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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Temperature Controllers
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Old 05-26-2011, 10:34 PM   #11
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will a freeze also suffice as a fermentor? again with my lack of Freezer knowledge, will a freezer run at the 60-70 temp range for the purpose of maintaining the ideal temperature?

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Old 05-26-2011, 11:07 PM   #12
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Yep, as long as you are using a temperature controller that is capable of regulating the cooling compressor and/or a heater, the freezer will work fine. You'd just set the freezer's internal setting to it's coldest setting and connect it to the controller. The controller will make sure that the freezer's compressor only runs when the chamber needs to be cooled. Conversely, the heater will only kick on when the temp falls. In such a highly insulated environment like a freezer, you will find that either cycle should be very short. For a ferm chamber, I'd suggest favoring an upright freezer vs a chest freezer, as lifting the full fermentation vessels in & out could be treacherous.

There are some simple solutions out there for those wanting to convert a freezer to a refrigerator temperature range, but for your purposes I would highly suggest you just look at the "Love controller" or "ebay aquarium controller" as seen elsewhere in the DIY forum. There are a lot of threads detailing people's builds, which are informative and at time entertaining.

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Old 05-27-2011, 01:20 AM   #13
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Here is my fermentation chest freezer...

I'm using a PID I had laying around. I'm using the built in alarm relay to pull in a motor contactor I had. Since the thermocouple is measuring the air temp it get a bit of a temperature swing. But the average and the temperature of the fermentator stays at the set temperature of the PID.


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Old 05-27-2011, 01:32 AM   #14
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thanks folks....

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Old 05-27-2011, 01:49 AM   #15
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This might help you out a little more.

When the freezer is plugged in, it is trying to get in the range of the green box (depending on if you have the knob turned to 1 or 10). So the simplest thing to is is just turn the whole unit on and off. Essentially this is how it controls itself once it see -5 it will turn off the compressor until it sees 0 then turn back on. Depending where you have your dial at.

So you have a device that measure the temperature inside the freezer (the long silver cord in my picture) it feeds back to the controller and tells it the temperature inside. You set the temperature you want (65 like in the picture). Then you set your hysteresis (tolerance). I have mine at 1 degree. So it will turn on at 66 and off at 64 thus giving you an average of 65. Some people will do 2 or 3 degrees, either way the average still ends up being 65. There are many other variables you will find when messing around and lean to manipulate them.

I love the chest freezer, it works so much better than my cabinet I built.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:59 AM   #16
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The ideal solution is a dual stage electronic controller if you want the transition from heating and cooling to be automatic. If you can anticipate when the seasonal change is going to change the heating/cooling requirement you can use a single stage controller to save some money.

One word of warning on the heating: Don't use something with too high of a wattage. In this relatively small, well insulated box, you only really need 25-40 watts of heating, maybe 100 if your ambient temps are really cold. I practically melted the walls of my fridge with a 750 watt heater after goofing the settings on the controller.

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Old 05-27-2011, 02:01 AM   #17
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Does everybody have their freezer set on MAX (as in coldest) when hooked up to the temperature controller? Does it matter from a cooling or energy perspective?

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Old 05-27-2011, 03:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
In this relatively small, well insulated box, you only really need 25-40 watts of heating, maybe 100 if your ambient temps are really cold.
+1
I know brewers who use a short string of x-mas lights as a heater. I use a 150W ceramic infrared heat bulb in a $1 light fixture, and it's overkill. I wish I'd bought the 75W or 100W bulb instead.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:00 AM   #19
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I LOVE that auber inst device. $75 fridge on CL, then that thing....perfect fermentation chamber.....unfortunately I am about to get a $1000 stainless fermentation chamber because my POS GE fridge/freezing is crapping out!

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Old 05-27-2011, 06:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hillhousesawdustco View Post
Does everybody have their freezer set on MAX (as in coldest) when hooked up to the temperature controller? Does it matter from a cooling or energy perspective?
I don't think it matters since the temps will always be above even the highest end of the freezers thermostat range.
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