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Old 05-19-2009, 08:47 PM   #31
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JCarson,

Your design is great! This will be perfect for keeping my brew cool during the 90+ summer days in Southern California.
I built my system much like yours and I've noticed a couple issues during the trial run. First of all, the pump is putting new cold water in the water cooler faster than the old stuff can run out the drain tube. If I left it running for a long time (4-5 hours) while I was trying to really drop the temperature, it would definitely overflow.

My pump is rated at 400gph, what kind are you using? (maybe I need to downsize?)

Also, I turned the spigot to the inside of the water cooler like you mentioned and pushed the button in hard until it stayed stuck in the open flow position. I'm afraid that there is a chance that it might pop out and stop the flow of water (causing a flood). How do you ensure that yours stays open?
I was thinking of upgrading this piece to a metal pass through shank used for draft cooler boxes, but I don't want to spend the cash if I don't have to.

Your thoughts (and other peoples' thoughts) would be appreciated!

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Old 05-19-2009, 08:50 PM   #32
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Hang Glider,

Nice work on that system! That is high level work.
Where did you get the metal valves that you are using on your coolers??

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Old 05-19-2009, 11:31 PM   #33
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JCarson,

Your design is great! This will be perfect for keeping my brew cool during the 90+ summer days in Southern California.
I built my system much like yours and I've noticed a couple issues during the trial run. First of all, the pump is putting new cold water in the water cooler faster than the old stuff can run out the drain tube. If I left it running for a long time (4-5 hours) while I was trying to really drop the temperature, it would definitely overflow.

My pump is rated at 400gph, what kind are you using? (maybe I need to downsize?)

Also, I turned the spigot to the inside of the water cooler like you mentioned and pushed the button in hard until it stayed stuck in the open flow position. I'm afraid that there is a chance that it might pop out and stop the flow of water (causing a flood). How do you ensure that yours stays open?
I was thinking of upgrading this piece to a metal pass through shank used for draft cooler boxes, but I don't want to spend the cash if I don't have to.

Your thoughts (and other peoples' thoughts) would be appreciated!
I had the same initial problems as you. First off though the pump I use is a 50-80gph that I found at Lowes. So you may need to downgrade if it doesn't have a control.

Second, and this may help both issues, I've upgraded since I updated this thread last. For the overflow I now have a piece of 1/2" (I think) copper pipe and a 90 elbow that hooks onto the same shutoff valve that I use to mash. It's a lot cleaner looking and doesn't restrict the flow of water at all now. Before I did this I would get an inch or two of water above the overflow before it really got flowing good. I never really worried about it too much since it doesn't run for very long after you get down to the target temp.

As for the spigot I think we have different types and this may be restricting your flow too. Mine was a rubber type that I cut off the shut off valve and caulked the button in place. I would be worried about it popping out too so you might want to put a few dabs of epoxy on it to make sure it doesn't.

Glad to hear more people are getting some use out of this and hope to see more improvements coming.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:37 AM   #34
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Nicely done. I have a couple questions regarding the coolers you guys used.
1) Jcarson, What is the inner diameter of the 10 gallon cooler? I'm wondering how universal it is when fitting carboys.
2) Hangglider, What size/make/model cooler is that? I like the double carboy concept and I imagine the larger water mass might help the temp be more stable.

TIA

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Old 05-20-2009, 12:22 PM   #35
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JonGoku,
the Cooler didn't fit two carboys - THAT was the hard part - it's a standard Rubbermaid type 48qt with the liner and half the foam ripped /carved out of it to fit the two. I poured Epoxy on the bottom (since there was no liner) to get a flat surface for the carboys. The walls were coated about 7 times with Plasti-Dip to get them waterproof. Air pockets in the plasti-dip (they'll happen!) were cut out and re-coated.

PITA to build the main cooler, but it works great!


edit - cooler type: Rubbermaid 5-day 50qt wheeled.

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Old 05-20-2009, 04:50 PM   #36
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Default valve sizes

JCarson,

How are you connecting the copper elbow? Is it with a standard cooler conversion bulkhead piece like this:

KEWLER KITZ Bulkhead Fitting :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

If you could add a picture, I would be very appreciative. I want to get this thing right!!

THANKS!!!

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Old 05-20-2009, 08:05 PM   #37
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JCarson,

How are you connecting the copper elbow? Is it with a standard cooler conversion bulkhead piece like this:

KEWLER KITZ Bulkhead Fitting :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

If you could add a picture, I would be very appreciative. I want to get this thing right!!

THANKS!!!
I just went to Lowe's and starting playing around with different parts in the plumbing section. Here is what I ended up with

3/4" Ball Valve
3/4" Copper Male Adapter
3/4" Elbow
and maybe 12" of copper pipe.

It could be 1/2" too I can't remember off the top of my head. I'll see if I can takes some pics and post them. It really does work better.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:02 AM   #38
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Default Chiller is done and first brew is fermenting

So I took the advice and decided to use a 1/2 copper tube as the drain instead of vinyl tubing (It is definitely fail safe, so I can sleep at night).

I replaced the spigot with the Kewler Kitz Bulkhead Fitting from Midwest Supplies. I installed it backwards to allow the carboy to fit in the water cooler. To connect the copper pipe to the bulkhead, I picked up a Gator Bite elbow fitting at Lowes that had one end with female thread and the other end with a "push in" fitting for copper pipe. I have no idea how to sweat copper pipe, so this was the easier and safer alternative. I had to cut off a mounting plate that was attached to the elbow, because the carboy wouldn't fit. I used a dremel tool with a cutting wheel.

I also downgraded the pond pump from 400 gph to one that I picked up at Home Depot rated at 130gph. It works like a charm

I brewed up my first batch of Hefeweizen a couple nights ago and the chiller system is working great!

Thanks again for the advice. I'll post some pictures soon.

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Old 06-03-2009, 12:07 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by RecruitNBrew View Post
So I took the advice and decided to use a 1/2 copper tube as the drain instead of vinyl tubing (It is definitely fail safe, so I can sleep at night).

I replaced the spigot with the Kewler Kitz Bulkhead Fitting from Midwest Supplies. I installed it backwards to allow the carboy to fit in the water cooler. To connect the copper pipe to the bulkhead, I picked up a Gator Bite elbow fitting at Lowes that had one end with female thread and the other end with a "push in" fitting for copper pipe. I have no idea how to sweat copper pipe, so this was the easier and safer alternative. I had to cut off a mounting plate that was attached to the elbow, because the carboy wouldn't fit. I used a dremel tool with a cutting wheel.

I also downgraded the pond pump from 400 gph to one that I picked up at Home Depot rated at 130gph. It works like a charm

I brewed up my first batch of Hefeweizen a couple nights ago and the chiller system is working great!

Thanks again for the advice. I'll post some pictures soon.
If there are no pics it didn't happen

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Old 06-04-2009, 05:33 PM   #40
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Default Pics of my Fermentation Chiller

Here are some pics of my incarnation of the chiller system:

brew1 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
brew3 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
brew2 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
brew4 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I started with the thermowell (thermistor??) directly in the carboy, but I ran into an issue. When the system kicked on, it would pump so much freezing cold water into the chiller that it would push my fermentation temp 4-5 degrees lower than my target. Now that it is in the chiller water, I just set the temp controller about two degrees lower than my target fermentation temp and it works great. Hopefully the brew will taste good too.

As time goes on, I plan on sealing the system for better temperature insulation. I'm looking forward to trying a lager on this thing!

Thanks again to JCarson for the concept.

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