We'll see. I have to work this weekend, so I might get slowed down for a few days.

Cheers guys!

- Andy

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Old 08-03-2007, 02:50 PM   #29
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Hey Andy,

When it is all said and done, you will have to give us a cost breakdown.

By the way, it is looking very nice! I have a dorm fridge that I can ferment a carboy in but that is about it, so this may be a project for me down the road!

John

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Old 08-03-2007, 07:04 PM   #30
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Looking good, thanks for keeping us up to date. As for controller placement, my only advice is to not mount in inside the chamber. If it's anything like my omega controller (and it does look very similar ) it will produce heat, reducing the efficiency of the fridge, etc. You may probably weren't planning on that anyway, but just thought i'd mention it.

Also, I assume you are going to control the compressor relay, and not the compressor power, right? That's what i would recommend, anyway. Here's how i connected my controller:


Edit: oops, hopefully this link works better, but the pic is a bit small. thanks john.

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