Kegconnection Complete Starter Kit and More Giveaway!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Cheapest New 2 Keg Keezer

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-12-2011, 08:41 PM   #1
brewit2it
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Glendora, CA
Posts: 845
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default GE 5.0 Cheapest New 2 Keg Keezer

I'm building a Bare Bones Keezer so figured I'd share my process. If someone is like me and wants a keezer that will hold 2 Corny's, one 5 gallon carboy for lagering, and a 5# CO2 tank and wants to do it with new stuff but for as little as possible, then you may want to follow this thread.

A couple of notes first, building a Keezer out of all new parts (Corny kegs refurb but new to you from a vendor) is expensive, plain and simple. By far the cheapest way to get into Kegging if you don't already have an extra frige or freezer is to find a complete Kegerator setup on CL. I see them come up frequently for 250.00 or even less with everything included. So if you just want to do it on the cheap that's the way to go. Also you can probably find a used freezer on CL so that can save you a few dollars as well, but this thread is about avoiding the hassel/headaches that can come with dealing with CL purchasing and is using all new parts from scratch.

I decided to go with a Keezer over a Kegerator for a few reasons. First, I just like the look of a taps through a wood collar better than a mini-frige tower based Kegerator. Second, I wanted to build something that would retain it's function for my family if I suffer some terrible turn of events like I stop drinking beer. This build is completely reversable into a garage chest freezer. Since I already have a bunch of refrigerators I didn't want another mini-frige. Also a Keezer is more energy efficient than a Mini-frige tower system.

Here's the parts list and where I bought stuff from:

2 Faucet Refrigerator Conversion Keg Kit, Standard Kit, BALL LOCK upgraded faucets to perlick ss 525, 285.00 Shipped
http://stores.kegconnection.com/Detail.bok?no=330

Notes: I got this at Kegconnections since they seemed to have the best price/quality combo. I'm sure the other vendors are comparable. This kit is pretty much what you will need for reliable components. The price includes everything plus upgraded faucets to Perlick SS and comes already assembled. I did see recently that the 7.95 flat rate shipping is on hold so cost may be going up.
Also note you will want to go with Ball lock kegs even though pin lock are cheaper, since they have smaller diameter and easier connectors. Warning, If you follow this build with the GE 5.0 cf Pinlocks wont fit!!

Freezer: GE 5.0 cf freezer. Sams Club. 155.00.
http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pr...navAction=push

Notes: I'll post a pick below but basically this is the perfect size for 2 ball lock Corny kegs in the main compartment and a 5 gallon carboy and 5# CO2 tank on the compressor hump. You might be able to find a sale price on a 5.0-5.5 Freezer for a few dollars less, but a few things I liked about this one is reviews seem to suggest GE have a little better reliability than some of the other cheap freezers. Also it has a metal interior as opposed to plastic and the top where the lid closes is flat rather than having a lip like the frigidaire and others which makes it simpler to attach the collar.

Electronic Temp Controller: Ranco ETC-111000-000. Patriot Supply (EBay) 58.00 Shipped
http://www.patriot-supply.com/produc...ETC_111000_000

Notes: This is pretty much the cheapest new digital ETC I could find. In fact even the analog Johnson units are just as much or more new and a used Johnson Analog unit I was watching on EBay sold for the same price as this after shipping. The benefit of this unit is it gives you a digital display with your current internal temp and has a lot of features that you cant get with an analog unit. You can buy this directly from Patriot but if you order from their ebay listing the total price is a dollar less. This unit is not pre-wired so you will have to wire it which you can do easily with a grounded extension cord. I'll post detailed instructions with pics later, however keep in mind, to cover my ass, please note electricity can be dangerous and instructions that come with the unit recommend professional installation. I already had an extra extension cord so I didn't include that in the price, but if you dont have one it will cost you about 5 dollars more.

Collar Build Items from Home Depot: One 8 ft 2x3 Douglas fir stud $1.87, 4 L-brackets 2.40 total, Heavy Duty 2 sided tape $15.96.
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

Notes: You also need a drill and various size bits. For the shank holes you need a large bit which can be size 7/8th, 15/16's or 1 inch. I think the 15/16 is actually the preferred size but since I already had a 1 inch that is what I used. I also already had the wood screws so didn't spend anything on them. The reason I went with the 2x3 instead of a larger stud is that the hinge holes on the back of the GE 5.0 are exactly 2.5 inches from the lower to the upper and the 2x3 is exactly 2.5 inches wide so all you have to do is remove the hinge and move it up so that the lower screw holes are now screwed into the upper holes, then drill your collar where the upper hinge holes line up, and the top will fit perfectly with absolutely no measuring or adjusting required. Look for pics below that will explain this better later. One final note on this, you do have to trim the plastic cap on the top freezer so the hinge will sit flush against the back but this doesn't affect the function of the freezer at all. The double sided tape might not be needed but I didn't want to do anything that permanently attached the collar so it remains completely reversible. The tape added more cost than I wanted, but I bought the long roll which is 37.5 feet since I use it for other stuff. You need 8 feet and the next smaller size at my HD is 6 feet so you would need 2 rolls that size which costs $6.00 per roll, so for 4 dollars more you get about 30 ft of tape extra. On the website there is a 27.5 ft roll for $10.00 in stores only but they didn't have that one at my HD.

Insulation/weather stripping from home depot:
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

I have my total cost which is :

285.00 Kegs and Hardware
155.00 Chest Freezer
58.00 ETC
20.00 Collar
15.00 CO2
5.77 Camper tape for insulation
Equals approx. $480.00

On to the build.

Step One: Buy all the stuff above plus or minus wood screws, drill, drill bits, etc

Step Two: Plug in the freezer and let it run a couple of days. You definitely want to test it before you get started since even though you won't be affecting its function, you will be cutting the upper plastic cap so want to make darn sure it works before you do that. Here is the pic of the GE freezer with the 2 kegs, carboy, and CO2 tank. Perfect fit.


Step Three: Remove the freezer top and hinges. This is as simple as removing the 4 small screws that hold on the plastic trim hinge covers then remove the covers. There is an upper and lower cover on each hinge. Next unsrew the 4 upper machine screws from each side that hold the lid to the hinge, set the lid aside. Next remove the remaining 4 machine screws from each hinge and remove the hinges. An important note here is that the screws are made of very cheap soft metal so I recommend using a hand held screw driver to first losen each screw before using a power drill to remove them because I didn't do this and my power driver stripped one of the screw heads and it was a real bitch to get that one out.

Step Four: Cut the freezer top cap so that the hinge can be screwed back on in its new upper position and sit flush against the metal back of the freezer. If you have a dremmel multi-tool you will be able to do a perfect job of this and could even save the piece you cut out and glue it back later. I don't have one so used a serrated kitchen knife, hence the sloppy job, but it doesn't matter since you can't see it once the collar and top are back on. You use the hinge as a template to mark where you will cut and make sure to cut it slightly wider than the hinge so it will fit perfectly. Here's a pic of this:


The above pic also shows how the top of this particular freezer is completely smooth without a lip which makes it neat and easy to get a perfect seal.

Step Five: Make the Collar. I don't really have any pictures of the process but it is pretty simple. I also didn't do a great job at all so you can likely do better. I will give a couple of tips though. When you go to buy the 2 x 3 look at a bunch of them by staring straight down it to get a nice straight one. I had to check like 20 of them or so to get a very straight one that also have no mars and a very nice grain on one side since I'm not going to paint it. Check your measurements yourself but basically you want one 28 1/4 inch piece for the front, one 25 1/4 inch piece for the back, and two 19 inch pieces for the sides. I didn't have the right saw for this so used a regular tree saw so my cuts were not very good. I nailed the 4 pieces together then attached the L-Brackets, but when I screwed down the brackets I got some separation of some of the joints so will definitely need some insulation on the inside of the collar. Heres a pic of the collar with the lid attached. I did sand the collar and rounded the edges to decrease the risk of splinters, get a smooth surface for the lid seal gasket and mating surface to the freezer cap, and to make it look better:


More later.

__________________

See my cheap new Keezer Build Here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...keezer-224848/

Primary: 2 Row IPA
Second Primary: Kolsch-like ale

Keg 1: Blur Moon
Keg 2: Empty
Keg 3: Empty

Bottled: None

brewit2it is offline
AutoDog Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-12-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
samwrighteous
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 16
Default

post some pics! I am way interested in this too.

__________________
samwrighteous is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-13-2011, 07:21 PM   #3
brewit2it
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Glendora, CA
Posts: 845
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Updated with Pics. More to come later.

Kevin

__________________

See my cheap new Keezer Build Here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...keezer-224848/

Primary: 2 Row IPA
Second Primary: Kolsch-like ale

Keg 1: Blur Moon
Keg 2: Empty
Keg 3: Empty

Bottled: None

brewit2it is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-14-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
dragonlor20
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 212
Liked 6 Times on 4 Posts

Default

Cool build... I would add that these freezers can be found at Target on sale about once per quarter...

__________________
dragonlor20 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-15-2011, 11:17 PM   #5
heyjaffy
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 154
Liked 4 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

This looks exactly like what I want to put together - thanks for tips and pics that will help me start out

__________________
heyjaffy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2011, 04:59 PM   #6
brewit2it
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Glendora, CA
Posts: 845
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Step Six: Attach the collar. Basically you just set the collar on top of the freezer and line it up even as possible then put your hinges on in their new upper location. Then you mark the collar where the upper hinge holes line up and drill the collar. Be careful not to drill all the way through the collar.


Notice in the pic how the hinge is simply just moved up so the lower screw holes on the hinge are now attached to the upper holes on the freezer back. That is the beauty of using this particular freezer and 2x3 stud. If you use a wider collar like most other Keezer builds the hinge is only attached to the collar and you need additional hardware to attach the collar to the freezer. Obviously you use the included hinge machine screws to attach the hinge to the freezer and top and use wood screws to attach the hinge to the collar.

Step 6.5: Finish attaching the collar. So now that you have the collar drilled and the top and hinge attached you want to secure the collar to the freezer with the 2 sided tape. Losen the hinges screws from the freezer and lift off the top, collar and hinges as one piece. Place the tape around the entire perimeter of the top, sticky side down then peel the red backing paper. Now slide the top/collar straight down sliding the hinges back on the screws which ensures the top goes back exactly centered.


Step Seven: Drill the collar for your 2 shanks and the temperature probe for the ETC. The shank holes obviously are drilled on the front. You can either center them or drill them offset to the left which is what I did since I wanted them to be centered on the main compartment where the kegs will be to keep the hoses neater. I drilled mine 4 inches apart center to center. Some Tips on drilling:
1. make sure you are exactly center of the board, top to bottom since it is only 2.5 inches so you don't want to risk cracking it and the shank collar will fit perfect if you drill exactly center.
2. don't drill through a knot if you can avoid it since it will be hard as hell and might cause the board to crack.
3. Drill a guide hole all the way through the board with a small bit first, then drill the front with the large bit 2/3 the way throught then finish the hole from the other side. Otherwise the board will splinter at the edges if you drill all the way through with your large bit. See above for bit size.

For the temp probe hole you want to put it on the side or the back. I am using the back because that's where Im going to have the temp controller mounted on the wall. The probe itself is 1/4 inch so I drilled it with 5/16 inch bit and used the same trick with the small diameter bit first to make the guide hole.

Step Eight: Wire the ETC. The instructions that come with the unit basically tell you how to wire it. We want to follow the Figure 4 Typical 120 volt line voltage diagram. For a simpler color coded diagram see member D2T's gallery here for his excellent picture:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...v-hookup&cat=1

Basically all we are doing is wiring a simple circuit that will close above a certain temp then open below that setpoint. The circuit will be in the NO Position (Normally Open), or the C position (closed) which will determine if your freezer is on or off. You need electrical tape, a small flat head screwdriver, and at least a cheap wire cutter to make this easier and safer. You can strip the wires with a sharp knife or box cutter but you risk cutting yourself:

-Take your grounded 3 prong power cord (approx 12-24 feet long or whatever you have) and cut it in half.
-Strip about 3 inches of the outer (orange) cover from each end revealing the 3 wires inside, the black hot wire, white negative (or common) wire, and the green ground. Note at this point you are going to need an extra single piece of wire about 3 inches long that you can cut from your cord or you can use any extra piece of copper wire you have already.
-Strip about 1/2-3/4 inch of the insulation from the 6 exposed wires plus both ends of your free piece of wire. The outdoor grounded extention cord you're using will probably be 16 gauge (or possibly 14) which will help you determine which hole on your wire cutter to use to strip it.
-Open the ETC by loosening the 4 screws and remove the cover. Tape back the brown cardboard (or is it plastic, can't recall) connector cover to get it out of your way.
-Place both ends of the cords through the hole on the bottom of the controller in preparation of making the connections. If you have a grommet, place the cords through it before placing through the hole. If you don't have a grommet, dont worry, you can use the electrical tape like I did.
-Warning!!! Pretty much the only way you can screw this up is by putting the wrong wire on the wrong connector. It is critical to keep track of which is the female end and male end of your power cord.
-Now that all 6 power cord wires are inside the ETC you are ready to make the connections. Loosen the screws labled NO, C, 120, and COM being careful not to damage the board. A couple of mine were really tight which was worrisome because I was torqueing the connectors to get them loose. Twist together the 2 green ground wires and cover completely with the electrical tape. Twist together the 2 white negative wires and place them in the COM connector and tighten the screw. Put the black hot wire from the female end of the cord into the NO connector and tighten. Put one end of your extra 3 inch length of wire into the C connector and tighten. Twist the other end together with the black hot wire from the male end of the cord and put into the 120 connector and tighten. Check to make sure all the connections are tight and there is no chance the the exposed portion of the wires touching each other which would cause a short. If you stripped too much of the wire and are worried about a short you can try to place some electrical tape around the exposed wire. Here's the pic of the unit now properly wired:



Make sure your wires aren't taut then replace the cover. If not using a grommet wrap the bottom two cords going into the ETC right at the hole again making sure they arent pulled taut. Keep wrapping until the amount of tape is enough so that it is slightly wider than the hole. Now gently push the tape "grommet" up into the hole. It shouldn't be able to fit all the way in, it should just be crammed in to seal the hole. If it does fit inside wrap more until it wont. Now seperate the 2 cords and wrap the tape completely around the ETC sides and between the 2 cords so that it holds your tape grommet against the hole firmly, and holds the cords so there is no force pulling on your connections when you move the cords around. See this pic:

__________________

See my cheap new Keezer Build Here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...keezer-224848/

Primary: 2 Row IPA
Second Primary: Kolsch-like ale

Keg 1: Blur Moon
Keg 2: Empty
Keg 3: Empty

Bottled: None

brewit2it is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2011, 05:07 PM   #7
jbrookeiv
Beer Review Dude
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
 
jbrookeiv's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Posts: 1,343
Liked 16 Times on 16 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

Subscribed.

__________________

My Beer Review Blog: Beer Review Dude
My Craft Beer Social Network: Craft Beer Network

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homebrewtastic View Post
I think a more pertinent question is where is AB and Miller Coors getting all of their horse urine?
Primary: Belgian Pale Ale w. Brett | Saison | Mango Pulp Wine | Graff, 10 gal

Bottled / Kegged: Hopped Imperial Wheat | AK47 Pale Mild, BIAB | AHS 20th Anniv. IPA, No Chill | Apfelwein
Leftover IIPA, No Chill | All-Molasses Ale | BIAB Black IPA | BIAB Hoppy Stout | JAOM | RyePA
jbrookeiv is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-19-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
brewit2it
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Glendora, CA
Posts: 845
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Updated with more pics and instructions including the ETC wiring.

__________________

See my cheap new Keezer Build Here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...keezer-224848/

Primary: 2 Row IPA
Second Primary: Kolsch-like ale

Keg 1: Blur Moon
Keg 2: Empty
Keg 3: Empty

Bottled: None

brewit2it is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-20-2011, 01:58 AM   #9
brewit2it
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Glendora, CA
Posts: 845
Liked 15 Times on 14 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Step 9: Insulate the collar. This is actually a misnomer really since what is much more important than increasing the R Value of the collar is sealing air gaps. The reality is soft wood like pine and douglas fir is a pretty good insulator and a pretty poor conductor. I see a lot of keezer builds where folks put a thick layer of styrofoam or other insulating material which wont hurt, but it is really overkill since the walls of the freezer will have much less insulation than the collar, and especially in our case where we are using such a small collar so the total surface area is small anyway. But what we want to do is ensure no air gaps are present. The material I used is very easy to work with and makes a perfect seal while at the same time increasing the insulating properties of the collar (not really needed for that though).
Here's the stuff I used:


You get this at Home Depot in the weather stripping area. Notice the width is 1 1/4 inch which works out very nice. You apply it simply by taping it down to the inside of the collar starting at the top right at the very top edge of the 2x3 starting in the front right corner and unrolling and applying it working clockwise all the way around the entire perimeter. Be careful in the corners tucking it in as far as possible. Once you finish the top piece you start again directly below the first again going all the way around. SInce the collar is 2.5 inches tall and the foam 1.25 the second piece completely covers the entire board. Next you start again directly below the second piece going all the way around again. I also put short reinforcement pieces in the corners.

Here's a picture of the collar with the adhesive foam stripping in place:


Next I took the roll (which still had plenty left over) and cut enough length-wise so that I now had 0.75 inch wide strips and I applied it to the collar top horizontally to the front and 2 side boards (I didn't need it on the back) to make a perfect seal with the freezer top plastic gasket. I didn't need a strip in the back board but you could put it there as well if you need to. You can see the thin horizontal pieces in the pic above. They should lay right on top of the top vertical strip you placed.

The trick to getting a perfect seal is to place all the foam stripping as described above then do 2 things, first get a very bright flashlight/battery lantern and place it inside the freezer, loosen the hinge screws where the hinge attaches to the collar and freezer back (but not the screws that attach to the freezer lid) so that the hinge can slide up and down a little as needed. Then turn on the flashlight, close the lid and turn off the lights in the room you are working in. You shouldn't be able to see any light escaping. Anywhere you see light air can also escape so you need to either adjust the loosened freezer top or apply a small piece of the foam inside to fill the gap. Once you have the closed lid mating perfectly with no areas of light escaping don't open or move the lid, just turn on the room lights and tighten the freezer top for the last time. You now have a perfectly sealed and insulated Keezer.

One last note, the fact that the strips are exactly 1.25 inch is so nice because your holes you drilled for the shanks and temp probe are centered exactly at the seam of the 2 strips of foam on your collar so that all you have to do is make a small vertical slit at the hole above and below the seam and the shanks and probe fit through with an airtight seal from the foam. Here is another pic of the insulated collar.

__________________

See my cheap new Keezer Build Here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...keezer-224848/

Primary: 2 Row IPA
Second Primary: Kolsch-like ale

Keg 1: Blur Moon
Keg 2: Empty
Keg 3: Empty

Bottled: None

brewit2it is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-20-2011, 01:13 PM   #10
heyjaffy
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 154
Liked 4 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Thanks again for the update - I've pretty much gone and ordered everything on your list except for the temp controller - I went with a pre-wired analog model. Once I get everything and put it together I'll put some pics of my own.

__________________
heyjaffy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Jersh's Keezer build... Keezer thread #1,493,829 Jersh DIY Projects 40 05-22-2014 12:19 PM
Cheapest usable saw? theonetrueruss DIY Projects 22 02-03-2011 12:10 AM
The keezer build is finally finished! Keezer porn attached. GRHunter DIY Projects 20 06-05-2010 03:38 AM
ISO cheapest digital temp display... JayInJersey DIY Projects 13 04-22-2010 06:52 PM
Absolute cheapest possible temp control. Crazytwoknobs DIY Projects 16 03-01-2010 03:39 PM