Is my new Keezer operating properly?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

M.Bonfire

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
Hi All. I converted a brand new Magic Chef chest freezer (HMCF7W2) to my first keezer, using a 2x4 collar with 3 taps. It is a 6.9 cubic ft model.

I'm using an Inkbird ITC-308 set for a 38 degree target; the low and high temperature variances were already set at 3 degrees so I left them alone. So my temperature control range is 35 - 41 degrees.

My question is - do you think it's normal for the range of 35 - 41 be cycling every 65 minutes?

The compressor comes on at 41 and cools to 38 in about 10 minutes. With the compressor off, the temperature continues to cool for about 7 minutes to 36.1 degrees.

From 36.1 the temperature rises to 38 in about 18 minutes.

From 38 the temperature continues to rise to 41 after 30 minutes. And the 65-ish minute cycle continues.

My beer store contact told me the compressor should hardly ever need to come on.

Ambient temperature in my house is 70. To make sure the lid is fully closed and insulated I have placed weights on it (it didn't appear to be closing fully along the front). I've checked that the silicone used to affix the collar to the freezer frame has no visible spots on the exterior where leaking might be occurring.

So... (1) do you consider this cycle time to be average/normal?
If not, (2) what would you do next (i.e., put insulation on the inside of the collar? and/or use some technique or device to help pinpoint where a leak is occurring?)

Thanks in advance for helping me with this.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
20,290
Reaction score
10,590
Location
Pasadena, MD
First off, welcome to HBT!

How many kegs are inside your keezer? How full are they?
The higher the thermal mass inside the keezer, the longer the intervals between active cooling cycles will be.

[Added] If you don't have kegs with beer or another beverage, you can just stick a keg with water in it.*
Or make a keg full of Seltzer, they're quick to make. :)

You could add some 3/4 - 1" styrofoam insulation on the inside of your collar. Every bit to insulate helps. But you'll still "lose cold" through the shanks/faucets, and other areas. The insulation inside chest freezer lids can be quite pitiful.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
M

M.Bonfire

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
I have one corny keg at least 3/4 full, and a 5 lb CO2 cylinder.

Per your suggestion, I have a spare empty keg I can fill with water.

Re insulation... I'll install around the collar and underside of the lid. Then recheck cycle time.

Thank you for the helpful response.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
20,290
Reaction score
10,590
Location
Pasadena, MD
Per your suggestion, I have a spare empty keg I can fill with water.
Leave a little headspace, though, ~16-32oz., for expansion.
You could also use Starsan.

Adding that extra thermal mass should help extend cycle times by quite a bit.

Another important detail:
Where is your Inkbird probe located? Strapped to your keg about 1/4-1/3 up from the bottom?

Re: the lid
If you can easily get to the inside of the lid, by removing the plastic inside panel, check and maybe beef up the insulation in there.
Or better, first ask around here what people do to better insulate the lid.
 
OP
OP
M

M.Bonfire

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
The Inkbird probe is hanging off the beer line maybe 4 inches below the lid. Sounds like I should strap it (with tape, I assume) to the bottom ~ 1/3 of the keg.
 

day_trippr

The Central Scruuuutinizer
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
39,338
Reaction score
22,636
Location
Stow, MA
fwiw, I use 24"x2" velcro straps I picked up years ago in a Lowes.
Whatever you use, make sure to insulate the probe from the cabinet air with something substantial.
I pin my sensors under a ~4"x4" chunk of inch-thick closed cell foam with the straps...

Cheers!
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
20,290
Reaction score
10,590
Location
Pasadena, MD
The Inkbird probe is hanging off the beer line maybe 4 inches below the lid. Sounds like I should strap it (with tape, I assume) to the bottom ~ 1/3 of the keg.
Hanging the probe in thin air is definitely not advantageous. The air temp changes too much and too often.
Cold air is heavier than warm air and sinks, so measuring 4 inches under the lid is the wrong place.

You want a much more stable, consistent heat sink, such as the keg temp monitored.

So yup, strap it near bottom of your keg, somewhere in the bottom 1/4-1/3 of the keg's height.
The liquid diptube is also getting the beer from the bottom of the keg. That's the beer temp that counts.

And what @day_trippr said, above ^

You may not even need a 2nd (nearly full) keg in there, but it won't hurt and it does add mass when your tapping keg empties out over time.
Be careful with putting bottles or even cans in the keezer, they may freeze, since they're smaller.
 

JoeSpartaNJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
506
Reaction score
144
Location
New Jersey
In my kegerator, I have my inkbird probe banded to a can of beer, in the back of the kegerator, next to the complessor hump. Not insulated.

My kegerator, Its a Haier (not sure what model, its been too long) with a backplate and the inkbird is set for 36 degrees, with a 4 degree rise differential. It comes on for 30 minutes, shuts off for about 45.

I was thinking of trying to make a small thermowell, and stick the probe in a bottle of water, to get a more accurate liquid temperature reading.

I do not want to put the probe directly into the water.


Any ideas?
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
20,290
Reaction score
10,590
Location
Pasadena, MD
I was thinking of trying to make a small thermowell, and stick the probe in a bottle of water, to get a more accurate liquid temperature reading.
I don't think that's going to have any advantages. A small bottle with water is not the same as a stainless keg full or partially full of beer. The water will even freeze, well before the beer does. Plus there's evaporation.

I do not want to put the probe directly into the water.
Good idea!

in the back of the kegerator, next to the complessor hump.
The compressor hump may not have much or any insulation,* so you may get skewed readings close to it.
* That's really a design flaw, it ought to be well insulated. Same for the lid.
 

JoeSpartaNJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
506
Reaction score
144
Location
New Jersey
I don't think that's going to have any advantages. A small bottle with water is not the same as a stainless keg full or partially full of beer. The water will even freeze, well before the beer does. Plus there's evaporation.


Good idea!


The compressor hump may not have much or any insulation,* so you may get skewed readings close to it.
* That's really a design flaw, it ought to be well insulated. Same for the lid.

I meant to say that the can I have the probe attached to does not have insulation around it.

If not sticking the probe into liquid, I suppose I could put a beer koozy on it to keep it "insulated"
 

BongoYodeler

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
4,151
Reaction score
14,671
Location
California
In my kegerator, I have my inkbird probe banded to a can of beer, in the back of the kegerator, next to the complessor hump. Not insulated.

My kegerator, Its a Haier (not sure what model, its been too long) with a backplate and the inkbird is set for 36 degrees, with a 4 degree rise differential. It comes on for 30 minutes, shuts off for about 45.

I was thinking of trying to make a small thermowell, and stick the probe in a bottle of water, to get a more accurate liquid temperature reading.

I do not want to put the probe directly into the water.


Any ideas?
Similarly I take a can of beer, place it in a koozie, and shove the probe between the koozie and can. The can is in an empty OxiClean plastic container sitting on the keezer floor.
 

IslandLizard

Progressive Brewing
Staff member
Mod
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2013
Messages
20,290
Reaction score
10,590
Location
Pasadena, MD
I meant to say that the can I have the probe attached to does not have insulation around it.

If not sticking the probe into liquid, I suppose I could put a beer koozy on it to keep it "insulated"
Why not try either way?
1. can with koozie and
2. keg with packing foam pad (use the koozie).

See what works best for your setup.
 

BongoYodeler

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jun 8, 2016
Messages
4,151
Reaction score
14,671
Location
California
Stupid question maybe, but did you run some silicon caulking around the 2x4 that you used to extend the lid?
In my case I built my keezer collar using 2x12's. Instead of silicone I used something similar to this. The weight of the wood is more than enough to make a good seal. An Inkbird infrared thermometer gun confirms there is no cool air leaking around the collar, although it probably wouldn't hurt if I insulate a bit more. My GE 7.0 cu.ft. freezer couldn't fit four kegs on the floor but that's what I wanted. So that's why I used the 2x12's, and I can now fit a keg on the hump.
I painted and cut a sheet of 5/8" or 3/4" inch particle board a few inches wider/deeper than the keezer footprint. The CO2 tank sits on this "platform" and is strapped to the keezer. I put castors on the bottom so I can roll the keezer from my garage to my back patio for parties, (I have a concrete sidewalk that runs from my driveway to my back patio making this easy). Since the 2x12 collar makes the keezer so high I double-hinged it so I can either open the lid for quick access, or the entire collar - making it easier to get kegs in/out. And because the "hump beer" is a few degrees warmer, and slightly less carbonated, I always make sure to have a style-appropriate beer on the hump.
 
Top