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Old 09-07-2008, 01:49 AM   #1
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Default Got a big chest freezer for $25..need some help!

no, not carrying it down into the basement


just a little confused as to how it will work as a fermentor.

I'm assuming all i need in one of those johnson controls refrigerator thermostats and i'm good to go?

NORTHERN BREWER: Fermentation Temperature Control

I'm a little confused on how a freezer will work as a refrigerator, will it just be in defrost mode all the time and will this shorten the life of the appliance?

also, this chest is a good size, should I eventually go to a conical fermentor, could I just drop that in there also? I'm trying to read as much as possible, but sometimes I'm reading contradicting info and seeing carboys in temp controlled fridged with heat elements attached (??)

thanks in advance for the help--psyched to pick up the freezer on the cheap, hopefully i can put it to us for more than bulk frozen foods from costco.

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Old 09-07-2008, 02:04 AM   #2
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The controller when set to a desired temperature will act as a thermostat for the freezer. Say you have it set at 45*, then when the temperature reaches 45*, the controller will turn the freezer off and then back on as it starts to warm up. Usually there will be a 3*-4* variance on the upper and lower ends so the compressor doesn't get over worked.

If you could fit a conical inside it, then it will work. I would assume though that they won't fit in a chest freezer because it is too short. A standing freezer would work better for a conical.

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Old 09-07-2008, 02:35 AM   #3
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thanks, and this won't damage the freezer, running it above freezing for weeks at a time?

the one i got is a really old fridgadaire, it's 29" deep, so you're right, I'd be cutting it real close with a conical.

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The controller when set to a desired will act as a thermostat for the freezer. Say you have it set at 45*, then when the temperature reaches 45*, the controller will turn the freezer off and then back on as it starts to warm up. Usually there will be a 3*-4* variance on the upper and lower ends so the compressor doesn't get over worked.

If you could fit a conical inside it, then it will work. I would assume though that they won't fit in a chest freezer because it is too short. A standing freezer would work better for a conical.
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Old 09-07-2008, 02:38 AM   #4
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Actually, wouldnt it last longer due to the shorter running times of the higher than freezing temps?
Keep it pretty full, to keep it better insulated.

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Old 09-07-2008, 03:05 AM   #5
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thanks, and this won't damage the freezer, running it above freezing for weeks at a time?

the one i got is a really old fridgadaire, it's 29" deep, so you're right, I'd be cutting it real close with a conical.

You should be fine. Nice thing is you got a good score for $25 and when it goes dead, all you have to do is replace it and move your controller over to the new freezer.
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Old 09-07-2008, 12:56 PM   #6
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I've got a setup like this with a small chest freezer and it works great. I almost never hear the thing actually run. I also keep the freezer basically full with the fermenter plus cases of aging bottles, so that helps. And so you don't make the same mistake I did...tape some bubble wrap or insulating material to the side of the carboy and place the controller temp probe between the carboy and insulation so that the probe is reading the wort temp and not the ambient temp.

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Old 09-07-2008, 08:28 PM   #7
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cool, thanks for the tip...

i know it sounds kinda obvious, don't run a freezer at freezing temps and you'll actually extend the life of the freezer, but the reason i asked is that a freezer is "built" to freeze things and maintain a zero temp or below....setting up an external gauge to have it run above freezing almost sounds like you'd be running it in the defrost cycle all the time...something the appliance is only built to do for short periods...that was the reasoning behind my question for sherpa, who makes sense since it seems the appliance would be hardly working at all, but your still bypassing the true function of the appliance.

thrilled either way, b/c i'm now able to lager!!! I have a love for german, malty beers, so i was kind of limited with ales.


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I've got a setup like this with a small chest freezer and it works great. I almost never hear the thing actually run. I also keep the freezer basically full with the fermenter plus cases of aging bottles, so that helps. And so you don't make the same mistake I did...tape some bubble wrap or insulating material to the side of the carboy and place the controller temp probe between the carboy and insulation so that the probe is reading the wort temp and not the ambient temp.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beernewb View Post
i know it sounds kinda obvious, don't run a freezer at freezing temps and you'll actually extend the life of the freezer, but the reason i asked is that a freezer is "built" to freeze things and maintain a zero temp or below....setting up an external gauge to have it run above freezing almost sounds like you'd be running it in the defrost cycle all the time...something the appliance is only built to do for short periods...that was the reasoning behind my question for sherpa, who makes sense since it seems the appliance would be hardly working at all, but your still bypassing the true function of the appliance.

Freezers and refrigerators use the same parts. Your typical stand up fridge keeps the freezer cold and then pump cold air from the freezer into the fridge. As for what the freezer was designed to do, its designed to move heat from the inside to the outside. The longer you allow the compressor to run the more heat you'll move. As long as the thing isn't cycling every 10 minutes or so its all good.
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Old 09-08-2008, 02:47 AM   #9
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all you are doing is replacing the factory thermostat with a controllable one. (or adding on an additional one)

And Virtuous is right. Less on-off will prolong the life.

B

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Old 09-08-2008, 03:25 AM   #10
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What kind of temperature control is the best to use, I also just scored a chest freezer, although mine is setting me back 50

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