DIY Fermentation cabinet...

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Duckfoot

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Short story, made long...

Saw a mini fridge outside a customer's office a while back.. Asked if they were tossing it... The owner said take it... Made sure it was working and gutted it when I got home...

Stopped by Goodwill store one day at lunch... Saw this... (minus all the beer goodies in picture)



Took it home that afternoon for less than $40....

Thought this area may be a great fermentation cooler w/ addition of the mini fridge guts....



After a trip to The Home Gestapo, one sheet of Foamular and a tube of foam adhesive later, we are at a small stopping point...



Need to get another sheet of 1" for the door and some 2" for the side walls.... May even get some of that spiffy plastic paneling to cover all the foam...

One temp controller away from being able to start fermenting more than 10 gallons at a time...

:mug:
 

scinerd3000

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very nice. If only i had more space i would have done this long ago. Keep us posted but so far a very nice looking project
 

Hanr3

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Not a bad idea.

Question I have for you, is that cooling system going to be big enough to handle the extra load your putting on it?
 
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Not a bad idea.

Question I have for you, is that cooling system going to be big enough to handle the extra load your putting on it?
The cooling system was from a chest freezer. Where is the extra load? That cabinet is very similar to chest freezer sizes


*edit* I'm an idiot. Guess I should read closer next time*
 

TimGrz

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The cooling system was from a chest freezer. Where is the extra load? That cabinet is very similar to chest freezer sizes
Short story, made long...
Saw a mini fridge outside a customer's office a while back.. <snip>
That being said, it s should still do the trick for normal fermenting. I think I would go with 2" foam insulation all around as he lives in south GA, unless he plans to move it within an A/C'd environment. Lagering on the other hand... I don't think she'll work good enough for that.

/tg
 
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Duckfoot

Duckfoot

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Yeah it was from a mini fridge...

My garage stays fairly cool (Atlanta ain't exactly South GA :D) and I don't plan on lagering for the time being... Also, I darn sure don't plan on opening this thing all that much, so I am assuming (dangerous word) that it should be relatively steady temp-wise...

My thought process on this is I was using a Mother-of-a-Fermentation-Chiller and I could only get 2 batches in there... And when I find a nice deal on a chest freezer I will recycle what parts I can and turn it back into a storage cabinet...
 
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Need to get another sheet of 1" for the door and some 2" for the side walls.... May even get some of that spiffy plastic paneling to cover all the foam...
Yeah, definitely insulate the sides and doors as well. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but would it be feasible to add some weatherstripping to the doors?

This could possibly be a great system. I took the easy way out, and opted for a cheap Craig's List chest freezer.
 
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Duckfoot

Duckfoot

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Oh yeah... I just ran out of Foamular before I took the pics... Also planned on some weatherstripping for the doors...

I had what would have been a perfect keezer / fermentation freezer... It was a huge chest freezer a friend GAVE ME a few years back, but before I got sucked into this hobby, I was cleaning out the garage and since I hadn't used the damned thing for almost two years, I sold it... Oddly enough, on CL... Oh well... I will continue looking...
 
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Duckfoot

Duckfoot

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So tonight I got another layer of foam on the bottom and back (now up to 1") and the sides done (2")... Also got the doors done with 1" foam... Haven't gotten to sealing up the seams, the hole for the cooling line or weatherstripping the doors, but after 45 minutes turned on, we were down to 42*F...

On a side note, I also got my new 5 gal cooler mash tun built this tonight as well... Leak testing it over night... Found a 5 gal Rubbermaid cooler at work that was ready to be tossed... No lid, but I am sure I can finagle something...
 
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Duckfoot

Duckfoot

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Got my Love temp controller installed today... Happy times!!! Holding steady at 55* for poops and giggles at the moment... Figure I will let it run for a few days just to see the cycle times.... Sealed up the seams, just need to get some weatherstripping for the doors...
 

Cpt_Kirks

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Duckfoot

Duckfoot

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I also did it with thermostats and relay, two for the price of one Love controller :D
Yeah yeah yeah... :D

I almost picked up a few thermostats at Home Gestapo, but I figured I was already going a little DIY on this puppy, so the less I have to screw up the better... I remember reading your build thread a lot... Nice job....

Capt: I am not sure about that... My cabinet got down to 40*, but that was with the compressor running straight for an hour..... Not sure what the temp loss on mine would be.... I think I am cycling on about twice an hour for the time being... I also don't have a fan circulating cool air around at this time...
 

Dr_Deathweed

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Does a 1.7cf dorm refrigerator have enough BTU's of cooling to cool four kegs down to about 40*?
If you check the compressor ratings, most dorm fridges have the same BTU rating, just different sized cold boxes. i.e., both a 1.7 and 5.2 cubic foot fridge have a 390BTU compressor. (Not sure if that’s the actual rating, but I think its close...)
 

dataz722

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The actual BTUs do not matter for that much as long as you dont put anything in there that is really warm and that at first you get the temp down with ice or what not. They should be able to maintain just about any size (witin reason) as long it doesnt have to do to much actual cooling.
 

pjj2ba

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I just fired up my fermentation/lagering chamber made from a 3.1 cu. ft minifridge. It's got 2" of foam on all sides. I took 3 days to cool three (3) kegs from 65 F to 35 F. I was concerned that it was cycling too long so I actually shut it off during the day and plugged it back in at night. I've got my temp probe insulated against the side of the keg to moniter beer temp, not air temp. I have a second indoor/outdoor tehrmometer to monitor air temps. When the compressor turns on, the temp in the cabinet goes down to the mid teens. I need to add a fan to circulate the air to speed the heat transfer from the kegs. I suspect this will help. I probably wont ever try chilling 15 gal. of beer at once again. This was just a first time firing up with kegs lined up waiting to go in.
 

Cpt_Kirks

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I just fired up my fermentation/lagering chamber made from a 3.1 cu. ft minifridge. It's got 2" of foam on all sides. I took 3 days to cool three (3) kegs from 65 F to 35 F. I was concerned that it was cycling too long so I actually shut it off during the day and plugged it back in at night. I've got my temp probe insulated against the side of the keg to moniter beer temp, not air temp. I have a second indoor/outdoor tehrmometer to monitor air temps. When the compressor turns on, the temp in the cabinet goes down to the mid teens. I need to add a fan to circulate the air to speed the heat transfer from the kegs. I suspect this will help. I probably wont ever try chilling 15 gal. of beer at once again. This was just a first time firing up with kegs lined up waiting to go in.
Do you know how many BTU your compressor is?

I have heard all fridges about 5 CF and less use the same size compressor.
 

pjj2ba

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I'll check on the BTUs for the compressor tonight.

I replaced the orginal thermostat with a Love controller and it seems to be working great. Right now I've got my 3 kegs of O'fest lagering at 35 F. After our party, I'll start to ferment some lagers at 52 F. I can lager in the garage once it really becomes winter.

In retrospect, I may have been better off having the probe in the air to start. This way it would quickly cool the air and shut off, and then turn back on once the kegs gave up their heat to the surronding air. The way I had it it was on continously enough to make me nervous. Now for fermenting, I should be able to get the temp to where I want to ferment with my chiller, in which case I will insulate the probe alongside the fermentor, as I'll only be asking the compressor to keep it where it is, not drop the temp 30 F
 

Cpt_Kirks

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I have a 1.7cf fridge in my office at home. If I turn the thermostat all the way up, it will freeze items placed under the freezer compartment, if the fridge is not opened for a couple of days. Those suckers get COLD.
 
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