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Old 10-15-2011, 06:45 PM   #1
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I am looking to make a home made soda machine. I think I understand the parts I need but have a design question and wanted to check with people that know what they are talking about (I am new to this).

QUESTION:

Can I put the carbonator inside the fridge (which would be kept under 40)? And would that keep it cold enough to make proper soda water? Would I also need a cold plate inside the fridge or would the fridge keep it all cold enough?

Thanks alot,
Tom

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Old 10-15-2011, 08:26 PM   #2
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Doubt it as the only water that would be cold is the gal tank. Refer to my thread on carb machines

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Old 10-18-2011, 10:54 PM   #3
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Ok. It sounds like I will also need a cold plate in side the fridge. I am hoping to get everything except for the C02 tank in a compact little fridge that will fit under the counter. We have a wine fridge which we never use and I am thinking of putting a home made soda water machine in its place. I drink a ton of the stuff and am sick of hauling plastic bottles from the store. Plus the entire green factor and it will be a fun little project. I will post pics / results when I am done. Thanks again.

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:04 AM   #4
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Check out http://www.truetex.com/carbonation.htm and EFaden's (I'm fairly sure I don't have the spelling right, but will correct this when I bother to) thread. It was a discussion of having the carbonator flow into a keg, and the keg was kept in a cold location (fridge/keezer).
Part 1: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f95/carbonator-co2-chiller-etc-home-seltzer-tap-250351/
Part 2: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f95/carbonator-installed-261089/
You will either be a: Keeping everything out, except for the flash chiller/cold plate and a fridge isn't cold enough, but a freezer is too cold. You have to have the melting ice keeping it cold, because any colder and you freeze the water in the chiller.
or b: keeping everything out, except the keg, so that the water in the keg will stay cold and will be replenished when/after dispensing, and the small amount of warm carbonated liquid won't be detrimental to the large, cold amount of liquid.

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Old 10-20-2011, 02:11 PM   #5
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Thanks alot for this information. One of these threads is leading me to believe that it is not a good idea to have the carbonator inside the fridge (because of the humidity, etc). Would you guys agree that this is not a good idea? Does anyone have any experience putting the carbonator INSIDE the actual fridge? I was also planning on putting the c02 inside the fridge but apparently thats a REALLY bad idea so just looking for some more pointers so it does not explode or burn by house down. haha. thanks.

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Old 10-20-2011, 03:34 PM   #6
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Just FYI, I experimented a bit lately with a mini-keg for carbing soda (a 3 or 5 gal corny would be the same idea, and provide more volume). This should work if your tap water is good enough for soda.

This was super-simple - I half-filled the minikeg with tap water (and set it on its side to provide max surface area), applied 30PSI CO2 and set the minikeg in the fridge. It carbed fast with all that surface area, plus you can shake to speed it up.

For a more-less continuous supply of soda, 'tee' your tap water supply into the dispense line with a valve to control water flow. When you tap a serving, open the water valve to replenish the supply of water. Since your main water pressure is higher than the 30PSI carb level, the water will flow in, and further compress the CO2 in the head-space.

Since you are just adding a small amount of water at a time, the temperature and carb levels don't drop much, and it seems to fully carb back up in a short time. Of course, if you are drawing off large amounts (relative to your keg size), it will get relatively flat and warm. But it's simple, no separate carbonator pumps or anything. And you have very efficient use of your CO2, since you are not venting off any pressure to open and fill - the water enters under pressure.

I did this with a very manual set-up, just to test it out. I just monitored the pressure as I added the tap water, and either let it get up to ~ 40PSI, or I'd judge by the weight of the keg if it was near full. The higher pressure after filling helps to speed the re-carb process, and drops down as it is absorbed.

I might hook up some check valves and regulators to make this more automatic next summer, when we use more soda water.

-kenc

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Old 10-21-2011, 12:33 AM   #7
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Disclaimer: Check your local ordinances. Any statements are not intended to be legal advice. Any statements contained within are the opinion of said poster and is not intended to list any fact or law.

You may still be required by law to have a backflow prevention device (water pressure can drop etc), since it can have stuff flow back through the keg into the water system.

That's probably a good idea, especially for lesser than constant use, or if you are looking just to refill the keg at some random times, but to some extent what are you looking at pricewise and work wise if you have to build what essentially becomes a carbonator unit since you want to replenish both water and Co2 in the keg?
Let us know when you price it out.

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Old 10-21-2011, 10:20 PM   #8
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Thanks again for all the help. I am slowly thinking AGAINST the carbonator method. Not only does it sound like ALOT more work but I do not think I have enough space for all of it in the small space under the counter. McCann makes a product called Carb in a Box that looks like it might do well inside the fridge but its like $500 new. With that and the mini fridge and tap and cold plate and C02 my nifttly little soda water machine would be close to $1000. Back to the drawing board!

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Old 10-23-2011, 11:58 AM   #9
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Try a Breakmate.....they look good, work great, and are ready to go with no mods necessary. You can probably find one on eBay for about $250 or less if you are patient.

You can search Google to see some pictures....there is a picture of mine in this album:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1616161800356.2086804.1125666917&type=1&l=9 0646098cf

Mike

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Old 10-23-2011, 03:47 PM   #10
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In the beginning, it's generally easiest to have a keg setup so that you can fill the keg with water, put it into the fridge, chill it, carbonate it, and then have 3-5 gallons of carbonated water to mix with flavor syrups.

If you decide to eventually get the direct carbonator and inline chiller, that can be done later, and you can easily resell the keg, probably for as much as you bought it for (if it wasn't bought new). A keg will cost somewhere from 80-120 dollars. The tank, and regulator will be used if you move up to a carbonator unit. The liquid dispenser (picnic tap) and gas hoses are probably expendable, and minimal expense. Wether or not you need the fridge after is different.

A breakmate is its own thing however, and unfortunately the parts wouldn't be interchangable. So a) keg and look at going to a mccann's or go for the breakmate.

Blackcows: a touch off topic, but did you get the immersion blender from ebay as well? I keep checking ebay and some other business auction sites, but they're still a touch pricy for me.

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Secondary: GF Czech Lager
Waiting to be kegged, Italian Primitivo
Kegged&Ready: GF Orange&Coriander, GF Honey Lager, GF chocolate ale, GF English ale, Island mist (zinfandel), Island mist (cbry malbec).
Bottled: Infected Mead, Dry Hard ciders, Accidental Sorghumwine, various unnamed.

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