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Old 03-24-2012, 08:50 PM   #1
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Default Freezer/Fermentation Cabinet and Controller

Got about everything I need to get a two carboy fermentation cabinet up and running. I noticed Sears had their 7.2 qu ft chest freezer on sale for $195.00 but they didn't have any in the small store here. So I printed the page from their website and took it to Home Depot. HD price matched their 7.0 qu ft model for me.
I want to make a separate control box instead of mounting the controller into the freezer should I decide to do something else with the freezer in the future. Heck it could end up being a keezer some day, who knows.
I still need a project box and a 1/8" plug to complete the control box. Don't know if I will need a fan in there but I have 1 or 2 laying around.


Checking the possible fit of two 6.5 gallon carboys, I only have one right now. It will be tight but they will fit.

Using a pen as a marker, there will be just enough room. Whew!

The baskets should come in handy for something.

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Old 03-24-2012, 09:15 PM   #2
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Looks good! I suggest trying to use a 6.5 gallon (primary) and 5 gallon (secondary) in case two 6.5 gallons don't fit. I also have that eBay aquarium controller and they're nice. I'm thinking of getting another one for the kitchen (sous vide cooking), so I'd recommend the external box for it in case you use it for other things as well.

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Old 03-26-2012, 01:03 AM   #3
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While I am waiting on the project box to come in I thought I'd put together something I have been thinking about for months.
After reading many, many threads on how and where to mount senor probes I thought maybe a sensor pouch with a strap might work.
First gathering up some things I had around house.
A soft bag that a replacement rear view mirror came in, some velcro strips, and some bubble wrap.


Cut out a square patch of bubble wrap that would fully cover the sensor.


Using the bubble wrap as a guide I sewed a square shape giving wide berth around the wrap.


I cut the square shape out and put the extra material to the side. I used white thread on purpose so it would show up well.


Sewing down both sides give me a perfect pouch for the bubble wrap to slide into.


I want to sew a few 45° seam on each side of the velcro so I use it as a guide from where to get me started.


I decided to tack the strap directly to the pouch so there would be even pressure right over the back of the sensor.


The sensor needs to have direct contact with the glass of the carboy so I cut a small window in the face side of the pouch.


It fits pretty well.


You can see the sensor has contact with the glass.

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Old 03-26-2012, 05:03 AM   #4
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Interesting, I see you have the Chinese controller that is in oC right?

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Old 03-26-2012, 02:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CCBrewer View Post
Interesting, I see you have the Chinese controller that is in oC right?
Yes, it's the STC-100.
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Old 04-02-2012, 01:15 AM   #6
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Finally getting around to finishing the controller for the fermentation chest. I used heyjaffy's thread as a guide.
I decided to use the rectangular outlets because cutting out the access holes would be easy to cut with a Dremel.


If you want to use just one outlet to feed the cooling and heating just break this tab off and wire each outlet separately.


I wanted to install both outlets in line on the back of the project box. The only problem is the mounting flanges are too long so I need to fix that.


First I broke off the tabs.



The threaded loops need to be removed so I ground them off with the belt sander.



Now that the tabs are all removed the outlets fit perfectly.


I dug up an old computer cord to power the unit with.


I want to use a grommet to hold the power cord so I bought a bag of assorted sizes for now and future use.


Did a preliminary layout of the parts.


Taped the face to make layout easier. I temporarily bolted the two outlets together so I get an accurate layout for the holes.

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Old 04-02-2012, 01:30 AM   #7
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Since the temperature controller has a lip around it and makes it perfectly square against the side of the box. You can use it to help mark the cut out lines.


A funny thing about this controller is metric but the actual size of the case is dead nuts standard. 1 1/8" X 2 3/4"


The outlet holes needed a little cleaning up but the controller slide right in on the first try.



Went ahead and epoxied the terminal block to the project box.


While the glue is drying I pre-wired the outlets on the side I cant get to when they are installed.


Used the outlet, temporarily installed backwards, to mark the machine screw holes.

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Old 04-02-2012, 01:48 AM   #8
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I am using an 1/8" plug and outlet for the temperature sensor.


The diameter is exactly 5/16", a common drill bit size.


Pre-tinned the plug and outlet. The wire is already pre-tinned so that made soldering the wire go faster.



The lamps are a hair over 1/4" to I used a 1/4" drill bit and a round file to open the hole up enough.


Got the temp. sensor outlet, controller and the lamps installed.


Wiring all done.

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Old 04-02-2012, 01:53 AM   #9
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Test running the cool and heat cycle.





A better shot of the back.

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Old 04-02-2012, 02:17 AM   #10
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I'm using a 120mm fan and a 9 volt power supply to power it.
Solderless connectors and shrink tubing for an easy clean connection.


A lighter with a blow torch flame makes a great tool for heat shrink tubing.


Used on of the freezer baskets to mount the fan.


Using a 5 gallon carboy filled with StarSan to break the fermenter in.


I set the controller to 18.5°c, about 65°f, and it only took two hours to bring the carboy down from 75°f. The thermometer on the inside of the chest confirms the temperature is correct.


The controller sits perfectly on the shelf next to the freezer. Now it's time to brew an Oktoberfest.

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