Brute force lagering

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tpwalsh

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Long time lurker to this area and I've learned more than a few things, so here's my contribution. Here's my ghetto(but free!) test rig for temperature control. Basicly it's the evaporator of a window AC unit imersed in a bath of water along with a heater core. Then water is pumped through the core and into a bucket surrounding the carboy. I had all the parts lying around, and my last batch hit 78 degrees even with the fan and tshirt method, so this is what I came up with just using parts I had lying around. I've been able to hit the mid 40's without really trying and can maintain 68-70 without any trouble on the stock thermostat. Next up is a real controller for it. Not sure yet if I'll use a comercial product or just arduino it. The plan is to put the AC unit in the garage but be able to pump the water into a seperate room/enclosure.


 

Bobby_M

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I might be missing it, but why not just put the evap coil in the same water batch as the fermenter and forgo the extra heat transfer and use of electricity to run the pump?
 
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tpwalsh

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I might be missing it, but why not just put the evap coil in the same water batch as the fermenter and forgo the extra heat transfer and use of electricity to run the pump?
First the electronics are completely enclosed so no risk there, I haven't altered anything electrically and won't have to since the thermostat has an "always on" setting.

Second, you could do that, and I might be doing that in the future, but I didn't have a tub big enough to do that nicely. The caveat to that is you need something to either circulate the water around the evap coil or to draw it's lack of heat away in order to prevent the coil from icing up, for instance a mid 70's chevy heater core. :) By itself in a water bath it will encase itself in ice relatively quickly. What I'm really toying with is moving the cooling source from the carboys.
 

MMW

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I might be missing it, but why not just put the evap coil in the same water batch as the fermenter and forgo the extra heat transfer and use of electricity to run the pump?
Expansion to multiple controlled temps off one cooling unit, that's why :rockin:
 

JohnnyKim

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in the overclocking world(computer) this would be called phase change/chiller. instead of water, you can try using coolant to prevent frost buildup. this one guy i know uses denatured alcohol (yes, its flameable, but its kept closed system).

all in all...this is not a bad idea!
 

MMW

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I was giving this kind of system some thought when I was building my chamber. (I ended up just building a box with one control).

I was going to work it this way:

*Chill a volume of fluid
*Build (or buy) a manifold. Something like this:



*Have a controller that monitors temps of each chamber
*Circulate cooled fluid through an exchanger in each chamber based on the individual temps.

N chambers, 1 cooler, 1 pump, N sections to the manifold, N exchangers. Heat loss in the system is the limiting factor. One of the many open sourceish controllers could be adapted pretty easily...

WAF (wife acceptance factor) was below the scale on this, so a box it was.
 
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tpwalsh

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in the overclocking world(computer) this would be called phase change/chiller. instead of water, you can try using coolant to prevent frost buildup. this one guy i know uses denatured alcohol (yes, its flameable, but its kept closed system).

all in all...this is not a bad idea!
HA! that's where I got most of the equipment from, an old overclocked machine that I built about 5 years ago, and is now obsolete. I've been debating what to use as a biocide/ freezing point depressor. I used Ethyl Glycol(antifreeze) in the computer, but I don't want to do that here since it's an open system near food.


MMW: That link seems to be broken, but I'll bet you could setup a micro-controller to control each valve with a large pump. I don't think the one I have is big enough for more than 2 vessels. I should have some data from my arduino this weekend or early next week on how stable the system is without cycling the pump at all.
 

Ysgard

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Umm...Your running the AC unit? Why not just use it as it's meant to be used? Stick it in a window and point it at the carboy? Build a small Foam chamber to capture the output and limit the volume it has to cool? This seems very inefficient.
 
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