Haier Wine Cellar -> kegerator
I picked up a really nice looking Haier BC112G wine cellar on craigslist that I'm going to try to convert to a kegerator.
Here is a picture of it in its current state
Back to the beginning, this is the wine cellar before changing anything:
It would probably be easier to just pay the extra money to buy an appropriate fridge for the conversion but I'm stubborn and want to make this one work. It also has a glass door and although some might disagree I think it would be cool to be able to see my dented up corny kegs and beer lines.
But to make it work it is definitely going to require some serious modification.
The internal dimensions are smaller than I would like. 32.5" high, 15.5" wide, 11" deep to the compressor box. I am going to try to move the compressor back a little bit and reduce the space taken up by that ledge in the bottom(depth is 16.5" without compressor box). I think I'll then have to cut out the ledge the compressor was under and flip it 180 to give me a flat bottom. The ridges that held up the shelves also cut back on how much space we have so I might try to do something with those (I could probably get another inch out without them so that would be 16.5" that way).
The compressor was pretty easy to move back, just had to unscrew the little shelf it was sitting on, unscrew the compressor from that shelf and slowly/carefully bend the compressor out of the way like so:
Here is a before shot of the shelf:
I guess I can only put 4 pictures in at once so I'll continue on in a post below.
Right now it only cools down to 45 F, but I have seen some posts online from people who had a broken thermostat on the same model and said it got down to freezing. So I need to figure out how to adjust the thermostat.
Thermostat is easy solution. Replace with a Ranco or Love controller. Good luck relocating the compressor. That will take some fabbing. looks like with those dimensions you'll only be ablde to fit one corny anyway unless you can make it about 3 inches wider. Cornies are 9" diameter x 26" tall
Well the temperature was a simple fix, picked up a 100k potentiometer (~2$), ran it in parallel with the thermistor, and now I can trick the winecooler into thinking it is warmer than it actually is. Right now it cools down to 37 degrees without problem (as measured by a thermocouple I put in there). I'm gong to go an get a 10k potentiometer to run in series with the 100k one so that I can have some better fine control (2$ potentiometers are only offer like 1 turn).
Modding the interior is going to be much harder I'm sure, if I have any luck I'll be sure to come and post my success... if everything goes wrong then this will be a good spot to warn others against what I'm trying to do. Besides pushing the compressor back I'm also thinking about moving the door forward... seems like it could be possible to score 3 more inches by putting a layer of insulation on the door frame and moving the hinges forward.
[QUOTE=pwb2103;829068Modding the interior is going to be much harder I'm sure, if I have any luck I'll be sure to come and post my success... if everything goes wrong then this will be a good spot to warn others against what I'm trying to do. Besides pushing the compressor back I'm also thinking about moving the door forward... seems like it could be possible to score 3 more inches by putting a layer of insulation on the door frame and moving the hinges forward.[/QUOTE]
There have been a few people on here do this to mini fridges to fit carboys in them for fermenting.
We took a dremel to the thin layer of white plastic and it cut straight through like butter. Next there was maybe 1.5 inches of insulation that was easiest to just obliterate (took a knife and cut it out) as you can see here:
Once we got all the insulation out it was quite a bit harder to get through the thin layer of sheet metal at the back. The easiest thing to do in the end was to use shears and just cut through the whole thing. It didn't give the cleanest cut, a keyhole saw would have probably been much cleaner, but the shears did work reasonably well enough. Here is a shot with the big gapping hole in the bottom:
Next, spent some time cleaning up the edges and then cut some plastic board (used some marine quality plastic called king starboard xl, just something i had around), and glued those pieces in place with gorilla glue. I had to do the bottom piece first, let it dry with some random things sitting on it to pressure it down, and then the next day I glued the sides in and did my best to wedge things in there to keep pressure in the appropriate places while things dried. Finally to get a nice seal and make things look nice I caulked all the seems. Here is a shot of all that:
I still need to cut some wood to support the starboard from the bottom, and then shove as much insulation in there as possible, but its getting pretty close. For now it should hold things pretty well until I can move the door back and get enough room for the one two punch (corny keg + slim quarter keg at the same time).
And I think I have everything up and running. Used some wood beneath the starboard to support the weight of kegs (I don't think that plastic would be enough to do it). Then I put the whole fridge up in the air ontop of chairs, put a piece of cardboard underneath, and over the space in the back, and filled the open space with 2 cans worth of that expanding insulating foam (made a mess basically). I also used some angle aluminum with two pieces of wood to support the compressor like so:
And here is a picture of the finished product with two kegs from sixpoint brewery happily sitting inside (there is plenty of room to spare).
All in all, not too hard of a project (besides how messy that expanding foam is)
Tomorrow we are unveiling the kegerator and pouring our first beers off it ( currently there is a carboy fermenting away inside), if I don't post anymore then it was a huge success.
I'd put some LED's or cold cathode lighting inside, and glam that thing up.
Can't help but sneak in a close up on the tap handles that I custom made (and as with all of these things, "I" actually refers to my roommates and me).
You can also see the rails in that I installed, an idea blatantly stolen from sirsloop.
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