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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Noob Fermentation Chamber Questions
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Old 12-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #1
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Default Noob Fermentation Chamber Questions

Just came up with the idea of building a fermentation chamber in the last 24 hours, and need some input.

I will presumably be building my fermentation chamber out of a $40 GE Freezer

1) I already understand I need a temperature controller. What's the most economical/reliable choice out there? If I can buy it off Amazon, the better (I have an Amazon prime account). I want to keep my costs low as the wife is already going skitzo over the $$$ going into my new hobby/addiction.

2) With the temperature controller, how does that regulate the temperature..... I mean I am assuming I hook it up to the freezer controls to cool down the chamber, but what is my method to heat it up? My garage is at 30 degrees sometimes at night (I live in Denver). That's where I want to house this thing, so I need some type of heating component.

if someone has made one of these before and can assist me in the process I would really appreciate it. I'm a novice at all of this and I don't have the handyman lingo down. All of the brewery contraptions I am making are my first experience in more advanced Tool Time. The more explanation the better.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-29-2013, 06:08 PM   #2
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Cheapest Temp control is the STC-1000. $17.75 on Amazon Prime.

http://www.amazon.com/Elitech-All-Pu...words=stc+1000

This will need to be wired but I did it and I suck at electronics, there are several great threads on how to do this. It takes an hour at the most. Plug controller into the wall, plug freezer into the controller. Attach temp probe to carboy and away you go. Total cost for controller once you add plug and box to hold it, less than $30.00.

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Old 12-29-2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Here is a start on the temperature controller

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay...-build-163849/

I prefer to hard wire the temp controller in, however a many guys have wired a power box that you plug the freezer into and have had great success.
as far as the heat side you can wire a light socket with a ceramic heater used for reptile aquariums, or a light bulb in a paint can, or even a cheap space heater. More pricy options would be a Fermwrap:

http://morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html

or a heating pad under the carboy. With your location in an unheated garage, a heating option would be essential. My chamber is in a heated room so the cooling option is all I need. There are lots of write ups here on HBT and depending on what you are working with Im sure you could find something similar that has already been done. Fun project . Good luck.

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Old 12-29-2013, 06:31 PM   #4
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STC is cheapest. I like my Johnson A419...prewired and fairly easy to switch between heating and cooling but won't do both. You would need a two stage controller to be able to cut in heat or cooling when needed without having to manually switch. I live in Southern Colorado so I usually have it set to heat in winter and use the insulation of the fridge to help maintain temps then switch to cooling in summer.
Your heat source depends on whether you want to heat the chamber or the fermenter. I use a Hydrofarm seedling heat mat duct taped to my carboy and it works great. About $20 on Amazon & the small one works fine. They also make a cheap ($30ish) temp controller but lowest temp is 68°...fine for most ales and pretty cheap for a prewired controller with a temp probe. Reptile heaters or a lightbulb in a paint can are inexpensive options for heating the chamber.

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Old 12-29-2013, 09:33 PM   #5
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I just built a ferm chamber and am waiting for my STC 1000 to arrive. I ordered it from Amazon for less than $20.

I will have 2 computer fans in the chamber, one that works with the refrigerator compressor and the other with my paint can heat lamp. The heat lamp is very easy to build with a paint can and light bulb assembly.

I can't figure out how to share the link to my build post from my phone now, but, if you perform a search for Fermentation Chamber Build in the DIY forum, I'm sure it'll pop up. I included a link to the heat lamp build instructions in one of my posts.

I shared a lot of photos and will continue to update that post as I get to the final product.

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Old 12-30-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Here is the link to my build thread.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ferm...-build-448200/



And here is the link to the paint can heater.

http://www.brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html

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Old 12-30-2013, 05:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spartybrews View Post
I just built a ferm chamber and am waiting for my STC 1000 to arrive. I ordered it from Amazon for less than $20.

I will have 2 computer fans in the chamber, one that works with the refrigerator compressor and the other with my paint can heat lamp. The heat lamp is very easy to build with a paint can and light bulb assembly.

I can't figure out how to share the link to my build post from my phone now, but, if you perform a search for Fermentation Chamber Build in the DIY forum, I'm sure it'll pop up. I included a link to the heat lamp build instructions in one of my posts.

I shared a lot of photos and will continue to update that post as I get to the final product.
FWIW i hope your confident in your wiring, those light bulb in a can things are no joke...those get so incredibly hot so incredibly fast they can easily start a fire in a contained space like that if something goes wrong with the STC...

Honestly i dont know why everyone doesnt just buy one of these for basically the same cost ..

http://www.amazon.com/Lasko-100-MyHe...ersonal+heater

Heater + Built in Fan plus it turns off automatically if it gets too hot. It has no issues heating my freezer, we are talking about a space that is a few square feet max..you dont need a giant ass heater.
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Old 12-31-2013, 01:36 AM   #8
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I thought about the personal ceramic heater, but, I was able to pick up the paint can parts for less than $5 and it was a fun project.

Thanks for the heads up though! Maybe I will replace the paint can at a later date.

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Home Brew mobile app

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Old 12-31-2013, 03:06 AM   #9
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I used reptile aquarium heating line. Works well, but only first time using it as we speak.gets warm but not anywhere near enough to melt anything.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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Old 12-31-2013, 03:08 PM   #10
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Same with the seedling heat mats-they will raise the temp in an enclosed space by as much as 20° and are the same thing the hbs's are selling but at a much cheaper price. I have used them taped to a carboy for over a year now w/ no problems but I just pulled one off a lager and taped it to the wall of the fridge to experiment with heating the space rather than the fermenter. Seems to be working just as well as I ramp temps from the low 50s to mid 60s for a diacetyl rest.

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"I cant handle that buddy.. it tastes like Moose Piss", (IPA) - side note.. ive never had moose piss, but im sure it doesnt taste like IPA or I would have a moose.
Bottled: Grizzly Saison, Grizzly Brett, Session Pale, Colorado Cream Ale, Cranberry Apfelwein
Primary: -37* Blue Balls Baltic Porter, Bad Dog Brown, Bohemian Pilsner
Secondary: Rarely!!!
Future: Cognitive Dissonance Cascadian Dark Ale
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