Ferm chamber set-up

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FloppyKnockers

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Hey guys;
I recently made a move from Oregon to Texas. I did realize that room temperature in Oregon is cooler and more ale friendly than room temp in Fort Worth... I need a ferm chamber.

I want to be able to ferment two buckets/carboys at the same time. A freezerless fridge is ideal, but hard to come by. An upright freezer is readily available, but it was much harder than expected to find one with adjustable shelves. Seems as though a lot of them use the shelves to run coils. Sounds very efficient, but not for my purposes.

I finally landed on the FFFU13F2VW from Frigidaire. After removing some shelves and door bins, it's perfect!

ferm1.jpg


On account I don't know of a yeast that thrives at 0°, I'm gonna use an Inkbird to regulate my temps.

The hard part of this is getting the probe on the inside of the freezer. The sides get warm when it's on so I'd rather not risk hitting a line. It's a frost free model so running the probe near the heating element is a bad idea. The back would be fine, but don't like that idea much. I decided to run the probe through the door. For cable management purposes, I decided to put the hole in the door bin area.

After choosing the right sized bit, I went at it. It was then I found out that a regular sized bit will not make it through the thickness of the door...

ferm2.jpg


Time to break out the super bit!

ferm5.jpg


In hindsight, I should have really spent some time with this dull as hell bit. It did the job, but the exit wound was a little ugly.

ferm6.jpg


A little clean-up work with a countersink should clean that up...

ferm7.jpg


Noice!

Now it's just a matter of feeding the probe through the hole and mounting the controller. The Command release adhesive strips are available individually without hooks or hardware and are the best things since the last best thing.

ferm8.jpg


I had to cut them short to fit so I used the cut-offs for the plug that I will stick to the side of the fridge.

ferm4.jpg


Once stuck, we're good to go on the outside!

ferm3.jpg


Now to the inside for some cable and probe management.

With the probe cable in the shelf bin it was a snap to coil the wire and twist tie it. I don't want the probe to touch any of the sidewalls or shelf, otherwise it may throw off the reading. I want it suspended. A binder clip and some solder gives me a good route to a more permanent solution later on.

ferm9.jpg


Another consideration to using this and other freezers of its kind as a ferm chamber is the audible temp alarm. This is designed to be used as a freezer and as such, if it drops below 20°, it will sound a very annoying alarm. This alarm will sound whenever the freezer is energized by the Inkbird. In a different thread when I specifically asked about this, it was the advise of @tracer bullet that I followed and just pulled the speaker (black disc) off of the circuit board. The advice from @day_trippr and @TheBluePhantom of cutting the Buz+ or Buz- leads was very sound and would have likely worked as well. I just went with the mongo approach first.

This little guy took a minute to find and in my case was hiding under the cap to the top right hinge... sneaky.

fridge alarm.jpg
 
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FloppyKnockers

FloppyKnockers

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I wish I had the room for a full sized fridge ferm chamber. You’re stoked on the new set up, looks great. You may want to consider taking the probe and taping it to the side of your bucket/carboy to get a better temp reading.
Ahh, yes. The 'where's the best place to put my probe' discussion. In by lager chamber I do affix my probe to the fermenter. In this case, because I'm doing two at once, I decided that ambient air would be the best route. Mainly because I did not one bucket's activity to determine the temperature of the second.
 

Toxxyc

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Are you replacing or bracing those shelves? I remember when I fermented in mine, those shelves flexed a LOT and I swore I would upgrade them later. Eventually I went with a chest freezer for fermenting so I never upgraded those wire racks, but perhaps it's something you want to look at?
 
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FloppyKnockers

FloppyKnockers

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Are you replacing or bracing those shelves? I remember when I fermented in mine, those shelves flexed a LOT and I swore I would upgrade them later. Eventually I went with a chest freezer for fermenting so I never upgraded those wire racks, but perhaps it's something you want to look at?
That's a great point. I did brace my lager chamber for the same reason. I leaned on these shelves quite a bit and it had minimal flex. I'll do a practice run with just some water to find my comfort level.

When I did my lager chamber I just used a piece of angle aluminum and a few bolts and washers. If I do that here I will post up with pics.
 
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