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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Fermentation Box - Pre-Build designing
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Box - Pre-Build designing

Hey there gang....

Now while my temp controlled fridge works great, it does seem to have it's limitations.The biggest being "Two 5 gallon batches and i'm done for a while".. heh.. and a single temp setting. After looking over a bunch of others builds, i'm considering something along the lines of this.....



Keep in mind, it's not to scale, and not all of the measurements are in there, but you get a general idea... What we're looking at here is basically a 2 chamber set up. Hopefully allowing for 2 temperature zones. 65F and 35F or all 63F or what ever... Room for 2 rows of four 6.5 gallon carboys in each chamber for a total of potentially 16 carboys, or less plus bottle space.

The temp would hopefully be controlled by the following.
Bottom Chamber:
Air Conditioner hooked to a CoolBot (for a lack of a desire to monkey with the AC) for cold.
A CPU/case fan blowing warmer are down from above when needed.
Possibly another CPU/Case fan for general air circulation.

Top Chamber:
1 or maybe 2 Ceramic Infrared Heaters with a CPU Case fan near by for air circulation.
And another CPU/Case fan blowing cool air from below when needed.
Possibly another for general air circulation.

The AC, heaters, and fans will be hooked up to Digital Temp Controllers to maintain the temps.

The box itself, i'm thinking will have 2x4 walls to allow for a 2inch plus 1.5inch Foam Board Insulation hopefully. The horizontal supports made of 2x6 to have more insulation. The floors be 3/4inch ply to support the carboys full of beer. Maybe 1/2inch? The rest of the paneling be 1/4inch. And some strong caster wheels to support the big thing and have it on wheels. The plan is to have 4 cabinet like doors on the front for access. 2 per chamber. None on the back.

Let me know what you think. I'm definitely open to suggestions here in case i'm way over or under designing something here, or if i'm just flat out forgetting something.... For example, i was kinda thinking the 2x6s might be a bit over board, but then again figured the extra insulation it would allow might be good... heh...

Thanks gang...
Cheers...
Kyle....

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Old 01-02-2011, 07:05 PM   #2
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Looks pretty good. You may need to re-think your cooling supply if you want to get down to 35F though. Most window AC units will freeze up before reaching temps that low. If you keep it at ale temps it shouldn't be a problem.

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Old 01-02-2011, 08:26 PM   #3
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I dont see the point in circulating the air between the two chambers. Since the heater and the AC unit will be in separate thermostats for each of their own spaces just make a warm side and a cool side. The big problem you will have is an AC unit works by removing heat and once that heat transfer becomes less and less the unit will freeze. You could put the unit in the middle of the two chambers and use the AC for the cold side and let the AC exhaust into the warm side and not need a heater but like I previously said the AC unit most likely will freeze. Good concept though. Now you have me thinking too.

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:07 PM   #4
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Hey there Juan and PurpleJeep....

Thanks for the comments... regarding the possibility of the AC freezing.... Yea... I think you are right if the A/C was just left to run normally on it's own. That's where i was thinking the CoolBot would come into play. From what i've read, it has some sort of heating element that hooks to the A/C fins to keep it from freezing up, so i'm hoping that will do the trick there. I have no personal experience with it, so only going off of what i've heard so far. Brewpastor is using one in his Cold Room Build here and seems to have good luck with it so far.

Now about the recirculating of the air... This box will be out in our detached garage, and it can get pretty cold in the winter, and pretty warm in the summer, so the recirc tubes wont be running all the time, or even at the same time hopefully. They are just a way to bring warmer air into the cold box in cases where it gets too cold, and bring cooler air into the warm box in cases where it might get too warm.

Does that make more sense? I'm not real sure.

Venting the AC into the warm box is an interesting idea, though there may be times i might to set the whole thing at 63F in the summer, and then the A/C would be fighting against it's self. (plus i'd have to have a way to have the A/C dripping exit the box) That would also be a case where i'd be running one of the recirc tubes to blow the cooler air from the bottom up into the top as well. If you do do the AC contained completely inside the whole thing, it would be interesting to hear how it works.

One thing i've wondered about the recirc tubes is lets say i set the bottom for 40*, and the top for 50* or what ever...and say it's 32* in the garage, so it starts to blow warmer air from the top down to the bottom to get the bottom back up to 40. Will that push cold air from the bottom up to the top just naturally in the other tube even though that fan is off perhaps causing a loop? Maybe this is what you were referring to PurpleJeep... not sure... My thinking there was that eventually the bottom would reach 40* again, and stop the recirc fan on that side and the top would balance out as well at it's 50* temp.

Just some thoughts...
Thanks gang..
Cheers...
Kyle

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:47 PM   #5
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well since the warm chamber is on top and the cold on the bottom if you insulate them well and on have one port in and out on either side you will get the warm air rising to the top and the cold to the bottom. You may want to think of angling the ceiling of the lower chamber up towards the right of your sketch so the heat will rise and get caught up there and only have one way to go. You could do the opposite for the top chamber to bring the cold air down. Like I said before you have gotten me thinking.

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Old 01-02-2011, 10:35 PM   #6
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Hmm... that's an interesting idea about angling the ceiling of the bottom chamber to give the warm air a place to go as it rises... hmmm... i'm kinda thinking about perhaps having a small CPU fan run every so often in the each chamber just for the sake of stirring up the air in each chamber a bit just to minimize the rising/falling effect of air temps in an attempt to keep the air consistent in each chamber, but the angle thing is an interesting idea.. I'll have to ponder that one...

Thanks...
Kyle...

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Old 01-04-2011, 02:16 AM   #7
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Just spent my first dollar on this project... Picked up the AC unit from Home Depot... was planning to get the 5000 btu... all they had was the 6500 btu, so i said i'll take it... heh.. It's a Zenith, but i guess, according the box, it's made by LG, which LG is the manufacturer the guy at StoreItCold.com recommends for their CoolBots, so hopefully that'll work ok... Kinda crossing my fingers for the moment and keeping my receipt..

Anyway, just starting to track down some of the parts. We'll see how this goes.

Kyle...

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