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Old 03-27-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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Default Cannot Keep Ferm Temps Down In Cabinet

So I turned a small cabinet I found in the basement into a fermentation cabinet by lining the inside with some insulating sheathing, sticking a lightbulb in a paintcan for the heater, and a couple fans to try to keep the box cool.

I have one fan pulling air from the outside into the box over a tray full of water with some sponges for the air to blow through and hopefully act as a small evaporative cooler... Unfortunately I have been running it and I haven't been able to get the temps to go below 70 degrees during fermentation

The basement is pretty cool, usually 60-65 degrees, so I figured a mini swamp cooler would be enough, but I was wrong. I've only been doing 1 and 3 gallon batches, so that might work in my favor as there will not be as much heat.

Also, I am waiting for my eBay temperature controller to come in the mail so I can maintain temps with that, so I need some sort of cooler that can turn off and on if possible.

Does anybody have a good idea for me? I have seen some folks take apart mini fridges and use the compressor and such to cool a box, but I don't know how that all would work. I kind of would like to make this cabinet work, as I've already put a bunch of work into it. I'm trying to keep it pretty low budget and not too complex if I can help it.

Thanks everybody. Links to similar builds, new ideas, and the like are all helpful.

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Old 03-28-2012, 12:19 AM   #2
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Here is what I'm working with

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Old 03-28-2012, 12:50 AM   #3
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I'm far from an expert, but it looks like you need more cooling capacity. The fan/wet sponge is probably not up to the heat generated by fermentation.

You might be better off out in the open, your insulation may actually be holding heat in.

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Old 03-28-2012, 12:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RazzBarlow View Post
I'm far from an expert, but it looks like you need more cooling capacity. The fan/wet sponge is probably not up to the heat generated by fermentation.

You might be better off out in the open, your insulation may actually be holding heat in.
I'm thinking about getting a tiny fridge and taking it apart and using only the cooling components in my cabinet... Something similar to this.
http://denver.craigslist.org/for/2918427818.html

I don't know anything about using fridge components, but I can probably figure it out...?
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:13 AM   #5
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It's pretty simple to do what you're suggesting, and a lot of guys do it that way.

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Old 03-28-2012, 01:45 AM   #6
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It's pretty simple to do what you're suggesting, and a lot of guys do it that way.
I'm on the hunt for a mini fridge to Frankenstein...
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Old 03-28-2012, 02:00 PM   #7
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for the short term, you can find a tub that will hold that fermenting bucket and fit into your cabinet - fill with water and a few frozen water bottles. The insulation will minimize the number of times you have to change out the bottles - maybe once in the morning, once in the evening -

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Old 03-28-2012, 02:42 PM   #8
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I've always been partial to the small window AC vs. mini fridge internals. It's a little more bulky, but it has much more cooling power and it already has the fan integrated into it.

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Old 03-28-2012, 03:21 PM   #9
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I've always been partial to the small window AC vs. mini fridge internals. It's a little more bulky, but it has much more cooling power and it already has the fan integrated into it.
Yeah, I looked into those too, but just from looking it seems like taking out the compressor and condenser and such out of the fridge would be a little more space-efficient. I'm trying to keep this cabinet pretty small so it will still fit in that spot I have it.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys! Fermentation has slowed, so the beer is too cold now... Luckily I have no problem heating it!
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:35 PM   #10
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Mini fridge is the way to go. Until you get one you can always stick frozen water bottles in there and have the fan blowing onto them circulating cold air. I did this for a while and would swap 2 bottles when I went to work and when I got home from work. After a while its a pain but it def works.

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