"emergency" Keezer build with collar

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NitrogenWidget

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so my big beautiful bev-air two tower stainless kegerator bit the dust.
it's old and uses R12.
was found yrs ago and given to me for free and I got about 4 or 5 yrs out of it.
but it's no longer getting cold and compressor is making a heck of a racket and most likely shot.

so my problem is I have 35-40 gallons of kegged beer and not a lot of space to cool it for serving.
it's mostly 4 different brews with backup kegs so it doesn't all need to be cold at once.

I have a 7 cu ft magic chef black chest freezer coming from walmart today.
I have the towers from my old kegerator that hold 3 taps and this thing will hold 3 kegs and a tank easy
easy peasy install.

my only concern is if it craps out under warranty it'll have a some holes in the lid and that will be an issue if I try to return it.
on the other hand if i go with a collar i have 4 taps and a drip tray for a fridge i never used and i can return the freezer if it dies.
plus i'll be able to fit 4 kegs and a tank...

I think i just talked myself out of re-using my tower and going with a collar.
LOL

pics of this very basic build to follow.
 

Broken Crow

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Before you toss your bev air.. I've read that R-600 works well in the old R12 units and even runs more efficiently. If you live some place that has certified it, you could call around for a purge & charge.
 
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NitrogenWidget

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Before you toss your bev air.. I've read that R-600 works well in the old R12 units and even runs more efficiently. If you live some place that has certified it, you could call around for a purge & charge.
I won't toss it.
however the compressor is most likely shot.
It has no pressure in the system and it had been running days like that when i was out of town.

its not a quick fix but i have an AC guy and we will come up with something so we can use a more up to date coolant.
it was struggling last summer, making the lights dim when the compressor powered on being loud while running and clunking like heck when it shut off.

Freezer is here and kegs are only a few inches above the opening when on the hump so i will get 4 in plus tank for sure.
I have a lot of 2x6 pressure treated board 3 and 4 ft so i'm going to clean those up while i let the freezer run to make sure it actually works.
brand new but still....
 

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Toss the old unit. It isn't worth the expense to try a charge. And for that matter, your power bill will thank you.
 

Bobby_M

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My second keezer just died and I've written off chest freezers forever now. I'm just tired of heaving full kegs up and over a tall wall and trying to negotiate slipping it between all the hoses.

However, since you're embarking on this...On my first keezer build, I made the most shallow, lightweight collar I could get away with using 1x3 poplar. I attached it to the lid so that when open, all the serving lines and shanks lifted up and out of the way. The spring built in to the hinges was not quite up to the task so you'll either need a prop-stick or some other kind of solution, but overall it was way better than the collar staying put.

The hardest part is that you do need to remove the gasket from the lid and relocate it to the bottom of the collar. In retrospect, I probably would have just stuck some thin foam weatherstripping on there and skipped the gasket.
 
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NitrogenWidget

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My second keezer just died and I've written off chest freezers forever now. I'm just tired of heaving full kegs up and over a tall wall and trying to negotiate slipping it between all the hoses.

However, since you're embarking on this...On my first keezer build, I made the most shallow, lightweight collar I could get away with using 1x3 poplar. I attached it to the lid so that when open, all the serving lines and shanks lifted up and out of the way. The spring built in to the hinges was not quite up to the task so you'll either need a prop-stick or some other kind of solution, but overall it was way better than the collar staying put.

The hardest part is that you do need to remove the gasket from the lid and relocate it to the bottom of the collar. In retrospect, I probably would have just stuck some thin foam weatherstripping on there and skipped the gasket.
I hear you on the lifting part.
but i have to go with a 2x6 because a 2x4 will be tight with a keg on the hump once the connectors are on it.
I have some 1 inch wide 3/4" thick weather stripping i plan to use with the collar plus caulk.
My plan is to keep the collar stationary and only lift the lid though hadn't thought of the octopus inside so i'll have to be sure to add some hose management.
the lifting of the kegs won't be an issue, but i can see how it will be annoying. my dead kegerator has front doors and i will miss those.
since it's going under a covered porch I can hang one of those miniature pully systems from the ceiling joists if it really does become a problem.
 

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My second keezer just died and I've written off chest freezers forever now. I'm just tired of heaving full kegs up and over a tall wall and trying to negotiate slipping it between all the hoses.

However, since you're embarking on this...On my first keezer build, I made the most shallow, lightweight collar I could get away with using 1x3 poplar. I attached it to the lid so that when open, all the serving lines and shanks lifted up and out of the way. The spring built in to the hinges was not quite up to the task so you'll either need a prop-stick or some other kind of solution, but overall it was way better than the collar staying put.

The hardest part is that you do need to remove the gasket from the lid and relocate it to the bottom of the collar. In retrospect, I probably would have just stuck some thin foam weatherstripping on there and skipped the gasket.
I am curious, what are you going to use next?
 
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NitrogenWidget

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busy weekend but got a few hrs to work on it.
collar is painted black now and drying just to help protect the wood.
I have some rough cut oak from pallets that will fit perfectly as trim pieces on the front and sides.
those will be painted black also and clear coated.
I ended up going with lifting the collar because otherwise i would of had to route out slots for the hinges.
it lifts just fine so no big issue.
IMG_0206.jpg
IMG_0207.jpg
 

NEMaker

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I am curious, what are you going to use next?
My second keezer just died and I've written off chest freezers forever now. I'm just tired of heaving full kegs up and over a tall wall and trying to negotiate slipping it between all the hoses.

However, since you're embarking on this...On my first keezer build, I made the most shallow, lightweight collar I could get away with using 1x3 poplar. I attached it to the lid so that when open, all the serving lines and shanks lifted up and out of the way. The spring built in to the hinges was not quite up to the task so you'll either need a prop-stick or some other kind of solution, but overall it was way better than the collar staying put.

The hardest part is that you do need to remove the gasket from the lid and relocate it to the bottom of the collar. In retrospect, I probably would have just stuck some thin foam weatherstripping on there and skipped the gasket.
Seconding this question - what are you planning to use next @Bobby_M ? As with you, I'm tired of heaving the kegs over the collar while navigating the tubing/shanks. Freezer chests are also a PITA to clean. I've been debating a Komos/Kegland Kegerator, but I wasn't sure if that was the best solution.
 

TenaCJed

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busy weekend but got a few hrs to work on it.
collar is painted black now and drying just to help protect the wood.
I have some rough cut oak from pallets that will fit perfectly as trim pieces on the front and sides.
those will be painted black also and clear coated.
I ended up going with lifting the collar because otherwise i would of had to route out slots for the hinges.
it lifts just fine so no big issue.
You can use regular door hinges for the top lid since it is not too much weight. I just added some wood inbetween to attach to the lid and then the door hinges. You can see here:

 
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NitrogenWidget

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You can use regular door hinges for the top lid since it is not too much weight. I just added some wood inbetween to attach to the lid and then the door hinges. You can see here:

the way i did it actually works out better.
less height to lift the kegs.

more progress.
not sure if i'll just paint the unpainted board or fit some gasket material in there.
i don't need the material i don't think.
I put insulation on the inside of the collar and caulked the corners.
the lids insulation gasket is still intact and just held to the collar with double sided tape.
i have it hooked up to the inkbird now and just want to see how bad it leaks cold air once cooled down. :)

tomorrow i drill the taps and start hooking kegs up.
probably putting them in the middle to avoid the hump and because i like them in the middle.
going to have to decide on what i do with the inkbird (yes i have a 5 min compressor delay on). probably just hang it off the front and cable manage it around the side and to the back.

I just put a trailer hitch on my car and have access to a small trailer.
next time i need something to keep my beer cool i'm going with a cheap market place fridge.
drill the holes for the taps and done.
not that this is some great task but that i really do have other things to get done and could of been working on those.

image_50433793.JPG
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TenaCJed

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I have the same height as you as mine is dual hinged. The freezer hinges are at the bottom of the collar, meaning I lift the entire collar out of the way. I was only referring to using the door hinges on the freezer top attached to the top of the collar.
 
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NitrogenWidget

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If you have access to a drill press, easier to drill your tap holes while the collar is not assembled and that will ensure a nice straight hole as well!!!
I think i did pretty good with just a spade bit while it was in place.
I have some magnet hooks coming for the drip tray and will color in the sides i forgot to paint.
one thing i didn't think about.
I put the temp sensor in the collar and by the time it got down to temp that high up my kegs had partially frozen.
oops.
I've moved it closer to the bottom.
I still have to figure hose management and whether i'm going to keep my 3 regulator panel in there from my old unit or just go with a simple 3-way co2 splitter. It's tight in there.

image_50414849.JPG
 

Yesfan

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Seconding this question - what are you planning to use next @Bobby_M ? As with you, I'm tired of heaving the kegs over the collar while navigating the tubing/shanks. Freezer chests are also a PITA to clean. I've been debating a Komos/Kegland Kegerator, but I wasn't sure if that was the best solution.


I have a Komos that, so far, I'm happy with it. Like you and Bobby mentioned, lifting kegs up and over the chest freezer gets old quick. That and constantly trying to keep the condensation to a minimum was a pain. The chest freezer's biggest advantage is containing spills from a leaky keg, but a pita to clean when you open the lid to find your keg floating in a sea of beer.

The Komos is a 4 tap tower. I love the small footprint and the front door access, but it's tight with 4 kegs. I don't drink as much as I used to, so may think about having two of the four taps for 1-2 gallon batches. I just have to figure out a way to hook up my gas distributor. I like it as it has shut off valves vs the supplied Duotight tee connnections.

For the most part I like mine. They are pricey, but (for right now) I don't regret leaving the chest freezer.
 
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Yesfan

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I think i did pretty good with just a spade bit while it was in place.
I have some magnet hooks coming for the drip tray and will color in the sides i forgot to paint.
one thing i didn't think about.
I put the temp sensor in the collar and by the time it got down to temp that high up my kegs had partially frozen.
oops.
I've moved it closer to the bottom.
I still have to figure hose management and whether i'm going to keep my 3 regulator panel in there from my old unit or just go with a simple 3-way co2 splitter. It's tight in there.

View attachment 773058


When I had mine, I took a beer bottle full of water (capped of course) and taped the temp sensor to the side and set it on the hump. Never had issues with frozen beer. I kept my temp at 40F. I took a piece of 1/2" scrap board, cut two holes in it for CPU fans that I used to keep the air circulating and the temps from stratifying. The freezer's included basket(s) were great for commercial cans and/or bottle brews.
 
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NitrogenWidget

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When I had mine, I took a beer bottle full of water (capped of course) and taped the temp sensor to the side and set it on the hump. Never had issues with frozen beer. I kept my temp at 40F. I took a piece of 1/2" scrap board, cut two holes in it for CPU fans that I used to keep the air circulating and the temps from stratifying. The freezer's included basket(s) were great for commercial cans and/or bottle brews.
don't know why i didn't think of taping the sensor to a bottle of water.
I did that in my ferm chamber.
this is an adjustment, having temp control. my other one was a knob with numbers and an arrow saying colder. :)

i've raised my desired temp to 35 and will go higher i think.
no more ice crystals but it makes my teeth hurt its so cold. lol.

fan would be a good idea and did not check to see if the basket will fit but should.
 

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I have to agree with Bobby_M on the chest freezer issue. I bought a magic chef at first. Died in two years. Doing much better with the Fridgadaire, 4 or 5 years and just fine. I would consider a better commercial unit except for the cost. If you have the Bev Air and it is in good shape overall, I would have put a compressor in it and flushed the rest. At work we have environmental chambers that go from -40 to 120C. some of them are over 30 years old. Yes we do fail compressors occasionally, and I think some of the coils should be replaced. But these are running constantly and the shaking kills them. It would at least be worth taking a few pics up to a local refrigeration shop and asking a price.

Of course if the rest is rusted out, not worth it.
 
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NitrogenWidget

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I have to agree with Bobby_M on the chest freezer issue. I bought a magic chef at first. Died in two years. Doing much better with the Fridgadaire, 4 or 5 years and just fine. I would consider a better commercial unit except for the cost. If you have the Bev Air and it is in good shape overall, I would have put a compressor in it and flushed the rest. At work we have environmental chambers that go from -40 to 120C. some of them are over 30 years old. Yes we do fail compressors occasionally, and I think some of the coils should be replaced. But these are running constantly and the shaking kills them. It would at least be worth taking a few pics up to a local refrigeration shop and asking a price.

Of course if the rest is rusted out, not worth it.
The bev air is R12.
too cost prohibitive to try and fix the existing cooling system in there.
And that's if i can get the proper parts or coolant.
i've been cooking up a plan that theoretically should work according to my BIL who is an AC guy.

if i get this thing fixed i'll put up a project log on what i did.

on a side note, because of the way i built it and the 3yr extended warranty, it's just a matter of taking the collar off and putting the lid back on to replace it.
I plan to turn it back into a freezer once i get the bevair fixed but who knows when that will happen.

on another side note if i do ever build a new one from scratch i'm going with a top/bottom freezer fridge because lifting full kegs into these things is just a massive pain in the ass.

a fridge would of allowed the door open and given me a place to keep ice for drinks.
hopefully i'll have my bev air back next summer and the keggorator will be my ferm chamber.
I bought ball lock bulk heads for my fermentors so i will be able to push the beer out with CO2 into my kegs
 

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The bev air is R12.
too cost prohibitive to try and fix the existing cooling system in there.
And that's if i can get the proper parts or coolant.
i've been cooking up a plan that theoretically should work according to my BIL who is an AC guy.

if i get this thing fixed i'll put up a project log on what i did.

on a side note, because of the way i built it and the 3yr extended warranty, it's just a matter of taking the collar off and putting the lid back on to replace it.
I plan to turn it back into a freezer once i get the bevair fixed but who knows when that will happen.

on another side note if i do ever build a new one from scratch i'm going with a top/bottom freezer fridge because lifting full kegs into these things is just a massive pain in the ass.

a fridge would of allowed the door open and given me a place to keep ice for drinks.
hopefully i'll have my bev air back next summer and the keggorator will be my ferm chamber.
I bought ball lock bulk heads for my fermentors so i will be able to push the beer out with CO2 into my kegs
I was reading few months ago that they can flush out an older unit and replace the coolant with newer coolant. The compressor was supposed to be the hardest to wash out, but you would be replacing that. The flush is still necessay to get rid of the old oil out of the coils. I agree that R12 is cost prohibitive, that is not what I was suggesting at all. I was considering reworking a fridge that I thought was dying and it seemed reasonable with a small efficiency loss. Turned out the fridge was just upset at being moved, and was rattling strangely, a second move and it is fine. (it is about 70 years old) If the stainless is in good shape the Bev Air should be worth refitting. The keezer I have now has tiny rust pops in the chamber, not happy about that.
 
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NitrogenWidget

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I was reading few months ago that they can flush out an older unit and replace the coolant with newer coolant. The compressor was supposed to be the hardest to wash out, but you would be replacing that. The flush is still necessay to get rid of the old oil out of the coils. I agree that R12 is cost prohibitive, that is not what I was suggesting at all. I was considering reworking a fridge that I thought was dying and it seemed reasonable with a small efficiency loss. Turned out the fridge was just upset at being moved, and was rattling strangely, a second move and it is fine. (it is about 70 years old) If the stainless is in good shape the Bev Air should be worth refitting. The keezer I have now has tiny rust pops in the chamber, not happy about that.
got it.
the stainless is nice.

i don't want to try and swap compressors.
the condenser on r12 units are smaller than on newer units and may not cool as well.

i'm going this route with either a bigger fridge or a window AC unit.

 
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