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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Questions about building fermentation chiller?
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:15 PM   #1
greg75
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Default Questions about building fermentation chiller?

I've been looking into building a "Son of Fermentation Chamber" recently. http://65.101.176.180/Beer/fermchiller/default.htm It seems like a popular project around here, and I'd really like to build one, but there's one problem...I'm clueless on wiring, and electronics in general. So, here's some questions that roll off the top of my head:

1. How hard is it to wire this stuff up? What do I need to do it? Can I get away with electrical tape? Or do I need to buy a solder gun?

2. I only need a 12V DC adapter, right? In reading the plans, it seems like they say you need an AC adapter, then they go back and say you need a DC adapter. I'm perplexed.

3. Any mechanical thermostat will be sufficient, if I understand correctly. Are there any particular models that seem to work better for this project than others? I have a Home Depot in my area, but no Lowe's.

I'm sure more questions will come up as I progress, but these are the burning issues in my mind, right now. I did go to another home improvement store in my area today, and they have the 4' X 8' X 2" extruded polystyrene, which is supposedly the hardest thing to find in this project, so I'm pretty happy about that. Now, just to get a primer on wiring this thing, and I'll be set.

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Old 10-15-2006, 11:32 PM   #2
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The wiring is really very easy. Those are my designs you're looking at. For the DC converter; if you're like most guys you probably already have one hanging around somewhere already. It should say 12v dc on it. No need to solder if you don't have it; just strip enough wire to twist and wrap with elec tape. Got an electical meter? Probably don't need that either but can be helpful to see which side is hot.

The most complicated part usually is the thermostat because they often have multiple in/outs. The manual one that I had referenced was (Hunter brand) was $15 and works great (and less connections to choose from). As long as it is manual (no digital) you're good. Don't bother with the in-line LED to see if it is running. You can hear the thing running. Nice part about 12v dc is you aren't going to blow anything up if not wired correctly. I'm around if you got questions. Making the box is the most effort required.

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Old 10-16-2006, 12:03 AM   #3
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Excellent! Thanks for the help. I hope to have this thing built by next weekend. I'm sure I'll run into questions before that time, so thanks again!

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Old 10-16-2006, 01:56 PM   #4
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greg75,
I have emailed close up photos of the wiring I did on my fermentation chiller to a couple of others. If you'd like a couple of picts of the wiring once installed just PM and I'll forward along. Take your time and what I found works well for sealing the lid and door is all-thread and drilled through the entire span of each and then using washers and nuts to have a tight seal. I had a tough time locating nice extruded polystyerene so check the sheet closely. I took the least warped I could find and hence my need for the all-thread. Have fun with it and this is an inexpensive way to take your brewing to another level; you will notice a difference.

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Old 10-17-2006, 06:00 PM   #5
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I think the source of cooling needs to be looked at a little more closely. You're in Wisconsin and I tend to think outside air is a lower maintanance source of cold than the ice chamber in the original design. On the other hand, if you have a detached garage, you might find that a slight controlled heating cycle would work well for you. The business of changing out ice containers seems to be too much work for me.

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Old 10-17-2006, 06:31 PM   #6
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Swapping out the ice chambers isn't much of a problem. I have 4 bottles and rotate two in/out. When it's 75-85 out here that's switching them every 2-3 days. 100+ is once a day. I do it in the morning when I feed/water the dogs. Do anything more complicated you may as well get a controller and chest freezer (which I plan to do someday).

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