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Old 07-20-2008, 09:25 PM   #1
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Default Potential fridge conversion

So I've inherited a working side by side refrigerator that I'm going to use as my fermentation chiller in some capacity. I don't have it in my possession yet, so I haven't been able to do any measurements, but I'm kind of assuming my standard carboy and bucket fermentors aren't going to fit on either side (particularly the freezer side).

So is anyone using a side by side fridge for this function who can prove me incorrect in my assumptions? I'd love to just mount a temperature controller in it and be good to go, but I'm afraid I might have to get into some more complicated alterations to use my fridge.

My first consideration was maybe taking the cooling system out of the fridge and just building a nice enclosure for it, a la thomcat333, but he did it with a minifridge, and I'm guessing a larger fridge is much more complicated.

Any thoughts?

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Old 07-22-2008, 01:01 AM   #2
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Without knowing the size, it is difficult to speculate. In some cases, you can remove the partition. In others, you can't even take out the shelves because they are part of the cooling system.

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Old 07-23-2008, 10:16 PM   #3
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Alright I can be more specific now.

The fridge side is plenty big enough for me to use for my fermenters. It seems all I need is a temperature controller, but I'm wondering if there's a way to do it so I could have two different temperature settings on either side. I've seen those johnson controls units, but that's just a general override for the power running to the fridge.

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:07 AM   #4
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This is the fridge side of my side-by-side. As you may be able to see, in order to (just barely) fit two 5 gallon carboys I had to remove the original shelf as well as the shelves that were built into the door. I was able to do this without destroying anything. This leaves room for 2-3 shelves on top for storing bottled beer.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:17 PM   #5
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It seems like the unutilized freezer compartment would make it a bit of an energy hog. I suppose you could use it as dedicated hop storage though.

Another option: See if anyone on Craigslist wants to trade it for a chest freezer.

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:25 PM   #6
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The freezer part has a separate control and may even have an "off." However I use it to freeze lots of plastic containers full of water for cooling my wort.

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:30 PM   #7
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Yeah I was hoping I could set up a yeast bank on the freezer side

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:46 PM   #8
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Any more pic of the ductwork in the fridge side?
Some side by sides just blow freezer air from the fridge into the freezer. You can't control the fridge temp unless you can control the damper motor that opens and closes the freezer air supply, and obviously the freezer would have to be running at normal freezer temps too.
Side by side fridge freezers in general are hard to control as they mostly run on airflow for temp control (switch fan on/off, open/close duct). Most of the ones these days are either ducted air from the freezer, or fan control (the comp keeps running until the frezer is at set point. In the meantime the fridge runs it's fan until it's setpoint, then switches off just the fan while the compressor and refrigerant is still feeding the freezer.)
edit: Some of the really old ones are just a package put together for owners convenience, two completely separate cycles with their own compressors. Both most modern ones use airflow as it's cheaper to manufacture.

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