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Old 07-18-2010, 03:53 AM   #1
thekingofspain
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Default Personal Mini Fridge as engine for Fermentation chamber

My basement is pretty steady in temps 67 t0 72 year round. However this summer is very hot and now its 75 or 76.

I temporally made my soon to be keezer into a fermentation chamber. But this can not last forever. So I started looking into fermentation chambers.

Did some searching and did not find any hits, so here is goes.

Personal mini fridge.

This is designed to a cool 6 pack of soda.

I actually have a new one of these laying around which I got from some office box store for free as a bonus gift many years ago. Funny this is they canceled my order (using too good of coupon on over priced item than had huge rebate that made the item negative in cost) and but they still sent me the person mini fridge.

As I opened the box for the first time, there were two very pleasant surprises:

#1 It runs off of AC! I though it was DC only because of the car. It comes with two adapters, one for AC and and one for the car. Power is solved.

#2 The personal mini fridge is as a personal mini heater!

I have not taken it apart yet to see the parts, but I think an 4 to 6 fermentor insulated box in a relatively stable temperature zone would run fine. My keezer, <cough>, temp fermentation chamber is using the digital two stage aquarium controller ($30 shipped). Big thanks to Android on this find.

There is a 3 way switch that is Heat, Off, and Cool. Removing this and then wiring in the two stage aquarium control is really all that is needed. Throw in some duct tape, cut a hole the size of a 6 pack, and maybe a fan if needed. There is an exhaust fan on the back on the mini fridge. Who knows, surprise #3 might be a fan in the fridge as well.

Any thoughts on this?

I have to finish the keezer first after this batch is done fermenting. I will not be to this tomorrow, but it will probably keep up tonight thinking about it.

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Old 07-18-2010, 04:02 AM   #2
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Crap, thinking about it probably runs on DC since the AC adapter has two piece brick attached to it. Might need some help taking the AC hot lines from the aquarium controller to control the assumed DC three way mini fridge switch.

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Old 07-18-2010, 05:18 AM   #3
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The peltier coolers on the inside usually run on about 12vdc. Check out ebay. there are listings for two packs of 91watt coolers. Good luck. The best bet I could think is to use some form of immersion to cool the fermenters and use the coolers to chill the bath.
http://cgi.ebay.com/2pcs-91-2W-12V-6A-TEC-Thermoelectric-Cooler-Peltier-/320561907688?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&ha sh=item4aa2fa87e8

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Old 07-18-2010, 06:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian_villager View Post
The peltier coolers on the inside usually run on about 12vdc. Check out ebay. there are listings for two packs of 91watt coolers. Good luck. The best bet I could think is to use some form of immersion to cool the fermenters and use the coolers to chill the bath.
http://cgi.ebay.com/2pcs-91-2W-12V-6A-TEC-Thermoelectric-Cooler-Peltier-/320561907688?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&ha sh=item4aa2fa87e8
Thanks for the info, after a search on peltier coolers on the forum, peltier coolers not look too promising as supper effective method. But with in a small temperature range it should allow for a dial in temp for ales with out too much electricity.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:07 AM   #5
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This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I think this set-up has some good thoughts on making your lagering set-up large enough.

http://knoxhomebrewer.com/images/stories/chiller%20plans.pdf

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Old 07-19-2010, 05:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmeice86 View Post
This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I think this set-up has some good thoughts on making your lagering set-up large enough.

http://knoxhomebrewer.com/images/stories/chiller%20plans.pdf
Its pretty close, the one project with the mini fridge is more like I am look at. The one built under a cabinet with the fridge door open.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekingofspain View Post
Crap, thinking about it probably runs on DC since the AC adapter has two piece brick attached to it. Might need some help taking the AC hot lines from the aquarium controller to control the assumed DC three way mini fridge switch.
Think I need something like this for the AC to DC conversion to power the switch. Will have dig up a multimeter and figure what the amperage is on the switch.
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:15 PM   #8
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That is going to be MASSIVELY inefficient. You are going to have a huge power draw for a little cooling.

You will be much better off using a little dorm fridge to cool the chamber. I use a 4cf model, but a tiny 1.7cf model should work.

Mine is pretty big, I can fit two 6 gallon Better Bottles and one 5 gallon at the same time. I used 2" thick pink foam board to make the box and just taped the fridge, with door removed, to the end of the foam box.

Right now, it is crash cooling 10 gallons of Amber Ale.

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Old 07-20-2010, 05:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Kirks View Post
That is going to be MASSIVELY inefficient. You are going to have a huge power draw for a little cooling.
I know it not efficient, but mine is for more for minor temperature stability. If the chamber is jammed with mass, the temperatures should be fairly stable. I will not be crashing in this or lagering.

Lets call it using a personal mini fridge as Ale only primary fermentation chamber with a range of max temperature drop of 10F.

While on the subject anyone double up the insulation to 4"?
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