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jimpru

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First Post. Lots of great information. I have been lurking for quite a while and spent many hours looking at the different Keezer setups.

I currently have a Insignia Kegerator that is giving me headaches. I cant seem to get the pressure adjusted correctly and keep getting 1/3 beer and 2/3 foam. Any suggestions on how to correct this would be greatly appreciated. I had the pressure turn up to 12 and it worked fine for a while but then the foam started. Turned it down to 10 no change. Turned it downed to 8 (thinking I may have a bad gauge) and will give that a try but curious if there are any other areas I should check? Its still under warranty by BEST BUY so if I cant figure it out I will return it.

The Insignia is a single tap and I want to add additional ones (four to be exact) and as a result of the great inspiration here, I have made the decision to build a Keezer using the information gained here. I am picking the donor freezer up this Friday (thanks to FACEBOOK Marketplace) I have started ordering the parts and will start the build process beginning with the collar this weekend.

My only question is the fan. I have seen where most setups are using a PC CPU Cooling fan. Just curious how they are wired? it appears that some have modified them to plug into an ordinary outlet. Just curious if this is the preferred method or if there is a better fan to use? Also do you just cut the wires and wire it up to plug into a normal home outlet or is there another method for power.

I am sure there will be others but that is it for now.

Thanks in advance for the feedback and information.

Cheers!
 

Ayzala

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You have to be careful of the fans rating. Most CPU fans run on 5-12 volts DC but there are fans of a similar size that run on 120 volts AC. If it's a 5 volt fan, most people simply use a repurposed phone charger. You can only go direct to the outlets if you have the 120 volt AC fan.

Hope this helps.
 

Rob2010SS

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So I have an Insignia kegerator also, 2 tap. I have the same problem with foam and I believe it to be the line length. The supplied beer line in the kegerator is far too short for beer. I have never changed it to verify but if you go by all the calculators for line length, you'll see how drastic of a difference it is between what it SHOULD be and what is supplied. That would be my first attempt, replace the beer line and make them longer.

EDIT - My semi fix for this was swapping the faucets for the Intertap flow control faucets. This is how I got around that issue for the time being.

Good luck on the keezer build. I've started collecting parts for this myself and I'm hoping to take it on in the next 6 months or so. Look forward to seeing your progress.
 
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jimpru

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So I have an Insignia kegerator also, 2 tap. I have the same problem with foam and I believe it to be the line length. The supplied beer line in the kegerator is far too short for beer. I have never changed it to verify but if you go by all the calculators for line length, you'll see how drastic of a difference it is between what it SHOULD be and what is supplied. That would be my first attempt, replace the beer line and make them longer.

EDIT - My semi fix for this was swapping the faucets for the Intertap flow control faucets. This is how I got around that issue for the time being.

Good luck on the keezer build. I've started collecting parts for this myself and I'm hoping to take it on in the next 6 months or so. Look forward to seeing your progress.
Thanks for the info. I researched the line length and you may be correct there as the calculation indicated I needed about 8-10ft of line where I only have about 5ft at the moment. May look at changing it sometime in the future if i decide to keep the system.

Question: When you replaced the faucet did you have to replace the entire tower or did you just unscrew the faucet and pop in a new one? Also do you remember which one you ordered for the replacement? May give this a try as well.

Thanks
 

broadbill

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I also believe your foam issue is line length and that it is hard to dial the foam out by adjusting psi because of the time it takes for the CO2 to come out of solution. Keep venting the keg and let the gas re-adjust and see how that works.

Nobody says you need to use a CPU fan, you can buy small desk fan at the hardware store that run on 120V.
 

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Rob2010SS

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Thanks for the info. I researched the line length and you may be correct there as the calculation indicated I needed about 8-10ft of line where I only have about 5ft at the moment. May look at changing it sometime in the future if i decide to keep the system.

Question: When you replaced the faucet did you have to replace the entire tower or did you just unscrew the faucet and pop in a new one? Also do you remember which one you ordered for the replacement? May give this a try as well.

Thanks
Yep, I literally just bought 2 of these. Unscrewed the faucets that were on the tower, screwed these on and done. I didn't replace any of the internals, just the faucets. Since I never increased the line length, this has helped me control the foam a bit.
 

Rob2010SS

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Now, just to clarify, it's not a perfect solution. But when you go to pour, turn the flow all the way off, open the faucet, slowly open the flow until you've got a little flow, let it run for maybe 4-5 sec, then slowly open the flow a bit more and you shouldn't have a problem. When opening the flow more, I'll sometimes hit a bit more foam and I stop opening the flow at that point, let it run for a second and then you can continue opening the flow if desired.

Like I said, not a perfect solution but it does work and I've been able to control the foaming problem in my situation.
 
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jimpru

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That is very helpful information. Thank You. By chance do you know what the inside diameter of the beer line hose is? I had thought it was 3/16 but when I look at some today it looked small. I do believe that part of my challenge is the length of the hose. All research thus far indicates I should be using a hose about twice the length i have now.
 

Nate R

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Not trying to muddy the water for you... but....
I assume you have a tower on top of your kegerator? Great advice above on the line length here. If you change your lines, spend the extra money for the good line. Silver eva barrier or the like. A lot of people here swear by the duo-tight fittings- that requires a special line.
You can go 3/8" or 1/4" INNER Diamter. (You may see OD stamped on the line. Ignore that.). Use the line calculator to determine proper length. I always liked 1/4" for my tastes.
You can easily swap faucets- all you need is a faucet wrench. I personally hated my flow controls, but that is just me. Everyone else i read here loves them.
But also... i found if you don't pour the beer for a while (say, you go to work, come home later to pour a pint) that the first few ounces are warm and thus foamy. The second pint will usually pour much better.
The towers just don't keep the beer as cold as needed. A simple solution is to get a tower fan. So, you may want to explore that option in addition to another fan. Bear in mind, the only true way to cool a tower fan is a (very expenisve) glcol run. Or a return run for the air. This is rare in a standard single tower.
I reccomend the low voltage dc fans. That way, you are not adding 120v into a potential shocking situation. And yeah just use an old cell phone charger. Read the back of the charger, that is voltage rating you want for the fan. Fry's electronics or the web is a great place to look.
Welcome to HBT!! I too lurked here for a while. I was tired with my budget kegerator and realized my solution was to build a keezer. There is so much great help here!!

I would say... if you are serious about your draft beer, do some research before spending anymore money. I ended up with a 4 gauge regualtor (so each keg gets it's own psi pressure) and an upright keezer. No tower, so no warm beer pours when i come home. Lots of money up front, but it has paid off over the last three years.
Again, not trying to derail your thread.
At the end of the day... cannot go wrong with your own draft beer at home!!
Cheers!

Edit--- i am a moron!! I meant 3/16" not 1/4"!!! My bad all!! Sorry.
 
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jimpru

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Thanks for the input and much appreciated. this iis going to be a fun project that will last a while. I currently have most of everything i need but still looking at the right beer line and CO2 manifold. if you dont mind can you share with me the information on the manifold you selected?
thnaks
 

Stonehenge360

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Just adding my $0.02 here. Just finished my keezer build last month.

+1 on the computer fan inside. Really can be any fan and any voltage, just need to make sure you are giving it the correct voltage. (5, 9, 12, 24, 120). I chose one off of amazon wired for 120 for simplicity.

For the beer line, I would not recommend going above 3/16 ID. The smaller the inside diameter, the less length you need to get a proper pour. I have 12 psi on my gauge and have 10’ of 3/16 line on each tap and it gives me a good poor. If you go up to 1/4” line, you will need like 30’ according to the online calculator

For my regulator, I went with a taprite 2 gauge unit. It gives me the option to have one keg at a different carb level (although I have yet to use it for that). The second line is also nice to have if you ever want to bottle from your kegs using a counter flow contraption
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536A93A0-9AB4-4919-9F44-5CEF483CC917.jpeg
 

duncan.brown

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Really can be any fan and any voltage, just need to make sure you are giving it the correct voltage. (5, 9, 12, 24, 120).
I'd go for a low voltage fan. You can do the best job you can putting the keezer together and you'll still get the occasional leak or spill. Dripping beer on a 5V USB connector is a few minute cleanup. Dripping liquid onto 120 VAC line could end badly.

Here's what I use for my fan. 5V USB and three speed settings: Amazon.com
 

Nate R

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I'd go for a low voltage fan. You can do the best job you can putting the keezer together and you'll still get the occasional leak or spill. Dripping beer on a 5V USB connector is a few minute cleanup. Dripping liquid onto 120 VAC line could end badly.

Here's what I use for my fan. 5V USB and three speed settings: Amazon.com
I cannot "plus 1" this enough!!! I used 12V dc... never a worry about death!!
Occasionally leak or spill... and also the occasional high pressure blow!! Trust me!
 

LittleRiver

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...keep getting 1/3 beer and 2/3 foam....
This is to be expected for the first pour of the day. The faucet is warmer than the beer, which causes CO2 to come out of solution (foam).

For the first pour, try pouring only an ounce or two then closing the faucet. While you dispose of that small initial pour (down your throat), the cold beer that is now filling the faucet will chill it. The next pour should behave much better.

...My only question is the fan. I have seen where most setups are using a PC CPU Cooling fan....
In my keezer I use this fan. It's 120V, so it plugs right into a regular outlet (no low voltage power supply needed).
 

duncan.brown

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It's 120V, so it plugs right into a regular outlet (no low voltage power supply needed).
I'll repeat my plea to avoid using 120V appliances inside a keezer or kegerator. If you insist on doing this, remember that:
  1. You absolutely must use a GFCI outlet as a keezer is a wet environment... even if you never spill anything, water from the air will condense on cool metal.
  2. You are significantly increasing your risk of injury or death compared to using a 5V USB fan.
  3. Please don't.
Oh, and a pox on the manufacturer of that fan for claiming that it's suitable for kegerators.
 
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Nate R

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This is to be expected for the first pour of the day. The faucet is warmer than the beer, which causes CO2 to come out of solution (foam).

For the first pour, try pouring only an ounce or two then closing the faucet. While you dispose of that small initial pour (down your throat), the cold beer that is now filling the faucet will chill it. The next pour should behave much better.



In my keezer I use this fan. It's 120V, so it plugs right into a regular outlet (no low voltage power supply needed).


This is why for 2nd build i went with an upright freezer build.
Because the shanks go right throigh the door, the first ounce pour is cold! No foam issues at all.
The faucte does pick up some of the heat, but it also picks up a lot of the cold from the shanks... so, in my experience with perlicks, never a foam issue.

I had a basic fridge kegerator, with a tower, and the first few ounces were always warm. I added a tower fan and insulated the heck out of the tower, but it was still a loss of a few ounces of foam. No big deal for a party as it stays cold, but for one beer a day after work, it wastes a lot in the long run.

Not everyone can do an upright freezer of course, but if you are reading this for ideas... i highly reccomenend it. Added benefit of never having to lift heavy kegs up high!!

Just my $0.02
 

LittleRiver

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I'll repeat my plea to avoid using 120V appliances inside a keezer or kegerator. If you insist on doing this, remember that:
  1. You absolutely must use a GFCI outlet as a keezer is a wet environment... even if you never spill anything, water from the air will condense on cool metal.
  2. You are significantly increasing your risk of injury or death compared to using a 5V USB fan.
  3. Please don't.
Oh, and a pox on the manufacturer of that fan for claiming that it's suitable for kegerators.
Yep, electricity can be dangerous. That's why it's important to use it properly. Take electric brewing rigs, they're a nightmare scenario, but properly configured they're fine. Same with my fan. The keezer has its own GFCI, and there's a dehumidifier in the enclosure that controls condensation quite well. Shockingly, I even did some re-wiring to bypass the OEM temperature control to install my own. That also works quite well.
 

duncan.brown

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Yep, electricity can be dangerous. That's why it's important to use it properly.
I guess my philosophy is that if you have a choice of two options that provide equivalent functionality and one is inherently safer than the other, always pick the inherently safe option.

I have nothing against high voltages in the right applications. I have a home-built 240 VAC electric brewing rig protected by a GFCI breaker that sits on steel tables bonded to ground. I use it with respect but without fear. I used 240 VAC as there is there no equivalent option for reasonable heating elements at my batch size. For a keezer fan, a 5 VDC fan gives the equivalent functionality but is inherently safer than a 120 VAC fan. So I would pick the 5 VDC fan and keep 120 VAC out of my keezer, no matter what other secondary safety systems I had.
 

LittleRiver

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I guess my philosophy is that if you have a choice of two options that provide equivalent functionality and one is inherently safer than the other, always pick the inherently safe option.
Inherently safe?

For the 5V fan to be inherently safe there would have to be zero possibility that the 120V to 5V transformer powering it could fail and cause a hazardous short or fire. There would have to be zero possibility that all wiring insulation and wiring connections could fail. Good luck achieving that.

Nothing about brewing and consuming beer is inherently safe. Making beer is not the safest option for obtaining beer, it involves exposing ourselves to multiple hazards: flame or high electrical current, large containers of hot liquid, mold and other infections, lifting heavy objects, etc. Beer is not even the safest option for a beverage choice, there are many other options that are far healthier.

Compare it to transportation. I could walk or take a horse, but I choose to zip down the road in my vehicle. It's not safe. Statistically it's proven to be one of the most likely causes of early death or dismemberment. I still do it, and when I do I'm depending totally on a brake system that HAS to work properly when it's needed -- though it CAN fail.

I make sure my brakes stay in good working order, and I don't drive stricken with panic that they might fail at the worst possible moment. Same with the 120V fan in my keezer. I don't panic that the GFCI might fail at the same time a keg might leak its contents.
 

duncan.brown

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I think you're making a something of a straw-man argument. Sure, my house could burn down because the electrician who installed the outlet that I plug my USB adaptor into did a bodge job of the wiring. I'll probably die a few years sooner because of the beer that I drink. I'm not trying to persuade you to buy a new fan, so please don't take offense.

If someone building a keezer reads this thread thinks "maybe I'll use a 5V fan" or "oh, crap I should probably have my 120V fan plugged into a GFCI outlet," then that is good as far as I'm concerned.
 

duncan.brown

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That post said
  1. Use a GFCI, if you must use 120 VAC inside a keezer.
  2. 120 VAC presents a higher risk of electrocution than 5 VDC, particularly in a wet environment.
It seems you agree with me on 1, and UL 1838 agrees with me on 2: 30 VDC or 15 VAC (RMS) is the maximum voltage considered to be not a risk of electric shock. My post was intended for those who have a choice between high and low voltage in a new build and those who might be using 120VAC without a GFCI. You said that even with 5 VDC, you need to be careful not to use a power supply that could cause a short. For example, one of these monstrosities. I completely agree with you that a poorly made power supply that lacks good isolation could short. Everything that operates at 120 VAC in my brewery is GFCI protected, including the USB power supplies for stuff in my keezer. And test your GFCIs every month. I assume we also agree on that.

However, I am definitely not trading in my car for a horse!

 
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