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Old 11-10-2009, 11:42 PM   #1
nbspindel
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Default Fermentation/storage/serving cabinet critique

I'm planning on building this ferm chamber soon and wanted some input on things that might not work so well and what could be improved on it.



I'll have 3 sets of doors on the front, one for each: bottles, serving keg, and primary keg. The construction isnt such an issue; i feel secure with my building skills. it's just wood and foamboard 2" insulation.

Some things i'm concerned with:
1. do you think the bottles and grain/yeast, etc. will prevent cold air from circulating to the keg areas?
2. should i have a 2nd fan in the removable divider? One for cold into designated ferm chamber, one to pump the warmer air out (and back into the main compartment)?
3. Should i put a fan into the minifridge, attached to any temp control that i install so that when the fridge compressor kicks on, so does the fan, circulating the air?

Thanks.


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Old 11-10-2009, 11:58 PM   #2
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Wow, I've been planning something almost identical and had some of the same questions, so thanks for posting this. I don't have any helpful advice, but I'm curious to see what people say about how much volume a mini fridge can happily cool.

Just based on the drawing, though, don't forget you've also got the volume of the fridge to put things in. For some reason I discounted that for the first few drawings...



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Old 11-11-2009, 12:33 AM   #3
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i considered that. the fridge is this one: http://products.geappliances.com/App...Sku=GMR04HASCS

i bent the coolant part/freezer component down against the rear wall and have moved the temp control (soon to be replaced by love or johnson control) and can fit a carboy in there. i thought i'd leave that part unoccupied for the few times i might want to try a lager in 5 gallon batch, as experimentals instead of ending up with 10g of beer i'm not fond of. And i thought i'd make the bottle storage shelves removable so that if necessary i could just put another keg in that area after emptying out the bottles
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Old 11-11-2009, 01:43 AM   #4
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I'm no thermal expert but here's my thoughts...
1.The stuff in the first compartment won't interfere with the cooling of the other compartments in fact, the more stuff you have in the cooler the greater your thermal mass so temps should be more stable.
2.You don't need a 2nd fan normal presure equalization will take care of that, but I would put a hole about the size of the fan at the bottom of the barrier to let cold air into the fermentation compartment and use the fan to suck the warm air out of the top of the fermentation compartment. Did I explain that well?? Turn the fan around so it is pulling relatively warm air out of the top of the fermentation side and the hole at the bottom of the wall would let cold air in from the lager/serving side.
3. I would think you would want a fan blowing across the cooling element in the fridge to make sure it doesn't ice up.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:27 AM   #5
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that all makes sense.
#3, when do you think i should set that fan to turn on? when the compressor kicks in, or more often? if more often, how should it be set? maybe with a timer, once an hour for a minute, every 6 hours for a few minutes, ...?
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:49 AM   #6
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I would put the fan on all the time. It won't cool much. Just enough. +1 the fan on the coils. Remember you are trying to use a cooling element designed to cool 2.4 ft3 and now trying to cool double that. Keep an eye on the coils on the back of the fridge. They may tend to freeze up.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:02 AM   #7
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Ideally the fan on the cooling element would go on when the element goes on but stay on for a few minutes after the element goes off - sort of like the fan on your furnace stays on for a few minutes after the furnace shuts off to get all the heat out of your ducts and into the house.
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:16 AM   #8
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i think with the fan I have 3 options: 1. a time delay 2. on while, and only while, the compressor is on 3. on all the time.

which might be best then? it seems like 2 and 3 are better options, 2 maybe the best. if anyone knows how to set it up any other way, i'm all ears.

thanks for the ideas
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:21 AM   #9
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I would go with 3. Ideally you want the fan doing most of its work while the compressor is off. This gives the fan the best opportunity to defrost the coils.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New-B-Brewer View Post
1.The stuff in the first compartment won't interfere with the cooling of the other compartments in fact, the more stuff you have in the cooler the greater your thermal mass so temps should be more stable.
Does this imply that, if there's room, I should store unused kegs & carboys full of water (or dilute bleach-water) in the chamber?

I mean, brewing more is obviously a better answer, but short of that?


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