Clean Keezer exterior: advice on temp controller install
Been browsing these forums for a while now and gotten some great ideas, so many thanks in advance for all those. I have a question I'm hoping someone has experience with. I did a quick search but couldn't find my answer here already, hope I'm not asking a very dumb question.
I'm attempting to turn my keezer into a stand-alone kitchen island, but I don't want to put a skin over the whole exterior (too much work, time, money). So that means sturdy enough to be topped with a heavy wooden butcher block, I want it too look good all 4 sides (even the back), and I want to minimize the amount of wires and stuff hanging off of it, even the back side (ideally just one: the power cord).
I went with small 5.0 Black & Decker freezer (kitchen isn't huge) and a Thompson A419 temp controller (pretty sure I'd end up frying me, the feezer, or both based on some wiring diagrams for other controllers. I'm trying to keep it simple on the grounds that I'm stupid).
Ideally the A419 gets mounted inside the compressor compartment and the probe goes through that wall into the freezer, keeping the outside of the keezer simple and neat. In order to minimize external wires/stuff I've come up with a couple solutions to the temp probe problem. Maybe you can tell me which is best (or if there is a better one):
1) drill through the walls of the compressor hump. Hopefully no coolant lines here? Ideally I'd drill right next to where the existing thermostat probe is. Has anyone tried this? After reading these forums I'm super nervous about drilling anywhere near a freezer. I tried turning on the feezer and ID'ing coolant lines based on condensation patterns but I'm really not confident that I found them all (or any really). I assume these internal walls are not being used as heat-sinks and I don't have to worry about that (?).
2) I tried removing the existing thermostat probe and pushing the thompson probe through the factory-drilled hole. No luck: it's too thick. Can I replace the thompson probe with a smaller gauge probe? Maybe even rip apart the thermostat that came with the freezer and swap the probes? Is it OK to have the original freezer thermostat probe just sort of hanging out of the way in the recessed compressor compartment? It's not functioning at this point anyway, right? Maybe my best bet is to drill exactly where the existing hole is and increase the diameter of that hole to accommodate the thompson probe diameter?
3) Return the thompson temp controller and either fiddle with the coarse-adjust on the freezer thermostat or go with something like the STC-1000 and hope my hair doesn't come out looking like I tried sucking on an extension cord.
Any advice and/or experience is appreciated!
I'd be careful with what you put around the freezer as it has to be able to reject heat in order to work properly. As far as being neat and having only one wire that is very possible. For example, with my controller I tapped into the connections for the existing 120VAC plug to power it.
To answer your questions:
1) My freezer came with a diagram that illustrated where every coolant line was. Double check all your manuals to see if you have that.
2) I would think you probably can't use the existing probe. Maybe so, but probably not. Best bet is probably to open up the existing hole.
3) I'm not familiar with the Thompson controller, but it's not like you'll need a controller with all kinds of features. You're opening and closing a contact based on a singular input. As long as the controller can handle the power flow and be programmed to a particular setpoint it should be workable.
Do not drill through walls. Freezers are wrapped in coolant panels, and you'll have wasted a freezer. Try running the probe through the bottom drain hole possibly?
You could always build a platform to raise it up and the controller in the platform.
As for the controller I love my Johnson *rimshot*.
In all seriousness though, it works well, and its easy to use.
I think he may have the Johnson controller. He says he has the A419 Thompson - A 419 is one of the Johnson controllers... Coincidence? I have the Johnson A419 on my keezer and it couldn't be any simpler - plug in, program and go.
Johnson, Thompson. Yup. I never claimed to be knowing what I was doing. Johnson A419 it is.
There's no diagram of where coolant lines are in the manual, and there doesn't seem to be much on-line either. I called customer service and they basically couldn't help and didn't know anyone who could. They said, "my understanding is there is coolant in all three walls and the lid". Which is patently false, there absolutely is not any coolant in the lid. But I didn't think pointing that out would really get me anywhere.
Thanks for the input - I think I'll see about increasing the size of the existing hole for the factory temp probe on the factory thermostat.
One thing of note: It's pretty near impossible to disassemble the freezer's thermostat and move that temp probe over to the Johnson control unit. The freezer being mechanical and the Johnson probe not being mechanical, there's no obviously easy way to attach the freezer thermostat probe to the johnson controller. Actually, it's not very difficult disassembling the freezer's thermostat, but it's dang near impossible to get it back together and working again with just two hands.
Ok, so another quick question: Are there 10" long and 4" wide wall-mount drip trays (and if so, could someone please link me)? My perhaps questionable searching skills find none for sale in conventional internet places (ebay, amazon, various beer and restaurant equipment sites).
10" long seems just about right for optimum aesthetically pleasing distance of my 2 shanks/taps (and the option to add a 3rd later). But a 6" wide drip tray seems way too wide, it would stick out too far from the size of the keezer (for my liking). All the 4" wide drip trays are 6" long or shorter meaning I'd have to crowd the taps closer together than I'd want.
More dumb questions:
Is it OK to mount the Johnson A419 control unit inside the freezer? I couldn't find any specs on it that said what temperatures the unit itself (not the probe) was designed to function at.
Also, if I want to remove the AC power cords (to shorten them, or run them through a hole in the collar) from the controller, how do you remove the clamp that keeps them from being pulled out of the blue case? I've never seen a cable clamp like that before and would like to minimize my chances of messing up an expensive piece of equipment.
Another question, hopefully someone can help.
I'm looking to attach the drip tray to the side of the freezer. I'd thought magnets would be nice as it can easily be removed for cleaning. Also no drilling. Local stores don't seem to sell any nearly strong enough.
Can anyone recommend really good strong magnets that might serve this function? I've seen some good looking ones, but at ~$30 a pop plus shipping and tax, I would rather know that they will work for this application prior to purchasing.
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