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-   -   Minifridge Fermentation Chamber (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/minifridge-fermentation-chamber-337402/)

crane 06-24-2012 04:24 PM

19 Attachment(s)
Built this last year and it turned out quite well. It was definitely a project that took way longer than expected but I am completely satisfied with it. I bought a minifridge off of CL for $30 and gutted the compressor and heat exchangers. I rewired it to be controlled by a Love TSS2. I wanted something that could hold 2 carboys and was portable so I can move it out of the spare bedroom/office for when we have guests and need to blow up the aerobed. I used caster wheels to be able to move it around. The 2 on the back don't rotate. The 2 on the front rotate and lock so it doesn't move around unintentionally. I wanted it to look like nice. I also wanted to be able to easily lift carboys out of it and place them on top for racking. Here we go.

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Initial Fit Test.

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I wanted to use hidden hinges, which was a bit of a challenge. I couldn't find hinges that will work with doors this thick. These will work with doors up to an inch or so, can't remember the exact max. So you have to route out the frame to get it the rest of the way there.

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Bought the heavy duty 180lbs drawer rails from Lowes. With 1 carboy I can pull the drawer out all the way without it tipping forward. With 2 carboys it will tip forward if I pull it out all the way, but I can pull it out half way move one carboy then pull it out the rest of the way to get to the one in the back. I used expanding foam to mount the insulation and fill all of the gaps.

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Ran a temp test to make sure it could hold temps before sealing up the last piece of insulation. Got it down to 32F and held it there overnight. Used a wireless devkit we had lying around at work that has a thermistor on it to monitor the temps inside the chamber and was able to log it on my laptop. Here is a demo of the CEO using the Cypress FirstTouch devkit to monitor temps in his winery.

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I wrapped the outside with 1/4" oak veneer plywood.

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Everything is sanded, trim pieces are installed and its ready for stain.

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2 coats of gel stain and 2 coats of polyurethane

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3 months of working here and there on nights and weekends with the little free time I get and it is all done.

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I wanted to use internal door catches, but I couldn't find any that had enough strength to hold the door shut while compressing the weather strip enough to get a good seal. I settled on these latches. I could have probably found something better looking, but at this point I really wanted to be done with this project.

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It also holds 6 of the old returnable cases. I have a fan installed in front of the heat exchanger to move air over it. The fan is wired in parallel with the compressor so it is only on when the compressor is on.

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Reno_eNVy 06-24-2012 04:56 PM

Wow, very impressive!! That thing looks straight up professional.

ThePell 06-24-2012 06:24 PM

Very well done. This gives me some ideas!

TommyKy 06-24-2012 06:39 PM

Amazing! Well documented. What are the max and minimum temps this system can reach?

crane 06-24-2012 06:50 PM


Originally Posted by TommyKy
Amazing! Well documented. What are the max and minimum temps this system can reach?

I only have it setup to cool as I don't need to heat at all in San Diego. I can get it down to 32F, haven't tried going any lower than that as I will never need to.

medvitz 06-25-2012 02:25 PM

That is awesome..... I need to make me one

What was the size/model of the original fridge vs the size of the new chamber....

crane 06-26-2012 03:03 PM


Originally Posted by medvitz (Post 4200066)
That is awesome..... I need to make me one

What was the size/model of the original fridge vs the size of the new chamber....

The original unit was a Haier BC-111. It was 32" tall, 21" wide and I believe 20" deep. If you subtract out the wall thickness and inside shelf where the compressor is this puts it at ~4.5CF.

The new box is 41" tall, 21" wide and 32" deep. Again, subtracting the wall thickness and inside shelf this puts at 9.5CF.

Erroneous 06-26-2012 03:08 PM

Love your design and drawer shelf. Any idea for the total cost?

vinper 06-26-2012 07:04 PM

Really Nice Work.

CBelli 06-26-2012 07:25 PM

great work..... was it tricky to rip the fridge apart???

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