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Old 02-13-2009, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default Home Made Glycol Chiller from A/C unit

Looking for some help on this project. I just opened up the wiring box in my A/C window unit to find a birdsnest of wires, a capacitor (not even sure how these work!), and a circuit board.

I am looking for help in rewiring this so that when I plug in the A/C, both the compressor and the fan will turn on high, bypassing the temperature probe's input, and bipassing me having to hit the "power" button on the a/c control panel. I drew out all the wiring that I could see to post here if anyone could help me.



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Old 02-13-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
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Why do you need it to go on high?

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Old 02-13-2009, 08:52 PM   #3
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Well It will be dual purpose serving my conical fermentor and as a future way to chill wort, so why choose low? I see what you are saying though- as the high/low is just the fan speed pushing air across the heat radiator and doesn't have anything to do with the compressor. Honestly high or low if anyone could help with the wiring I'd be thrilled!

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Old 02-13-2009, 09:01 PM   #4
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More importantly, how will this chill Glycol?

I don't actually know anything about glycol chillers.

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Old 02-13-2009, 09:24 PM   #5
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I've seen one before, but fu(k if I can find it now. The guy put the ac evaporator coils in a big cooler full of a glycol/water mix (so it wouldn't freeze on the coils). The glycol was then pumped through one side of a plate chiller. The hot wort was pumped and re-circed through the hot side of the chiller. You could also pump the glycol mix through an IC, although any leak there would cost you your batch.

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Old 02-13-2009, 10:42 PM   #6
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Bingo! But I can't figure out the wiring! Anybody?

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Old 02-13-2009, 10:49 PM   #7
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I've seen one before, but fu(k if I can find it now. The guy put the ac evaporator coils in a big cooler full of a glycol/water mix (so it wouldn't freeze on the coils). The glycol was then pumped through one side of a plate chiller. The hot wort was pumped and re-circed through the hot side of the chiller. You could also pump the glycol mix through an IC, although any leak there would cost you your batch.
I built one of these to cool my conicals. The evap coil goes in a cooler full of glycol/water and two pumps. Each pump has a temp controller that is monitoring each of my fermenters. The pumps pump the glycol through a copper coil wrapped around the conical. I can control temps within 1* all the way down to 34* even in the summer.





Anyway, for your project you'll need to do away with the electronics board. Are you using a temp controller to monitor the glycol bath? You'll need to. You'll also need a small pump in the glycol bath to keep it moving or it'll still freeze around the evap coil. I also highly recommend you paint the steel part of the evap before you ever get it wet, otherwise it rusts like a bitch and will eventually wreck your circulation pumps. Use the temp controller to connect the black in to the black to compressor and red on fan and one leg of the bath pump. Leave orange on fan disconnected. The temp controller will turn on the fan, pump and compressor at the same time. Connect the other side of the bath pump to the white cluster.

Oh and for chilling wort, I just have another coil inside the glycol bath with a bypass valve. I have hose water straight-thru something like this:

Water in -> shut-off valve->tee to coil -> bypass valve -> tee from coil-> to chiller.

So, for the first 100* or so I leave the bypass valve open. Once I hit ~110*, I shut the bypass valve forcing the water through the coil in the glycol and I can send 32* water to the IC. Make sure you blow all the water out of the coil afterwards or it'll freeze.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not an electrician or an HVAC/R tech. If you follow my advice you could be taking your life into your own hands. Electricity and water or any fluid for that matter are very bad together.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:58 PM   #8
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One other thing I came across while researching was this: It is NOT recommended to submerge single walled evaporator coils. While they are under pressure in a working system, they are on the 'low' side of the compressor. Should the evap fail or be compromised, it could eventually suck-in and try to compress water which would result in a catastrophic failure including ejecting the terminals from the compressor. This could easily kill anyone in the path of the terminals.

Having said that, the commercial glycol chiller I was looking at had a single wall evap coil submerged in the glycol.

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Old 02-14-2009, 04:14 AM   #9
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To prevent rust, do you think diluting 100 percent propylene glycol with 90 percent isopropyl alcohol woud work for you? I don't know because there is still some water content left in the IPA, but it might help. It's my understanding that you can't use 100percent propylene glycol because of it's viscosity... Thanks for the witting diagram help!

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Old 02-14-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
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Derrin, that is such a nice setup! Are your conicals both custom work? I don't recall seeing ferrules as racking ports on any B3s or Blichmans. Or I could just have a bad memory. Are those conicals 21 gallons? Pretty nice stuff! That's a shame that your glycol is clogging your pumps up with rust... I didn't think of that, but after looking at my a/c coils, I see the galvanized housing holding all the aluminum... Have you found a solution to your rust? I wonder about just cooling pure propylene glycol down to 25 degrees if it would be too thick to pump. Overall, how do you like your setup? Looks really sweet!

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