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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > 3 section fermentation chamber with ebay temp controller
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Old 04-12-2012, 11:15 PM   #1
barryfine
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Default 3 section fermentation chamber with ebay temp controller

This is my first post. I'd like to say that this forum helped me a ton when doing this project. I have one temperature controller hooked up the compressor set for cold storage of kegs and then the two other controllers are wired to power outlets for heating and cooling. I'm using computer fans to pull the cold air from the freezer to the other chambers and using space heaters for the heat.

I still have a few small details to finish, but I have the lower left chamber finished and currently have a carboy of water in it for testing prior to my brew day tomorrow.


Initial design:



Pile of supplies:



Collar built:



Frame built:



Skinned and insulated:



Top interior. Fans are attached to a temperature controller to pull cold air up from the freezer.



First test. The top right is attached to the heater and temperature controlled and the top left is attached to fans to pull cold air from the freezer.



Close up of the fans:




The three temperature controllers:




Close up of the three temperature controllers:



Detail inside the freezer. There is a fan on the bottom of the tube as well.

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Old 04-13-2012, 08:28 PM   #2
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keep going. I want to do this with my icebox . ferment on 1 side . keep beer cold on other side

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Old 04-15-2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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Here is a pic of it all sealed up:



And one with my first brew in it! This is an Orange IPA using vienna, honey, and caramel malts, sweet orange peels, warrior hops for bittering, and citra and centennial for flavor and aroma.

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Old 04-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #4
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Looks great. I'd recommend though to raise the floor of the chamber to the left of the freezer though to minimize dead space, to allow for easier temp control (unless of course you have larger fermentation vessels than your carboy pictured). It looks like you have close to 2' of clearance above the carboy cap and your freezer is really going to need to work just to maintain that chamber, let alone the other 2 simultaneously if there is that much extra space in each.

Just my $0.02!

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Old 04-16-2012, 07:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cyberbackpacker View Post
Looks great. I'd recommend though to raise the floor of the chamber to the left of the freezer though to minimize dead space, to allow for easier temp control (unless of course you have larger fermentation vessels than your carboy pictured). It looks like you have close to 2' of clearance above the carboy cap and your freezer is really going to need to work just to maintain that chamber, let alone the other 2 simultaneously if there is that much extra space in each.

Just my $0.02!

Or just go buy a conical or two now, they should fit in there!
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:46 PM   #6
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sweet!

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Old 04-16-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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Or just go buy a conical or two now, they should fit in there!
That is the plan eventually. That shelf above the carboy is actually built to be easily removed so I can eventually make is a tall chamber with a 30 gallon plastic conical.

I did learn something today. The side of the freezer actually gets hot when it's running which was making it tough to maintain cool temps on a hot day like today. I insulated it some today and plan to add some more to it tomorrow. I also added metal tubes to the fans so that they can pull from the air at the bottom of the freezer. Will likely add fans to the bottom too for more power.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:26 PM   #8
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It was 90 degrees here Monday and it exposed some weaknesses in my system that I'm working on fixing. *Monday the beer got up to 70, which isn't the end of the world, but it couldn't get it down to 67 where I wanted it. *It was only that high for a few hours though so I'm sure it's fine. *

I realized that I had placed the temperature probe for the freezer section too high so the compressor was running constantly, even though the bottom of the freezer was below freezing and I was aiming for 40 degrees in that section. *This made the outside of the freezer very hot and this heat was getting inside chamber. *I have since adjusted the temp probe so the compressor runs properly and insulated the entire chamber better. *I also added more weather stripping and tubes to the fans so that they are pulling the cold air from the bottom of the freezer section. *

I also ordered a few more fans that will be attached to the same switch at the compressor to help pull the heat away from the body of the body of the freezer in the back.

Here are some pics. *I ran out of reflective insulation so there are still a couple spots I need to patch up.







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Old 04-18-2012, 07:38 PM   #9
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What are your plans for the freezer itself and the upper area? Are you going to have kegs in the freezer with taps and they store bottles in the area above?

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Old 04-18-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
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What are your plans for the freezer itself and the upper area? Are you going to have kegs in the freezer with taps and they store bottles in the area above?
The freezer section will be for cold storage of kegs. I can fit two corny kegs in there and eventually plan to add taps to the side that has the temperature controllers. Since it's set to 40 degrees it would also be useful as a lagering chamber.

The top section will just be another fermentation chamber. That way I can do two different types of beer with different temperature needs. That way I can adjust to the specific temp of the carboy too instead of just for the ambient temperature.

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm planning to get a 30 gallon conical that will take up the entire left side, but it will be a few more months as I have a couple other projects I want to complete first.
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