Side by side fridge- a freezer and a ferm chamber- initial success

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SanPancho

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EDIT: not wanting to do multiple posts i've edited all my posts to provide updating info. (or erased content)

so i picked up a free kenmore coldpoint side by side fridge for free off craigslist.

Screenshot 2022-04-09 191636.jpg

the problem is that using a typical temp controller like an inkbird, stc1000, etc. shutting off the "Cold" means shutting down the whole unit. fridge and freezer. but since i want to keep a small yeast bank in the freezer, as well as hops and other crap, i'd prefer to keep it running.

so here's what i did- removed ice maker, removed the ducting that feeds freezer air directly into the damper control. removed the damper mechanism (and threw it away by accident!!) and mounted a fan to be controlled by inkbird.
 
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day_trippr

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wrt "the divider is warm" I believe the "automatic exterior heater" is to prevent condensation on the outside edge of the compartment divider (ie: the face between the doors). It's a fairly common feature of upscale side-by-sides with one side being a freezer. I would bet one could disable that feature if it seems problematic via a strategic disconnection :) Just need the wiring diagram...

Cheers!
 
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SanPancho

SanPancho

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EDIT- updated
ton of freezer space, big ass chamber for ferm. so far so good.
IMG_8244.jpg



IMG_8416.jpg


top corner is where i put new louvers to block unwanted airflow from the OEM vent. used weatherstrip putty to seal behind the unit.
still down at 40F.
blue painters tape put on to cover the return air vent- it was slowly leaking cold air from freezer backwards into ferm side.
still down at 40F.
finally- slightly below and out of picture is another vent/duct where cold freezer air comes into the fridge side, its controlled by a manual damper for your crisper bins for veggies/meats/etc. plugged that hole with putty and success! now ambient in fridge side is 49F.

turned on the cooling fan and when i went back and checked after 20min it was down to 38F.

so- hopefully there's no issue with having a fan blowing air INTO the fridge side, and having blocked vents so no air can get back to freezer side.... doesnt seem to do any damage, the door didnt pop open from too much air pressure, etc. would be nice to come up with some sort of DIY damper i could mount with a new hole in the wall to help get more airflow going.
 
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SanPancho

SanPancho

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so to be honest, you probably could skip the fan. if you can find a motor that would let you make another damper somewhere you could probably just use the existing/OEM airflow damper without needing an external fan. but you'd probably need to install a damper on the return air vent to allow for more airflow, as the OEM freezer fan wont blow as hard as an external fan you install. i thought about a long-throw solenoid attached to a sliding damper door, kind of like the same setup the manufacturer uses. but as it doesnt seem necessary yet we'll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.


so for the most part its a success. i get to keep my freezer going and have pretty good ambient (49F) in ferm side. will likely need heat belt for lager d-rests and making ales, but i have an old heating pad i can use. took a while to figure it all out but so far so good!
 

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@SanPancho Thanks for the response in the other thread & leading me here.

My goal is to be able to ferment, soft crash, cold crash with the "fridge side" and use the freezer as a freezer.

So, did you ever disable the thermostat for the fridge side? I assume you would have had to do so?

My plan right now is to:
1.) Add a fan & dryer vent for cooling the fridge side with cold air from the freezer side (controlled by Brewpi)
2.) Add reptile lamp for heating (controlled by Brewpi)
3.) Disable fridge thermostat so it doesn't interfere with Brewpi control.
4.) Find all vents into fridge (could be 3?) and seal them up.

Anything else you can think of?
Thanks!
 
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SanPancho

SanPancho

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There’s no real reason to mess with the existing controls. if your fridge is typical then there’s a temp probe for freezer and another for fridge. Leave the freezer alone. if you’re adding a fan for fridge then all you have to do is remove damper motor from fridge side. Mine just unplugged. I left all other wires alone. Temp probe doesn’t do anything anymore, effectively.

So unless you’re trying to power brewpi from the fridges internal 120v supply, there’s no reason to mess with existing wiring. Your temp probe goes into conical, and brewpi relays it’s power supply to either your fan/cold or lamp/heat, as needed. (not super familiar with brewpi specifics tho)

Once you block the cold air, let the fridge(freezer) run for 4-5-6 hours and check temps. You need to establish what the ambient temp will be in the ferm chamber so you can make sure you have enough heat, and make sure you’ve sealed it up tight. Mine is basically 50f. Perfect for lagers.

for ales, I’ve decided I’ll just use a heating pad. in addition to heat, it will insulate the conical a bit from the 50f ambient. Seems like it’ll save energy and hopefully lessen the temp swings.
 

YeastFeast

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There’s no real reason to mess with the existing controls. if your fridge is typical then there’s a temp probe for freezer and another for fridge. Leave the freezer alone. if you’re adding a fan for fridge then all you have to do is remove damper motor from fridge side. Mine just unplugged. I left all other wires alone. Temp probe doesn’t do anything anymore, effectively.

So unless you’re trying to power brewpi from the fridges internal 120v supply, there’s no reason to mess with existing wiring. Your temp probe goes into conical, and brewpi relays it’s power supply to either your fan/cold or lamp/heat, as needed. (not super familiar with brewpi specifics tho)

Once you block the cold air, let the fridge(freezer) run for 4-5-6 hours and check temps. You need to establish what the ambient temp will be in the ferm chamber so you can make sure you have enough heat, and make sure you’ve sealed it up tight. Mine is basically 50f. Perfect for lagers.

for ales, I’ve decided I’ll just use a heating pad. in addition to heat, it will insulate the conical a bit from the 50f ambient. Seems like it’ll save energy and hopefully lessen the temp swings.

Thanks for all the feedback! Picking up my fridge in the next few days. Can't wait to get this going.
 
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