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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Office water cooler as temp control?
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Old 12-24-2011, 02:32 AM   #1
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Default Office water cooler as temp control?

So i have been thinking and searching if its possible to use office water cooler (heating/cooling one) as a main element of fermentation temperature control system, and i dont find much information. My idea is to use plastic bin big enough to fit 2 carboys/buckets, fill it with water, add water aquarium pump (or 2) and recirculate water through water cooler heating/cooling elements. Easiest way would be to setup water cooler above fermentation bin and let water (cold or hot) flow back by gravity force. One could imagine connecting temp control element and plugging two water pumps in to it (one for heating where recirculation goes through heating element and 2nd for cooling) but i dont know how to control valves, or use one pump and wire temp controller to open hot or cold spigot (have no idea if this is even possible, solenoid valve?).
Does anyone seen project like that, is it doable or its not worth to bother and i should get chest freezer (price, big footprint and small mobility of chest freezer make me look for alternatives)

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Old 12-26-2011, 03:11 PM   #2
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Alot of thread views and no responses. So for the benefit of the community maybe you should try it and report back. Good Luck

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Old 12-27-2011, 02:12 AM   #3
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i had been looking at schematics whatever is available online and looks like water cooler with hot water option has small reservoir for cold and hot water and it always have ~2 pints hot/cold water ready for instant delivery. I think easier and more elegant option would be to put copper coil inside hot/cold element and run water through it with 2x aquarium pumps plugged in to temp controller.

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Old 12-27-2011, 02:40 AM   #4
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I've been thinking about a similar concept using hot and cold tap water and dish washer solenoids hooked up to a microcontroller and a PC.

There would be a drain tube a dividers to so the water flows properly.

Problem is that there is no way a custom solution like this would be cost effective or better than, currently available and well tested solutions. I think there is just too much that needs to be figured out the hard way, before its a worth while solution.

That said, I think you would go for it and share your trials and results!

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Old 12-27-2011, 02:45 AM   #5
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Wow, you guys are seriously over-thinking this.

- Chest freezer (</=$150)
- Temperature controller ($60)

No rigging, no wiring (if Johnson or Ranco used), no pumps - just easy temperature control with a push of a button.

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Old 12-27-2011, 03:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hwcopela
Wow, you guys are seriously over-thinking this.

- Chest freezer (</=$150)
- Temperature controller ($60)

No rigging, no wiring (if Johnson or Ranco used), no pumps - just easy temperature control with a push of a button.
Amen. Just bought a 4.7 cu Holiday on CL for $50, + $18 for the eBay temp controller (like I have on the keezer). Cheap, easy and works great. Plus I can fit two kegs in it when I'm not fermenting.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:28 AM   #7
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The water cooler as a ferment temperature control method is quite viable, just requires some effort to build a system with a circulating pump and temperature control. First water cooler chiller system I helped build was 16 years ago, and fed an internal 50 foot SS coil in a 20 Gallon conical. Latest build uses tandem 6 GPH remote chillers and cooling plates for carboys. Control system manages up to 6 cooling heating schedules I can do lagers and ales side by side with carboys on shelving. Here is an old picture of the cooling band for a carboy https://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.l...34297933178562, coolant is constantly flowing and solenoid controls flow to maintain temp. Here is a shot of the coolers and storage tank https://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.l...53811431295522. And here is the control screen for fermentation https://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.l...03947234958722
The water cooler will take some work to modify the cooling chamber connections, but the net cooling capacity is more than enough for an insulated 20 gallon conical.
If you have the skills go for it, otherwise follow the rest and use a plug in controller for a freezer.

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Old 12-27-2011, 04:01 AM   #8
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Like I said: freezer & temperature controller.

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Old 12-27-2011, 05:18 AM   #9
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I just love this place, the do what you know folks strike again.

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Old 12-27-2011, 05:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladue
I just love this place, the do what you know folks strike again.
It's called doing what works without geeking out. Why go through all of that BS when you can just plug a controller into the wall with a cheat freezer?! We do what we know because it is simple, you don't waste time trying to outthink yourself and it WORKS.

What you are suggesting is the equivalent of building the Golden Gate Bridge to cross a stream... it doesn't make sense to make some elaborate temperature control system.
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