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Old 06-21-2012, 12:08 AM   #1
zennoshinjou
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Default Dorm Fridge Standalone Fermentation Chamber - Make/Model?

So I am looking into converting a dorm fridge into a fermentation chamber so I can ensure appropriate temperature. I've found tons of awesome threads on here regarding wiring and what temperature sensors to use but nothing about suggested make/model of dorm fridge. I want it to be standalone- e.g. all I have to do is wire up the temp control and throw the bucket in.

What dimensions (x by y by z or cu. ft) should I be looking for for a 5 gallon bucket or carboy with airlock? I noticed a lot of 4+ cu. ft dorm fridges have a step in the back.

What about wine coolers/fridges with built in temperature controls? It seems like I could save some money by rolling my own as opposed to going that route.

I know I can search the forums, but I thought if anyone had a suggestion this might garner more efficient results.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 06-21-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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Hi

A small chest freezer, a light bulb, and a $20 eBay controller will do the job quicker and easier than most any other approach.

Bob

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Old 06-21-2012, 12:29 AM   #3
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I've given up on finding a compact refrigerator that will do the job of being a self-contained fermentation chamber at an affordable price point. Instead, I've determined I am going to go with the 7 cubic foot GE chest freezer from Sam's Club. I should be able to use it unmodified to start with, and will last me until I am ready to do a more "permanent" fermentation chamber setup. I figure that I can then use it as either a small keezer or for long term storage for pellet hops and other freezable brew stuffs.

Would love for someone to show me that my own research and carrying of tape measure into all the big box home improvement and appliance stores was missing something, though.

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Old 06-21-2012, 04:28 PM   #4
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Hi

There are several 7 cubic foot chest freezers out there for under $200 that are plenty big enough for the purpose. If floor space is really tight there are 5 cubic footers, but you often don't save a lot of money on them over the 7's.

Bob

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:08 PM   #5
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I found a Sanyo SR-4433S for $60 on craigslist. Fits my better bottle carboys fine with a blowoff tube but it's a little tight with an airlock. Fits in front of the hump but I had to cut a wedge out of the base of the inner door skin in order for the door to fully shut. Poked a hole thru one of the foam holes in the back to run the temp probe for my Johnson controller.

I also found a Sanyo SR-4912M for $100. These are more rare but slightly larger and have lots more room inside because it is a refrigerator only unit. This unit can be turned into a dual tap keggerator fitting 2 corny kegs and a 5# CO2 tank inside. That's what I did with mine using info I found here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/sany...version-19762/

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Old 05-22-2013, 06:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MannyZ View Post
I found a Sanyo SR-4433S for $60 on craigslist. Fits my better bottle carboys fine with a blowoff tube but it's a little tight with an airlock. Fits in front of the hump but I had to cut a wedge out of the base of the inner door skin in order for the door to fully shut. Poked a hole thru one of the foam holes in the back to run the temp probe for my Johnson controller.

I also found a Sanyo SR-4912M for $100. These are more rare but slightly larger and have lots more room inside because it is a refrigerator only unit. This unit can be turned into a dual tap keggerator fitting 2 corny kegs and a 5# CO2 tank inside. That's what I did with mine using info I found here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/sany...version-19762/
I realize this is quite old, but I am looking at the SR-4433S on Craigslist and curious if it will fit a standard fermentation bucket?
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:40 AM   #7
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Geoff, your post prompted me to break out the camera and see what fits.

Here's the cut I made in the door skin to accommodate my 6 Gal Better Bottles. I also had to remove some of the inside door fixtures but that was trivial.






Here's a shot with an Ale Pail. About 1 3/8" clearance on the bottom but the top still hits the door skin so you'd probably want to completely remove it.






And finally a plain 5 Gal Bucket. This one I got from Lowes but I imagine it is similar in size to a Homer Bucket. This fit my setup with ease and had about 1 3/4" clearance at the bottom.






I also have what I think is a 7 gallon bucket with a beer & wine picture on it. The bottom fits with about 1/8" clearance but in order to accommodate the wider circumference at the top of the bucket, the door would have to have the skin removed and possibly a bit of the insulating foam removed.

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Old 05-23-2013, 06:15 AM   #8
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It looks like you could also build a small stand of a couple of 3/4" thick pieces of plywood cut to fit the base to get your carboys above the door lip and save your self the trouble of cutting the door...

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Old 05-23-2013, 06:24 AM   #9
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There are other shelves and things higher up that get in the way too. I was lazy and this worked for me Removing the door skin completely would be optimal in my opinion. YMMV

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Old 05-25-2013, 12:01 PM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to measure, fit test!

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