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Old 10-10-2011, 01:54 AM   #1
brewjack
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Default coolant lines in Side by Side fridges

I'm planning to build myself a fermentation chamber. I've seen a lot of side by side refrigerators on craigslist for very cheap. I'd like to cut out completely, the inside wall between the fridge and freezer compartments, but obviously I don't want to hit any coolant lines.
So, I'm wondering where, generally, the coolant lines run on a side by side fridge. Also, if any one knows particular brands to look for or avoid.
thanks

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Old 10-10-2011, 02:09 PM   #2
mikeal
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I'm no expert, but I think that generally the freon lines are in the back of the unit, except for a line that runs through the outside and interior wall just behind where the door seals. Except for that line, the inside wall should be clear of freon lines. IMO, older fridges are easier to work on. I would be unsure what I was able to remove on a newer unit while keeping it working. For example, on some newer fridges, the main circuit board in the ice / water dispenser controls everything. On the older fridge I ended up with, I was able to strip it completely. The freezer was controlled by a thermostat and relay on the top of the fridge side, which was easy to bypass into an ebay temperature controller. The fridge side was controlled by a thermostat that mechanically opened a baffle between the two sides and which I removed completely. The defrost control was a small box that I just left in place.

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Old 10-10-2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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There should be a low pressure coil in the freezer, probably behind the back wall. Then there will be a vent (or two) between the 2 sides on the inside wall. The vent is then opened or closed via a manual linkage or electronic motor. This is how the temp on the fridge side is regulated. The only side that is cooled directly is the freezer.

So I think you could cut into the inner wall without hitting a coolant line but you may hit all manner of other electronics that control the operation of the fridge (thermocouple, fan/vent door motor, defroster timer, and defroster wiring itself).

I would be reluctant to do this not least of all because you'll be totally hacking up the inside of the fridge. I don't think there is a tidy semi-decent looking way to do it. You'll have to leave a pillar at the front for the doors to have something to close against.

That said, if you have the money to do something experimental then try it out and post build pics if it goes well.

I've taken the innards out of a top bottom fridge and built a mini fridge to go in a nook in my kitchen. It worked, but not well. I'm not super handy though. In the end I found a large dorm fridge that would fit in the space and modified it to fit a corny keg. My experience has been that repurposing goes better the simpler the modifications are.

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Old 10-10-2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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thanks that's very helpful.

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