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Old 07-07-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
mcmillb1
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Default STC 1000 - Freezer Help

I'm finally looking to convert my chest freezer into a fermentation chamber, but, have hit analysis paralysis with all the info available.

Although I'm not very "handy," it looks like the STC 1000 is relatively easy build to do, but, I'm confused on a few items and was looking for some help.

SO: If I build the STC 1000, it will maintain the temperature for both hot and cold settings, correct? Obviously not at the same time, but, if my target temp is 35 degrees, it will alternate between hot and cold to keep it at 35, correct?

What kind of heaters can I use? I've seen everything from a terrarium heat pad, to lightbulbs, to ferm wrap - what's the best option? Again, though, these only kick on when the temp goes too low, though, right?

What sort of temperatures can my freezer get up to? Is it pretty much skies the limit? Does it depend on my heater, or, will pretty much anything get it warmed up?

At this point, I'm looking at ale temperature fermentations in the 60s - this should be easy for the freezer with this build, I assume? My goal is ultimately to lager a true Oktoberfest, though.

What about the STC unit itself - I plug that into the wall, then the freezer into the "cold" side and the heater of choice into the "hot" side and that's it? (i.e., there's no dismantling of the actual freezer in this build).

I feel like I'm over thinking this, but, want to understand it completely before starting. Thanks for any help!!

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Old 07-07-2014, 11:25 AM   #2
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Correct. Based on how you program it, it will turn the heater on when needed or freezer on. No need to disassemble the freezer, just plug them both into the stc 1000 and let her rip.

For me, I use a heating pad on medium setting for a heat source. You can use pretty much anything that generates heat for a heat source. I prefer to use stuff lying around or anything I can build cheaply before I go buy anything. I'm sure the bucket wraps are awesome but I promise you my heating pad does just as well and best of all, it cost me nothing.

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Old 07-07-2014, 01:09 PM   #3
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Based on how you program it...
So, I had the process down at least, awesome! Can you elaborate more on the "programming" portion, though? Are you talking wiring?
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:13 PM   #4
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You have to "Set" the temps that you want the STC-1000 to turn the cold on at and the heat to come on at.
You do this by holding tthe set button for 3 seconds and setting the high temp and the low temp in each the heat and cool portion og the STC-1000. You will recieve instructions on how to set these temps when you recieve your STC-1000.

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Old 07-07-2014, 03:55 PM   #5
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AH! Ok. I work in IT, so, when I hear "programming" I immediately think of software...

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Old 07-07-2014, 04:02 PM   #6
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Unless you are keeping the freezer where it might freeze (outside in a garage), you shouldn't need to worry about heat. I am in the second stage of my lager and have the SCT set to kick on the fridge at 12° C and kick off when temperature falls to 9°. Sitting in my 62° F basement, I'll never have to worry about needing heat. One thing I didn't like was it was kicking on/off too much for my liking, so I took a bunch of old milk jugs and filled them with water and put them in the fridge and freezer. They help hold the cold in longer.

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Old 07-07-2014, 05:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcmillb1 View Post
I'm finally looking to convert my chest freezer into a fermentation chamber, but, have hit analysis paralysis with all the info available.

Although I'm not very "handy," it looks like the STC 1000 is relatively easy build to do, but, I'm confused on a few items and was looking for some help.

SO: If I build the STC 1000, it will maintain the temperature for both hot and cold settings, correct? Obviously not at the same time, but, if my target temp is 35 degrees, it will alternate between hot and cold to keep it at 35, correct?

What kind of heaters can I use? I've seen everything from a terrarium heat pad, to lightbulbs, to ferm wrap - what's the best option? Again, though, these only kick on when the temp goes too low, though, right?

What sort of temperatures can my freezer get up to? Is it pretty much skies the limit? Does it depend on my heater, or, will pretty much anything get it warmed up?

At this point, I'm looking at ale temperature fermentations in the 60s - this should be easy for the freezer with this build, I assume? My goal is ultimately to lager a true Oktoberfest, though.

What about the STC unit itself - I plug that into the wall, then the freezer into the "cold" side and the heater of choice into the "hot" side and that's it? (i.e., there's no dismantling of the actual freezer in this build).

I feel like I'm over thinking this, but, want to understand it completely before starting. Thanks for any help!!
You have to choose really between a radiant heater or an applied heater. Something like a fermwrap or a heating pad would be applied heater that you have attached to your fermenter to transfer heat. Radiated are small space heaters or light bulbs that warm the air in the entire chamber.

Personally im a fan of these little guys(Lasko Personal Heaters)
http://www.amazon.com/Lasko-101-Pers...s=Lasko+MyHeat

For several reasons, first its 200W and puts out enough heat. Second its enclosed so there is no risk of accidentally burning yourself like there is with a light bulb. Third it has a built in fan, if you use any radiated heat source you have to have a fan to circulate the warm air around otherwise your going to have pockets of hot and cold. And finally(and most importantly for me) it has a thermal shutoff, if something goes haywire with your STC1000 and it gets stuck on during a heat cycle the heater auto shuts off when it detects its too hot, i think like 100-110F or something like that. I can safely go to sleep or leave for a week and know that my house isnt going to catch on fire, much like the applied heat methods. How people trust leaving a light bulb that gets molten hot in a split second in their fermenters when they are away blows me away.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:00 PM   #8
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I used a Lasco heater, and it makes plenty of heat for a 5 cu ft. freezer. I prefer using an old heating pad due to the shape of my freezer. I will suggest at least for the first day, program the temperatures 5 * F, more or less. What I mean is, if you want your fermenter at 60* F set the controller at 65* F. Due to the mass in the fermenter, if you don't want the heat/cool cycling on/off for a day or so, as the wort takes a long time to temperature equalize.
I can only comment on my experience, and setting the temperature 5* F short of where I actually wanted it, saved time.

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Old 07-07-2014, 06:22 PM   #9
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Just making sure you're aware - but the STC-1000 doesn't come with outlets. In order to plug in your freezer and a heat source, you'll need to wire the STC-1000 to an outlet, one for heat and one for cool. Most people put the outlet and the unit itself into a little project box. So, you'll need the STC-1000, a duplex outlet, a power cord, some wire, and a project box to make it all work.

Wiring it isn't hard, but I wanted to make sure you understood it wasn't exactly plug and play as shipped.

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Old 07-07-2014, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuriousE View Post
Just making sure you're aware - but the STC-1000 doesn't come with outlets.
Yep! I've watched a few builds on YouTube - I've never tried to wire anything more complicated than a home outlet, so, I think I'm comfortable trying it out. I hope!



Quote:
Originally Posted by number40fan View Post
Unless you are keeping the freezer where it might freeze (outside in a garage), you shouldn't need to worry about heat.
That was something I was curious about as well.

I live in Ohio, so, my basement is in the 60s now. With the exothermic reaction inherent in brewing, my wort is going to be plenty high for brewing - I'd only use the STC, it seems, for cooling to get it to the mid-60s as needed for the ale yeast.

I am assuming, then, that I shouldn't need heat unless I was looking to do something requiring a higher temperature at this point (like a saison or similar).

My thought was that, since I'm building it anyway, the effort to wire that additional heating setup doesn't seem that great to just do it as needed...
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