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-   -   Equipment Questions (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/equipment-questions-17097/)

dougbo 11-29-2006 11:36 PM

Equipment Questions
I recently finished building my home bar(I'd like to share pictures if someone would tell me how.) I’m a novice brewer and tired of bottling. I’ve been trying to purchase kegging equip. I may have been better off buying a 2 keg system tower -5lbs CO2 -kit for around $300 plus shipping but I was trying to save some $. I bought a fridge, 10lbs CO2 tank/hose, dual gauge single output regulator (new), 1 beer faucet, keg coupling (won’t use), for $150. Got a double tap brass tower on ebay for $66 (+ $17 shipping) Am I doing ok?

I plan on buying 2 ball lock corney kegs (cleaned, pressure checked –not refurbished though) from brewersdiscount.com for $33 plus shipping) I don’t know what the hoses/hookups, clamps, connectors, will cost or where I’ll order them from.

Can anyone tell me specifics on what I need yet…i.e. hoses/diameters, connectors, clamps, etc. Will I need some sort of splitter at the CO2 tank to operate two kegs or possibly, later on, a third to a beer faucet out the side of the fridge? Any in line shut offs or a manifold of some sort? If someone could provide an itemized list it would be great! Sounds stupid but I would also appreciate a diagram of a two/three keg set up. Any advice is appreciated.

Also, I’ll be running about 2 ft of hose from the fridge straight to the tower. Will I need to cool the line with cold water/air or because it’s only a straight shot of 2 ft. will the fridge cool the line up through the tower by itself?
I’ve got more questions but that’s enough for the moment. Thanks.

gnef 11-30-2006 05:18 AM

wow. lots of questions. if you can, search a bit. i will try to answer you questions as much as i can.

you are doing alright as far as equipment goes. i believe there is a seller on ebay that is selling 4 kegs for 75 shipped, which is a good price. general rule of thumb is to get more kegs than you think you may need because you will end up using them... (right now i have 25 kegs). this is of course in relation to your budget.

tubing: you need two types, one for gas, one for liquid. for gas, use cheap vinyl or pvc tubing, 1/4'' thin wall is fine. do you have a LHBS? they should have it there. if not, you can get it cheaply for 11 cents a foot at USplastics, and 14 cents a foot at mcmaster, i believe. you will also want 3/16'' ID 7/16'' OD smooth bore beverage line for the beer line. again, your LHBS should have this. if not, i'm not quite sure which of the multide of options from USplastics and mcmaster you could get, but choose wisely if you choose this route. you will also need flared QD's, don't get barbed. you will also need to get clamps (either worm - easy to get, or stepless oetiker - superior, but a bit more expensive since it is difficult to find locally, you can get them from mcmaster or ebay).

the QD's you get depend on which style of keg you get. most likely is ball-lock, in which case just get the flared (MFL) ball lock Quick Disconnects from your LHBS or online, get equal sets of gas and liquid (meaning as in buy a pair at a time, don't just buy a bunch of liquid or a bunch of gas separately).

best option for splitting co2 is to use a manifold with cut offs and check valves. cheapest option is to use a 'Tee'.

i recommend check valves regardless if you value your regulator. if liquid backs up into the regulator diaphragm, it can likely be destroyed. i bought my inline check valves from USplastics for 1.00 a piece plus shipping.

you can also put the co2 tank outside of the kegerator if you want through the use of a bulkhead. you can either create one yourself with parts from Home depot or mcmaster, or just buy one online.

as for cooling, it depends on your setup. i think it may not be worth it trying to cool it, and at most have a fan circulating the cooled air from the fridge in to the tower, but it may not even be necessary.

also, properly balance your kegging system.

are you using a chest freezer or a top/bottom fridge? if a chest freezer, make sure you get a temperature controller, and if you are using a fridge, then make sure you know the temp of the fridge area so you can set your volumes of co2 properly. if using a chest freezer, i recommend a love digital temp controller. i bought mine at cole-parmer

so i guess to try to itemize it, you need:

1/4'' tubing (get a roll of 50' or 100' if possible)
3/16'' thick walled smooth bored tubing (get as much as you need to balance with, get a a roll if you can afford it)
clamps (worm or stepless oetiker)
QD's - as many sets as you plan on having for your taps, plus a set or two for carbonating (if you can afford it)
more kegs
manifold or Tee
check valves
bulkhead (if you want co2 outside of fridge)
temperature controller (if using a chest freezer)

also, you should get keg lube, as well as extra gaskets and poppets. they will inevitablly fail on you, so better to have a backup handy rather than go desperately to your LHBS looking for the part you need.

if you don't have faucets yet, i would recommend forward sealing faucets, either the perlick or the newly labele shirron (originally ventmatic).

many of my extra recommendations come only as secondary as you have the funds. it has taken me a year or so to amass what i have now, and that was a lot of craigslist scouring, but i was able to find some amazing deals.

you may also want to invest in some BLC (beer line cleaner) to clean the beer lines and faucets.

edit - forgot to give you some online stores, in case you don't have a LHBS

i live in austin, so i have to support my awesome LHBS: www.austinhomebrew.com
there is also morebeer: www.morebeer.com
northernbrewer: www.northernbrewer.com
beveragefactory: www.beveragefactory.com

that should be a good start for you. haha.

Ol' Grog 11-30-2006 06:06 PM

Here's what I did....got the two keg setup from Brewersdiscout but with the 10 lbs tank. Got a Y splitter for the regulator, extra gas ball lock, quarter inch hose clamps and another shut off valve. Took the gas line that came with the setup and cut it in half. Hooked up the quarter inch Y connector with two shut offs, use teflon tape, then connected the gas line to them with hose clamps. On the other end, hooked up the gas ball lock and used another hose clamp. Tightened and leak tested the whole set up with soap. Good thing I did as I was loosing CO2 from one of the connections at 30 psi. Now get a Sanyo 4912. Remove the inside door plastic molded panel and replace with something thin and flat. I found such a thing at the local hobby store. Take out all the glass shelving. Take the smallest glass shelf and trace it out on a piece of 3/8ths Marine plywood and cut it. Get something that's around 7 inches high to act as a brace underneath the plywood. Put the plywood right on the lower lip and secure the brace underneath. Face the regulator towards you and put that on the plywood stand. There is enough CO2 line for you to hook the kegs up outside the refrigerator. Put them all in and VIOLA!!! It works. If you want the tap, look around, there are plenty of pictures showing you how to cut the top of the 4912 for such a set up. I use the Cobra taps. I just ain't cutting into the refrigerator....

dougbo 12-01-2006 12:49 AM

thanks for taking so much time in your reply. It has been really helpful. appreciate the links as well....

dougbo 12-01-2006 12:50 AM

thanks for taking so much time in your reply. It has been really helpful. appreciate the links as well....

todd_k 03-30-2007 12:46 AM

how do you remove a stepless clamp? it looks like you need to bend that little tab back up but I can't get it.

gnef 03-30-2007 12:50 AM

i just use pliars and a flat-head screwdriver to pry it out.

kornkob 03-30-2007 12:48 PM

Yeah-- removing those clamps takes a little brute force engineering. Or a nibbler-- snips it right in half.

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