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Old 05-20-2013, 12:10 AM   #1
Cider123
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Default Kegging, here I come!

Well, after a year or so of bottling, I have decided to take the plunge. I do want to limit costs but my engineering skills are limited, so let's call this semi- DIY. I plan on hooking up a kegging kit to an old fridge and creating my Kegerator or as I will call it, my Coolerator.

I'll keep track of my progress here for my own records and I would always appreciate any comments and/or advice. I hope this doesn't end up as complicated as my last big project. I built a brick pizza oven in my backyard. What I thought would be a one month, $500 project turned into a 4 month obsession that costed (well, I don't like to think about it)

So here goes:

Phase One

Found a old Whirlpool fridge in Craigslist for $50. Here it is:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/attachments/f51/123095d1369009768-kegging-here-i-come-fridge1.jpg
It ain't pretty, but it is exactly as I would expect my first garage Coolerator to look. Complete with dents and missing vent grill. But I brought my IR thermometer and it was as cold as my real fridge in my kitchen. Brought it home in my SUV on its side. I almost paid more in gas to get it home than I did for the fridge itself. I've been told that if you have to tip it on its side, you better not run it for a few days after you stand it back up again. So here it sits until it gets cleaned out.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/attachments/f51/123096d1369009768-kegging-here-i-come-fridge2.jpg
I was planning on removing the bottom storage bins that normally create the "floor". My only concern was that without the bins, would the kegs get too cold sitting on the bottom. The coils are right below the bottom. I am assuming there are coils in the back also?

No matter what, this thing needs to be gutted and bleached. Who knows what was in there.

I was planning on 2 taps for 2 kegs at any given time. I don't expect a need to have that many beers on tap. We have an occasional guest, but usually just my SWMBO and I. I am going to research kegging stuff and give kegconnection.com a call.

Stay tuned

fridge1.jpg   fridge2.jpg  
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:17 AM   #2
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Do it man, you'll love it! I made the switch a couple months ago and couldn't be happier, I'm already looking to expand my setup, currently I have 2 tap and I'm thinking of going to 3 or 4

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Old 05-20-2013, 01:48 AM   #3
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There are no cooling coils under the food compartment. All of the "cold" is provided by the freezer compartment, and vented down into the food compartment, usually through vents on the food compartment ceiling.

If you don't see a radiator along the back of the unit, it either has a radiator under the bottom (usually with a fan) or it uses the metal skin as the radiator. Good to know which when you go to drill holes...

Cheers!

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Old 05-20-2013, 09:30 PM   #4
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Ok, I didn't have very much fridge knowledge but that makes sense. There is a fan under the bottom along with coils and the compressor. I thought the coils were part of the cooling system but I guess that's the radiator.

I was planning on drilling my faucet holes in one of the sides of the unit so the door can be opened without a hassle, but that's another phase.

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Old 05-20-2013, 10:15 PM   #5
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The "radiator" is of course part of the cooling system; its cold-side counterpart is buried inside the freezer compartment, typically in the back wall. The working fluid expands into a vapor in the cold-side coil to soak up "heat", then it travels to the hot-side coil to cool down before being compressed back into a fluid.

For a couple of reasons, I recommend going through the back wall with through-fittings. If you have the make/model number of the fridge you can often pull up diagrams of the guts through any of the larger appliance parts sites. fwiw, I used those to determine where coolant lines, ducts and wiring were placed on my two brew fridges, and the best location on both to bring in power, gas and thermometer probes was the top/left corner of the food compartment...

Cheers!

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Old 05-21-2013, 04:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by day_trippr View Post
For a couple of reasons, I recommend going through the back wall with through-fittings.
Why?

I suggest going through the side... I have a three-faucet system in a fridge almost exactly like that one. I went through the side for gas, and through the front for the faucets, which is fine, but the freezer door is dangerously close to the tap handles. With the hoses and such, the side would have been so much better.

The back may be more sanitary looking for the gas hose, but the tank will be sitting somewhere anyway, so to me that doesn't make much sense.

BTW, I like to use colored dry-erase pens to make picture labels at each faucet.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Why?[...]
Because going through the sides usually looks like crap...

Cheers!
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Old 05-21-2013, 01:43 PM   #8
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For now, with only 2 kegs, just leave the CO2 tank in the fridge and no holes in the fridge. The only thing for the Noob to remember is when the tank is in the fridge the high pressure reading on the regulator is incorrect because the tank is cold.

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Old 05-21-2013, 11:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
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For now, with only 2 kegs, just leave the CO2 tank in the fridge and no holes in the fridge. The only thing for the Noob to remember is when the tank is in the fridge the high pressure reading on the regulator is incorrect because the tank is cold.
So, I imagine it would be lower because of less heat? How much of a correction should be used?

I will leave the CO2 tank in the fridge for now. I am still deciding on whether to put the taps on the side or on the door.

Phase 2:
I called Kegconnection and ordered a 2 tap, ball lock, fridge kit. I did upgrade to chrome Perlick taps and also a dual body regulator so I can easily serve from one tap and force carb with the other. I got 2 of the new, strap handled, 5 gallon kegs and a 5 gallon CO2 tank.

I now have buyer's remorse. I know I wanted it, but damn that was expensive!
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I now have buyer's remorse. I know I wanted it, but damn that was expensive!
No way. I didn't buy the upgrades and wish I had. It won't be long before you tee a gas line once you realize that you can fit three cornys plus the gas in that sweet monster. I bet you'll change your mind and add number three (and four) soon.
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