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Old 04-04-2011, 06:17 PM   #1
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Default convert chest freezer to upright?

I just picked up a 6 cu ft chest freezer for $50 yesterday to be used as a fermentation chamber (my old one broke).
Anyways, I put it in place and realized that I'm going to have to:
1. Add a collar since this model has no hump, the whole floor is elevated above the compressor. As is, I can fit a carboy and pin-lock kegs if I use a blow-off - can't use an airlock on anything except maybe buckets in this one.
2. Put it on wheels - I can't open the lid without moving it because there's a cabinet above it.

This got me to thinking.. if I rotated it on it's side, so it was more like an upright freezer - it'd have 30" interior height (instead of the 24" it has now) so I could use just about any vessel I've got. This would also solve my problem with needing to move it out before I open it.

Of course, the issue is that you can't rotate a chest freezer on it's side because of the compressor. But I saw somewhere where someone turned a dorm fridge to a chest cooler by rotating the compressor assembly and was thinking I could do the same (but opposite) with my chest freezer.

Anybody done this? Good idea or bad idea?

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:27 PM   #2
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I'd say it's a not so good idea unless you pull out the guts of the freezer and keep them orientated the same way. Similar to how you don't want to put a window AC unit on it's side, if you expect it to function correctly.

I would just put it on wheels and build a collar for it so that you can use it as it sits now... It would be much less work than trying to convert it to an upright style... Plus, you'd probably need to fit it with a latch, or something to keep the door closed if you put it on end. All you need is to come home after working a long day to find the door either fully open, or open enough so that it's far warmer than you wanted it to be. Or it's been running like a maniac in order to try and keep up with the higher air temps (thus cooling that room too)...

Just my take on it...

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:28 PM   #3
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Whew, that sounds like a a headache to try to turn the compressor on its side. Theretically I would say it will work, but practically, maybe not.

I would build a collar. There are many examples and detailed step by step instructions of keezers on here. That way, you can use whatever fermenter you want, and you don't lose that extra floor space you would if you turned it on its side.

I've been searching for a chest freezer craigslist deal for a while now, and haven't found any at a price point I'm willing to spend.

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:37 PM   #4
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I've already built a collar for my keezer, so I know how to do that and how much work it is/isn't. Also, the lid has a spring hinge so it should stay shut. The instructions I found for the dorm fridge conversion looked like it was pretty simple. You shouldn't need to move anything else, the compressor is pumping the fluid through the lines - doesn't matter what orientation those are - just need to keep the compressor oriented correctly from what I understand. In any case, I haven't decided whether to do it or not - it's sittings next to my keezer, so putting a collar and wheels on it would make it match I suppose, but I just hated lifting heavy carboys into my old fermentation chest freezer and was thinking this would solve that problem - plus I could use the short stout 7.5G conical in there (not that I have one, but thinking about it).

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Or it's been running like a maniac in order to try and keep up with the higher air temps (thus cooling that room too)...
I think you're thinking of a fridge with an efficiency greater than 100%, which is impossible. The room as a whole would be warmer unless you were dissipating the heat from the compressor elsewhere. I learned this as a kid when my dad would scream at me for standing in front of an open fridge in the dog days of summer.

I'm just poking fun at ya, I think we are both on the same page as far as what OP should do.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruin_ale View Post
I've already built a collar for my keezer, so I know how to do that and how much work it is/isn't. Also, the lid has a spring hinge so it should stay shut. The instructions I found for the dorm fridge conversion looked like it was pretty simple. You shouldn't need to move anything else, the compressor is pumping the fluid through the lines - doesn't matter what orientation those are - just need to keep the compressor oriented correctly from what I understand. In any case, I haven't decided whether to do it or not - it's sittings next to my keezer, so putting a collar and wheels on it would make it match I suppose, but I just hated lifting heavy carboys into my old fermentation chest freezer and was thinking this would solve that problem - plus I could use the short stout 7.5G conical in there (not that I have one, but thinking about it).
Thats something I didnt think of, lifting carboys sucks. I would be interested to see how easy the conversion can be done.
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpr121 View Post
I think you're thinking of a fridge with an efficiency greater than 100%, which is impossible. The room as a whole would be warmer unless you were dissipating the heat from the compressor elsewhere. I learned this as a kid when my dad would scream at me for standing in front of an open fridge in the dog days of summer.

I'm just poking fun at ya, I think we are both on the same page as far as what OP should do.
Poke, poke, poke...

I agree that for X minutes, it's no big deal... I was thinking for 8-10 hours... Of course, the size of the room does come into play there.

I still think the collar would be a better idea... For one thing, as already mentioned, it would match the keezer... Paint the collar a different color and you won't need to wonder which is which...

As for lifting primaries in and out, IMO, that's minor. You're only fermenting 5 gallons at a time, right? So under 50# (roughly) of wonder going in/out at any point.

I plan on making my fermentation chamber out of whatever base unit I can get my hands on, when it's time. For me, a chest freezer would work great, since I'll be fermenting in kegs. IF I need to, I'll make a collar for it, and not worry. Of course, the keezer will be larger than the fermentation chamber. Since the fermentation chamber will probably only need to hold 2-4 primaries at a time. While the keezer could be holding many more. Plus bottles once they're ready...
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:48 PM   #8
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I've been leaning towards switching to kegs anyways, tried it on one batch and it foamed over like crazy. I used foam control but I guess not enough. Anyways, they would be way easier to get in and out than a carboy. I think I'll ferment this weekends' oatmeal stout in a pinlock inside this freezer and see how that goes. A little more foam control this time and if that goes smoothly I'll setup the wheels/collar. I can sell off some carboys and buy more kegs

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Old 04-04-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
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Fermenting in kegs kicks ass, IMO...

I didn't have any issue using the 5 gallon corny for my first shot at it. I pulled the relief valve from the kid, used a small bung and airlock there. For a future batch, I'll be using a 5.16 gallon Sanke keg (1/6 barrel) for the primary. It could be this week's batch in fact. I'll be using yeast harvested from the batch fermented in the corny, so it should be great. I'll use fermcap-s in that one, for fermenting. I'll probably also leave my blow-off assembly where it will be fermenting, just in case it's needed.

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