I am going to work on a GE mini Fridge this weekend to add a temp controller for a Fermentation chamber. I will take photos for a build guide later but I'm wondering if anyone has had some snaffus with what I want to do.
The fridge has that little shelf on the bottom. It was to possibly cut it and move it back a bit to be able to insert 5 gallon buckets. I will also have to shave off the door molding on the inside where the soda container and stuff are. I'm wondering if it worth trying to moved that little shelf part that "houses" the compressor or if it more trouble than its worth.
This is not my fridge, just borrowed for the interwebs for a good example:
Any advise or previous experience with breaking or doing this will be helpful. Thanks!!!
I wouldn't mess with the compressor hump too much. You may or may not run into coolant lines in it. If there is room for a ale pale and air lock, it'd be best to build a shelf that sits right at the top of the hump.
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So this is how i did my fridge this weekend. I thought I would share as it was a bit different than what I have seen on here. I bought a $50 craigslist fridge and decide to use it for Fermentation fridge and also Lager with it. Its a GE black mini fridge (not sure right now which one but if someone wants to know I'll re-post). So here we go:
First things first, i need the temp controller built. I followed the Ebay aquarium build on this site and that helped a lot!:
This is the project box all wired up. A dremel and files came in handy when cutting out the holes.
Plugin and faceplate installed on back:
I put both the Temp controller and plugin on the end so you can set the box on things or mount it and still be able to read it as opposed to putting it all on the top of the box.
ON TO THE FRIDGE:
So I started with the freezer part as I thought the door modification was going to suck. The fridge "shelf" holds the refrigerant lines running all through it so DO NOT CUT THIS or you will have to buy a new fridge!!!
The goal here is to bend as carefully as possible to make more headroom for you ferm vessels. You want to unscrew the shelf from the roof and lightly bend it down to form around the back of the fridge.
This is what it will look like when you have it bent back
Now we just need to affix it to the back so it will stay. I had some plastic wire clamps that fit into the screw holes so I used those with some hot glue to just tack it to the back of the fridge so it doesn't move around.
Next we can look at the door. This needed to be cut down so I have the room i needed when the door was shut. I had heard and read that if you peel back the black seal around the edge, there were screws that you can take out and then remove the plastic "pop' holder piece from the door. For my project, this was not the case. They had molded it to the styrofoam underneath and it was just glued in place. I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it really was.
You will have to get a razor knife in between the seal and the door and just cut a slit on the top like so:
No need to cut around the whole door, just enough for the next steps.
I found that the plastic cut rather nicely with the razor knife and you can slowly cut sections of it and pull it out from underneath the seal. Be careful because this plastic is sharp!
Next if you take a long kitchen knife or whatever you have to shave the styrofoam down to an all flat surface you can either leave it like that or cover it with a flat piece of plastic or something to make it look cleaner.
Then you have to calibrate your temp controller and your all finished.
Any questions I will be happy to answer or take more pictures..
I have fitted the same fridge build now with a heat lamp. I can take more pictures and explain the install a bit better when I get some time and hopefully it will help people with the heat regulation part of fridge builds as I didn't see many tutorials on heat and more on the cooling. Let me know what you think.
I am converting a fridge that has a freezer tray like the one you have. Was the coolant connector lines running into the freezer compartment rigid? One of mine is flexible the other is rigid and made from aluminum. I am worried the aluminum will break when i bend it? Did you take any other precautions?