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Old 10-24-2012, 08:07 PM   #201
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As mentioned above, I've turned my attention to my fermentation setup in the new garage. I've contemplated a lot of options from a purpose built chamber, to multiple chest freezers, to an awesome two door commercial fridge I almost bought (it was a killer deal). Ultimately I settled on a large side by side fridge/freezer which I will convert into a dual zone fermentation chamber. The laggering side (freezer) will do double duty and be able to serve from a keg or two, making sure I can keep something on tap in the garage. Most of the beers will still be on tap in the house from a coffin keezer I plan to build in there. Once both of those projects are done, I'll pass on my 2 tap mini-fridge kegerator (currently serving the house) to a friend who is just getting into kegging.

I did fairly well on craigslist, and picked up this nice GE stainless steel 25cf side by side for $200. It's a little more than I had planned to spend, but it is way nicer than I had planned on getting too.

Poor fridge, you have no idea what is about to happen to you.


Inside with most shelves removed, temperature testing (it works great)


Fridge guts


Based on my initial tests with empty bottles, I am confident I can fit 4x 6 gallon better bottles in the fridge side. I believe I could also fit one 14 gallon conical and two better bottles in that side in the future. The freezer will take two better bottles or at least 2 corny kegs. I won't know for sure until I get more of the door disassembled, but I *think* I can fit three.

Wiring for temp controllers and a dispensing setup in the freezer door start tomorrow. It'll wind up similar to this one, though I'm going to keep my temp controllers in separate boxes for now, as I intend to control the chamber with a BCS-462 in the futre, so I don't want the holes.

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Old 10-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #202
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A minor setback on the fridge situation here. It turns out that not all fridges with 'analog' temperature control dials are controllable in the method described in the previously linked thread. My fridge is newer and despite having analog looking control dials, it is actually fully digitally controlled by a computer circuit board.

Long story short, I can't simply connect an external temp controller like the HTC-1000 or a LOVE controller in the way I had planned. I've done some more research and I've figured out a way to make it all work with a modern digitally controlled fridge, but it's more work and will require more modification of the fridge. Its a work in progress, so I'll post back as I get more results.

What I have done:

* Using two HTC-1000 temp controllers, one single stage (for the freezer), one dual stage (for the fridge).

* The freezer controller is used to control the power to the entire cabinet (the original wall plug), just like we have all done with our freezers, etc. There was some concern about doing this with a modern fridge, what with it's automatic defrost, evaporator control, compressor timing, etc. As far as I can tell, as long as the compressor delay time is set higher than about 5 minutes on your temp controller (F3 on an HTC-1000), it is a non issue. There are some threads supporting this idea, but we'll see how it goes.

* The fridge side temp controller is connected to a small space heater for heat, and for cooling a 4" 120v computer chassis fan that I have mounted over the hole connecting the two compartments, previously occupied by the damper flap/motor. On top of the fan I've placed a piece of cardboard (though I plan to replace this with some thin rubber for a better seal), which provides thermal separation between the two compartments when the fan is not running. When it is running, the flap blows open (slightly) to allow airflow. I would have loved to have simply hacked/repurposed the old damper control, but I discovered that it is actually a stepper motor, which requires a computerized control module to run (it's not as simple as applying/cutting power to get it to open/close).

I do have some experience with adruino projects and some basic stepper motor control, so I know what is possible and I know I COULD make it work. I may build a more advanced Arduino based control for all aspects of the fridge in the future, but for now I've removed the damper and gone with the fan & flap approach.

The experience so far:

I've tried a couple of combinations of set points on my two HTC-1000 controllers and found that this solution works pretty well. For testing, I've brought the freezer side down to 1ºC, and then set the fridge side to various temps between 7ºC and 15ºC. The control methods seem to work pretty well, and eventually both sides settle in at their desired set points. I have not yet set the fridge side to a higher ale temperature requiring the heater to be more involved, and I'll be really curious to see how that effects the freezer side.

One thing I have observed, not necessarily a problem, since the fan I've installed in place of the damper moves a lot more air than the previous method which relied on convection to cycle the air, the fridge side tends to steal a lot of the cold air from the freezer when initially lowering the temps (say setting the fridge side from 10ºf to 1ºF to cold crash). The fridge temp lowers and the freezer temp raises (slightly, a few degrees) until the compressor has a chance to catch up. Eventually, both sides settle in again at their desired set points.

So far so good! It is going to be a process of continuous improvement though I feel. I'll post a follow up as the strategy evolves. I have observed that the built in fridge functions (automatic coil defrost, etc) seem to work just fine with this method. When dropping them temps from high to low and working the compressor hard, I've observed the heating element kick on after a while and take care of the ice build up, before resuming cooling.

If I had to do it over again, I'd definitely have bought an older fridge with true analog control as suggested in the thread I linked to above. I thought this was what I was buying, until I got it home and took a closer look at the wiring. These older style control panels have 120v wired through the nobs, so you can simply wire in your temperature controllers in place of these nobs.

I'll add some pictures of the solution I have in place, after I confirm it works well with the heat brought into the equation.

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Old 10-31-2012, 09:08 PM   #203
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I put together a rough timelapse from the webcam I had aimed at the garage build this spring/summer. The camera isn't the greatest and it got bumped a few times (as well as stuff put in front of it), but it is still kind of neat to see the progression.

This covers the build from the forming of the slab to the final exterior paint, from April - August. When this video ends, there was still a ton of work to be done inside, but it didn't make for very interesting viewing from outdoors.

I make a few brief appearances in this, but you see a lot more of my contractor. I guess we know who really gets the credit for this build.

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Old 10-31-2012, 09:26 PM   #204
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Nice job. That's pretty cool. Did you have a ton of JPG's that got stitched together to make the video or did the camera capture the time lapse with a built in function? I did this for the building of our pool several years ago, but all the video editing programs I tried choked when I tried to sequence about 100,000 still images. I'd still like to do it if you can suggest a good program.

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Old 10-31-2012, 09:37 PM   #205
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I used Time Lapse Assembler on the mac to stitch together jpegs that my camera uploaded to my nas device. This one was only about 3000 images, but I've used this program before with 30,000+ and it did fine.

It seems like it only loads the current image into memory and when writing to h.264 output files it doesn't keep the output file in memory either, so it's pretty lightweight.

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:54 PM   #206
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There are a few updates to share with those of you following along on my progress. It has been a month of ups and downs on the project, but for the most part I am absolutely loving my garage now that I am somewhat moved in.

I've been puting together some of the non brewing areas of the building a little more. There are many enjoyable evenings of work remaining, but the building of the garage spaces and the working in those spaces have begun to blend together.

Pegboard and cabinet sitting where the workbench will go


I didn't want to buy a new TV so I've repurposed a 24" computer monitor for the time being, connected to an AppleTV. So far I've found I use it most for internet radio streams, but it'll be nice to be able to put on some TV shows. Not so good for watching live sports though


Meanwhile work has begun on the conversion of the freezer side of my fridge to add serving capabilities. It's messy work, but fun. The whole fridge project reminds me of being that kid that takes apart his dad's stereo and then tries to put it back together.



For the tap board I'm using a piece of poplar board. It's 1", so it's actually 3/4" thick. I cut it down to size to fit the hole vacated by the door front assembly, and then decided I wanted to notch out the edges so it sits into the hole a little, and has a thinner appearance on the door front.


I resisted the temptation to go out and buy a router & table for this job (though I want one and will buy in the future at some point), and instead decided to bust out my chisels - one of my favorite tools.


Its a nice fit, and will be even better after some sanding. When stripping out the in-door assembly, I left the 12v DC leads exposed so I can use them for lighting. I'm still not sure how I'll utilize it exactly, but I plan to place a narrow piece of trim on the top of the bar with some soft LED lights under them, subtly illuminating the taps and your glass when filling.


From the back of the door


I expect to have the board drilled and painted, and the door assembly (minus the shanks) in the next couple of days. I'm hosting a party for a friend in the garage next week, and have promised them beer on tap (without having to treck into the kegerator in the house).. it's good to have motivation.

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Old 11-01-2012, 10:05 PM   #207
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Great Job Fall-line,
and please keep the updates coming! I can appreciate your angst with the side-by-side, thinking it's going to be a straight forward conversion, and then finding out you need to deal with digital over analog. Ouch!!

By the way, very early in this post, you mentioned

"Stainless steel backing. I had planned to use cheap whiteboard material, but heat was definitely going to be an issue. Stainless sheets were $250 (as opposed to $100 for the white board), and protect the wall from heat, as well as looking infinitely cooler"

Did those sheets cost you $250 each (for a 4'x8'?), or was that $250 total for the entire SS backsplash?? I'm trying to design that part of my brewery now, and am wondering what my options are.

Thanks, and good luck with the party!

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Old 11-01-2012, 10:43 PM   #208
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Thanks, nhwrecker. The stainless cost me ~$250 for all of it. I believe I ended up getting one 6'x4' piece and one 6'x2' piece.

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Old 11-02-2012, 01:13 AM   #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fall-line View Post
Well I have some good news and bad news to share. The painting went great. We went for a 'beer colored' theme (two tone brown). I hate picking out paint colors so I steeped back and let my wife choose. What she came up with is darker and bolder than I would have, but that's exactly why I let her do it. I like the final result. We went with a semi-gloss finish to make for easier cleanup.




The floor project on the other hand was a big helping of DIY fail. In fact, it's hard for me to share this.. but you take the bad with the good I guess. The slab as it was poured was too rough to 'dry grind' so we had to start with a wet grind. This created a ton of slurry which was extremely difficult to get off of the freshly ground and porous surface. We scraped and squeegeed as much as was possible, before moving onto the dry honing and polishing steps, assuming these would pull the remaining dry slurry off the surface.. well it didn't. Even after restarting the whole process 1/2 way through the day and doing it dry (now that the slab was smoother), I still wasn't able to get the ground in slurry removed. The rental was only for 24 hours and the unit was reserved the following day, so I had no choice but to declare defeat and finish the job as best I could. There were other problems with the machine and the pads that I rented that I won't go into. They issued me partial credit, but the damage was done.

The slab is sealed and water tight.. for now. It's ugly, and I don't expect the seal to hold up well as the sections of ground in slurry start to break down over time. I'm going to sit on it for a week or so and see how it goes, but I'm looking at bringing in a contractor to fix it for me. I think I know enough now to do it right the next time, but after the day I had on Sunday, I don't want to ever do that again.

A few years back I rented a diamond grinder to do my 90 year old basement floor. I then used a 100% solids epoxy on it. The diamond grinding was just a horrid experience. Absolutely brutal. The older the cement, the harder it is and with a 90 year old floor I put in an 18 hour day on it. When I returned the grinder, I didn't say a word, but the guy behind the counter nodded to me and said, "every floor is it's own special brand of hell."

I'm not 100% happy with the epoxy I got from epoxy-coat.com. It holds up fairly well, but it has scratched in a few spots from metal mops. We got white and even though it's in the basement with just one small window, it has yellowed. This really bothers me because we paid extra for an additive that was supposed to prevent this.

If I had it to do again I would have definitely stained it.

Great build, sir.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:32 AM   #210
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Loved the tine lapse!

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