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Old 09-30-2012, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Chest Freezer Temp Swings

I use a chest freezer attached to a Johnson Controls analog temperature controller. It works great during the summer when it is warm, but this time of year as it gets cooler there are temperature swings of 5-10 degrees in the freezer at night. I've read of a few options.

1. install a lightbulb (similar to ones used in terrariums) to keep the temperature up and rely solely on the cooler to keep the correct temperature.

2. install a small space heater using the same principle.

3. install a small spacer heater and replace current temp controller with a dual stage controller.

Wondering what everyone else out there does and what will help keep a steady fermentation temp

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Old 09-30-2012, 06:49 PM   #2
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I deal with this same issue every year at this time. I just end up fermenting at around 65% because it doesn't seem to get colder than that down there and when it gets warmer I can have my thermostat turn on the freezer. Once it gets much colder I find a ceramic reptile heater works great... just mount it in the freezer and let the JC kick it on. I don't use a light bulb because I am always worried about them burning out and the wort getting too cold.

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Old 10-01-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgraham602 View Post
I use a chest freezer attached to a Johnson Controls analog temperature controller. It works great during the summer when it is warm, but this time of year as it gets cooler there are temperature swings of 5-10 degrees in the freezer at night. I've read of a few options.

1. install a lightbulb (similar to ones used in terrariums) to keep the temperature up and rely solely on the cooler to keep the correct temperature.

2. install a small space heater using the same principle.

3. install a small spacer heater and replace current temp controller with a dual stage controller.

Wondering what everyone else out there does and what will help keep a steady fermentation temp
Hey sgraham602,

How are you reading the temperature? If you have a way to immerse a temp probe in a jar of water, I bet you'll find the average temperature does not change all that much--which is what would happen with fermenting carboy as well.

If you decide on the lightbulb idea, check our site for the fermentation chamber build (under DIY equipment) and you'll find pictures on how to enclose the bulb into a pint-sized paint can. You'll still need a way to turn the light on/off as needed though, which there are many ways to do.

-TK
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Old 10-01-2012, 02:01 PM   #4
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First can you tell us he model if the Johnson control ? I'm assuming it a A419 control which is very common in the homebrew world. If so it is a dual stage control there is a jumper inside it you just need to move it over there are instructions to do this on Johnson control website for the a419. I use a brew strip from norhern brewer it looks like a thin may 18x36 clear sheet with electric heat strips in it kinda like what's in the rear window of a car. I think I pad like 25 dollars for it and it work excellently.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:52 PM   #5
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its the analog controller. I believe the A19AAT-1? Heres a link.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/j...hermostat.html


I know there is no way to override this type of controller.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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Hey sgraham602,

How are you reading the temperature? If you have a way to immerse a temp probe in a jar of water, I bet you'll find the average temperature does not change all that much--which is what would happen with fermenting carboy as well.

If you decide on the lightbulb idea, check our site for the fermentation chamber build (under DIY equipment) and you'll find pictures on how to enclose the bulb into a pint-sized paint can. You'll still need a way to turn the light on/off as needed though, which there are many ways to do.

-TK
I have a lab thermometer in a glass of water in the chest freezer that I have been using to verify the temperature.
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