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Old 12-26-2008, 05:03 AM   #11
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I'm just throwing this out for conversation... and as an engineering student, I'm obligated to do so. My first thought was... yea it will probably work, but, I can be pretty lazy...so I asked myself the "why" question.

Hundreds of bars across the country store their beer in coolers in the basement or adjoining rooms of the bar. They run lines to tower taps or wall taps. I gotta ask the question: is this the only available space you have for a kegorator? If not, is the closest space close enough to run lines for a tower or tap wall?

My brother is in the heating, cooling, and appliance repair industry. I've talked with him many times about modifying freezers or fridges to do a myriad of tasks from cooling kegs to cooling wort. We've always settled on the fact that modifying appliances is risky at best. Either the equipment needed to control the operation will shorten the life of said cooler (like the ranco temp controls) or the cost to purchase the right equipment negates the project altogether.

If the space you have under your bar is the only space available, then by all means, build the cold box. If you can go another route, that would be the advice I would offer.

BTW, if by chance you build the box and you need technical questions answered by a professional in regards to the appliances, PM me and I'll get you my brothers info.

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Old 12-26-2008, 05:48 AM   #12
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i have see alot of modified fridges and other things... being an egineering student and an HVAC guy i dont see whats wrong with modifying a existing fridge providng you are carful... it can limit the life time of teh applience but thats the point of making one yourself for less money then buying a new one... one you make has personal value and is not as obsessive as a store bough beauty which you morgaged your soul to buy... That said... be smart about it... I saw a under counter keg storage which i found rather effective... the owner have taken his bar counter to and drilled holes in and mounted taps and directly below was an old style chest freezed which was rather tall but not very wide front to back (maybe 44" by 32") he laid it on its front side so you could bend down and life the lid like a door. Then he used a stud finded to track the freon lines which ran though out the freezer's back wall and drilled 1.5" holes in the back where he would not hit the lines (it also helped he had a diagram where they were, a simple coil operated freezer would not have this trouble but they tend to be bigger, this one was real old school). The he dropped his taps through the counter and top hole. filled around the holes in the freezer with food grade low temp resistant sealent and food grade insulating foam. After sealing up he added vents along the bottom front of the bar which vented the heat from the freezers exterior cooling coil (this is actully quite nice because he has his bar in the basement and it can be chilly down there and a warm breeze on your feet feel good) He but in a cupboard next to the setup where he put three 5lb CO2tanks and all his pressure controls for each 6 taps (the freeze was about 6-8 feet long side to side, which was why it was so thin front to back) All the pipeing for the regulators was run along the now top of the cold storage/taping freezer... I drew up a picture in paint but i cant figure out how to post it now and that has somthing to do with being a bit tossed... well ill try in the morning

Cheers

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"I wish i could give all my genrals a bottle of what he's drinking..." Honest Abe

"On the 8th day God created Bars"

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Last edited by BrewinJack; 12-26-2008 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:24 PM   #13
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my ge is a 1/16 under 33" model tax4dncawh the problem is you need ventalation which they say is 2" top and .5 on the side. thats because of heat release. wonder if you were able to make it one inch and used a muffin fan to pull head up and out. you would of course need to mut a whole in the counter top or you could possibly build something that would pull air through it. if you did build a chimney it would pull its own air through the chimney effect naturally. do you have any diagrams of the space you want to install one into? maybe we can come up with something to help out. remember when drawing it give some dimensions and whats on top
I googled that model number the only thing I can find are parts. So it may not be sold anymore. I did find a couple freezers shorter than 33" but the depth of the fridges were way too much. I found one 2.3 cf mini freezer that would fit, but was a brand I'd never heard of and was $250 after before shipping which would probably be outrageous. The ventilation idea sound pretty doable. As you can see in the pictures below it's a 2-level bar top. I could stick a muffin fan in the corner of the lower bar top and nobody would really see it. Here are a couple pictures of the bar (please ignore the Christmas clutter and dustiness ):

This a side view of the compartment I would put the cold box in. The long panel on the left would be the insulated portion of the cold box. The short panel (in the corner) would be where the fridge is. The interior dimensions of the fridge compartment are 20.5"(W)X20.5(D)X33"(H). The fridge I have is 19-5/8"(W)X17"(D)X33"(H). The 33" Height is to the top of the 2X4 frame, so it's actually and 1-1/2" higher in the middle. I could carve our enough of the 2X4 to get a ventilation hose hooked up to the fan.



Behind view of the Bar view. As you can tell it's L-shaped. The cold box would be in the short side of the L.

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Old 12-26-2008, 02:35 PM   #14
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I used a freezer in my cold box build, but I know that forum member "Dude" used a mini fridge in his build and it keeps temp fairly well.

The main issue with the coldbox is to make sure and close any and all points that might leak air. The kegs and beer will help hold temperature much like a regular fridge holds temp better full of food than empty. I cold condition kegs in mine was well as serve them. I tap six and condition another 5 with room to spare. Those conditioning kegs provide a lot of thermal mass to help keep temperature.
Glad you chimed in. Seeing pictures of your cold box in another post is what gave me this idea . Glad to hear someone has had success with a fridge in this manner other than for a fermentation chamber. You did give me an interesting idea. I could use some other things that hold temperature better to fill in some of the excess air space (like a bucket or bottles of water or something), which would lessen the stress on the fridge. This plus proper ventilation make me feel a little more confident that this could work.
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:37 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Seabee John View Post
I'm just throwing this out for conversation... and as an engineering student, I'm obligated to do so. My first thought was... yea it will probably work, but, I can be pretty lazy...so I asked myself the "why" question.

Hundreds of bars across the country store their beer in coolers in the basement or adjoining rooms of the bar. They run lines to tower taps or wall taps. I gotta ask the question: is this the only available space you have for a kegorator? If not, is the closest space close enough to run lines for a tower or tap wall?

My brother is in the heating, cooling, and appliance repair industry. I've talked with him many times about modifying freezers or fridges to do a myriad of tasks from cooling kegs to cooling wort. We've always settled on the fact that modifying appliances is risky at best. Either the equipment needed to control the operation will shorten the life of said cooler (like the ranco temp controls) or the cost to purchase the right equipment negates the project altogether.

If the space you have under your bar is the only space available, then by all means, build the cold box. If you can go another route, that would be the advice I would offer.

BTW, if by chance you build the box and you need technical questions answered by a professional in regards to the appliances, PM me and I'll get you my brothers info.
unfortunately space is tight and my house is on a slab. So an alternative location with lines running really isn't an option. As I get closer to doing this I may take you up on the offer asking your brother some questions. Thanks!
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Old 12-26-2008, 02:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BrewinJack View Post
i have see alot of modified fridges and other things... being an egineering student and an HVAC guy i dont see whats wrong with modifying a existing fridge providng you are carful... it can limit the life time of teh applience but thats the point of making one yourself for less money then buying a new one... one you make has personal value and is not as obsessive as a store bough beauty which you morgaged your soul to buy... That said... be smart about it... I saw a under counter keg storage which i found rather effective... the owner have taken his bar counter to and drilled holes in and mounted taps and directly below was an old style chest freezed which was rather tall but not very wide front to back (maybe 44" by 32") he laid it on its front side so you could bend down and life the lid like a door. Then he used a stud finded to track the freon lines which ran though out the freezer's back wall and drilled 1.5" holes in the back where he would not hit the lines (it also helped he had a diagram where they were, a simple coil operated freezer would not have this trouble but they tend to be bigger, this one was real old school). The he dropped his taps through the counter and top hole. filled around the holes in the freezer with food grade low temp resistant sealent and food grade insulating foam. After sealing up he added vents along the bottom front of the bar which vented the heat from the freezers exterior cooling coil (this is actully quite nice because he has his bar in the basement and it can be chilly down there and a warm breeze on your feet feel good) He but in a cupboard next to the setup where he put three 5lb CO2tanks and all his pressure controls for each 6 taps (the freeze was about 6-8 feet long side to side, which was why it was so thin front to back) All the pipeing for the regulators was run along the now top of the cold storage/taping freezer... I drew up a picture in paint but i cant figure out how to post it now and that has somthing to do with being a bit tossed... well ill try in the morning

Cheers

It's going to be a pretty simple really. I'm just removing the door and strapping it to the side of the cold box. No drilling or jeopardizing the coils. Just limited air space/ventilation for the compressor and added volume for it to cool.
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewinJack View Post
I saw a under counter keg storage which i found rather effective... the owner have taken his bar counter to and drilled holes in and mounted taps and directly below was an old style chest freezed which was rather tall but not very wide front to back (maybe 44" by 32") he laid it on its front side so you could bend down and life the lid like a door.
I just spoke with my brother about the "chest freezer on it's side" idea. He said unless the guy re-oriented the compressor and the lines, it might work for a little while, but he would soon be replacing the unit. Compressors need to be oriented the way the manufacturer puts them in. He said running a chest freezer on it's side would be akin to taking your lawn mower and turning the engine sideways.... it would work... but not for long. The compressor has oil for lubrication and cooling, if you turn it on it's side, the valves would not work properly and the compressor would over heat very quickly.

When I hauled my keg fridge home (on it's side) I had to wait for a few hours for the oil to drain into it's natural position to avoid burning up the compressor.

just food for thought
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Mom was right. Never argue with an idiot. They just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Where's my beer. I know I left it around here somewhere.....
Kegged/Drinking:Nihilistic Integrity - Black IPA, #1 BIAB pale ale, Bells Two Hearted - yes a keg of the real stuff
Kegged/Conditioning:Wally N Seans Braggot, Emerald Eyes - Irish Red, Atomic Tsunami - brown
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:57 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Seabee John View Post
I just spoke with my brother about the "chest freezer on it's side" idea. He said unless the guy re-oriented the compressor and the lines, it might work for a little while, but he would soon be replacing the unit. Compressors need to be oriented the way the manufacturer puts them in. He said running a chest freezer on it's side would be akin to taking your lawn mower and turning the engine sideways.... it would work... but not for long. The compressor has oil for lubrication and cooling, if you turn it on it's side, the valves would not work properly and the compressor would over heat very quickly.

When I hauled my keg fridge home (on it's side) I had to wait for a few hours for the oil to drain into it's natural position to avoid burning up the compressor.

just food for thought

Yup, he had me reorient it for him... I was in a hurry and didnt mention it... your right... sorry for the mistake

Cheers
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Twin Ogre's Brewing Co.

"I wish i could give all my genrals a bottle of what he's drinking..." Honest Abe

"On the 8th day God created Bars"

Primary:
Ginger mead (3 Gal)
Edworts Apfelwine (5Gal)
Australian Lager (5gal)

Secondary:
Operation "Black Gold" (High ABV) (5 Gal)

Bottled:
Carmel Stout
Stright Juice Cider
Apple/Blue berry/ale
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:49 AM   #19
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I just wanted to follow up for everyone that helped me out. I went ahead and did the cold box. Here are a few pictures....I didn't take too many "in progress" pictures...just before and afters:

Here's the half of my bar that I'm putting the cold box in. The 2 sides of my bar split apart and the bar top sits on dowel rods. The fridge goes in the side of the left. I had to trim down those 2X4 and rip out the floor to fit the fridge in. I also put a muffin fan in the top that will ventilate the heat off of the compressor out holes under the bar top.



So here are a few of it all put back together. I used 3 sheets of 3/4" R4 insulated foam board on all sides (and the door). The door was the hardest part to get a tight fit and be able to open it. I had to shave a little at a time off of the side to get it to fit:



ignore the sloppy duct tape work



I decided to do a test to see how cold I could get it. I think it's safe to say it gets cold enough:



Well that's it. Thanks for everyone's advice. I don't think I would have been successful without it, and may not have even attempted it.

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Old 11-05-2009, 07:36 PM   #20
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Hi,

I have embarked on the same type of project, for the same reasons: bar in basement with no space for a larger freezer or fridge. I bought a new Danby (same as what they use to make their kegerator as far as I can tell). I plan to reuse its door as the door for my cold box.

How has your setup held up over the last year+?

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