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Old 10-07-2011, 05:56 PM   #11
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I already thought of a fix for this. Put a stop on the fridge door so the freezer door cannot be opened without the fridge door opened first. You can open the fridge without the freezer, but this will stop the freezer from hitting the handles. Unless you are in your freezer a lot, it should be fine.
Explain... what do you mean a "stop" on the fridge door?
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:11 PM   #12
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Just a plate attached to the fridge door that extends up over the freezer door would do it (front of fridge, just right of the handles). If you tried to open the freezer without having the fridge open first it wouldn't open or, most likely, would open the fridge too.

That or just connect the two doors with a bracket so they open as one.

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Old 10-07-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
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Good call TomSD. I was thinking of putting something ornamental on the freezer door, like my logo as well as places above the tap handles for beer labels. But as I said before I want to get the utilitarian aspects of this all setup first, then focus on the faucet comparison, THEN I can make it look purty(er)!

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Old 10-07-2011, 11:57 PM   #14
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Just a plate attached to the fridge door that extends up over the freezer door would do it (front of fridge, just right of the handles). If you tried to open the freezer without having the fridge open first it wouldn't open or, most likely, would open the fridge too.

That or just connect the two doors with a bracket so they open as one.
That is what I meant by a stop. It keeps the door from opening unless the fridge door is opened.
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:42 PM   #15
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Default Weekend Fridge Construction

Well it was a busy weekend. I completed work on the fridge conversion and kegged my Triple. In the process I killed my keg of Wit, and bottled off the last of my Pils. All in all, a GREAT weekend!

So here is the documentation of the fridge conversion for anyone thinking to do the same thing. First of all, I removed all the shelves and drawers from the fridge and ended up with the following.


Note the nicely sloping bottom to accommodate the compressor and bits and pieces beneath. I was hoping it would flatten out near the back so that I could rest a shelf on it, but alas... it's never that easy is it? Anyway, the aluminum that I ordered for this did not arrive in time, so determined to finish this weekend, I used wood that I had hanging around the house. Now... Using press board in a cold, damn, often beer drenched environment like this is NOT a spectacular idea. But it's a good stop gap measure until the Al arrives and I can finish it properly. Yes it will rot and warp, but will last long enough. Nevertheless, if you do the same thing, either use aluminum, pressure treated wood, or I guess a really good marine grade polyurethane on top of the wood to seal it in.


As you can see I had to fashion some L-brackets to hold the shelf in place. The back of the shelf is just sitting on the top edge of the slope and since it doesn't flatten out, the entire shelf wants to slide down the slope and near the front of the fridge. So I got a couple of L-brackets and used self-tapping SS screws to secure the shelf to the bottom of the fridge. Actually, I didn't even have L-brackets... I cut a set of extra curtain rod holders for the job... shhhh, don't tell Mrs. Turk... Tested the shelf with three full kegs, viola!


That concludes the physical interior construction. Here is the fridge fully loaded with 6 easily-accessible kegs, ready to be enjoyed!

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Old 10-10-2011, 04:07 PM   #16
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Default Gas Side

Once the physical construction was finished, it was time to move on to the gas side setup. For this, I planned to keep the CO2 tank on the outside of the fridge. I wanted to have the line come in as close to the back of the fridge as possible. Also given the configuration of my two 3 port distributors, it made sense to mount them on the inside right side of the fridge so that the keg tubing would be pointing upward.

I debated for a while on how to bring the gas into the fridge. I thought at first to use a solid copper tube then attach threaded connectors on both the inside and outside. I settled however for simply passing the tube through the fridge for two reasons: 1) fewer connections = less chance of leaks, and 2) if done right, the tubing would act as a seal for the cold air inside.

I drilled a 1/8" pilot hole with a titanium bit and enlarged it to 1/2". As the interior of the fridge is a REALLY hard metal, I used a Dremel with a grinding bit to smooth the edges of the hole. Remember, I'll have plastic tubing passing through here, so I wanted to make sure that there was little chance of cutting or nicking it. The 1/2" hole is a REALLY tight fit for the 5/16" ID gas hose, which is what I wanted... but it was a real bitch getting the hose through the interior and exterior holes. After a lot of sweat, a little bit of blood, and enough swearing to make a sailor seem holy, I got the hose through and it formed a nice tight seal against the hole. I plan to use some spray insulation around it later, but it really doesn't need it. I then attached the first distributor to the inside with 3/4" SS self-tapping screws (for which I had to drill 1/8" pilot holes, that metal is THICK!).

The image above is distorted, that distributor is level dammit!

On the outside, I cut off the end of the hose that I passed through the hole as I mangled part of it in the process. I then attached a connector that will feed directly to my CO2 tank on the floor.


The rest of the work was pretty easy. I attached my second distributor a little lower since the front row of kegs are lower and it gave me extra working room. Oh and kids... let me say this once more because I did not repeat it enough to myself that day: measure twice, cut once. When I first attached the second distributor, I didn't measure clearance and mounted it too close to the front of the fridge and the damn door wouldn't close. Following even more gratuitous and creative uses of the word "f*@k", I measured and moved it to it's final proper location...


After calming down and having a nice tall pint of Pils, I attached the 6 gas lines and ball lock connectors. Turn on the gas, turn on all the gas lines, and checked for leaks on ALL connections using soapy water. Had a few leaks near the regulator, but all my connections were A+. Should have been a plumber! Oh, I did use teflon tape on all the gas connections to help me get a better seal on all the threaded connections. And of course SS clips on all pronged connections.


Once all the connections were checked and leak-free, I loaded the fridge and connected up the gas side. NEARLY done!!!

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Old 10-10-2011, 04:21 PM   #17
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What are your fridge's interior measurements? Want to check them against mine to see how much room I am going to have. Yours seems more open than mine (a newer model).

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Old 10-10-2011, 04:41 PM   #18
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Default Liquid Side

With the gas side all done, a few beers already drank... it was time to begin work on the liquid side. I decided that even though I have a 6 keg capacity, I would install just 5 taps. The major factor in this decision is that I brew in 10 gallon batches, so it's rare that I ever have 6 different brews to serve. But I could have easily gone with 6 if needed as there is plenty of room to mount the faucets.

The first thing I did was math. I am sure we all realize that there are three things you should never do when drinking: drive, operate power tools, and math. This day, I was guilty in the violation of two of those rules. I found the center of the fridge and based on what I thought looked nice visually decided to mount the faucets 5" apart on center. Likewise I mounted them 5" below the top of the door, which gave me good working room in the back of the door for the shanks. Now, I realize that my 6" handles will hang over the freezer door, but thanks to suggestions from the group, I'll eventually put a stop on the freezer door to prevent it from opening and draining brew dry!

As you recall, part of this conversion was to also test various faucets and write up a review, post some pictures and video, and run some performance tests. To that end, I am starting with three faucets and will order another two soon, but wanted to prep the fridge for all 5. As I said, I found the center of the fridge and marked 5" down. I used a Sharpie to measure 5" out and marked all 5 locations accordingly. As first I was using a level to make sure that the 5 taps were all in line. Do NOT do that, unless you are 100% sure that your fridge is level. Mine was not, and it looked visibly off, so I made sure to measure 5" down from the top of each hole as well to make sure they were all in line.

I drilled 1/8" pilot holes on the outside for the 3 taps to be installed. I didn't bother going all the way through to the inside, as the interior is just a plastic lining anyway. After the pilot holes, I drilled a 1" hole using a hole saw drill bit.


Next, step is to install the shanks. Now, there is a lot of nasty insulation between the fridge door exterior and the interior plastic, and I didn't want to get my nice shiny shank dirty or clogged with goop (double entendre intentional). I used some painters tape over the shank opening before passing it through the fridge door to make sure nothing nasty got lodged in there.


Repeat the steps 2 more times for the other 2 faucets and viola, we have three shanks installed in the door, all in a pretty nice line.

You can see the marks for the other two future faucets on either side...

Here are the shanks from the inside. BTW I thought the 4 1/8" shanks would be too long as the thickness of my fridge door was just shy of 2 1/2", but they ended up being the perfect size by the time you attach the tail piece and nut...


After this was done, I simply attached my 3/16" beer line to the tail piece and then to a pronged ball lock liquid side connector. The fit is REALLY tight, and you'll have to use some hot water to soften the tubing enough to get it to fit right. After that, simply attach the faucets to the shanks, tighten all your connections and enjoy you some homebrew!


For the moment, I decided to serve (left to right) Pils, Double Blonde, Wit. Construction done, beer on tap... next I'll begin really evaluating the faucets and give my review of each. But until then...

Cheers!

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Old 10-10-2011, 04:43 PM   #19
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What are your fridge's interior measurements? Want to check them against mine to see how much room I am going to have. Yours seems more open than mine (a newer model).
It's 26" wide and not sure about the depth, but probably about 18-20" with the door closed and accounting for the built-in shelves on the inside of the door.
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:52 PM   #20
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Default A word on liquid tubing

Apparently, there is a science to the length of tubing you will need from the keg to the faucet to provide you with the perfect pour. Too little tubing = too much foam, too long = trickling beer... I used the formula on BeerSmith for this.

Now there are two practical choices in tubing: PVC and Polypropylene. Honestly, I prefer polyprop because it is inert and safe(r) for food contact. I have a partially unsubstantiated phobia of PVC and the fact that it leeches volatiles over time. Anyway, I had a hell of a time finding polyprop tubing, so used my existing 3/16" PVC in the interest of getting it done this weekend, but will switch it soon.

But for now, I used 4' of tubing per keg because I keep my pressure at about 13psi. According to the beersmith calculation of a loss of 3psi/ft of 3/16" PVC tubing, 4' was the suggestion. I will attest that this is nearly dead on! I am getting perfect pours with just a LITTLE too much foam. I might add 6" or so to see if that helps a little... or I guess I can ratchet down the pressure to 12psi and see if that too helps.

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