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Old 09-25-2013, 11:58 PM   #1
Sep 2013
Posts: 21
Liked 13 Times on 2 Posts

Hey All

I just finished setting up a dual-mode temperature controller for my fermentation fridge.

Along the way I took a number of pictures, and hope to explain here in detail how to do this easily and with little expense.

First off, do not be afraid of the wiring! A ways back, I spent a couple years working assistant to an residential electrician, and I understand that electricity and wire diagrams can be daunting. This project is super simple, and more importantly - CHEAP!

OK, here we go!

These are the tools that I used. there are many ways to accomplish the specific tasks needed, and I will expect that if you do not own any of the equipment here, you can improvise. you are homebrewers, right?

1 - Drill
2 - Female end of extension cord (Cooler)
3 - Female end of extension cord (Heat source)
4 - Male end of extension cord (Power for unit)
5 - Colored electrical tape
6 - STC - 1000 Temp controller
7 - STC - 1000 Temp sensor
8 - Zip ties
9 - Plastic project box
10 - Wire stripper
11 - Mini hacksaw
12 - 3/8 inch spade bit
13 - 1/2 inch spade bit
14 - small phillips head
15 - utility knife
16 - wire cutter
17 - Twist Wire connectors not pictured here

Step 1 - Prepare housing setup

We will need:
black project box - for housing
2 drill bits - for drilling holes for wires
hacksaw for cutting space for STC-1000 unit

Drill 4 holes in total:

3 holes for male/female cords(will connect to heater,cooler and power outlet)
1 hole for the temp sensor(smaller hole on bottom)

Now we can punch out a hole for the unit itself.

Here I used a drill bit to punch a hole in the center, then used to hack saw to trim around until I had enough space for the unit to fit snugly. The display is larger than the back of the unit and those dimensions should not be used. Use the dimensions from the back of the unit.

Alright, step one done - so far so good, right?

Step 2 - Set up Wiring

OK, here is the part that everybody gets worried about. But I'll take it slow, and it will be easy.

First you need to make sure you have the proper wires for this particular set up. I used some old 3 prong extension cords, which work perfectly.

Here in the US the color codes for our wires are:
Black - Live
White - Neutral
Green - Ground(Earth)

In the diagram below the colors are as follows:
Brown - Live
Blue - Neutral
Green - Ground(Earth)

Male end:
Cut enough wire for the unit itself to reach an outlet. This will be the only power outlet you will need.

2 Female ends:
Cut enough wire so that the cords from your heating and cooling devices can reach these female ends.

Also, cut a few pieces of separate wire(found from discarded extension cords) About 6 inches or so

You will need 3 pieces of live(black) and 1 piece of neutral(white)
I cut extra black pieces because I zoned out and forgot I only needed 3.

OK, so at this point you should have a total of 13 wires to strip

4 pieces of loose wire: (both ends of these are stripped)
3 Live(black)
1 Neutral(white)

and 9 coming from your extension cords, 3 Live, 3 Neutral, 3 Ground.

Strip all of these wires carefully. About 1 inch of exposed wire. (some of these will be trimmed later)

Step 3 - Wiring the unit

OK, so now you have all of your wiring prepped, and we are ready to wire the device.

Here is a diagram that shows the wiring structure:

What you will do first is wire the loose pieces that we prepped earlier (3 live, 1 neutral)

Note: Any exposed wiring being placed into the back of the unit should be trimmed to a 1/2 inch.

Using a small flat-head screwdriver, turn the small screws above each slot counter-clockwise all the way. This opens the slot so that exposed wiring can enter.

After a wire is placed fully into the slot. Tighten the slot back up.

You can slide the 3 loose black wires into slots 1, 5 and 7.
You can slide the loose white wire into slot 2.

OK, next part is super easy.

The 2-pronged temp sensor can be placed into slot 3 and 4. Left/Right does not matter.

Take Live(black) wire from your heating extension cord and wire into slot 6

Take Live(black) wire from your cooling extension cord and wire into slot 8

Note: The diagram has heating and cooling backwards. My directions are correct.

OK, at this point all of the slots are occupied with the correct wires.

Now we simply connect all of the remaining exposed wires by color.

You should have 4 black wires, 4 white wires and 3 green wires left.

Here I used twist wire connectors. You can also solder these together.

At this point the device should be fully functional. But we have a few additional steps left to go.

Step 4 - Finishing touches

Use zip ties to secure all wires into place. Place them snugly behind the back wall. This will prevent any accidental slip out of the wires from there connectors. I also used a bit a electrical tape just below the twist caps to keep the wires as snug as possible.

Screw the top plate back onto the project box and admire your work. I added some striping to one of the extension cords so that there is no confusion later.

I then added couple thick pieces of velcro to the unit. this is how I am attaching to wall.

Then plugging the unit in is simple. The male goes to a house outlet. And plug your cooler and heating device to the corresponding females.

I hope this tutorial has helped. Please feel free to message me with any questions about the project or suggestions that I could add to this thread.

Thanks and happy brewing!


Reason: Left a few key points out.

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Old 09-26-2013, 01:16 AM   #2
Jul 2010
Posts: 143
Liked 15 Times on 9 Posts

Looks good. I just did this project a couple of days ago with the same project box you used, except I put a duplex outlet on the front of the box. I like the extension cord idea though. Makes it much easier to fit all the wires in. I had a bit of a time squishing all mine in there with the outlet and getting all the terminals connected as well. I would suggest that beginners use stripped down extension cord wires like you did because they are more flexible. I used 12 gauge Romex and they were really stiff. It felt like I was putting a little too much stress on the STC terminals.
I like the velcro idea too, I'm stealing that. Thanks for posting a good tutorial for the inexperienced. BTW what is the white part on your box? I didn't notice it in the first photos but it pops up later. Is it the same one as in the first photos?

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Old 09-26-2013, 01:32 AM   #3
Sep 2013
Posts: 21
Liked 13 Times on 2 Posts


Thanks for the feedback. The duplex outlet design sounds very cool though, probably looks sweet! Post some pics.

The white strip at the bottom of my box is electric tape. I made my opening for the unit a few mm's too big and at the bottom some of the cut was showing through. So a strip of electric tape around the bottom hides the blemish and makes the box look snazzy!

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Old 09-26-2013, 01:53 AM   #4
Nov 2011
Grant, MN
Posts: 293
Liked 30 Times on 25 Posts

I made one a couple months ago and have been happy over all with it.

I made a spreadsheet in Excel at taped it to the project box for a quick conversion.

For mine I put an electrical outlet with the tabs broken so one socket is heat and the other cool. I put a light switch on the other side to use as a master power. It is running my fermentation fridge so there are times where I shut it down.

Only things that would make this better is if it were in F and if you could change the temp by just hitting the up or down arrow. You have to go into program mode for the temp and make the change. Not hard but extra steps. When doing a lager it makes for more work as I slowly step the temp down over a 24 hr period.
Secondary: River Bend Wheat
Kegerator Tap 1: American IPA
Kegerator Tap 2: Red Lager
Kegerator Tap 3: Oatmeal Stout
Kegerator Tap 4: Charged H2O

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Old 09-26-2013, 02:10 AM   #5
Sep 2013
Posts: 21
Liked 13 Times on 2 Posts


Thanks for the feedback. Your setup also sounds pretty kewl! Love the master switch idea. Post some pics!

I couldn't agree more about the Functions. By default, hitting up or down should be Function 1. And I would love a function for BOTH hot or cold accuracy. like .8 above sway but only .3 sway on the cold side, or vice versa.

If I was a tad more astute in programming and had the time to rig an arduino board. Could probably build an entire unit to spec. Ah, maybe one day.


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Old 09-26-2013, 02:14 AM   #6
BigFloyd's Avatar
Dec 2012
Tyler, Texas
Posts: 5,267
Liked 761 Times on 653 Posts

Excellent thread with nice pics and explanations.

As one of the proponents of the STC-1000 on the forums (I have three and built a couple more for brew buddies), I'm going to add this as a link in my standard copy & paste STC-1000 explanation.
Good Temp Control -----> Happy Yeast ------> Tasty Brew

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Old 09-26-2013, 02:37 AM   #7
Sep 2013
Posts: 21
Liked 13 Times on 2 Posts

Big Floyd

Thanks for the feedback and sharing the link!

I really felt that, though there are a number of tutorials out there, there really wasn't anything that really took it back to square 1 and the fundamentals. And, as you have in your signature, temp control is really important and we all shouldn't have to be subject to these super expensive temp control kits.

Happy brewing!

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Old 09-26-2013, 03:34 AM   #8
butterpants's Avatar
Apr 2013
, Colorado
Posts: 1,152
Liked 125 Times on 104 Posts

oh man I love you in the most non-gay way possible.

I've been thinking about temperature control alot lately and something like this is on my radar big time. Questions to come...

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Old 09-26-2013, 03:42 AM   #9
BigFloyd's Avatar
Dec 2012
Tyler, Texas
Posts: 5,267
Liked 761 Times on 653 Posts

Here's my standard schpeal (now updated) about the STC-1000:

It's a dual temperature controller. You wire it into a standard 2-plug outlet that you mount in some kind of project box (either homemade or bought at Radio Shack). One (cool) outlet is for the freezer/fridge. If your fermenter chamber is placed where it’s cold (like a garage in winter), you plug some kind of small heater into the warm outlet and then put that heater inside the freezer. Otherwise, just use the cold outlet.

Set the target temp (in Celsius) on the STC-1000. Set the tolerance (default is +/-0.5*C). When the temp (as read by the sensor) climbs 0.5*C above the target, it powers up the cool outlet and keeps it energized until the temp drops to the target and then turns it off. Likewise with the warm outlet if it gets 0.5*C too cool. You tape the sensor on the side of the fermenter and place some kind of insulation like bubble wrap over top of it so that it reads the bucket temp and not the air.
Good Temp Control -----> Happy Yeast ------> Tasty Brew

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Old 09-26-2013, 04:27 AM   #10
Sep 2013
Posts: 21
Liked 13 Times on 2 Posts


Absolutely dude, let the questions flow. More back-n-forth, the better for other Beginners.

I am new to this forum, so will be checking regularly.

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