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Old 11-19-2010, 06:19 AM   #1
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Default Help me plan my dual fermentation/kegerator

Let me know if this will work. I've searched around and no one has posted any pics of this exact setup. I'm trying to conserve space as I'm in a small apartment.

Upright fridge:
- small top compartment (0 C): stores 2 x 3 g mini-kegs
- larger bottom compartment (17-19 C): stores 2 x 6 g primary fermentation buckets
- 2 stage ranco digital controller that reads the temp in one of the buckets.
- heat source (bulb or mini heater)
- 2 keg taps built into the top door

The top compartment is originally a freezer so I guess this is where the cooling will come from. There should be some way of connecting the ranco to control the air from the top compartment to the bottom. The ranco will also control a heat source. The top temp will just be at whatever setting gets the right temp for serving.

Has anyone tried this kind of setup. Any advice?

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Old 11-19-2010, 05:04 PM   #2
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i dont think I've seen a set-up like this before, but you are going to have some issues most likely.

bottom line is that you are trying to control the temp of two different chambers, but have only a single temp probe. that controller can say "heat" or "cool" but it can only determine that for whichever chamber the probe is in

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Old 11-19-2010, 05:05 PM   #3
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Alternatively, I can forgo kegging for the time being and merely use the top compartment to chill bottles.

My biggest concern and question is whether this type of system will be able to maintain 2 distinct (and accurate) temperatures in the 2 chambers. Hypothetically, this is exactly what it does as freezer/fridge, but the temperatures are different. It would be comforting to hear if anyone has had success with this strategy.

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Old 11-19-2010, 05:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
bottom line is that you are trying to control the temp of two different chambers, but have only a single temp probe. that controller can say "heat" or "cool" but it can only determine that for whichever chamber the probe is in
Exactly my concern. 2 thoughts:

(1) The fridge must already be fitted with some kind of temperature controller to regulate the freezer and should be able to maintain a constant temperature there (right?). I was hoping the dampener or whatever you call the device that transfers cool air between the 2 chambers would be able to be controlled by the ranco sufficiently to maintain the temp in the second chamber. So in essence, I would have 2 chambers, 2 controllers, and 1 cooling source. Do I at least have a hypothetically sound plan?

(2) Would keeping the top compartment at 0 C (32 F) be cold enough to supply the fermentation chamber with cool air to counter the heat produced from rapid primary fermentation? It seems to me that a maxed out freezer compartment would be able to regulate the temp of the fermentation chamber better (but it could also over shoot).
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:38 AM   #5
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That is sort of the same thing that I did, just using a kegorator and two controllers instead of a refrigerator. My kegorators temp controller was shot so I use one controller for it and the other for the lager chamber. Truthfully I don't run anything on the lager side. The controller stays off. For some reason it stays at almost a constant 60 - 62 degrees in there while the kegorator side stays at 38-40. I used the foil backed foam insulation from Lowes and sealed it with foil tape. I did put a heating pad in the lager chamber just in case but it never has to kick on. I can fit 8 cornys to dispense and 4 carboys to lager. I know it is not the same but the method should work the same.







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Old 11-20-2010, 03:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
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That is sort of the same thing that I did, just using a kegorator and two controllers instead of a refrigerator. My kegorators temp controller was shot so I use one controller for it and the other for the lager chamber. Truthfully I don't run anything on the lager side. The controller stays off. For some reason it stays at almost a constant 60 - 62 degrees in there while the kegorator side stays at 38-40. I used the foil backed foam insulation from Lowes and sealed it with foil tape. I did put a heating pad in the lager chamber just in case but it never has to kick on. I can fit 8 cornys to dispense and 4 carboys to lager. I know it is not the same but the method should work the same.
I love it, but I don't quite understand how it works. Does the insulation fully separate the 2 chambers or is cold air still allowed in to the lagering chamber? Does just enough leak through to chill it to your temp?
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:11 PM   #7
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Yes the insulation fully separates it. Naturally the insulation will "leach" a temperature change depending on the temp difference on each side but luckily it stays perfectly at the temperature I need. The other temp controller is there just in case it gets too cold and will kick on the heating pad. If for some reason it stayed too hot I would use a fan and flap cover to blow cool air into there.It would just run off the other circuit for that controller. My thought there would be a small fan blowing through a hole cut in the foam with a weighted flap that will keep it closed when the fan is not blowing. Kind of the same principal you see on the outside of a house for dryer exhaust vents. The same theory on all of this should apply to a refrigerator just vertical. Good luck and take lots of pics!!!

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