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Old 05-16-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chamber Build

I am planning a fermentation chamber to be constructed from a dorm sized fridge, as I have seen several others have done. I have a couple questions (and will likely have more before I'm done).

Should I make a drain hole and try to slightly slope the floor towards it? Any need for this due to condensation or the unwelcome blowoff? I plan on lining the interior of the chamber with plastic laminate.

Has anyone had any luck reusing the fridge door? I'm thinking of installing a magnetic strip around the perimeter to maintain the seal.

My thermostat probe will be submerged in water to limit short-cycling of the compressor. Will a White Labs vial be enough insulation, or should I go with a 1L bottle? Also can I submerge the probe directly, or should I enclose it in a balloon?

Any help appreciated.

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Old 05-16-2012, 04:00 PM   #2
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I lined my ferm chamber with plastic laminate and siliconed the corners real well. Had a defrosting issue and the water flower out the doors. Don't worry about blow off if you use a blow off tube and proper sized container.
I just let my temp probe hang and base the temps off of ambiant temps. Good luck.

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Old 05-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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A white labs vial will work fine ... I use something about the same size in mine ...

I partially submerged the probe to keep the water out ... You can see a picture on page 3 here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/dutc...-build-251579/

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Old 05-16-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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The probe from a Ranco temperature controller is not submersible. I have mine inside a rubber glove that EMTs/nurses/doctors use and then in a pint jar filled with water.

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Old 05-24-2012, 04:47 PM   #5
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I am attaching a model of what I am planning to build. I already installed a computer fan in the fridge, and wired the thermostat up to turn both the fridge and the fan on. I drilled a hole in the top of a white labs vial and procured a medical exam glove. The first pic shows the finished product, second is the base frame with dimensions, third is the skeleton from the front, third is a view from below showing casters, last pic shows the fridge installed.

This weekend I will start on the frame. I plan to use 2"x2" and 2"x4" lumber, as well as 3/4" plywood for the base, and a piece of counter top I got at a resale shop. Counter top dimensions are 4'-6"x2'-0"x1". The frame will be mounted on 6 casters, with a weight capacity of 125 lbs each.

Any suggestions are appreciated. One thing that comes to my mind: do I need to include some cross bracing? The fridge and counter top will provide some lateral stabilization, but I'm not sure if it will be sufficient.

iso-clad.jpg   base-above-dims.jpg   skeleton-front.jpg   iso-below-base-wheels.jpg   iso-fridge.jpg  

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Old 05-24-2012, 04:56 PM   #6
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Two more pictures attached. The first shows insulation installed. I am planning to use 1 layer 3/4" and 1 layer 1/2" rigid foam insulation. The second pic shows the counter top and fridge door installed (door open). I plan to line all the interior surfaces with plastic laminate, and install a magnetic strip around the door perimeter to keep it closed (both not shown).

I am not sure what I will use for the cladding on the outside. I can not cover the sides of the fridge, because the heat exchange coils appear to be there.

For now, I do not plan to include the drain that I was questioning about in the OP.

Again, any input on the structure, insulation, cladding, etc. is greatly appreciated.

iso-insulation.jpg   iso-top-door.jpg  
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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Looks good. The only thing additional I did was line the inside with that thin plastic material that can be used for windows. Where you putting in the temp controller?

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Old 05-24-2012, 06:34 PM   #8
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Maybe a bit more support on top. My top is sagging.

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Old 05-24-2012, 06:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapbrew13 View Post
Looks good. The only thing additional I did was line the inside with that thin plastic material that can be used for windows. Where you putting in the temp controller?
I plan on lining the inside with plastic laminate, like what is used on counter tops. It should be durable enough to support the carboys sliding around, and should be watertight, so condensation/ spillage/ blowoff cleanup should be less of an issue.

The thermostat is the rectangular piece on the side of the fridge by the door. The sensor cable will run from there, through the seam of the insulation by the fridge, to a white labs vial filled with water on the far side of the chamber.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:09 PM   #10
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I reused the door of my mini fridge when I built mine. I kept it shut with a window sash.

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