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Old 02-24-2014, 10:39 PM   #1
Majawat
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Default My Experiences with the Igloo FR464

I figured this would be a good place to jot down my notes as I go through the process of using this as a fermenting chamber all the way to a kegerator as time proceeds. Especially if it helps anyone else learn from what happens here.

I purchased a refurbished, Igloo FR464 4.6cu ft from HOBO outlet store for $66. Wanted the FR465 (stainless steel door, +$10), but they ran out by the time I got back to the store but had plenty of the black. Had a slight ding in the door, nothing for me to worry about too much as a bachelor.

I had some reservations on the purchase from a few forum posts on here with it being just too small, but I figured, for $66, what's the worst that happens?!

Through my recon, I found out that there are two styles of this model number, the freezer being the main difference. It seems that the older models have the freezer built in at the top with the thermostat on the left. This freezer/cooling lines are apparently easy to bend down. Then there's the guy that I have, the "freezer" is actually just a removable plastic tray and the thermostat sits to the right.

With the help of a buddy, we get it into my second floor apartment. It was far lighter than I expected! I let it sit for around 24hrs, plugged it in, left the temp at "4", and checked on it in a few hours. Getting cold and surprisingly quiet! Tossed in a few bottles of pop and beer and brought it down to a setting of "7". I am assuming that this is the coldest setting as I heard the compressor kick on. I haven't checked on it since.

I also did a dry run of keg fits. Here's where my bad news comes into play. Turns out that other people have had no issues putting ball lock corny kegs into this fridge, but I didn't think about the fact that mine are pin locks. This, it seems, makes a difference. Since pin locks are shorter/wider, I cannot close the unmodified door with even one pin lock keg in since it's just too small. This means that I will have to either 1) remove the plastic from the door or 2) change my kegs out for ball locks. I don't really have a reason to change out my kegs, so (after the return policy ends) I will most likely remove the plastic shelving from the door and replace with dry erase board.

I was able to fit in a single fermenter, but I believe I will need to get a blow-off tube instead using an airlock. This fits with my HBT forum research into the fridge, and am not really bothered by it anyway.

Picture of the outside. More to come!


My plans going forward are to not-modify this fridge until at least the return policy runs out (30 days), and then the first modification will be the removal of the door shelving. Until then, it will sit as my fermentation chamber (both 5gal and 1 gal batches) and storage for my purchased beer. Sooner or later, I want to replace the thermostat with something digital and then finally add a 2 tap tower.

Thanks for listening to my rambling! If you don't mind, I'd to continue this post as I learn more about this very interesting aspect of the hobby. If you have any insight into what I'm doing, or have questions, feel free to comment!

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Old 07-17-2014, 08:01 PM   #2
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Default Replacing the Door Shelving

I'm certainly learning more and more about this process as I go along, this much is for sure.

Now that the fridge is no longer returnable, I figured I'd start with at least the removal of the door shelves. As with any good project, it's has become more of a pain that I figured.

My plan is to replace the door shelving with whiteboard. I run to Home Depot for a huge sheet of whiteboard (I can't find the link anywhere). I'm talking and estimated 7x5 ft. I have them cut it in half to hopefully fit in my car.

Spoiler. It doesn't. (Pic) I end up having an employee offer help me take it home.

After a few days I decide to start the replacement. I started by pulling out all the beer I hadn't finished yet. As I began so, I noticed a very large accumulation of ice along the back wall of the fridge. So much so that it is covering my . Well, crap. So I unplug the fridge to come back another day.

Little did I know that ice melts. Huh, weird.

So my carpet is damp and I grab the cardboard 6 pack and walk it out to my main fridge when the unthinkable happens. The pack holder gives way and kills an innocent beer. (Pic) After a reverent cleaning of my floor I get to removing the door and shelving from the fridge. Couple of screws later and it's mine. I take off the rubber seal off the plastic.

Here's what my model FR464 looks like on the inside. Note the lack of freezer lines. This is what I mean in my original post with the removable plastic tray (I took mine out for this pic.

I notice the dark area behind the bump is a drainage hole. Where it leads to exactly, I don't know. But I will solve this mystery soon, promise.

I take the shelving and use it as a template for the whiteboard. Taking a marker I trace around the plastic and also the screw holes. Takes me two evenings to cut it with a utility knife due to a funky wrist. I put the rubber seal on for a dry fit and it works! I drill the holes for the screws and that's where I am now.

Questions

  • I know I'm going to need some better temperature regulation. I've seen some people on here getting temperature controllers, but I don't know what I'm looking for. I know the STC-1000 is a good controller, but requires some wiring. Some people use a different external controller, but I certainly don't know what I'm looking for there either. I'd like to get a Black Box as it seems like a simple, cheap solution but he's sold out currently.
  • I plan on using this fridge for fermenting and serving. Do I need to ensure I have heating available for this box?
  • Is there anything else with this project that I'm not accounting for?
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Kits on deck: Northern Brewer's White House Honey Ale (1 Gallon)
Stalled Project: The mini-fridge project.

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Old 08-21-2014, 03:41 AM   #3
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Default Temp Controller and First Batch!

Ok friends! I finally got the temperature controller I needed!



I ended up using industrial strength Velcro circles to attach it to the fridge wall. One on opposite corners. I'll will end up putting another circle at the top as it kinda wiggles as you can see from the gap to the right of it.

Past that, I do love this controller. Fairly easy to use, and looks sleek and best-of-all, inexpensive! I set it at 63F, and I've seen it as low as 61F. Haven't noticed how warm it gets quite yet. The 71F you see here is the blow off jug you'll see in the next pic.

Next step of my project with this will be adding a draft tower and drilling a hole to run a line of CO2/temp sensor. This way I can keep the tank outside.

On to the exciting news! I finally did a brew day that I'm excited for. With a fresher kit, proper wort cooling (got an immersion chiller) and a wine thief for samples. I didn't even get anything into the beer like last time! Though, I did have a boil over. Still working on minimizing that chance... One day!

Good luck, buddy!


You can see the sensor for the Black Box in the jug along with StarSan solution and the blow off tube.

Oh, and for the first time, I'm making proper brewing notes with a book I made (with extract notes stolen from brewersfriend.com)
I really like it!

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Kits on deck: Northern Brewer's White House Honey Ale (1 Gallon)
Stalled Project: The mini-fridge project.

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Old 10-22-2014, 10:25 PM   #4
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How is this going? Just bought the same model yesterday via Craigslist for 40$, still need to find a white board to use in the door, or cut the existing plastic.

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Old 10-22-2014, 10:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the interest! I like the fridge in general, but wish it was just a little bit bigger, but it's perfect for the cost.

What you see is how far I've gotten with it. I'm currently serving my latest beer (the Red Ale kit) from it, and it's doing well with a picnic tap and the CO2 tank inside.

As for the whiteboard, it was dead simple and easy. Very happy with that. Just needed a screwdriver. Though I think that the differences in thickness of the whiteboard vs the original shelving is causing a few gaps in the door seal. I plan on fixing this with something magnetic in the seal. Still haven't figured that one out yet.
As for drilling through the top for a tower, it tends to get a bit warm on the top making me very worried that the lines run through it. Plus, I need to save up a bit for it.

I'll send you pics of anything you wanna see, if you'd like.

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Kegged: Brewer's Best Red Ale (5 Gallon, brewed 8/20/2014)
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:19 PM   #6
estricklin
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Have the same fridge, and have been using it for about a year. Works great. I had to modify the door even to get the ball locks in, it was awful close though.

One thing that REALLY helped me, was building a circulation fan out of an old computer fan and a cell phone charger. Keeping the air moving made a huge difference in moisture/ice build up.

I'm wanting to bypass the factory thermostat with a STC, I seen it in another thread, just haven't got around to it.

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Old 10-22-2014, 11:36 PM   #7
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What mods did you make to the door?

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Old 10-23-2014, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmCranf View Post
What mods did you make to the door?
Took the plastic off and glued the gasket back. Works fine but should have cut the plastic after removing it, leaving the screw holes. Oh well you know what they say about hind sight.
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