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Old 09-14-2011, 11:52 PM   #1
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Default Will my old Absocold dorm fridge work to cool a fermentation chamber?

I have an old Absocold mini dorm fridge that is in the vicinity of 20 years old....damn I'm getting old. It was my fridge in the dorms during my first 2 years of undergraduate school. Anyways, it was used for 2 years and 2 years only and then was stored in my parents basement, until they dropped it off at my house and it went into storage in my basement. I plugged it in for the first in probably 10 years and the compressor kicked on immediately and it was cold within minutes. She's old and not the most efficient thing by today's standards, but still seems to be functioning flawlessly.

Would this be suitable for a fermentation chamber and if so, any ideas about the maximum cubic volume that this thing could handle. I plan on building a very well insulated fermentation chamber box around this thing, leaving the cooling coils uncovered out the back for heat dissipation. Any help would be great! I was thinking a box big enough to hold 2 to 3 carboys, but wasn't sure if it would just burn the compressor out of this thing.

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Old 09-15-2011, 01:15 AM   #2
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Should work fine. The max volume will have a lot to do with how well you insulate. Your at an advantage over newer mini fridges as you have a external condenser. New ones usually have them glued under the outer shell.

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Old 09-15-2011, 03:35 AM   #3
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You could put a heat exchanger (automotive heater core?) and a muffin fan inside the fridge, put your fermenter in a cooler of water, submerge a pond pump in the cooler, and use a Ranco or Johnson to control the pump and fan to circulate the water through the HEx... instead of bulding a whole chamber.

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Old 09-15-2011, 03:35 AM   #4
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Post pics as you go

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Old 09-15-2011, 11:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 944play View Post
You could put a heat exchanger (automotive heater core?) and a muffin fan inside the fridge, put your fermenter in a cooler of water, submerge a pond pump in the cooler, and use a Ranco or Johnson to control the pump and fan to circulate the water through the HEx... instead of bulding a whole chamber.
Sounds a little high tech. for me. I would prefer to build a fermentation chamber box around the fridge, insulate the hell out of it, and use inductor fans in a similar way to how I cool the coffin on my keezer. Everything of course controlled by a Love controller.

Here's what I am thinking:

I have a 25 ft. long wall to work with, so I want to build a continuous brewing station across the wall. From Left to Right, I'm thinking a grain storage box that opens like a chest freezer, then a motorized grain mill build into a cabinet next to that with the hopper/mill/motor on top, a chute where the grist drops down into the lower cabinet, doors to contain the dust, and a pull out shelf that bucket that catches the grist can be placed. After the mill, I'm thinking the 3 vessel electronic brewing station with an exhaust hood above it and a water faucet coming out of the wall above the HLT. I plan on having my plumber put in a dual canister filtration system off of my hard water line in my mechanical room adjacent to the brewing room, and hard piping over to the brewing room. Next in sequence would be an insulated warm Ale Fermentation chamber and next to that would be the cold Lager Fermentation chamber. That would end at the east wall of my wine/beer cold storage room that has already been built. In the open part of the room I want a large stainless steel work station as an island in the room and then on the opposite side of the room I want a commerical stainless sink with multiple bays, a standard faucet, a spraying faucet, and drip pans, as well as a shelving for storing my equipment. Thankfully, there is already a drain in that room that feeds into my sump pump, which pumps into ravine next to my house that serves as the drain detention basin for my sub.

I've got too many ideas swimming around in my head and it's an ambitious project, but I'm going to try to tackle it this winter. Wish me luck!
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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I just acquired this same mini fridge for 10 bucks!! I'm also interested in how I could use this to keep my temps right for ales I really don't have the cash flow for a temp controller at the moment I was thinking maybe I could build a foam box off of it and test the temps for a while at different settings... I would be making it big enough to hold a 6.5 gal ale pail and 2x Mr.Beer LBK's.

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Old 11-08-2011, 07:53 PM   #7
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Sorry to bump an old thread, but I was searching for ferm chamber ideas and found this.

I built my first chamber based off that little dorm fridge. It works great. I just hooked up a eBay temp controller to it, and it works even better now.

I was running mine at the Medium setting and was keeping everything where it needed to be. And my house temp stays around 78 deg.

Here are a few pics of what I did. This was mainly a temporary setup until I built something more formal, but it works great.

I ended up using 1.5 sheets of 3/4" R-Max board. It is doubled everywhere except where it butts the fridge. It is actually a little bigger than it need to be for one carboy because originally I was going to use frozen 2 liter bottles to chill the chamber.

AS setup:



Removed door and added weather stripping:



Inside view. You can see I cut several holes in the end butting the fridge until I dialed in the correct sized opening.



So when I made it, I forgot to allow for the height of the airlock. It actually works out better because I can remove the plastic cup I place over it to check on fermentation w/o messing up the temp in the box.

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