DIY glycol tank idea.

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Jako

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So last night I was thinking a bit while looking at a new mini fridge I plan to modify into a fermenting chamber.

Currently I have a SS brewtech 7G conical that I drilled and added a chilling coil similar as to what you would find on the brew master edition.

I also plan on using kegs to pressure ferment 10G batches. The kegs will be fermented in my "fermenting" chamber.

So to my thoughts. At the top of the mini fridge is the Freezer that you would normally find in most. What if a tank was made and filled with glycol that my SS brewtech pump would cycle to chill my conical?

The idea is rough but I haven't seen this type of set up. I have even thought of just making a large tank and setting the fridge low and just running cooling lines to modified kegs or more fermenters.
 

RedRyderr

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Following this thread! I had a similar idea of using my old chest freezer to keep a container of glycol chilled, then pump that through the conical.
 

McHop

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I recall someone had a thread here where they modified a dorm fridge to hold/chill the glycol. They essentially carefully bent the freezer portion downward to the fridge and filled the fridge with glycol. If I can find the post again, I'll update my post.
 

SanPancho

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in short, you need to bend the tubes into the glycol to get adequate heat exchange. just having the tank in the freezer compartment doesnt chill fast enough.
 
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Jako

Jako

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how hard would it be to bend the glycol tubes that chill the freezer element? my first thought it would just kink almost instantly. or even more fun bust and shoot pressurized glycol all over.

i would add a fan to help keep the air moving around the tank. i have a few ideas i am tossing around. one would be a counterflow chiller type idea smaller space and more efficient.

going to take a look at the thread you posted.
 
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Jako

Jako

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i do as well. What really has me thinking is what type of life you would get out of the fridge. I found a almost one one locally for 20$ if it last a year its a win win. if the think had some type of insulation that would currently help.
 

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You need the evaporator of the freezer inside the glycol, otherwise the heat exchange with air in between will be very bad.
A frien of me, refrigerator expert, replace the evaporetor all together by a copper tube around the fermenter and insulated the whole thing around. With a 1/5 hp unit it cold ok 200L.
 

superiorsat

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Why not just do the air conditioner and cooler route? I've got 2 I built that are 18,000btu (1 ton ) not that you would need that big of an air conditioner for a couple 7 gallon conicals. Facebook marketplace $50 a piece for the 18,000btu units (5,000btu are even cheaper) and coolers $10 each. Granted there is other stuff to buy like temp controllers, pumps, tubing, insulation, valves, and what not but you would be buying all that anyway.
 
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Jako

Jako

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You need the evaporator of the freezer inside the glycol, otherwise the heat exchange with air in between will be very bad.
A frien of me, refrigerator expert, replace the evaporetor all together by a copper tube around the fermenter and insulated the whole thing around. With a 1/5 hp unit it cold ok 200L.
that sounds very interesting, how is he able to move the fermenter around. i would love to see this if you are able to take pictures some time.
 
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Jako

Jako

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Why not just do the air conditioner and cooler route? I've got 2 I built that are 18,000btu (1 ton ) not that you would need that big of an air conditioner for a couple 7 gallon conicals. Facebook marketplace $50 a piece for the 18,000btu units (5,000btu are even cheaper) and coolers $10 each. Granted there is other stuff to buy like temp controllers, pumps, tubing, insulation, valves, and what not but you would be buying all that anyway.
i think its more of what i have on hand. i have thought about AC unit builds but haven't put a whole lot of thought into this.

my plan from the start was to just have a fermenting chamber under a large workbench that i am building in my brew room. like all things you tend to get more ideas or over think things. even putting a large tank of water more ore less in a fridge and using that water to cycle like a glycol unit would work. wouldn't get nearly as cold but for me i have no need to cold crash.
 

superiorsat

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"but for me i have no need to cold crash." I think you might be good with your idea then. Maintaining temp at a 60-70F level would not require a ton of heat transfer to accomplish this.
 
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Jako

Jako

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"but for me i have no need to cold crash." I think you might be good with your idea then. Maintaining temp at a 60-70F level would not require a ton of heat transfer to accomplish this.
thought about this for a night or two now. I think you are right it would work well for exactly how i intend to use it.
 

Lalo_uy

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that is very cool! will Glycol react negatively with copper? i feel like this is a stupid question.
I see plenty of chiller with a copper coil in a tank with water glycol mix with no problem.
Any way the system I talk about has no glycol. The freezing gas goes in the copper coil.
 

Bobby_M

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Unless you're already an HVAC tech with the tools and knowledge, you're not going to be replumbing the cooling lines into copper coils. It requires recharging the compression system with coolant. As others said, a tank inside a minifridge is not going to provide the heat exchange you need unless you're only planning to keep the fermenter 10F or less below ambient.
 
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Jako

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Is it just because a mini fridge has a small glycol capacity to begin with? Starting to understand I think.

Am I making a big mistake if I plan to turn one into a fermenting chamber?
 
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Jako

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I see plenty of chiller with a copper coil in a tank with water glycol mix with no problem.
Any way the system I talk about has no glycol. The freezing gas goes in the copper coil.
Whats the difference between each system? Would a gas chilled coil system chill the glycol?
 
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Jako

Jako

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Appreciate all the experience and knowledge. I love to learn. So I apologize all the brain picking
 
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I just finished a glycol chiller build (based upon the ideas of others of course!). A 5000 BTU A/C unit, a cooler, and glycol/H2Osolution. Inside are the pumps for the three fermenter's Anvil cooling systems. It chilled from ambient temp (84F) to 50F in about 10-15 minutes. Once I start fermenting again, I am sure it will need to run a little more often, but it's holding temp really well right now. Some stuff I had, some stuff I bought used, some stuff I bought new, but here is an estimate compared to a new Name-Brand Glycol Chiller at about $1,000 (not including any cooling hardware your fermenters might need):

A/C unit (new)-$160
Cooler-Old, Used, Basically Free
Glycol-$50/5 gallons, I used 2.5G with 5G of Distilled H2O-$6
Three Anvil Cooling Systems @ ~$125per=$375
Power Strip-Had It
Wood and Foam Insulation-$50
Neoprene (I am going to make insulating sleeves for the two SS fermenters I have that don't have one)-$25
Drill Bit for Tapping the SS Brewbucket Lids to allow for the Anvil Cooling Systems-$10
Inkbird for the A/C unit-Used, $25.

Approximately $701.

I looked at my plan as a serious option, since the cooling system alone for an SS Brewbucket is $256 (x2=$500+), plus Chiller($1000+), etc.

IMG_1234.JPG
 
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It's pretty simple because I set up each fermenter with its own temp controller and pump. I have seen more complicated systems, which if one is an engineer, are probably cheaper to set up, but I'm a theologian, so....
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csantoni

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It's pretty simple because I set up each fermenter with its own temp controller and pump. I have seen more complicated systems, which if one is an engineer, are probably cheaper to set up, but I'm a theologian, so....
I have a bit of a Frankencooler myself so I wonder if you could tell me a) what you used for the gaskets on the cooling lines going through the lid and b) where you plan to get the neoprene?
 
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The gaskets in the lid for the cooling hoses are just from the LHBS. They are the standard ones for a plastic bucket fermenter.

I got the neoprene at Joann’s fabrics. Lots of colors to choose from if you care; I’m a basic black kinda guy myself.
 
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