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Keezer Build - Tips and Lessons Learned

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dahappycamper

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First, want to thank everyone for the great posts and advice on building a keezer. Just got mine done and wanted to share what I learned along the way. My best work was on the air circulation and collar insulation design, so I'll focus on that the most.

Started with a GE 7.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer in White Model # FCM7SUWW from Home Depot ($179). This will hold 4 cornys, with ease.

Had a minor ding in it, and final price was $105, delivered. Yup, you get a $75 rebate if it comes damaged. Off to a great start.:mug:

 
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dahappycamper

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The first big debate is collar fixed to the base - or fixed to the lid. Given that this is a beer keezer - and I will be sampling home brews as I tinker - went with the collar up - to keep the shanks, etc out of the way and safe.

Makes it a little more involved to build - but not much.

 
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dahappycamper

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I'm planning on having 4 taps, so the kegs will be packed in good. My solution for good air circulation - keeps kegs off the ground, room for airflow, and ability to spread the hot air around. Version 1 of the air circulation system...PVC and wire shelf. No need to glue together, which saved me later. Drilled holes in all pieces, and can rotate to "aim". Final version has the PVC tube from fan in center back.

 
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dahappycamper

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Used a waterproof boat bilge fan - caulked to a PVC reducer. This connects to the PVC pipe platform to circulate air around the base of the kegs.

 

ToastedPenguin

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Used a waterproof boat bilge fan - caulked to a PVC reducer. This connects to the PVC pipe platform to circulate air around the base of the kegs.

Awesome work!

What type of power supply did you use for the bilge fan? Is it constently on or is it controlled by temp?

David
 

nofriendsbz3

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Genius.... I have the same exact freezer and same blower.. I just havent figured a way to get the kegs off of the floor and a way to circulate the air... simply Genius!!!
 
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I like the circulation solution. Mine is a quick and dirty duct tube down to the bottom and some grating keeping the kegs off the floor. I might have to give yours a shot to clear up some space on the hump.

Great job.
 
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dahappycamper

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Still working on the right power supply. The one I tried first had too low amps, and heated up pretty quick. The fan is 2.6 A, and 12V, but I don't want it on full speed. From what I have read, I need a supply with 2.6 A or more, and variable voltage so I can adjust the speed. Will be looking this week and post what I find. Any advice is appreciated...well, almost any :)

I plan to have it on all the time to keep a constant temp (no temp layers). This seemed to work well with the power supply I tried first. I think this would also reduce the frequency of the compressor going on.
 
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dahappycamper

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I like the circulation solution. Mine is a quick and dirty duct tube down to the bottom and some grating keeping the kegs off the floor. I might have to give yours a shot to clear up some space on the hump.

Great job.
Tom - Your post was real inspiration for me, and the main guide I used for my build. :mug:

The air system is really easy to build, and inexpensive. I think you have the same bilge fan already. I just took a reducer and used a very heavy bead of silicone caulk to attach it to the adapter. Here's a close up..... hope it helps.

 

microbusbrewery

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Very nice build. I like how you've routed your lines for a very clean look. Does the little bottle with the blue cap hold your temp probe?
 
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dahappycamper

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This was the most time (and home brew) consuming part of the build. So, here we go....

Used 6 inch red oak. Very happy with the choice. I didn't miter the corners - just made sure that the front board covered end to end for a one piece look (no butt ends showing).



A friend recommended that I use pocket screws. Came out nice and would recommend..



Checking the fit. Almost perfect.



Few coats of Polyshades and now fit to cover.



Was concerned that the pressure on the open collar might be too much for the pocket screws, so added a bracket in each corner.



Silicon caulk to seal all gaps - used a ton on this build...



Taped both edges of the seam between the cover and collar, leaving a tiny space between the pieces of tape.. so caulk could ooze out - smoothed out and removed tape.

 
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dahappycamper

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Insulation - used foam insulation and corrugated plastic to cover. HD sells sheets of the corrugated white plastic (looks like cardboard - but made from white plastic) for about $7. Wanted to cover the foam, be able to get a clean look, and be able to wipe it down.



A better view of the 2 layers.



Wanted it to be removable if really necessary, and needed it to hold close, so had to use screws.



Some pre-painted foam plastic molding to hide the screws and finish the look.



Molding was a real pain - but worth the effort. Had to use caulk to hold it in place (did this later in the build - after the shanks, etc. were in)



And, the final outcome...

 
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dahappycamper

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Based on others posts I spend too much time removing the factory seal, all in one piece. In the end, I wound up not using it...uggh.

I'm planning on painting the keezer black - with some chalkboard on the front, and wanted to hide all of the white.

I took electrical tape and used it to cover the plastic edging on the keezer where the seal attaches. This covers it up to where the paint will go. Was not sure how it would look - but came out awesome - would never know it was tape. Then used black auto/marine weather strip from HD....



Now, no more white strip between the wood, and where the paint will end.

 
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dahappycamper

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After all of the work to hide the white plastic - decided to add two pieces of oak molding to add more character..attached the molding with (can you guess?) more silicon caulk..you can also see the start of my tap handles...

 
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dahappycamper

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Made my own tap handles from pre-made chair spindles from Lowes. The cost came out to under $5 per handle. Drilled a hole in one end, and inserted a threaded insert to screw onto tap. Haven't expoy'd them in yet, so look a little crooked in the photo below. The other end of the spindle has a threaded post. Took a scrap piece of oak from the collar, and used Polyshades on the back / sides and chalkboard paint on the front. Drilled a hole and just screwed onto the post. Got some awesome "Chaulk Ink" markers for the writting....

 
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dahappycamper

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Very nice build. I like how you've routed your lines for a very clean look. Does the little bottle with the blue cap hold your temp probe?
Yes, it's a large plastic test tube - which I planned on filling with water, but decided to leave it empty. I'm thinking that I want the compressor to react quickly to temperature swings (from open lid) and water would take too long to register. Also thought that having the probe just in air could have it react too quickly - so have it in the test tube in air. Working great so far.
 

dannedry

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Awesome work! I've got the 2nd coat of poly drying on my oak collar as we speak... can't wait to get it in use. I love the recirculation you have... awesome idea!
 
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Tom - Your post was real inspiration for me, and the main guide I used for my build. :mug:

The air system is really easy to build, and inexpensive. I think you have the same bilge fan already. I just took a reducer and used a very heavy bead of silicone caulk to attach it to the adapter. Here's a close up..... hope it helps.

Glad I could help. I know build threads is what got me what I ended up with so it is just paying it forward to make sure I documented mine. :)

I'll just need some pvc and change around the grates I am using now to make it work. :cool:
 

Phillypharm

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I'm planning on having 4 taps, so the kegs will be packed in good. My solution for good air circulation - keeps kegs off the ground, room for airflow, and ability to spread the hot air around. Version 1 of the air circulation system...PVC and wire shelf. No need to glue together, which saved me later. Drilled holes in all pieces, and can rotate to "aim". Final version has the PVC tube from fan in center back.

how does this hold up in terms of weight? I got 4 kegs and i use it for my carboy too when i lager
 
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dahappycamper

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how does this hold up in terms of weight? I got 4 kegs and i use it for my carboy too when i lager
It's stable so far with 2 fill kegs. There is a little bounce in the wire shelf but not too bad. Probably best to cut a few extra PVC circles, and put them in the center of the wire shelf as added support - or add in 2 extra T's and have another pipe running through the center..... Then it would have 0 bounce / bend.

:ban:
 

tojo

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It's stable so far with 2 fill kegs. There is a little bounce in the wire shelf but not too bad. Probably best to cut a few extra PVC circles, and put them in the center of the wire shelf as added support - or add in 2 extra T's and have another pipe running through the center..... Then it would have 0 bounce / bend.

:ban:
What size PVC did you use...2 inch?
 

Peter_h

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Love the idea of the pvc. I am going to steal it and implement in my setup.

How is the silicone holding up for you and what kind did you use?

I could not get anything to adhere to the keezer walls. I tried jb weld, epoxy, marine epoxy, gorilla glue, etc. After a day or so, they would all fall off.

-Peter
 
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dahappycamper

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Love the idea of the pvc. I am going to steal it and implement in my setup.

How is the silicone holding up for you and what kind did you use?

I could not get anything to adhere to the keezer walls. I tried jb weld, epoxy, marine epoxy, gorilla glue, etc. After a day or so, they would all fall off.

-Peter
The vertical pvc pipe holds up the fan. You really dont need to glue it to the keezer wall. I did put a piece of dynamat on the fan mount and used that to stick it to the wall. Dynamat is tar like and used to stop vibrations and road noise in cars . Thats the black stuff in the photo, but unnecessary.

The silicon holding the fan to the adapter is ge indoor outdoor II clear silicon caulk. It can freeze, get wet, etc and is holding up great. I used it to attach the wood box to hold my co2 tank to the hump and the temperature probe holder and holding great. But, really no pressure on either one.
 

troubled_dog

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Im saving this one :) This was a great build. I love the PVC for air circulation. I cant wait to switch to the dark side (kegging) :)
 
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dahappycamper

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I'm using a Johnson Controls A419 - pre-wired. Wires for fan and thermometer run under the weatherstrip. Gave it a drop of caulk to stop any air leaks.



Used a cable hider from HD to keep the wires all in place, and away from snags, etc.

 
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dahappycamper

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Started with stick on cable tie bases & zip ties (HD). I trimmed the sides of the tie bases, so they fit the edge of the keezer.This worked great, but I had to cut them every time I wanted to I move something around, etc.

So - the solution - very simple - but such an awesome way to keep the hoses all in place. ... Bought a roll of Velcro ties (WalMart)... less than $3 for 25 of them.



The Velcro ties are too wide to go through the slots in the base, so I placed the Velcro down, ran a zip tie over it, and then zipped it closed.



Trimmed the Velcro tie to size, and now a great hold, that can be opened and closed.



:rockin:
 
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dahappycamper

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Initial setup was for 2 taps, with plans to expand in the future. Bought all of the stuff from Beverage Factory. Took over a week for it to arrive - uggh.

Lessons learned:
1) Should build with at least 1 secondary regulator so you can have different pressure for at least 1 keg. 1 per keg would be ideal. Will be adding this.

2) Empty CO2 tanks with dual regulators attached fall over easily and tend to smash the tank gauge :( Make sure you can easily get parts for your regulator! I went with a MicroMatic 642, and it was a great choice. The replacement gauge was only $9 and it arrived in 2 days!

3) Went with Perlick 525SS. Great tap.

4) Should have added all 4 taps at once.

5) The plastic hose clamps are sooo lame. Go to HD and get some metal hose clamps.

 

CrackShotHolmes

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A couple questions:

How did you mount your CO2 distributor to the collar? Screws through the plastic and foam into the wood? possibly caulk?

What power supply did you use for your bilge fan? I am assuming it is DC power?
 

tojo

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dahappycamper said:
Initial setup was for 2 taps, with plans to expand in the future. Bought all of the stuff from Beverage Factory. Took over a week for it to arrive - uggh.

Lessons learned:
1) Should build with at least 1 secondary regulator so you can have different pressure for at least 1 keg. 1 per keg would be ideal. Will be adding this.

2) Empty CO2 tanks with dual regulators attached fall over easily and tend to smash the tank gauge :( Make sure you can easily get parts for your regulator! I went with a MicroMatic 642, and it was a great choice. The replacement gauge was only $9 and it arrived in 2 days!

3) Went with Perlick 525SS. Great tap.

4) Should have added all 4 taps at once.

5) The plastic hose clamps are sooo lame. Go to HD and get some metal hose clamps.
Forgot who actually posted it on here, but a member suggested getting an empty paint pail sold at HD or Lowe's, mount it on a board (for stability) and a 5gal CO2 tank fits perfectly inside.
 

bad67z

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DHC, I really like this build this thread is full of great ideas. Have given any thought to moisture control and building it into your air circulation system?
 

snccoulter

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Nice I think I will use your idea for air flow on mine when I start the build
 

AZOTH99

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Great thread probably the best idea's i've seen so far other than a tower on your Keezer.


 
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dahappycamper

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A couple questions:

How did you mount your CO2 distributor to the collar? Screws through the plastic and foam into the wood? possibly caulk?

What power supply did you use for your bilge fan? I am assuming it is DC power?
1) Just used caulk. Held it well. I've added 2 more taps, and a 4 bank of secondary regulators - so moved the distributor outside, along with the CO2 tank - see update at the end of this thread.

2)I looked all over - and finally found a good power supply. It's a 5V 3A power supply for a Linksys router. My bilge fan is 12V 3A, but 12V makes the thing blow like a leaf blower. From what I've read, you can reduce the volts (and that will drop the speed) - but the amps should always be the same or higher - or it can cause an overload (blown fuse / fire risk). I ordered one from Amazon - Here's the link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004576EOK/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
It is working really well. I had some frost build up before turning on the fan last - and next day it was all gone – and has never come back. I put a few DampRid canisters in there over a month ago – and they are both looking brand new still.
The speed is pretty good - but a little higher voltage would probably be better - if you can find one. I'm not going to bother for now. I drilled pretty small holes in the PVC - and had to enlarge them. The fan speed isn't strong enough to really push the air through the small holes. I have the fan pulling the cold air up - so it hits the lid, and keeps the taps colder (less foam on first pour). The only concern is that with the fan blowing air up - this will pull out all of the cold air when the lid is open...so I'll l likely rig up a switch to the cord - or maybe install one that goes on /off as the lid is opened / closed.
 
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dahappycamper

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DHC, I really like this build this thread is full of great ideas. Have given any thought to moisture control and building it into your air circulation system?
No moisture to date - the fan system is keeping all in check. I put a few DampRid canisters in there over a month ago – and they are both looking brand new still.

:mug:
 
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dahappycamper

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Did you figure out the issues with the power supply? I picked up this bilge but am having the same problem finding the right one.
Have gotten a lot of questions re: power supply. Just posted a response - a few before this one. Hope it helps.
 
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