Frigidaire Model FRC445GB Mini-Fridge Kegerator Conversion

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noremorse1

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Frigidaire at Lowe's: 4.4 Cu. Ft. Compact Refrigerator (Color: Black)

This is a 4.4 cubic foot mini fridge available at Lowes. There is also a stainless steel model for the same price. It is deceptive to homebrewers because it has a freezer compartment. However, the freezer is plastic and with a few screws slides right out. Also, it has a locking door and will hold 2 5 gallon cornies, 1 3 gallon cornie, and 1 5 pound co2 bottle. However, there is a plastic drainage plug on the middle of the hump where the compressor is. It looks like I can remove this and run a co2 line through it to externally mount my co2 tank.

I have seen no descriptions of a conversion for this fridge yet. So... this will hopefully be of value to others. At $169.99 for such an attractive fridge, its a great find.
 
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noremorse1

noremorse1

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It appears no one has converted this model fridge into a kegerator and posted a how to online so I took some pictures when I put the fridge in place and set my keg and co2 tank inside. I plan on documenting the build for others to use as a resource. It appears this fridge will not work with a top mounted tap tower. The freezer is not permanent and comes out but, the top part of the fridge where the freezer was is thicker and gets very cold/frosty. I am quite sure the coolant lines run through this part. I guess this leaves me having to install taps through the door with a drip tray.

The fridge. Note the lock in the middle to keep others out!


Here is the inside of the fridge with all the shelving and feezer inside.


The freezer stands in my way!



Here is the bracket holding the freezer together.
 
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noremorse1

noremorse1

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Remove two screws and the bracket comes out freeing the freezer door.


With the bracket and door out, 1 shelf remains on the bottom and will just slide out.



The freezer shelf pulled out. It is obvious to see where the cooling lines run (thicker area in the top)


Stripped down you can see plenty of room for some keg action. In the middle of the compressor hump there is a plastic plug that fills a drainage hole. I will be using this to route the gas hose so I can externally mount the co2 canister. I will then be able to add a 3 gallon corny keg.
 
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noremorse1

noremorse1

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Here it is with a 5 gallon gallon keg and 5 pound co2 canister. There is room for another keg but, as you can see, the thermostat/light will have to be relocated.


After the Packers finish beating up on the Bears I am running to the homebrew store to look at, and possibly purchase, some of the supplies needed for a conversion. There is condensation on the top part of the fridge where the freezer was so a top mounted instillation is out of the question. I am going to run 3 taps through the front with 3" shanks and a stainless steel drip tray. I am then going to purchase some of those drawer handles to use as rails and put my glasses and a small wine rack on the top. Should turn out pretty classy.
 
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noremorse1

noremorse1

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Thank you so much for this build! I saw that one at Lowes, but couldn't find any details on conversion.
No problem. I figured this is the case with a lot of people. While I haven't started any drilling yet, it seems to be working well thus far. The fridge is set at 2 and seems to be cool enough. There is some frost and condensation on the top. The compressor runs almost like clockwork every 30 minutes for 4-7 minutes. It has been plugged in less than 24 hours and, according to the manual, the fridge will run more the first 48 hours of operation than the rest of its life.

Also, it is estimated to cost about $37 a year to run according to the energy guide.
 

smoes

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just a question, even though you removed the freezer tray it still going to freeze a bit correct? and if so would it freeze your beer lines
 

MoRoToRiUm

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Just because I see the unwanted tapping of your handles while passing this with them mounted in the front, have you seen the corn starch slurry method of detecting coolant lines? It looks like you have a plastic top- It's nothing more then removing the plastic so you have bare metal, and making a corn starch slurry mixed with vodka (seems to be most popular mix). It's been awhile since I did mine, so I forget if you have it unplugged awhile, apply slurry and plug in or vice versa (Do a search on Sanyo 4912 conversions and it will show up). Thought this might help.

Thanks for sharing!
 

MoRoToRiUm

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just a question, even though you removed the freezer tray it still going to freeze a bit correct? and if so would it freeze your beer lines
If coolant lines are on the top, the cold air should sink down, so it might be even cheaper to run. If you find a problem with it being excessively cold on the top, add a ducted blower to suck the cold air down.
 
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noremorse1

noremorse1

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I have seen the corn starch/alcohol slurry technique and was planning on applying that method here. However, with this fridge it is a little more than removing the plastic top as there are no screws to remove freeing up the top portion. It appears to be solidly glued down. The top tier of the fridge has coolant lines running throughout and this is the portion that cools the rest of the fridge. I was hoping I could find a way to remove the plastic top without risking damage to the fridge but, it doesn't appear there is one.

If anyone can advise me on a safe way to remove the top, I am all ears. Otherwise I am forced to run the taps from the front. The plastic top insulates the heat enough so that I do not have a reliable way to detect where there are and are not lines.

Also, I am not opposed to running taps out of the door. The door on this model is not able to swing all the way to the side of the fridge. It will go about 10 degrees pass parallel with the wall of the fridge and then it stops. With 5 foot lines this will be fine. I plan on coiling the lines and wrapping them with velcro straps and securing them to the door. It will be a little more bother than a tower but, I do not have to throw down $50-$200 on a tower nor do I have to worry about cooling my tower. Also, it will allow me to place more stuff on top of the fridge.

As to the question of freezing my beer lines; they have not frozen yet. The setting on the fridge goes up to 7 but, at 2 it cools enough for the 1 keg. I may have to go up to 3 with the fridge full. Does not seem to be an issue here.
 

-Dan-

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Do you think you can fit a 3gal corny next to the 5gal one?
 
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noremorse1

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Do you think you can fit a 3gal corny next to the 5gal one?
I can fit a 5 gallon keg next to the other and 1 3 gallon keg on the hump in the back, between the two 5 gallon kegs. Of course, this will be with an externally mounted co2 tank.
 

MoRoToRiUm

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As far as taking the top of, the only thing I can suggest is patience and steam. Might not be worth it if you are pretty sure the lines are 'all over' the top, and are happy without a tower.

Aren't you afraid of someone brushing the tap handle as they walk by, spilling precious homebrew everywhere? I said it before but didn't get any feedback, just thought I'd mention it again.
 
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noremorse1

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As far as taking the top of, the only thing I can suggest is patience and steam. Might not be worth it if you are pretty sure the lines are 'all over' the top, and are happy without a tower.

Aren't you afraid of someone brushing the tap handle as they walk by, spilling precious homebrew everywhere? I said it before but didn't get any feedback, just thought I'd mention it again.

Not an issue. The fridge sits in the gap between my desk and the edge of a wall. There is an indent in the wall in my office that is about 7 feet wide and 4 feet deep with a nice huge window to look out of. So the fridge is recessed in a few inches with the perfect 3 inch gap on each side and 4 inch in the back, just like my fridge manual suggests. It is a thing of genius and the fridge is protected from bumps. Also, once the drip tray is installed, it will stick out further than the faucets and provide even more protection.

Also, all of the cooling lines run through the top portion and this is where the cooling takes place. The top will not come off without a religous effort. I bought this fridge knowing full well I was running the taps out of the front.

This is not a tower conversion.
 

MoRoToRiUm

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Not an issue. The fridge sits in the gap between my desk and the edge of a wall. There is an indent in the wall in my office that is about 7 feet wide and 4 feet deep with a nice huge window to look out of. So the fridge is recessed in a few inches with the perfect 3 inch gap on each side and 4 inch in the back, just like my fridge manual suggests. It is a thing of genius and the fridge is protected from bumps. Also, once the drip tray is installed, it will stick out further than the faucets and provide even more protection.
As long as the precious is protected :) I mean beer...
 

croid

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Looking at the pictures, it looks like there might be about 2-3 inches toward the front of the top of the freezer where the cooling plate isn't. Would it be possible to drill through that to mount a tower? Or is there a chance the plates there and will ruin it?

It might look kinda funny having the tower toward the front of the unit, but I suppose you could get creative and make your own tower???
 

EdWort

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As far as taking the top of, the only thing I can suggest is patience and steam. Might not be worth it if you are pretty sure the lines are 'all over' the top, and are happy without a tower.

Aren't you afraid of someone brushing the tap handle as they walk by, spilling precious homebrew everywhere? I said it before but didn't get any feedback, just thought I'd mention it again.
That's where this comes in very handy.

SELF CLOSING FAUCET HEAD @ Williams Brewing



Chrome plated brass faucet head features two positions, on and off. A spring loaded lever closes the faucet as soon as the handle is released, preventing the spilling of beer. Fits all standard faucet shanks. For standard dispensing pressures. Does not include tap handle or shank coupling nut.
 

baker0408

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Any more ideas if a tower could be added to the top?? I found this fridge at lowes for 169, but I want a fridge with a tower.
 

BrianP

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Were you able to relocate the thermostat in order to fit the 2nd keg?
 

shrimpcreole

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Thank you for the pcitures. I just purchased the fridge, and would love to see your final product. If it's not a problem, would you mind posting more photos???
 

hoppingmad

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How about a false top? Make one out of timber, so you can screw the tower to it, and recess a drip tray into it, and then either glue it on, or screw some "locators" ino the timber so it just sits on top but can't move.

Looks like the coolant lines in the freezer section don't come all of the way to the front of the fridge, so if it were my project, I would risk drilling a hole in front of where the freezer door used to be and run the lines out from there. If you have to, you could run the lines under your false top to get back further to the rear of the fridge. Sure this will make for a little bit more warm beer on the first pour, but that's not a really big deal. Maybe some 90 degree elbows on the lines where they go up, so the lines inside can point straight back, giving you the ability to have a bit of excess line behind the kegs, then looped back to the tops of the kegs?
 

FxdGrMind

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I'm interested too as I sway this at Lowes today, but passed on it due to the freezer on top.... This is interesting.

Any final pictures?
 

CornerBar7804

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Any new news on the build? I had been looking for a good conversion fridge for over a year, and recently bought the same fridge. You may be able to fit a larger keg inside if you "shave off" the molding that runs down the middle of the door, especially if you keep out the CO2 tank. I think I am going to run the lines out the side and to a tower mounted on my bartop but am worried about drilling through something....
 

MoRoToRiUm

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Has anyone attempted the slurry method? How about drilling/cutting small hole in the plastic lining up top and probing for lines with a coat hanger? I don't have one of these, but I know members like CornerBar7804 could benefit from others experiences :)

Welcome to the threads CornerBar7804!
 

BrianP

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Bump. Any news or updates? I'm curious about how the relocation of the thermostat went. Pics would be appreciated.
 

mikeyc

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Bump. Any news or updates? I'm curious about how the relocation of the thermostat went. Pics would be appreciated.
Ditto... A friend just gave me the exact same fridge. Im going to start the conversion next week. And even better, I have an Irish stout going to secondary tonight. I would love for that to be my first kegged brew!!!!! Any updates would be awesome.
 

sullivtl

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I converted this fridge a few weeks ago and plan on kegging my first batch next week. First of all, thanks for posting the initial feedback on this fridge. I removed the plastic housing for the thermostat and light and used a little duct tape to tape to the wall of the fridge a little further back (could probably do something a little nicer looking, but I wasn't worried about what it looked like behind the kegs). That allowed me to fit two cornys in the frigde perfectly. I ran a shank through the front of the door and plan on adding another tap in the near future. Two homebrews on tap! :rockin:
 

rth97601

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I just picked one of these up myself, and I'm fishing for others' experience ...

I got this for homebrew dispensing, but anybody put any smaller commercial kegs in this? if so what size? I can get fairly inexpensive 1/6 and 1/4 kegs of good local beer, and have a Sankey coupler that came with my secondhand conversion kit (and I'm thinking of building a mount so I can rest a regular 1/4 on the compressor hump). It looks like they should fit, but I am wondering if anybody's run into any problems with this before I actually buy one. It's no real loss if it won't work, but the versatility would be nice ...

Also, how did the drilling out the drain plug (or other external tank hole) go? It's really narrow out of the box, and won't take the 9/16 tubing without a lot of drilling out. What about running it through the side?

One last one ... what's the best configuration for a 2-tap front-mount setup? I presume high up, so the shank won't hit the kegs, but is there anything else I should be keeping in mind?

Thanks
 

kracken41

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If anyone figures out a good way to drill the top of this please let us know. This looks like a good bang-for-the-buck fridge, but due to space limitations I have to run to a tower.
 

Myrdhyn

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Just got this a few days ago for my keg setup. As the OP stated, the top is on there fairly solid, not sure what it would take to get it off so you could find the coils to drill around, but I am sure that I do not want to risk damaging it to find out. I'm going with a front mount setup. Two taps, fairly close to the center (horizontally) and up high. If I later expand to two 3gal corny kegs on the compressor shelf and two 5gal cornies up front, I'll put two more taps on either side of the original two.

I'll try and remember to take pictures when I start my conversion, if i can find my digital camera.
 

kracken41

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Has anyone actually completed a kegerator with this fridge yet? I am trying to get a kegerator built for St Patty's day and am slightly concerned about temperature consistency with this model. I'm curious if anyone has been able to verify that this fridge will hold a good temperature.

Thanks in advance.
 

Myrdhyn

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I'll have a conversion complete by the end of the week. Will definitely do my best to remember the camera.
 

Myrdhyn

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I literally JUST posted my build thread on this.

To the guy asking about temps: Seems fairly consistent, but I don't have any exact temps for you right now (they were sold out of fridge thermometers). I can tell you this, turned up high, with a full keg and 10# co2 tank inside, this fridge will maintain sub-freezing temps (yeah my beer lines froze and I couldn't get any co2 to flow, freaked me out for a sec). Turned low, it will maintain ~45*F. I've got it on about 3 now which is mid-range. I'll toss a bottle of water in it and take the waters temp tomorrow.
 

rth97601

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I've set up the same fridge, and my temps seem awfully low, in comparison--different reads on different thermometers in different places in the fridge, but at the lowest setting I'm getting reads between 34 and 38 and plenty of ice forming on the top as condensation freezes--and that's with a full keg and 5# CO2 tank (I've had it gassing up for a week now). Room temp fluctuates between 60 and 66, which might have some effect, but overall it's a bit cold for English-style ales. I've got an external thermostat on order, but if anyone has any suggestions on how to warm it up a few degrees without having to buy another piece of equipment, I'm all ears.
 

Myrdhyn

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Did you get the settings backwards?

1 on the fridge is the warmest setting, 7 on the fridge is the coldest setting. I have mine halfway between 2 and 3 and it maintains low 40s. If I crank it to 7 it sits below 30*. My room temp is approximately the same as yours.
 

pen25

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dont forget when building with one of these its best to use a fan to circulate the air. this will allow you to keep it at a warmer setting and prevent it from cycling. i pull air up
 

rth97601

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I've got it on one, right on the edge of the off switch ... I did have it up higher, and it got below freezing when it was empty. I actually went out and bought a fridge thermometer to confirm, since I didn't trust my mash therm or my wife's cheese therm (suited as they are for higher temps). Still the same numbers--maybe I ended up with a random superfridge, though that seems odd. So how does the fan fit into it? I don't have one--is it something freestanding, or do you wire it in?
 
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