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Old 06-23-2010, 02:21 AM   #1
Jewrican
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Default My Side by Side Refrigerator -> Fermentation Chamber

After noticing how insanely critical temperature control is to making great beer, I had been really wanting to make a fermentation chamber. I thought about the chillers and had been using the swamp cooler method but really wanted to be able to maintain a real constant temperature throughout fermentation without the swings in temps that ice may give you as you swap it out.

I found this thread, and it was definitely right up my alley: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/side...-build-105054/

All credit for this thread goes to Boerderij_Kabouter for giving me the idea and the pictures to help me through it


So I started out with a fridge that was quite nasty but in the end ended up being dead. I will post that information at the end of this post as it is kinda humorous for those that didnt have to clean it.

Back on topic, so i started out with this fridge. I bought it for a hundred dollars off CL from a company that was moving out of their current space in a building. They were asking 300. It was in excellent shape and was running when i picked it up. Little did they know I was going to demolish it



Here is the inside:



I started by using a dremel to take a peek in the walls. I quickly found some wiring and a tube used to bring cold air to the crisper bin.



Before long (actually it took quite a while) I had removed the entire wall separating the two compartments. What a mess it made!!



I then began building my shelf. It was made with a combination of 2x4's and 2x6's. I am very rookie when it comes to woodwork, so i took my time putting it together. Nothing fancy, but it works.

I placed a 2x4 across the two left and right legs where I wanted the bottom shelf so i had something to screw the boards into that would go from side to side acting as the shelf. I did the same for the top so the middle board had something i could screw into. Measurements were far from exact but it came out pretty darn well.



I then put the top boards on and this is where I am today.



I now need to get my temp controller in the mail (did the ebay one - there is a thread in the DIY section) and then put this puppy to action!!

I will add some damp rid and some baking soda once i am ready to actually use it regularly to keep the moisture and smells under control. I cannot wait!!!

In total I used about 14' of 2x6 and about 20' of 2x4 with some leftovers. Let me reiterate, i am a total rookie.

You can see the album here if you prefer: http://picasaweb.google.com/NNatic/FermentationChamber#


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Old 06-23-2010, 02:21 AM   #2
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:24 AM   #3
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So to start out this project I tried to score a free refrigerator on Freecycle.com. I nailed it! I ended up picking up an 11 year old fridge that "needed some cleaning but worked". PERFECT! I picked it up with some friends and got it to the house. HOLY ****!!!! This thing needed way more than a little cleaning!!!!!!!! All of the black, yeah those are dead maggots!!!!!

I spent about three hours cleaning this thing with bleach. There were drinks, yogurts, take out food, corn on the cobb (which turned to mush as I removed them from the fridge) and many more. I almost threw up about 4 times cleaning this thing out! Ohh and when i plugged it in (AFTER she was all pretty), it was DEAD!!!!!! There is something wrong with the compressor or refrigerant! It will not cool at all. I spent about 4 hours troubleshooting it!!!









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Old 06-23-2010, 02:50 AM   #4
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man that fridge is nasty, but the other one looks great, nice work.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:11 PM   #5
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Great Job, it looks much better than total rookie. I'm about to pick up a late 90's Kenmore side-by-side tomorrow, and start my own interpretation of this concept.

Thanks to you and Boerderij_Kabouter for inspiration.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:34 AM   #6
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Well, for some reason i cannot edit the above posts so that it is all in one place.

Anyhoo -

So when i got back from vacation i found that i could not close the doors to the fridge as the wood shelving i built is in the way lol. So I had to rip out the shelving and insulation from the doors.

inside ripped off of the right door


inside ripped off the left door


ice / water dispenser (had to shave a HAIR off the lower area of this piece as it was still hitting.


The full fridge


The ebay temp controller build


I am now looking for a cheap nice sized temperature readout to mold into one of the doors so i can verify the temp is right when i am just passing by the chamber.


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