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Old 07-21-2011, 05:16 AM   #1
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Default Temp Control

So I'm fortunate to live in the midwest where we have poured basements. My brewroom is pretty much always somewhere in the 60's year round because my ductwork also runs through it so I can apply a little a/c or even heat if desired depending on season. I do have the desire however to get a fridge dedicated to homebrewing if for no other reason than to cold crash & lager.

My question is this...since by default, I have a room that maintains a near ideal temp for many beers/yeasts, should I just get the fridge and use the internal controls to adjust temp for my needs or should I go the whole Johnson Controls temp controller route? I'd rather not do the latter since I'm probably going to end up just buying a new, no frills fridge but if there are some significant reasons to go forward with modding the fridge, I'm not ruling it out either.

Thanks for any input.

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Old 07-21-2011, 10:34 AM   #2
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How cold do you anticipate crashing and lagering? Many fridges can't go much under 40*, or if they can, they'll struggle to get there. For the best clarity you'll want to cold crash to near freezing. I don't think the fridge's thermostat will be up to the task. But, you could buy the fridge and try using it without the controller, and add a controller later if necessary.

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:01 AM   #3
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Get a fridge with a digital control panel. Our GE does. somebody re-programmed it down to 34,things were freezing in ice in the fridge! I had to reset it back to 38 or so. It'll def do it.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionrdr
Get a fridge with a digital control panel. Our GE does. somebody re-programmed it down to 34,things were freezing in ice in the fridge! I had to reset it back to 38 or so. It'll def do it.
How did you reprogram the control panel
I want to make my wine fridge run colder
Very interested!
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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A controller gives you more versatility and precision. You can set it in the 50 degree area for fermenting a lager, and then down to 34 to condition the lager.

Find a recent model used fridge on craigslist for a hundred or two and put the rest of the money you would have spent on a new fridge towards a controller.

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:08 AM   #6
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It's much cheaper to go the chest freezer/johnson controller route IMO.

You can get a freezer large enough to fit a couple carboys for around 200 bucks new.

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:23 AM   #7
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This is a newer model GE fridge we got some 2 years ago. It has the control panel with LED read out on the front of the freezer door. You can program the freezer/fridge separately. It also has turbo cool,& other basic controls. This thing works really well. Now if I cold get the same model without the freezer...
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:56 AM   #8
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There are chest freezers on craigslist around here for about $40 (small ones, perfect for 1 or 2 carboys).

Pair that with the Ebay temp controller and you are looking at awesome temp control for about $70.

...oh, you'll probably want some damp rid if it's a chest freezer...

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Old 07-21-2011, 01:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndsgr View Post
the Ebay temp controller
Link please.
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nateo View Post
How cold do you anticipate crashing and lagering? Many fridges can't go much under 40*, or if they can, they'll struggle to get there. But, you could buy the fridge and try using it without the controller, and add a controller later if necessary.
I don't know if I agree with that. I can get my 20 year old Kenmore fridge to freeze stuff just by adjusting the thermostat a little.
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