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Old 02-23-2014, 09:08 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation fridge

Just got a new refrigerator for extra food and was wondering if I could just use an external temperature controller (the Celsius model) plugged into the power outlet without making any modifications (aside from removing shelves) to the refrigerator....let's just say I get away with a lot with my homebrewing, but was told that would cross the line.

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Old 02-24-2014, 03:35 AM   #2
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Also. Is the probe with the eBay models quality or would you recommend going with a different probe? I'd rather spend more money and have it done right than to skimp out to save a few dollars.

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Old 02-24-2014, 12:25 PM   #3
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Yes, basically it is a digital temperature gauge connected to a relay. When the temperature falls below a set point it will allow electricity to pass through to the outlet. If your refrigerator or freezer is plugged into the outlet, it turns it on and allow it to turn on until it cools down to the set point, then it will disengage the relay preventing electricity from passing through. It's a very basic design.

You can make them if you are not in a hurry. BYO had an article in their magazine showing how to do it, but I'm certain you can find instructions online. Just look up STC-1000.

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Old 02-24-2014, 12:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NadoHawk View Post
Just got a new refrigerator for extra food and was wondering if I could just use an external temperature controller (the Celsius model) plugged into the power outlet without making any modifications (aside from removing shelves) to the refrigerator....let's just say I get away with a lot with my homebrewing, but was told that would cross the line.
If you are using it for extra food though i am not sure how you will keep it at a good temperature for fermenting and still keep your food fresh. Food needs to be in the low 40s while most beers (ales) ferment in the low 60s.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:33 AM   #5
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I have already planned on building it, but I see some models came with an added probe.

It will only be used as extra food storage for the holidays, so I will plan my brewing outside of those times so I won't interfere with that.

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Old 02-25-2014, 03:13 AM   #6
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The inexpensive STC-1000 dual temp controller and its probe both work great. I use three of them (fermenter fridge, lagering freezer and keezer) and have had zero problems. If you can do very basic wiring, you can build an outlet box using one so that no mods to the fridge are needed. Just plug it in and let the controller handle the ferment temp.

You wire it into a standard 2-plug outlet that you mount in some kind of project box (either homemade or bought at Radio Shack). One (cool) outlet is for the freezer/fridge. If your fermenter chamber is placed where it’s cold (like a garage in winter), you plug some kind of small heater into the warm outlet and then put that heater inside the freezer. Otherwise, just use the cold outlet.

Set the target temp (in Celsius) on the STC-1000. Set the tolerance (default is +/-0.5*C). When the temp (as read by the sensor) climbs 0.5*C above the target, it powers up the cool outlet and keeps it energized until the temp drops to the target and then turns it off. Likewise with the warm outlet if it gets 0.5*C too cool. You tape the sensor on the side of the fermenter and place some kind of insulation like bubble wrap over top of it so that it reads the bucket temp and not the air.


http://www.amazon.com/All-purpose-Temperature-Controller-STC-1000-sensor/dp/B00862G3TQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382149071&sr=8-1&keywords=stc-1000


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/stc-1000-setup-beginners-433985/#post5538096

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-fish-tank-controller-build-using-wal-mart-parts-261506/


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-aquarium-temp-controller-build-163849/


http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:10 AM   #7
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So. Before I make a purchase. Is this the model that I should use? I have the other components except for the project box already.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008KVCPH2/ref=ox_sfl_cart_mbc_s1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&serverToken=O bidos

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Old 04-08-2014, 01:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
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So. Before I make a purchase. Is this the model that I should use? I have the other components except for the project box already.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008KVCPH2/ref=ox_sfl_cart_mbc_s1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&serverToken=O bidos
Yes sir. That would be the one.
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NadoHawk View Post
So. Before I make a purchase. Is this the model that I should use? I have the other components except for the project box already.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008KVCPH2/ref=ox_sfl_cart_mbc_s1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&serverToken=O bidos
You are getting good advice here. I hadn't run across this information before I bought two temperature controllers, a Ranco and a Johnson Controls unit. Total outlay for the two units was about $160. The Johnson unit only controls temps on the cold side so it only works for my kegerator. The Ranco unit will control hot or cold but I have to manually switch it back and forth from heating to cooling mode. So when the temperatures are middling like now it becomes a dance trying to maintain the fermenter at the correct temperature. What a PITA!

With the unit BigFloyd is pointing you to you can "set it and forget it" and all that for a little of your time and less than 50 bucks a copy. Like I said, I wish I'd learned this before I bought the ones I did.

Cheers and best of luck to you!
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