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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > FINALLY! My fermentation chiller
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Old 05-14-2008, 11:21 PM   #1
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Default FINALLY! My fermentation chiller

It has begun!

I am starting on my design that I have posted here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=54562 Today after playing with some wiring, I decided to officially start this project. I will be picking up some lumber as well as raiding some construction yards for some various odds and ends.

The goal: build a fermentation cabinet that will hold two carboys at individually regulated temperatures, hold 4 corny kegs in storage, have enough bookshelf space to hold all my text books, be small enough to fit in my tiny office, and try to keep the total bill under $200. Tall order, I know.....

I will try to post pictures and answer questions as I go, as well as post a complete materials list when I am done. I hope to have this finished by Sat or Sun, (or at least to the functional stage) so I can brew this weekend and test this out the right way

This is a test run of the electrical system I have planned:
p5140058.jpg
Pretty much I am running 12V DC from a PC power supply through a relay, a digital home thermostat, and a Computer fan. The relay is also connected to the thermostat of the fridge, which will be set on the coolest setting. This way when the home thermostat (set to the temperature I want) flips to cool, it will turn on the compressor to the fridge unit, as well as the computer fan. I will ultimately hook up 2 fans, one on the cool side coils to circulate cool air in the fermentation chamber, and one on the hot side coils, since they will be inside the cabinet and may get a bit warm without some kind of air flow.

Here I have started tearing the fridge apart, and am dismayed to find that the hot side coils are wrapped around 3 sides of the fridge and not centrally located.
p5140059.jpg
I will have to fins a way to fold these coils down to something that will fit inside my cabinet without crimping them.

I finally get the fridge apart:
p5140060.jpg
and the rest of the carnage:
p5140061.jpg

That was fun, but I hope to never do it again My next step will be to bend those hot side coils and to pick up the lumber and styrofoam to build the chiller part of my cabinet.

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Old 05-14-2008, 11:28 PM   #2
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are those filled with freon? interesting project. keep us updated

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Old 05-14-2008, 11:35 PM   #3
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Forgot to mention:

The home digital thermostat was modified much like this one. I detatched the thermisister and ran some cable from it, as well as hooked it to the PC power supply on 3V DC (just soldered the wires to the battery terminals.

Here is more information on that from when I started playing around with this idea:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=51604

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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I run my (similar) on AA batteries, and use a cheapo 12v wall-wart for the switched power to the computer fan. It's a whole lot smaller and quieter than running a PC power supply all the time - and even on batteries, the thermostat has been turned on for close to a year now with no signs of stopping yet.

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Old 05-15-2008, 03:04 PM   #5
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I bet Amanda appreciated the "redecorating" you did.

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Old 05-15-2008, 04:34 PM   #6
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I like this idea, not sure if I am up for dismantling a fridge that way but with all the emphasis some excellent home brewers put on controlling fermentation, I would love to be able to program a couple chambers to change temps over time.

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Old 05-15-2008, 04:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funkenjaeger View Post
I run my (similar) on AA batteries, and use a cheapo 12v wall-wart for the switched power to the computer fan. It's a whole lot smaller and quieter than running a PC power supply all the time - and even on batteries, the thermostat has been turned on for close to a year now with no signs of stopping yet.
I had orriginaly thought about using a little wall plug, but this way I:
1)never have to worry about batteries
2)I will be running 4-5 computer fans and 2 thermostats off of this, and I didnt feel like taking the time to shop for a transformer that would handle that when I had a PC power supply sitting around for free
3) I hope to eventually incorporate a built in stirplate, so instead of having to shop for another transformer, bam! I have power allready to go.


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Originally Posted by scinerd3000 View Post
are those filled with freon? interesting project. keep us updated
Yeah, I managed to pull that fridge apart without damaging the coils, so it is still charged and functional.

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I bet Amanda appreciated the "redecorating" you did.
I made sure I cleaned up my mess, and all she saw was a freshly repainted office
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Old 05-15-2008, 09:11 PM   #8
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I picked up my lumber and foam today!
p5150063.jpg

I know I should have planned a little better, but after all that time on sketchup, I just wanted to get STARTED. I hope I got enough material....
Included was:
2 sheets 3/8" plywood
6 8' 2"x4"
4 10' 1"x10"
3 sheets 3/4" extruded polystyrene

Because for some reason down here in Texas no one carries 2" foam insulation. the closest I found was an hour and a half away for 1". So instead i went with a sugestion I had gotten from Jas0420 and glued 2 3/4" sheets together with some foam specific liquid nails:
p5150064.jpg

While I was waiting I decided to get going on the frame for the door that will be on the fermentation side of my cabinet. Please do not make fun of my handy work, for some reason I could not cut straight today... Just remember that even though the corners look ugly they will be all covered up in the end and wont look near as ugly as Biermuncher's keggle
p5150065.jpg

After that and after cleaning my office out a little more, I went back and started to cut out the foam for the fermenters insulation. I found that a big sharp knife went through it with only a few passes. Even though the edges look pretty rough, I got some canned foam to seal up any gaps I might have.
p5150066.jpg

I will update again when I have more to report.

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Old 05-16-2008, 03:00 AM   #9
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very cool!

ha ha get it?

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Old 05-16-2008, 02:50 PM   #10
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Before I get started today, here is a quick update of what I got done last night:
p5160068.jpg

I was a little impatient with the glue, I mean who out there would REALLY wait 24 hours to let it cure..... So I had to implement a little of the handy man's secret weapon to clamp everything in place. I also filled that door frame with the foam board and used a little canned foam to fill in the cracks and crevices. I still have some gluing to do this morning, but I propped everything up last night to kinda see how it all fit together.
p5150067.jpg

Goal of this morning is to cut the plywood and possibly get started on the bookshelf part of this project.

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