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Old 08-30-2011, 03:10 AM   #1
dprbrts42
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Default My Fermentation Chamber Build

I am just starting out with Homebrewing and needed a space to properly control the temperatures for fermentation. I cannot store any of my equipment in the house so the garage is the only option. My garage reached 100+ temps this week alone...

I studied the builds on the site quite a lot and as usual I started really complicated, casters, a monster sized chamber, etc... Then after calculating the space available and internal measurements, I made it more realistic and came up with the following.

I have two layers of insulation, the first layer is 1/2" foam board which leaves a 1/2" airspace gap and then I have a second layer of 3/4" foam board.

For the door I wanted to install some of the "whiteboard" material for a dry erase surface. This would allow me to track which beers were fermenting with dates and information as needed.

I installed this same whiteboard material, which I found in my local HD, on the inside of the fermentor so that I could seal it and clean up would be easy. It is essentially a dense fiber board with a white paint on one side, nearly an enameled on finish.

At this point I am still needing to setup a temp control. I have fan control using an Arduino and some relays but decided to that I would bite the bullet and get a Love controller. I ordered the TSS2-2100 and a temperature probe. I would still like to get my Arduino working but I was nervous about the relay type and specs for properly controlling the compressor. This is something I can work on later. I want to brew some beer!!

Apparently Picasa doesn't share so nice... I'll get some pics uploaded properly in a bit.

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Old 08-30-2011, 04:48 AM   #2
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Great job. I too went a little complicated but not with the structure. I built my temp controller from scratch. I used 3 thermistors and a FEZ Panda with an ARM processor.

Someone recommended using a temperature sensor instead of thermistors for a smaller circuit. http://www.sparkfun.com/products/245

Just make sure you use an MOV (metal oxide varistor) across the output of your relay to prevent the inductive load of the compressor from arcing. The arcs pit the relay contacts and wear them out faster.

You'll also want to insulate your temp sensor from the air temp... I put my sensor against the carboy and duct tape a piece of folded paper towel to it. You want the beer to be at your setpoint and this will give your compressor a break. The internal air temp will fluctuate by 10 degrees or so but it takes a while for 5 gallons to change temp.

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Old 08-30-2011, 01:59 PM   #3
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sizingtheframe.jpg

placingthefridge.jpg

framereadyforinsulation.jpg

beforeinsulation.jpg

firstlayerwithgap.jpg
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:01 PM   #4
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totalinsulation.jpg
All of the insulation attached and ready for the whiteboard.

insulating-door.jpg


completedbuild.jpg
Here you can see the final enclosed chamber. On the left side will be the control panel and on the right I will create a cabinet for storing my brewing gear.

firstbeer.jpg
I guess technically my daughter made the first beer...
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #5
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dualfan.jpg
I setup dual fans to pull the coolest air from the fridge and create some airflow in the chamber.

insidebeforewhitewalls.jpg
Here is a shot showing the size, I should be able to comfortably fit 3 bottles in here
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:54 PM   #6
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Update on build....

I've installed the Love Temperature controller, I purchased the TSS2 and have wired it into a old External CD-ROM case. (I knew I saved those things for a good reason).
rearview.jpg
aftercleanup.jpg

Thanks to several threads on this site, wiring and programming the controller was a snap. There are some extra wires in there which control the fans inside the chamber. I will be adding an Arduino for data collection and eventual http posting of images inside the chamber.
2011-09-11_17-16-44_565.jpg

I will eventually install a heating element so that I can heat the chamber when temps do drop during the winter. I should have several months of warmer temps left this year though.

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Old 09-11-2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Here is the front of the device, next to the controller will be LEDs for fan status and other indicators as needed.
front.jpg

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Old 09-11-2011, 10:36 PM   #8
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That's a nice build. Clean and makes good use of space.

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Old 09-12-2011, 12:05 AM   #9
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Default So stealing it!

Dude! great simple idea! thats the kind of nice DIY git er done we need to do to get things done here in El Salvador!

thanks for the inspiration!

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Old 09-12-2011, 12:21 AM   #10
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Thank you guys.

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