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Old 04-14-2008, 01:00 AM   #1
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Default Mini-Fridge Fermentation Chiller Project

Around here it gets around and above 100F in the summertime, and even as I speak it is 80F inside my house. Therefore, I needed to build/buy some kind of fermentation chiller. As luck would have it, a good friend offered a mini-fridge he no longer used - score! The only problem was that it was just a wee bit too shallow to fit my 6.5 gallon carboy inside. So I thought perhaps it would be big enough without the plastic door material:



I took the seal off for reuse later, and then cut/ripped off the plastic stuff:


I suppose I could have measured first, before destroying the door...this still was not enough room.


So, I decided to make a collar and door out of plywood, and insulate with 1" styrofoam:



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Last edited by TwoHeadsBrewing; 04-14-2008 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:05 AM   #2
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Next I needed to make the door, and insulate everything:


Insulation:


Added some simple hinges and two magnetic door latches:


Seems to work well so far...and doesn't look too bad:


More pics here: Fridge Project



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Last edited by TwoHeadsBrewing; 04-14-2008 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:10 AM   #3
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Only a few things left to do:

1. Completely seal plywood on the interior. There are a few places that are exposed, so I think I'll seal those places with marine-type paint or varnish.

2. Sand and finish the exterior (maple stain, satin finish).

3. Get a temperature controller.

The temperature in here gets down to 60F in under an hour at the lowest setting. For now, I'm just clicking it on once or twice a day and it holds that temp just fine throughout the day. I don't expect that to work once my garage gets 100-120F in the middle of summer.

All in all it was a very easy project; took about 3 hours of work and under $15 in hardware and insulation. Sweet!

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Old 04-14-2008, 01:48 AM   #4
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Nice work. I hope it works as well as you hope. Keep us updated through the summer.

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Old 04-14-2008, 01:55 AM   #5
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Lookin good man!

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Old 04-14-2008, 02:03 AM   #6
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Looks good!



A lot simpler than my idea:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=54562

which I plan on starting to build this week...... Hopefully...

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Old 04-14-2008, 02:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deathweed
Looks good!



A lot simpler than my idea:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=54562

which I plan on starting to build this week...... Hopefully...

Love that idea! But, yes this is much simpler...although I like the idea of being able to "hide" the unit inside. Now if I could just figure out a single unit to hold my HDTV, DVD player, home theater setup, my HTPC, AND a couple fermenters I'd be set!
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:39 PM   #8
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UPDATE: Over the past few days we've had some warm weather (88-90F), so it was a great time to test out the new fermentation chiller. I've held off on getting a temperature controller thus far, and have just been fiddling with the analog temp control knob in the fridge. With VERY fine adjustments I am able to keep the temp between 65-68F. Sweet!!! The only bad thing is that it took me a couple days of adjusting it to get it there, and I aint touching it again! I guess that means I'm stuck at that temp unless I want to buy a temp controller.

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Old 05-18-2008, 09:52 PM   #9
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Well, it's a bit early here in Northern CA for 100F days...but they are here nonetheless. My garage is about 115-120F right now, and that is where my fermentation fridge is. To my relief the fridge is holding steady at 62F, which is perfect for 65F-68F fermentation temps. It seems to cycle on about 1-2 times per hour...hopefully this isn't to frequent to do any damage to the compressor.

So...operation frankenfridge successful! Just took a sample of my first all grain wheat beer, and it is downright tasty! The sample temp was 65F, which is perfect. Hopefully this fridge will hold up for a long time...works great for a single primary. I've thought about building an entire new box to hold 2 carboys, and using the internals of this fridge...but I don't drink that much beer. Guess I better get to work drinkin!

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Coming Up: Dunkleweizen, 3C Pale Ale


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Last edited by TwoHeadsBrewing; 05-18-2008 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:53 AM   #10
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how did you go about attaching the collar to the fridge?



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