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Old 03-19-2009, 09:41 PM   #1
boodyrischous
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Default Best Refrigeration Unit for a Ferm. Chamber?

*This is a repost in DIY from Equipment (I realized it probably belongs here and it was not getting responses there).

I have read all of the threads I can find on fermentation chambers (and seen all of the pictures of the awesome builds people have done, SOF, Fermoire, Walk-ins, etc.). Some folks used Mini-fridges (stripped out guts or the open fridge build), some used AC units. I saw some conversation about Thermo-electric chillers. I also saw a posting about this unit- http://www.surpluscenter.com/pages/170.pdf (the mini-refrigeration unit). I am interested in building a nice cabinet to keep in the living room/ sunroom that would be very thickly insulated and would most likely be sized around 6' x 4' x 4'. Does anyone with HVAC knowledge know if the unit linked above would service my needs (which are keeping the chamber around 64 degrees). The tech guys on the surplus site were no help. If that unit won't work, what is the best unit for the job (I would rather get efficient electrical usage than cheaper purchase, and would rather buy something involving less stripping down or electrical work- I don't have wiring experience :/)? I also need a unit for a similar chamber that would be kept at 34 degrees. Ideas? Suggestion? Thanks!

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Old 03-20-2009, 06:29 PM   #2
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Nobody has any opinions on the best unit for the job? Any HVAC brewers out there want to throw their knowledge in the ring? I have been doing a great deal of searching and would like to use something smaller than a mini-fridge. Ideas and suggestions are much appreciated.

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Old 03-20-2009, 06:35 PM   #3
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In my opinion you should just get two new stand up fridges that fit the space. Stand ups are much nicer for fermentation because you do not need to lift fermenters in and out. I am refinishing a side-by-side because it is huge inside and you can get them very cheap. See my sig for details.

I suggest this because premade units will be more efficient and cost effective to run than a mini-fridge used to cool a larger space.

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Old 03-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #4
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You could also build a chest freezer into the space and put nice wood around it. I recommend a temp controller however you go so that you can have the controller know the beer temp not the ambient temp.

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Old 03-20-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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Yeah, I would definitely be purchasing a temp controller. I though about building around a chest freezer. But I am also hoping to have front opening doors and use thick insulation to increase efficiency (ideally keeping the cabinets small). I am mainly wondering what people think of the linked unit above (if it would work), and if people know of refrigeration units that you mount on insulated chambers (much like fridge guts, but not requiring me to strip a fridge, and hopefully being designed more specifically for the uses I mentioned). Thanks for any and all suggestions!

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Old 03-20-2009, 11:46 PM   #6
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If you want to do this on the cheap i have some ideas, decide how big you want this thing and build it out of plywood and insulate. Now pick up some peltiers on ebay, you can get a 130 watt for 10 bucks or so. Also pick up some computer CPU heatskinks from ebay(you need two of them)and fans for each side. So you would mount your pelteir(s) on the box and use thermal epoxy and bolts to attach a heatsink to each side of the pelt; inside and outside.
Add fans to the heatsink and you are set. All you need is to attach a temp controller to your power leads.

So there are some more calculations involved to make sure you don't have a peltier that is to powerful for your heatsinks and end up killing your pelt or starting a fire but I say you can build something like this for 50 bucks if you shop around. 1 peltier would probably cool 1-4 carboys depending on how well you insulated and how efficient your pelt is. I plan on building something like this this summer because i have no space for a full size fridge.

Also check out ebay, or a restore for air conditioner units. More expencive but more efficient, insulate well and this will rock your world.

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