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Old 03-26-2013, 02:49 AM   #1
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Default My kitchen tap setup (basement kegerator)

I did a bunch of searching/research here before I did this, so I figured I'd post in case someone finds what I've done useful.

Here are the parts:
-Simple chrome dual-tower w/ heat exchanger etc
-Perlick 545PC faucets
-2 line beer trunk line
-Used 5000BTU AC unit (kijiji, $40)
-Coleman "party stacker" cooler
-RV antifreeze
-Digital aquarium thermometer
-Marineland Maxi jet 1100 powerhead/pump


I got hooked up at a local commercial "beverage distribution" company with everything but the chiller (ie - AC, pump, cooler). The tower has some sort of heat exchanger that the copper glycol lines run through to cool the shanks/etc.

Step 1 was to find an AC unit on kijiji. I found one for $40 with dials - exactly what I wanted. This turned out to be one of the easiest parts of the whole project.

The AC unit actually had a sticker with the wiring diagram. It was simply a matter of connecting "red, white, blue wires" and boom, "low cool" mode. I used an STC-100 from eBay as a temperature controller.

The only AC unit modifications required were:
-Remove the exterior.
-Remove the squirrel cage
-Cut approx 1/3 of the plastic bottom away

I chose the cooler I did because it has quite thin sidewalls. I cut a notch out of it, then dropped the AC unit on top. This required absolutely no bending. I then used the foam/etc that I cut out and a ton of aquarium sealant/adhesive to seal it all up. Not pretty, but it should work. The glycol level isn't this high anyway.

Connecting the STC-100 was easy - it's a simple unit.

I set it to 1C and switched it on. After the 1min compressor delay setting, it kicked on. Around 1min later it started getting cold. I then watched the temp drop approx 1degree every 15 seconds - my jaw dropped!

It hit 1C on the display after a few min. The temp continued to drop (the glycol wasn't circulating, no pump yet) and hit approx -1.8C. I didn't hear it kick on again for another 4hrs.

I think 5000BTU is enough

The pump I bought is rated for 6' head. It barely made it - I had to suck on the return line a bit (and spit out some nasty tasting glcol in the mean time - I recommend drinking some strong beer while doing this to wash the flavor out of your mouth . One running it was all good. We'll see how long it lasts.

I also bought a $12 aquarium thermometer, and jammed the sensor in between the 2 beer lines and 2 glycol lines at the tap. This way I can verify line temp etc.

Anyway, here are some pics. Sadly, I've gotta wait a week for my homebrew batch to finish =(

If you have any questions, ask away!

Summary:
-Get a 5000BTU AC unit. Any more BTU is overkill. I might even remove the stock fan and replace it with silent PC fans.
-Get an AC unit with knobs. Not sure how a digital unit would compare, but this seriously couldn't have been easier to setup.
-The STC-100 does a great job for this. No need to spend more than $15.
-Get a wife like mine, who'll let you put a beer tap in your kitchen


PICS:
My new kegerator. Found it on kijiji as well, $70, no freezer. This is pre-chiler setup.



My taps:



The trunk line. I had to tape it up to compress it to fit it through the 2.5" hole I cut in the floor & cabinet. Not fun pushing it through, but was too cheap to buy a bigger hole saw.




The aquarium thermometer. NOTE: This is while it was cooling down, approx 10min after I turned it all on.




My AC chiller unit




The STC-100 temperature controller. I should probably put all the connections into a box, but for now they're just marette connections.



Inside the cooler. Didn't get a pic while I was doing it, but this shows how deep the heat exchanger is:



Here's the notch in the cooler:



EDIT: I'll post an update once I get the beer flowing

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Old 03-26-2013, 03:04 AM   #2
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nice job, I think you will quickly want more than two taps though

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Old 03-26-2013, 03:22 AM   #3
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One step at a time

Actually, my next step is to somehow rig up a "removeable" drip tray with rinser. I don't want to cut any more holes in the counter, so we'll see...

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Old 04-02-2013, 03:40 AM   #4
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A quick update. Just filtered/kegged my first homebrew batch in almost a year. The beer is OK, the tap is great!

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Old 04-02-2013, 03:47 AM   #5
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I love the idea and how you integrated it into the counter top. Great work. It has me wondering how I could do something similar to run down to the basement! /scratches head

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Old 04-02-2013, 01:19 PM   #6
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A buddy of mine has been tossing this same idea around with his wife. Will definitely need to show him this.

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:35 PM   #7
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About ready to do this, myself.

4 faucets on the kitchen wall should do it...

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:44 PM   #8
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great stuff. I coin this 'grassroots' remote faucets.

How far away from your kegerator are your taps?

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Old 04-02-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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Thanks guys.

I believe my trunk line is around 25ft long total. It's 3/8"x1/2" micromatic line.

I was/am a bit worried about line pressure etc. My batch hasn't fully carbed yet, and I havent' played with pressure (sitting at around 12PSI right now). So far it's good with the flow control set wide open. I guess I'll have to wait and see how it turns out in the long run!

One more detail: The aquarium thermometer indicates a 1C increase in temp from the chiller temp. Not too bad

I have the chiller set to 2C, which results in a ~3C tap temp. The exterior of the tower is around 14C (20C ambient), measured using an el cheapo IR thermometer from China. The tower was insulated as well.

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