Sanyo 4912 Kegerator Conversion

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Orpheus

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First of all, I wanted to say that I am not very handy, so I really mean that anyone could do this project. The only thing I didn't have to buy or borrow to complete this project was a drill. This being said, this project was incredibly fun and easy to do. Surprisingly easy. So, if you're like me and you're worrying about freon lines and ruining your fridge, take the golden advice: Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Homebrew. This is going to be a great experience that will serve you (no pun intended) for years to come.

Now if you're like me, even though you've researched it online and heard countless times that the Sanyo 4912 has the freon line running straight across the top of the fridge 7" in from the back, you're still a bit nervous to drill. Put your mind at ease. Make a paste using 50/50 rubbing alcohol and cornstarch (cheap and easy.) Remove the top of the fridge (there are three screw holding the plastic top on in the back and four holding it on in the front of the fridge. Take this plastic top off to reveal the metal top beneath. Here's the plastic fridge top removed:
4579-keg2.JPG

Using a BBQ brush or some other form, 'paint' the top of your fridge with the solution. Your fridge should be off when you do this. Plug it in and after about 5 mins. or so you'll notice this:
4579-kegger1.JPG


Notice the white blob in the middle of the fridge. This is the freon line. As everyone has stated, it's about 7" from the back of the fridge. No worries! The exact center of the fridge (as located on the bottom of the plastic fridge top) is almost 9 3/4" from the back of the fridge. This is almost enough clearance for you to drill a 5 inch hole (although I wouldn't recommend doing this.)

Now that you've located the freon line and have removed the top, it's time to prep the top for the wooden support. Now, you can either drill four screw holes through the fridge in addition to the big hole for the lines, or you can forego drilling more than one hole in your fridge and instead anchor your tower entirely to the wooden support. I decided, after research, to go with the latter. Other brewers have found anchoring into the wood alone is very sturdy and has caused no problems.

The next choice you'll need to make is whether to go with the 5 inch or 8 inch square. You'll notice a diamond-within-a-diamond pattern on the underside of the plastic fridge top. I would definitely recommend going with the full 8 inch piece of 1/2 inch plywood. Lowes even cut it 8x8 for me, so I didn't need to cut it myself.

Now, you need to remove the plastic 'fins' from the center square in the middle of the plastic top of the fridge. I used an exacto blade at first to score the fins and then wiggles the plastic fins back and forth until they broke off. Then I had an idea. I got a hammer and a putty knife (for drywall) and 'chiselled' the fins off. This was incredibly quick and easy to do. I much prefer it to the exacto knife:

4579-keg3.JPG


Now drop that 8x8 inch piece of wood into that square and, voila, a perfect fit:
4579-keg4.JPG

Part II to follow...
 
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Orpheus

Orpheus

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When last we left off...

Now it's time to do some damage to the fridge. First of all, drill a pilot hole through the center of the plastic fridge top. Next, with the wood piece placed in the top of the fridge, reattach the top to the fridge (I put in two screws in the back and two in the front to hold it steady.) I was still very careful at this point. I used a 2 3/4 inch hole saw (you can do 3 inch) to bore through the top plastic of the fridge, with this result:
4579-keg5.JPG

Then I bored through the wood to the metal fridge top:
4579-keg6.JPG

Then continued:
4579-keg7.JPG


To be continued...
 
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Orpheus

Orpheus

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Once you get through the metal top, you hit styrofoam. It's a couple inches thick, so just keep drilling until you hit the inside plastic fridge lining and stop. At this point, I opted to drill the pilot hole through the liner, and then remove the drill from the top of the fridge. To avoid damaging the plastic interior, I drilled the plastic liner from the inside out using the pilot hole. This worked very well!:mug: In the end, I had a perfect hole 2 3/4 inches wide dead center of the fridge:
4579-keg8.JPG


Now I removed the top of the fridge and piece of wood and marked out the pilot holes for the tap tower. Here I made use of the template and a level to make sure I had this perfectly lined up:
4579-keg9.JPG

While at Lowes, I picked up some new machine screws and T-nuts to secure the tower to the wood and plastic top. I got screws that were slightly smaller than the original screws and four T-nuts to match. Then I hammered the T-nuts into the pilot holes I drilled for the tap tower screws:
4579-keg10.JPG


To be continued...
 
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Orpheus

Orpheus

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In the meantime, I went back to the fridge and used some foil tape to tape the hole to keep the foam from crumbling and constantly falling into the fridge and to protect the beer lines from damage:
4579-keg11.JPG

and from the inside of the fridge:
4579-keg12.JPG


Now it's time to pull it all together. First of all, I removed the 8x8 wood diamond from the plastic top of the fridge. I generously applied a silicone sealant to the inside of the 8x8 diamond in the plastic top and replaced the wood. I then placed some silicone sealant inside the base ring of the tap tower, and tightly screwed the tower to the wood base and plastic top. Once it was firmly secured to the top, It was time to cut the screws so the new top would be flush with the top of the fridge:
4579-keg13.JPG

I then placed a generous amount of sealant to the exposed side of the 8x8 wood square and reattached the whole thing to the fridge, feeding the tubes down through the 2 3/4 inch hole. That's it! I then cleaned everything up and stared in awe at the wonder I had wrought:
4579-keg14.JPG
 

mcsewnab

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That's awesome. It's great that you posted all the details with pics!

I don't know anything about that model fridge. How many cornies will it hold?
 

Ol' Grog

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I'm confused, freon will run in "lines", not "blobs". I'm merly pointing out a physical property. Maybe the lines to and fro run underneath the blob. Just seems odd that all you see is a blob and nothing else. I too have the exact same model, but for now, I'm going with the inside cobra tap.
 
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Orpheus

Orpheus

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Ol' Grog said:
I'm confused, freon will run in "lines", not "blobs". I'm merly pointing out a physical property. Maybe the lines to and fro run underneath the blob. Just seems odd that all you see is a blob and nothing else. I too have the exact same model, but for now, I'm going with the inside cobra tap.

It started as a thin line, then grew to the blob. This was evidence enough for me of the commonly held belief that there is a thin freon line running 7" in from the back of the fridge, and nothing else. Luckily common knowledge held true!:)
 

mcaustin

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I just did the same thing this last weekend. You are safe to drill dead center on the 4912M. I used a 3" hole saw and it was completely fine.

Congrats on your new kegerator! I hooked up a keg of caramel cream ale last night to carb :mug:

Austin
 

aekdbbop

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there ya go man... looks great...

you need to post these on a website and submit it to google.. you would get crazy hits...
 

Reverend JC

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Nice trick with the corn starch. The mysterious freon line has kept me from drilling a hole in top of my 4912.

Thanks to you pictures, and corn starch slurry, i now have a new project to get to straight away.
 

99expo

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i want to do something like that, mind if i ask how much money you have tied up with that setup
 
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Orpheus

Orpheus

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99expo said:
i want to do something like that, mind if i ask how much money you have tied up with that setup

Sure,

I picked up the fridge on sale at Best Buy for $130 (with a gift card and coupon), and my parents got me the tap tower ($130) for Christmas.
 

gnef

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you may want to look in to forward sealing faucets in the future. looks nice though!
 

Torchiest

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Excellent. Another successful conversion. I think this will probably be the route I go, once I get into a house and have more room. Thanks for posting it!
 

Buford

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Aww man, this has really made me want to get into kegging. SWMBO says we don't have room for a kegerator :(

I bet I can find room for one though :p
 

Spyk'd

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Awesome job at conversion and documentation.


Glad you finally took the plunge!


:mug:
 

Flyin' Lion

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Buford said:
Aww man, this has really made me want to get into kegging. SWMBO says we don't have room for a kegerator :(

I bet I can find room for one though :p

Buford, I've done this same conversion recently and since I live in the area you should swing by and check it out to see if it's something you want to do. PM me next time you run up to Weekend Brewer, I live just around the corner.

Same offer stands for Todd_K as well.

Currently have EdWort's Apfelwein and a SNPA clone on tap. :mug:
 

Buford

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If you're talking comercial kegs, the closest thing in size to a corny keg is a 1/6 barrel keg but they're not exactly the same size. They also use a different connector (Sankey tap).
 

dmbezy

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The 4912 will fit a 1/6th and a corny, but not 2 1/6th's. It's also easier to get a low profile sankey coupler. There is not a lot of extra headspace in the 4912
 

Bernie Brewer

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Bulls Beers said:
Other than our own, Is there any place to get good beer in those kegs?


Yeah, just about any brewpub will fill up a corny keg for you. It would prolly cost between 40-60 bones. Just sanitize a corny and take it in. It's prolly best to call ahead, too.
 

jpetrocelli

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I did this conversion yesterday and just wanted to let everyone know that it went great. However, my freon line was almost 8" from the back. I just shifted my hole 3/4" forward and it worked great. Pictures to follow...
 

Cheesefood

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Orpheus said:

Nice band-aid. Did your kids laugh at you when you cried like a little girl?

I'm not surprised you could do this well. What with all the glory holes you've built and squatted in front of over all these years.
 

Evan!

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So, is there something "special" about the Sanyo 4912? I'm assuming there is. The wife and I discussed it at length last night, and she really is not keen on yet another chest freezer in our basement (2 is enough)...but she's cool on a fridge conversion like this. But I'm just curious as to what the unique properties of the 4912 are that make it optimal for kegerator conversion.
 

Ol' Grog

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1. It has no freezer section.
2. The way it's designed, there is a molded back "shelf" that can hold a 5 pound CO2 tank without any additions.
3. If you take out the front door molding, very easy to do, make a little free standing lip shelf, it will hold two cornies plus a ten pound CO2 tank.
4. With the 5 pounder, you can still use two cornies and keep the molding on the front door which some folks use to store yeasts, bottles, hops, grains, etc etc.
5. The front doors are reversible.
6. It's cheap, works well, can adjust the temperature and looks good.
 

drunkatuw

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There is no freezer section in the 4912 unlike most dorm fridges. The compressor hump in the back is also pretty small. I can fit 2 kegs in my 4912 and I didn't even remove the inside of the door (I keep my co2 tank outside the fridge though).

Edit: Doh, Ol' Grog beat me to it by mere seconds.
 

TWilson

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Would someone care to post pics of the modifications needed so that you can fit a 10# CO2 and 2 cornies in there? I am considering this model, and have a 2 keg kit with 10# tank on the way from kegconnection.com. Thanks in advance.
 

RoaringBrewer

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Ol' Grog said:
1. It has no freezer section.
2. The way it's designed, there is a molded back "shelf" that can hold a 5 pound CO2 tank without any additions.
3. If you take out the front door molding, very easy to do, make a little free standing lip shelf, it will hold two cornies plus a ten pound CO2 tank.
4. With the 5 pounder, you can still use two cornies and keep the molding on the front door which some folks use to store yeasts, bottles, hops, grains, etc etc.
5. The front doors are reversible.
6. It's cheap, works well, can adjust the temperature and looks good.

Good summary - I'll be doing my conversion in about a week when I receive my shipment from Kegconnection as well... I plan on leaving the door on, as you say, in order to store some vacuum packed hops, yeast, etc. and a few "vintage" bottles that I've been cellaring - an Otto's Imperial Stout, a 3 year vintage DFH WW Sout, a 1+ year old DFH 120 IPA, and a few belgians/lambics...
 

thomcat333

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Best Buy carries them. They are running $209 on the website right now, but they go on sale at the store from time to time. I think I picked mine up for $169.
 
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