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Old 12-29-2010, 02:00 AM   #1
TANSTAAFB
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Default Can you hack the Magic Chef Digital Thermostat?

Local Senior Center runs a Thrift Store and I picked this

http://www.mcappliance.com/productde...ame=MCBC580DBT

up for $12.50

Works great too! All the shelves are there and the digital thermostat goes from 41* to 54* F...should be great for a fermentation chamber and the glass door allows for carboy watchin w/o lettin the ping pong balls outta the icebox!

Has anyone else used one of these? I saw one on a search but wonder if there is a way to hack the digital t-stat to get a wider temp range.

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Old 12-29-2010, 03:48 AM   #2
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Not sure if the thermostat itself is something that you can hack, but if it is like other fridges it would just "send" an on or off to the rest of the system. If this is the case, you may be able to cut out the integrated thermostat and insert some other thermostat for you uses.

if its all fancy and such, it might need some kind of reprogramming to work which is probably not an option.

You could probably just switch its power on and off but that may cause some problems.

For that price though, you really cant go wrong.

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:42 AM   #3
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I have that exact model sitting upstairs in my man cave... I bought it on craigslist a month ago for about $100. That digital thermostat is a complete PITA and doesn't work all that great. My temperature bounces all over the place from 42-55 with it set to 41. If you figure out a way to bypass it let me know

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mista_Sparkle View Post
Not sure if the thermostat itself is something that you can hack, but if it is like other fridges it would just "send" an on or off to the rest of the system. If this is the case, you may be able to cut out the integrated thermostat and insert some other thermostat for you uses.

if its all fancy and such, it might need some kind of reprogramming to work which is probably not an option.

You could probably just switch its power on and off but that may cause some problems.

For that price though, you really cant go wrong.
It is digital and I assume uses a thermistor like a Johnson Digital controller but is programmed for a limited range. Just wonder if there is a way to override that limited range. Not really interested in going lower (I have a fridge I can lager in but I'm really an ale guy) but would like to be able to go higher than 54*. I will try it as is...might be just fine during the more exothermic part of a fermentation, then justy cut it off as it winds down. Just a PITA to have to babysit.
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by veritas524 View Post
I have that exact model sitting upstairs in my man cave... I bought it on craigslist a month ago for about $100. That digital thermostat is a complete PITA and doesn't work all that great. My temperature bounces all over the place from 42-55 with it set to 41. If you figure out a way to bypass it let me know
Great...I was all excited about the cheap t-stat!!! At least I get a compact and aesthetically pleasing chamber to ferment in. Maybe I'll just fork out the $$$ for the johnson to use on my big fridge and use the beverage cooler for a beverage cooler...what a concept!!! I love to tinker, seems a waste to use it for its intended purpose
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:15 AM   #6
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It works at keeping my beer cold... how cold depends on how moody it's being... sometimes 42, 45, 48, 57... it all depends. When I go to manually set my temp, the numbers don't move. It just says 41 and beeps at me when I go to set it higher. When I try to factory reset, that doesn't work either. It also (supposedly) has three blue indicator lights which say auto, man, and a little light to tell you the compressor is on. None of these work. If you google you'll find that this is fairly common and that magic chef's customer service is worthless and won't help you. On a plus note, you can fit a corny in it

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Old 12-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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If it were me I'd rip out the digital thermostat and wire in a love controller to the plug.

If you can get a schematic of the electrical, you just need to wire the hot going to the controller to the hot of the compressor. For my Fermenatrix I all I had to do was pull the (manual) thermostat out and crimp the wires together.

B

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Old 12-29-2010, 05:45 PM   #8
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If it were me I'd rip out the digital thermostat and wire in a love controller to the plug.

If you can get a schematic of the electrical, you just need to wire the hot going to the controller to the hot of the compressor. For my Fermenatrix I all I had to do was pull the (manual) thermostat out and crimp the wires together.

B
Did the Love fit right back into the original spot? That would be awesome!!! Any advice on sourcing a Love ridiculously cheap? I'm all about cheap
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Old 12-29-2010, 06:36 PM   #9
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I didn't have one of those sexy-glass-front jobbies. I just mauled a mini fridge a friend was getting rid of:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ferm...ht=fermenatrix

I velcroed the Love to the back. Quick and ghetto. Maybe one of these days I'll actually put it in a control box. But most likely not.

B

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Old 12-29-2010, 09:49 PM   #10
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Hell I'd see what a simple heavy duty timer can do. Only let it run every other hour or something...get a benchmark of what kind of 'stable' temp it can hold. 5 gallons of liquid won't fluctuate that fast so if you can make it hold in the low 60's you'd be golden.

My external johnson temp control simply cuts power the deep freeze when its cold enough. I cannot see a fridge having any issues. It'll actually cycle the compressor less often to hold slightly warmer temps after all.

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