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Old 08-29-2010, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chamber -- Highly Recommended

I can't believe I waited this long to build one of these things. I followed the 'Son of Fermentation Chamber' plans you can find online, unmodified. Given the effort to build one, I built two of them from the start, probably should have built a third right away.

I just fermented a hefe @ 60 with no problems (house was ~75-85) and there's a strong red ale (Gordon Clone) in one now. My brewing friend has a Mead in the other one.

Some tips:

- I got 2" polystyrene (a nice blue) from a local roofing place. The stuff is messy as can be, but machines great with a skill saw, table saw and hole saws.

- Everything was glued together with liquid nails, and then all the seams were sealed up with silicone caulk. The ice chambers can actually hold ~10" deep of water when I tested it without leaking.

- I glued some corner round molding on, again with liquid nails for the front/top to push against.

- To get a good seal with the doors I laid down ~3/16" bead of silicone on all the surfaces (against the front/top) -- waited 30 minutes -- and then squished it flat with the front/top and weighted it. This made a great silicone seal on all the edges. I did the front/top separately and left it a few hours to harden.

- Home Depot carries RiteTemp 6022 thermostats. They go down to 35 degrees. A friend de-soldered the thermistor and relocated it on a 4' length of lightweight extension cord. This way we can mount the thermostat on the outside and plunk the thermistor into a thermowell.

- The 6022 thermostat has a hold feature so you can plunk in a temp and just stay there. If you're really into a temp ramp, you can setup the 7 day program to slowly ramp the temp.

- Radio shack sells male/female plugs for power. You can wire these up to an existing 12v adapter and off the chamber to make it easy to plug in the power supply.

- Finally, I traced the fan a couple inches down from the top of the chambers and used a hole saw and hacksaw blade to cut out a perfect hole the fan just slides into.


Best thing I've added to my brew collection yet and it has amazing temperature control. Each one cost ~$50.

pics in next post.

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Old 08-29-2010, 10:39 PM   #2
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One of the best things I built. Would have built the SoFC except my wife didn't want a big pink thing in the house so i built a wooden box around it and it ended up in the garage. I can keep it around 65 changing the bottles every 10 hours or so. We bought a fridge last week on CL so now I'm letting the ferm cab go.

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Old 08-29-2010, 10:52 PM   #3
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Detail of the fan cutout


'Squished' silicon for the seal against the top


Second hole for the thermistor in a thermowell


Power +12v to RH, Power -12v to Fan-, Fan+ to G;


Gordon clone fermenting away. Currently run by a big DC power supply until I find a 12v power supply in the trash.

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Old 08-29-2010, 11:33 PM   #4
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Awesome build! I made the mother of a fermentation chamber a few weeks ago. The thing works great. Have to keep it in the garage,(wife), but it still gets down to temp with no problems.

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Old 08-29-2010, 11:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bolts View Post
Gordon clone fermenting away. Currently run by a big DC power supply until I find a 12v power supply in the trash.
Is that a tattoo power supply?
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:55 PM   #6
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Is that a tattoo power supply?
It's a GP4303A by EZ Digital with 30v/3A capacity. It's a bit overkill for this. Works great for my stir-plate to tweak the speed when it doesn't want to cooperate.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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Dump question but what exactly makes this cold? Just the fan spinning?

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Old 08-30-2010, 02:31 AM   #8
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You can't see it in the pictures, but ice in some form of plastic bottle/container goes in the bottom of those back chambers. The fan pushes air in/down, around the bottom, back up the other side and out.

Here's a cut-away with the top/front/side missing.

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Old 08-30-2010, 04:10 AM   #9
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Has anyone tried this with dry ice yet. I was thinking that you can get the temp down quicker and maybe hold lower temps longer

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Old 08-30-2010, 08:27 AM   #10
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Has anyone tried this with dry ice yet. I was thinking that you can get the temp down quicker and maybe hold lower temps longer
Dry ice would probably work well, but it would also be expensive. You can freeze your own water jugs, but you can't make your own dry ice. Not to mention you have to go get it somewhere and that could be more trouble than it's worth.
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