Fermentation Cabinet idea

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SowegaBrews

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I built a simple corner bookshelf with a space for my mini-fridge for my bedroom around a year ago before i was into brewing. the mini-fridge is way too small to be used for anything other than holding the occasional couple brewskies, and i would like to keep it available for that. so here's my idea...

i want to build a fermentation chamber under the bookshelf, and use a temperature controller and fan to move cold air from the mini-fridge into the fermentation chamber below.... so that my mini-fridge can remain cold and i can still control my temps in the chamber.



Thoughts?

questions for you guys...

what are my risks in drilling two large holes into the side of my fridge? i dont see anything whatsoever running from the compressor in the back into the walls.

do you think 1.5" insulation will be enough? i have a keggerator so this will be a fermentation only thing. my guess is that the fridge will be able to handle it but some of you probably have more experience with these sorts of things.
 

Nerro

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The brewspace and the piping will need to be VERY well insulated because a small fridge like that will have a rather limited capacity to remove heat from all that extra space.

So long as you watch out not to puncture any of the coolant lines you should be fine.
 
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SowegaBrews

SowegaBrews

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anyone know if i could avoid the coolant lines by drilling through the bottom of the fridge rather than the side? it would look better and be easier to insulate the pipes as well...

using the pics in this thread as an example i think it might work... https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/finally-my-fermentation-chiller-65929/

i'm also thinking if my mini-fridge can't handle it, i could just throw in a few frozen 20oz bottles to help out.
 

Nerro

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What type of fridge do you have? Will its producer give you it's schematics when you ask nicely? Perhaps it's even out there on the intarwebs :)

To give the fridge a bit of an edge you could mount one or two 120mm fans on the cooling grid on its back. They use something like 12V and introduce a nice bit of airflow with relatively little additional heat and noise being produced. At 12V DC and only a small current the risk of fire should be minimal.
 

Mattbastard

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I could see that mini fridge cooling the space occupied by ONE carboy, but four is a bit of a stretch. If you upgraded to a larger mini fridge, then maybe.

Why don't you just cut the side off a fridge and put it right in the chamber with the carboys?
 

Dr_Deathweed

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I could see that mini fridge cooling the space occupied by ONE carboy, but four is a bit of a stretch. If you upgraded to a larger mini fridge, then maybe.

Why don't you just cut the side off a fridge and put it right in the chamber with the carboys?

One thing i found when putting mine together was that most of the mini fridges I looked at, ranging from 1.5 cuf to 6.5cuf had the exact same compressor ratings. With that knowledge, you can find the formulas on line to determine the BTU usage you would need to keep an area of X cubic feet at Y temperature difference from ambient with Z insulation rating. Its a bit of a chore, but worth it when you figure out what kind of compressor is needed to keep your area cool.

As for the project, it may be easier to scrap the fridge you have (see the link above or in my sig) instead of trying to pipe in cold air from above. My main concern is not so much the fridge keeping up with all those fermentors, but the ability to pipe enough cool air from that small space, through those pipes to keep an area that large at a reasonable temperature. It could be possible, but you would need a pretty decent blower and a fairly good diameter pipe to move enough air to accomplish your goal.
 
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SowegaBrews

SowegaBrews

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I am, for whatever reason, fairly certain this will work pretty well. especially if i help out my mini-fridge with some frozen bottles. I'm not really looking for lager temps, just a consistent ale temp. it'll be sort of like the "son of fermentation" ice/fridge combo. and if its too much space i can always just make the chamber smaller with a couple pieces of insulation.
 
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