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Old 12-29-2012, 02:35 AM   #1
normivey
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Default Temp Controller question

My wife got a new fridge for the kitchen, which means I get a new fermentation chamber. I'm looking at temperature controllers. From what I can tell, controllers work by essentially cutting power to the fridge when interior temperature is below the temperature setting. Does that mean the freezer compartment on on the fridge is useless? (If the freezer compartment works, I may also be able to wrangle a small chest freezer to convert to a kegerator.)

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Old 12-29-2012, 03:22 AM   #2
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When using a fridge/freezer for fermentation the freezer section is likely not going to maintain anywhere near the ~0° that you want for holding frozen foods. I'm not sure where the typical fridge temperature threshold is that the freezer just never really gets cold enough but it's probably somewhere above 45-50°F...

Cheers!

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Old 12-30-2012, 12:58 AM   #3
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If you're desperate, I think you could leave the fridge on as normal and use a temp controller and brew belt (or heat pad) to keep the fermentor exactly where you want it. For lagers this might mean you turn the fridge temp down a little. Either way, it'll be a waste of energy.

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Old 12-30-2012, 01:07 AM   #4
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Wrangle yourself a freezer turned fermentation chamber and use the fridge as a kegerator. This way you can appease swmbo and still have both

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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If you've already got a spare fridge or freezer, these are inexpensive and pretty easy to put together -



It's an STC-1000 controller which you can get on either Amazon http://www.amazon.com/All-purpose-Te...f=pd_sbs_hg_10 or ebay for less than $25.

There's an excellent video on YouTube about how to wire it here -
as well as several threads around here that are very helpful.

You set the fridge on it's coldest setting and plug it into the cold outlet. I'm using a lamp with a 75 watt bulb for the heat side of things. I had a leftover chest freezer in the garage, so that's what mine gets hooked up to. The temp stays within +/- 0.5C of whatever you set on the controller.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:59 PM   #6
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I never tried it but i would imagine if your fridge had a separate thermostat for the fridge and freezer you could swap the fridge thermostat with a stc-1000 like the post above. Maybe just find the voltage line coming into the thermostat knob and the line going out to the fan that pulls the cold air from the freezer section.

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Old 12-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #7
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If you restrict the air flow to the fresh food area it can be done use the STC-1000 to control the freezer and the heat to turn on a fan to draw cold air from freezer to cool the fresh food area. It may depend on ambient temps as well mine won't keep ice cream cold enough and water takes awhile to freeze But if it's frozen going in it stays frozen, temp holds at 30*-34* while maintaining 50*-52* in the fresh food area.

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Old 12-30-2012, 07:05 PM   #8
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This is the exact question I was just going to ask. Did a search before posting and found this one.

Currently using a typical dorm size 4 CF fridge with the freezer compartment inside the refrigerator section. Have it set up as a fermentation chamber with an STC-1000 controller wired in place of the original temp knob to regulate the temp at 68 F. Use the freezer part to cool and a 60 W reptile warmer heater for heat. I like using this heater because it gives off no light. The controller turns on the compressor when the temp rises and turns it off / turns on the heater when temp drops. I use this to ferment and to bottle condition at 68 F. Problem is I bottle condition for a month and can't brew again until the fridge / fermentation chamber is free. Thinking of getting another dorm fridge but wondering if a full size fridge can be mace to work.

Question - How to make a full size fridge with separate freezer compartment work as a fermenter / bottle conditioner with only one STC-1000 controller? These refrigerators have two thermostats, one for the freezer and one for the fridge. Don't know for sure but think the freezer temp knob controls cold by regulating the flow of freon into the freezer. The fridge temp knob just controls a fan that pulls cold air from the freezer into the fridge, correct?

Does anyone think wiring in the STC-1000 controller in place of the freezer temp knob and allowing the fridges original temp knob to pull cold or warm air as needed into the fridge compartment will keep both the freezer and the refrigerator compartments at 68 F? Where should the controllers temp probe be, fridge or freezer? Same for heater placement, fridge or freezer. Am sure setting it up so the STC-100 controls flow of freon to the freezer with the controller temp probe and heater in the fridge compartment will work. Just may have to sacrifice the freezer space if the freezer section temp can not be regulated.

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Old 12-30-2012, 09:12 PM   #9
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Unless it has two compressors the freezer is the cooling section. The fan moves cool air down a dampener Into the fresh food area the t stat in the fridge controls how long the compressor runs

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Old 12-31-2012, 12:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaksnbeer View Post
Unless it has two compressors the freezer is the cooling section. The fan moves cool air down a dampener Into the fresh food area the t stat in the fridge controls how long the compressor runs
What Beaks said.

All the refrigerator/freezers I've ever seen have one compressor and one set of coils. I believe that freezer temp is thermostatically controlled while the fridge side temp adjustment is really an air balance adjustment (controlling how much of the cold air from the freezer is exchanged with the fridge.

It comes down to this. You can have that extra fridge do one thing very well. Anything beyond that is going to be hit and miss. Me, I'm grateful that I had an unused chest freezer taking up space in the garage that I could appropriate to precisely control fermentation temps.

The STC-1000 is simply a dual electrical switch that is controlled by a microprocessor. The single temp probe reads the temp (i.e., at your fermentation vessel) and the unit switches power on/off to one 110V outlet (heat) or the other (cold) as needed to keep it at what you set.
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