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-   -   Kenmore 4.6cu ft. Kegerator Build (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/kenmore-4-6cu-ft-kegerator-build-267954/)

Mike_M 09-10-2011 09:24 PM

Kenmore 4.6cu ft. Kegerator Build
 
Nothing new or groundbreaking here, but I figured I'd share my first mini-fridge kegerator build. The refrigerator is a Kenmore 94689 4.6 cu ft model. Mine is the model with the black door. It is the same as the stainless steel door Kenmore 94683. It has a slide-out tray for the freezer compartment and a removable freezer door. This makes it easy enough to convert without needing to worry about bending coolant lines as is needed on some other mini-fridges with freezer compartments.

Below is a shot of of the interior after I removed the front door and the freeze compartment. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of it with all the shelves and the freezer compartment still intact. The main problem with this conversion was that the refrigerator is too narrow to fit two ball-lock kegs (it will NOT fit a ball-lock and a pin-lock, let alone two pin-locks). As can be seen in the picture below, there are rails on the side walls that are used to hold the shelves. These will need to be ground down. Also, the temperature control on the right hand side will need to be relocated.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...r/01inside.jpg

A closer shot of the temp. controller.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...r/02inside.jpg

Let's get the conversion started. First up is removing the door and cutting out the door shelves. The picture below shows the intact door after it has been removed.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/kegerator/03door.jpg

Peeling back the door seal/magnet strip reveals the screws that hold the seal and door shelves in to place.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...oor_screws.jpg

Here is a picture of the door after the seal and door shelves have been removed.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...or_no_seal.jpg

Two kegs will not fit in the refrigerator with the shelving on the door in place. However, something rigid is required to hold the door seal on the door. I chose to cut out the perimiter of the plastic from the door and use it to mount the seal in place. My first attempt at cutting it out was using a cheap Harbor Freight Dremel knock-off. I don't own a Dremel, and didn't want to spend the money to buy one. For the $8 the HF cut-off tool cost I figured it was worth the gamble. That was a gable I lost. It had very little torque and stalled out quite often while trying to cut through the plastic. My angle grinder and Rotozip would have been too imprecise. I settled on using a jig saw, which made quick work of the cutting. Here is a picture of the frame that was left over after cutting.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...es_removed.jpg

This is what the door looks like after reassembling with the plastic frame and the door seal. I suppose I could have used something to increase insulation, but the fit of the kegs was going to be tight enough without sacrificing that small amount of space.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...eassembled.jpg

Mike_M 09-10-2011 09:25 PM

I wanted to remove the housing for the temp controller and light bulb before I started grinding on the interior, so I took a picture of it to show me the wiring layout.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...ler_wiring.jpg

Now it is time to start grinding off the interior shelf rails. The angle grinder made quick work of these, and with a small amount of patience made for clean and accurate removal. This picture is before I removed them all and smoothed them out.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...grind_left.jpg

Rather than remove a large section of insulation along the top left and right walls, I made grooves for the keg handles to slide in to. This allowed the kegs to fit while retaining as much of the inuslation as possible. This is a shot of the left side.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...dle_groove.jpg

Two ball-lock kegs will not fit side-by-side, even after grinding down the shelf rails. They have to be offset. So rather than completely remove them on both sides, I only removed as much as was needed on the right side. This shows how little needed to be taken off and also shows the groove cut for the handle of the right-side keg (as well as my super high-tech protector for the temp. control).

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...rind_right.jpg

To get the kegs to fit, about 1.5 inches needed to be ground off from the right side shelf rails.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...right_meas.jpg

It appears that some refrigerant lines run along the top of this unit. Rather than cut a large hole for the faucet tower, I drilled two holes near the center to run the beer lines through. I believe I used a 5/8" bit so that I could run 1/2" copper tubing.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...2top_holes.jpg

Looking at the pattern on the inside of what I believed to be the refrigerant lines, I carefully checked if I'd be able to drill mounting holes for the tower. Fortunately the mounting holes lined up along areas that had no lines. These next shots show where to drill the mounting holes with measurements using the grid pattern along the fridge top for guidance.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...ower_holes.jpg

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...holes_meas.jpg

Mike_M 09-10-2011 09:27 PM

The wires are too short to locate the temperature control. Using 18 gauge speaker wire and some butt connectors, I lengthened the four wires.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...r/14rewire.jpg

The box now fits neatly in the top back corner of the right wall, out of the way of everything.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...controller.jpg

A picture with two kegs inside and the CO2 tank hidden in the back. The 5# tank sits nicely on the back shelf with no real need for modification or extra support. Unfortunately I do not believe a 10# tank will fit. That is a real shame as it only costs about $2 more to exchange a 10 pounder than a 5 pounder.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...nside_kegs.jpg

For extra cooling of the beer lines and tower, I used copper tubing. This is a single 5' section of 1/2" tubing cut in half. It worked perfectly for the tower and 5' beer lines I have.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...ide_copper.jpg

A shot of the tower mounted on top.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...or/18tower.jpg

Two final pictures of the finished product.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...19finished.jpg

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k...20finished.jpg

I just plugged the kegerator in today and it is cooling down nicely. I have two batches of beer crash cooling in my garage fridge before I transfer them to kegs and hook it all up.

It is hard to say how much time was put in to this conversion as I worked on it over a few weeks as time permitted. I doubt it would have taken any longer than three hours if I could have done it in one sitting. Overall I am quite pleased with the results. I can't wait to pour my first beers out of those taps!

orangehero 09-10-2011 10:18 PM

Will a 6.5 gal carboy fit in there?

day_trippr 09-10-2011 10:29 PM

Well that obviously took some courage to pull off :)
Good job on your build! Looks great!

Cheers!

Mike_M 09-10-2011 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orangehero (Post 3245319)
Will a 6.5 gal carboy fit in there?

I'm not sure. I only have 5 gallon glass carboys and 6 gallon Better Bottles, in addition to some other oddly shaped fermenter buckets. My 6.5 gallon buckets (short and wide, unlike ale pail style buckets) and 5 gallon glass carboys fit in there without problem. I was using as a fermentation chamber until I did the conversion. The short, wide buckets fit in there with the bottom shelf installed in the fridge, and the 5 gallon carboys fit in there without the bottom shelf.

Quote:

Originally Posted by day_trippr (Post 3245350)
Well that obviously took some courage to pull off :)
Good job on your build! Looks great!

Cheers!

Thank you! I'm looking forward to finally kegging my beers after many years of bottling. I can't believe it has taken me this long to switch.

Mike_M 09-11-2011 06:27 PM

One more picture, this one with everything hooked up and chilling. The beer was at 38℉ this morning, so it has no problem keeping things cold (or even too cold, in this case). I'll see if the stock temperature control works well enough, or if I'll need to build my own.

http://static.mcm4.com/images/beer/k..._full_kegs.jpg

pizzachef 11-17-2011 03:07 AM

Thanks for the write-up! And good timing too, I just found one of these on craigslist and was wondering if anyone had tried converting. Glad to hear it goes pretty well :)

ZeroLozen 11-17-2011 07:30 PM

Could you please explain or show photos on how you attached the copper to the top, near the faucets? I like this idea, and am going to entertain the idea sooner than later. :)

hypergolic 11-17-2011 10:18 PM

Do you think a 6 gallon better bottle would fit in the fridge before modification?


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