Happy HolidaySs Giveaway - Last Sponsor Giveaway of the Year!

Come Enter the BrewDeals/FastFerment Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Thermoelectric (peltier) Fermentation Cabinet Build
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-17-2011, 04:41 AM   #1
timbudtwo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 327
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts

Default Thermoelectric (peltier) Fermentation Cabinet Build

So with the weather getting warmer and my lagering fridge now a kegerator, I needed a place to ferment by beer. I had an old igloo cooler that would plug into your car or the wall and keep things nice and chilly. It wasn't going to be used anymore so I figured I would cannibalize that into what I needed. These types of igloo coolers use thermoelectric coolers, or peltiers, that pump heat from one side of a small ceramic plate to the other via electricity to keep the inside of them cool. I pulled my unit along with its heatsinks out of that old electric cooler.

I went down to home depot looking for some insulation sheet. I found the rigid polyiso stuff and the thinner, slightly less insulate-y soft foam type. The price was within 5 bucks for each other so I oped to go for the polyiso stuff because it was damaged. Brought it up to the cashier, mentioned the damage (a couple chunks along one edge had broken off) and she gave me 50% off. What a deal!

I also picked up 4 2x2's to make the frame. I made a box that would be large enough to fit a glass carboy and only have a little extra room inside. Buckets obviously will fit too, and seeing as I only have those currently that is what will be used!

So I cut the pieces, applied glue very liberally and clamped for a few hours. Once I was done I started cutting up some 3/16" birch plywood to go on the outside:


I used a brad nailer to get all the sides on, and then I caulked the inside edge.

Then on to the insulation. I marked out the size of the spaces on the foam, cut one edge, scored the other and snapped it. After putting it in I realized the size was just a tad too thick, so the foam piece on the adjacent wall would not be able to fit in there, so all I did was bevel the edges so that would fit in there neatly. I wasn't ginger about this, just got it done:


For today I stopped at finishing three walls as I ran out of 3/16" ply. But now that I think about it putting heavier ply on the top and bottom wont be an issue so I will just use some other stuff I have tomorrow.


I stuffed some extra foam in where the edges of each piece didn't quite meet and I taped it up with aluminum tape:


So the plan is to get the top and bottom and front finished tomorrow. The front is what is going to be removable, obviously. I am going to glue the foam to the wood and then put some foam weather stripping around it so that I can use bungees to hold it on. I wont have much room for a swinging door where it is going to be (closet) so no hinges on this one.

The thermoelectric cooler (peltier) is going to be on the top, powered by an old computer power supply. A hole will be cut in the top of the cabinet to allow the cold plate to come through. The interior and exterior heatsinks will have a computer fan on them to expedite the transfer of heat so that the cooler will work well. Hopefully I am able to finish this tomorrow.

__________________
timbudtwo is offline
gingervitis Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-17-2011, 05:17 AM   #2
gingervitis
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 35
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 5

Default

Looks good so far! Looking forward to seeing how you do the peltier/wiring installation.

sub'd

__________________
gingervitis is offline
Ravio11i Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 03:44 AM   #3
rennerbrew
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: michigan
Posts: 6
Default

Like the design of your box - with the 2X2 structural pieces, it should be no problem to move it small distances with a full jug inside (unlike mine).

I might be pointing out the obvious here, but, use a much higher volume fan on the hot side of the cooling module than on the cold side. I have 120mm, 85cfm fans on the hot side, and 40mm 30cfm fans on the cold side in my box - the cooling modules can exceed their rated temp. differential by 10 to 15 degrees set up this way. You will probably find that your box will sufficient for controlling fermentation at ale temperatures, but might not do for lager fermentation.

__________________
rennerbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 03:54 AM   #4
weirdboy
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 4 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 7,982
Liked 433 Times on 353 Posts
Likes Given: 63

Default

Did you already buy the peltier unit(s) and if so what did you get?

__________________
weirdboy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 08:17 AM   #5
timbudtwo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 327
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
Did you already buy the peltier unit(s) and if so what did you get?
I clarified my first post, didn't really finish that first paragraphs thought.

I pulled it out of the igloo cooler. It was an electric cooler that had one in it.
__________________
timbudtwo is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 08:20 AM   #6
timbudtwo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 327
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rennerbrew View Post
I might be pointing out the obvious here, but, use a much higher volume fan on the hot side of the cooling module than on the cold side. I have 120mm, 85cfm fans on the hot side, and 40mm 30cfm fans on the cold side in my box - the cooling modules can exceed their rated temp. differential by 10 to 15 degrees set up this way. You will probably find that your box will sufficient for controlling fermentation at ale temperatures, but might not do for lager fermentation.
You aren't pointing out the obvious. Or rather, you may be, but it is something a lot of people don't know. These devices work off of a temperature differential. So the cooler you can get the hot side, the colder the cold side gets (up to a delta max, science, blah blah.)

Planning on just doing ales for now. If I want to do a lager I have another peltier sitting around that I can wire up. Honestly, I can't complain at the utility of these little guys. Its only pulling around 60 watts and it can keep things nice and chilly.
__________________
timbudtwo is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 08:43 AM   #7
timbudtwo
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 327
Liked 10 Times on 10 Posts

Default

So today was a less that optimally productive day, but I did get some things done.

So, I was unable to locate any older power supplies hanging around my house. This is amazing considering all the computers I have made. I must have done some spring cleaning and forgotten about it, or they are buried in my mess. I suspect both.

Anyway, I asked my friend who is lending me a hand if he had any old power supplies he would be willing to sacrifice for a noble cause. He brings over a very old power supply. Predates the 20/24 pin plug that all power supplies for the past 10 years have. If you have built a computer you will know what I am talking about. It is that monstrous rectangular plug with over 9000 wires that you plug right into an annoying part of the motherboard, usually where only infant fingers can reach. To use one of these power supplies it needs to think its plugged into a computer with the power switch on. All you need to do is short the green wire to any black (usually wire 13 to any black) and it will turn on and give you clean DC power at 12v and 5v, whatever flavor you like best.

This had none of that. It had the standard plugs you would see on any power supply, but then 4 wires that really were foreign to me. there was white, black, brown, blue. Well, after trying combinations of getting this thing to work, shorting out 120v ac and frying a power strip, I found out that a switch was made for this thing and was elsewhere. Awesome, would have saved me a good scare. I don't blame my friend. Not really...

On to the goodies:
I glued a piece of foam board to the plywood that will be the front of my cabinet with contact cement. The kind of stuff that holds formica veneers down. I have it clamped because the plywood was warped and I couldn't get perfect contact on all the edges.


After that had been clamped and the glue had dried, I put some silicone caulking around the edge of the foam so that there wouldn't be any sneaky air working its way behind there and getting into the low R value of thin plywood. You can see how I trimmed the edge of the foam here. I also sanded it down to make it slide in easily. This stuff smooths up like a dream when you sand it with 100 grit.


Then I moved on to working with the power supply WITH a switch attached to it. Below is a picture of the peltier sandwiched between its two heatsinks. I had to make some thermal grease as I only had a liquid metal type that I use on my computer that has gallium in it. Gallium makes aluminum rust so I couldn't use it here. I just used 600 mesh aluminum powder and a few drops of silicone oil to make a pretty close equivalent to what you would buy at the store. Worked really well in fact!


So now that I had everything working I needed to figure out some way to get the power to the peltier and two fans that would be moving air across the cold and hot heatsinks. I decided to use some old molex (not plugs, and solder the peltier and two fans to them to make things easy to use and modular. In the process of this I found out that the wires delivering power to the peltier are incredibly fragile and pop out easily.

That made me feel like this:


This happened not once, but three times because I am a glutton for punishment and clearly love to solder small contacts in tight quarters. Here I am soldering it up for the last time, do note the molex fitting in the back in case you were unfamiliar with that style of plug:


After that laugh and half I put some epoxy over the soldering points and along the edges where they meet the peltier.

I did the same with two fans. They are controlled via one molex fitting so they are both on or off at the same time:


Right now I only have an 80mm fan to put on the hot side. I will be moving up to a 200mm or greater fan once I get one, but for now it will be adequate.

__________________
timbudtwo is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 08:27 PM   #8
tolip_ck1
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 148
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Default

Good Luck!,

Hope it work out, I have 4 of these coolers running in my box, with 9 fans!

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/upgr...rm-box-226201/

__________________
tolip_ck1 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 09:43 PM   #9
mack25
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
mack25's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Salem, MA
Posts: 119
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Subscribed.
Been thinking about building something like this for a while, so I'm very interested to hear your results!

__________________
mack25 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2011, 10:35 PM   #10
wedge421
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
wedge421's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 958
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

Yeah I keep reading mixed things about the Peltier setups so ill be curious to see how this comes out!

__________________

The Best Homebrew and Beer Review VIDEOS on the internets:
http://www.youtube.com/user/BeerGeekNation
Buy Beer Geek Nation shirts - http://www.beergeeknation.com/store

wedge421 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fermentation Control with Peltier Cooler? Brewing Clamper Fermenters 15 10-15-2014 10:22 AM
3-Tap Built-In Liquor Cabinet Build Mischief_Brewing Kegerators and Keezers 32 03-11-2012 05:53 PM
Yet another fermentation cabinet Funkenjaeger Fermenters 23 09-26-2010 01:39 PM
Another Fermentation Cabinet Build czucker Fermenters 10 05-14-2010 09:10 PM
I ain't no carpenter Fermentation Cabinet build samc Fermenters 4 09-22-2009 09:01 PM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS