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Old 12-17-2011, 02:04 AM   #1
killerloon
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Default Cold plate in a refrigerator?

Hello. Im new here and have a Question?... We are looking to install a draft soda fountain in our home. Now my question is can I install the cold plate in a mini fridge or in my main fridge? Im wanting to put the set up in a cabinet that sits right next to the fridge. So just wondering if the mini will work or if the freezer on the main fridge if it needs to be colder.

Thanks

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Old 12-17-2011, 08:35 PM   #2
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Hmm. It's not clear what you goal is here. I use a plate chiller to bring my boiling wort down to ~70 degrees in 15 minutes. Where would a plate chiller fit into soda making?

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Old 12-17-2011, 10:04 PM   #3
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Lol sorry I may have posted this in the wrong spot. Im referring to the chiller that goes in the ice bin. I was thinking if I could pit the chiller in a mini fridge it would save the hassle of an ice bin and save a few hundred bucks not having to buy the remote chiller.

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Old 12-17-2011, 10:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killerloon View Post
Lol sorry I may have posted this in the wrong spot. Im referring to the chiller that goes in the ice bin. I was thinking if I could pit the chiller in a mini fridge it would save the hassle of an ice bin and save a few hundred bucks not having to buy the remote chiller.
Sorry... It won't really work. The problem is that the air isn't sufficient for keeping the plate cold. You really need an ice bank.
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:57 AM   #5
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There's been discussion on this every so often. No, a cold plate chiller or coil chiller(for soda or beer) needs to be set in ice but not actually freezing(more explanation to this).
Putting the plate chiller in a fridge alone will not be cold enough to flash chill the soda water (or whatever liquid is flowing through).

Putting the plate chiller in a freezer will wind up being too cold, and you'll wind up having water freeze in the plate itself.

Ice on top of a chill plate (ice bank) will: (with the ice being below freezing) keep the surrounding liquid at a constant freezing temperature (32F)without being so cold as to freeze the liquid in the line (31F). If you kept this in an open bin, you would lose ice due to the surrounding ambient temperature, so it is said to be possible to have ice in chill plate assembly that has a cooling system that doesnt' get to freezing. (like having a chillplate in a box in the fridge that you keep adding ice to. You'll still be losing ice, but some of the ice won't be melting as quickly). Really though, the only ice that's lost this way is the outermost ice (like the stuff sitting on top exposed to air).

See: Beer Jockey Box | Beer Cooling & Dispensing Equipment

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Originally Posted by houndsbreath View Post
Hmm. It's not clear what you goal is here. I use a plate chiller to bring my boiling wort down to ~70 degrees in 15 minutes. Where would a plate chiller fit into soda making?
A chiller assembly is used when dispensing soda or beer. For example, if you have an inline system (no kegs) you're taking water right from tap which is approx 50 degrees(I'll measure later) and either chilled first then force carbonated or more likely force carbonated then in-line chilled to 32 degrees, mixed with soda syrup (especially for a bag in box method) and then sent out through the soda machine / bar gun.

You'll usually see this type of usage at a bar or restauraunt.

An alternative to the chill plate method is to force carb the water and send it into a keg that's stored in a fridge. The 5 gallons of water will chill to 32 degrees and be distributed out, and the carbonation system will replenish this water. 12 oz water at 50 degrees adding to 5 gallons (625 oz) at 32 degrees means that your temperature change will be negligable. However, this won't stand up to constant use (like the hundreds to thousands of customers at a bar or restaurant) but would stand up to some home use. Maybe even a party of guests who don't constantly drink soda. Check out some of EFaden's posts where this setup was used.
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
There's been discussion on this every so often. No, a cold plate chiller or coil chiller(for soda or beer) needs to be set in ice but not actually freezing(more explanation to this).
Putting the plate chiller in a fridge alone will not be cold enough to flash chill the soda water (or whatever liquid is flowing through).

Putting the plate chiller in a freezer will wind up being too cold, and you'll wind up having water freeze in the plate itself.

Ice on top of a chill plate (ice bank) will: (with the ice being below freezing) keep the surrounding liquid at a constant freezing temperature (32F)without being so cold as to freeze the liquid in the line (31F). If you kept this in an open bin, you would lose ice due to the surrounding ambient temperature, so it is said to be possible to have ice in chill plate assembly that has a cooling system that doesnt' get to freezing. (like having a chillplate in a box in the fridge that you keep adding ice to. You'll still be losing ice, but some of the ice won't be melting as quickly). Really though, the only ice that's lost this way is the outermost ice (like the stuff sitting on top exposed to air).

See: Beer Jockey Box | Beer Cooling & Dispensing Equipment



A chiller assembly is used when dispensing soda or beer. For example, if you have an inline system (no kegs) you're taking water right from tap which is approx 50 degrees(I'll measure later) and either chilled first then force carbonated or more likely force carbonated then in-line chilled to 32 degrees, mixed with soda syrup (especially for a bag in box method) and then sent out through the soda machine / bar gun.

You'll usually see this type of usage at a bar or restauraunt.

An alternative to the chill plate method is to force carb the water and send it into a keg that's stored in a fridge. The 5 gallons of water will chill to 32 degrees and be distributed out, and the carbonation system will replenish this water. 12 oz water at 50 degrees adding to 5 gallons (625 oz) at 32 degrees means that your temperature change will be negligable. However, this won't stand up to constant use (like the hundreds to thousands of customers at a bar or restaurant) but would stand up to some home use. Maybe even a party of guests who don't constantly drink soda. Check out some of EFaden's posts where this setup was used.
What he said.

My setup works pretty well... it is perfect for the wife and I and even a small party... but it warms up as I empty the keg. I usually get about 3 gallons of pretty cold seltzer before you notice much of a change. Obviously this is less during the summer and more during the winter (ground water differences). Look through my posts and you can find what I did.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:37 PM   #7
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I was just thinking about the same thing. I have an over/under type freezer/refrigerator and I have a large plate-chiller that came out of an old cornelius jockey box ice chest. My idea was to keep the plate chiller in the freezer section and leave the rest (kegs & c02) in the fridge. I understand that if beer was left sitting in the plate chiller, the freezer would naturally cool it until the liquid froze (which we don't want for obvious reasons). So, naturally I would have to find a way to override the tempurature in the freezer (to keep the tempurature above freezing) while leaving the tempurature in the fridge the same because that's good where it's at. One other problem to consider is how I'm going to route the beer lines from the fridge, through the ceiling into the freezer section. I can drill holes between the two sections and run line through them but if there are any cooling coils in that area, it's game over. If that weren't enough to dissuade you, there's one more detail to consider. When you're done drinking, you'd need a way to flush the beer out of the chiller just in case the freezer section still falls below freezing. Finally, I'm not sure if I want to install my shanks to the freezer door or the fridge door. If put on the fridge, then once the lines are routed up from the fridge to the freezer and plate chiller, then they have to routed back down to the fridge. Or, I can go from fridge to the plate chiller in the freezer to the freezer door. I don't know if either could be done while keeping the total line length at 6'.

That's everything I can think of. What do you guys think? doable?

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Old 01-01-2012, 01:47 AM   #8
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I'm thinking that it wouldn't be worth it.

Freezer/Fridges (at least the cheaper ones, and definately the ones we'd actually be willing to drill into) tend to not have dual temperature control. Cold air from the freezer is actually routed to the fridge, so by reducing the freezer temperature, you will actually reduce your fridge temperature. The dial that you see on the fridge either controls the frequency in which the freezer (compressor) runs, or changes the airflow to reduce or increase the amount of air coming from the freezer.

It would be a pain to flush the coils each and every time you want something to drink.

Again, the issue is that you *need* the ice bank. It's a matter of thermodynamics (which I'm not qualified to answer) but as far as I can tell, it's transfering the heat away from the beer into the water/ice combo. Air is too much an insulator and running warm beer though a coil set in the freezer will barely change temperature. (There's some equation somewhere). Most likely only by a few degrees. The only benefit of having the coils set in a freezer (that may be set to just above freezing) is to keep the ice/water combo away from outside heat.

Run enough warm beer though the ice/water combo without touching it and you'll still be stuck with lukewarm water, even if it's in the freezer. (like.. lots of gallons in few minutes, or really hot wort.)


Plus... if you're keeping the beer in the fridge already, then the beer should be somewhere between 32 and 50 degrees anyways (depending on your set fridge temp and assuming you want the beer at X temperature. Kind of like how some people like their beer at cellar temps (European traditional) and some like it at 34 degrees (American traditional)), so you don't need a plate chiller for this purpose. The chiller is only to reduce the temperature of the liquid. (Say if you had warm beer and wanted to chill it, for example at a party-event, or if you were taking water from tap that you needed to chill down to 32 degrees for soda.)

If you're not doing either of those things then the only thing I can see you using the plate chiller for is when you need to chill your wort when making beer. And then your best bet is to just stick the plate chiller in a plastic cooler and stick ice water on it for that brewing process.

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Old 01-21-2012, 10:22 PM   #9
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A large aluminum cold plate may work if you are drinking it at slow rates.

6 pass Aluminum Cold plate 10x15 coldplate Soda dispensing | eBay

The metal would be able to "store" a good ammount of cold in it to properly chill a few beverages before warming up.

Stick the plate in a bucket of water in the fridge & you will get a lot faster thermal transfer than just the air in the fridge. The reasonably trashed Pepsi fountain I'm using as the basis of my project had about 2 square feet of water chilled by some refrigerator coils in the middle & a small agitation pump. Each line (carbonated water & 5 syrups) was bent into a sine wave & totaled 5-10 feet immersed in the chilled water.

I've been thinking about something along those lines as my system probably won't be installed near where I can put in a drain easily & wouldn't be able to deal with melting ice. Putting the cold plate in the freezer where it would reliably get below freezing tempature would just be bad. Clogged/frozen lines if you were lucky, burst if you weren't.

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