Side by Side Fridge to Kegerator and Ferm Chamber

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cas3606

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Hey everybody,

So I have made many posts about this and read many threads and gathered countless amounts of information but I am looking for a few more answers. I recently got back to my refrigerator which I intend to turn the freezer side into a kegerator with two taps and the fridge side into a ferm chamber. this refrigerator has a "freezer temperature controller" which seems to really only be a defrost timer and a fridge temperature controller which seems to be the master temperature controller, as well as a cool or cold central setting between the two controls. My intention is to split off the connections from the "master" temp controller to an inkbird to control the kegerator temperature. Then have another inkbird wired to 2 12in fans to recirculate air through the system to cool the ferm side as well as have a space heater wired in to control any heating that needs to be done. Should I have to do anything with the defrost timer in this situation or the central little dial considering I am overriding the "master" setting? Attached is the wiring diagram of my fridge as well as my diagram I plan to use converting the fridge, please excuse the mess I have never worked on anything like this and I am pretty sure I gave my electrical engineer brother an aneurysm looking at this diagram. Let me know if you have any tips for this project.

Thanks everyone.

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kdaz

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Hey Cas3606, I am on my third digital controller fermentor and have 2 refrigerator hacks now. The first was an older unit that was my prototype so I could learn, and boy did I. I used that info to build my current (under construction now, 80 % done) larger system. I have designed two fermentation chambers and the keger section, and use inkbirds to controll them and the feezer too (4 zones). Point is I would be happy to help as I am going thru it right now.

As for your question, I will leave the actual electrical design to your brother in law, I am not licensed nor a professional, but I am comfortable doing it all my self....

From looking at your wiring diagram, it looks like your on the right track. Hacking into the existing wiring to the compressor and driving that with the inkbird (you can use an inkbird itc1000 or 2000 for the freezer, but need the ITC1000 for the ferm chamber, as it will run both the cooling and heating) It was my experience to bypass all the original refig circuitry, and directly control the compressor. Trace the wire from the compressor to the wiring harness closest where you will house your wiring (I did mine on top) and tie it to your inkbird.

Once you control the compressor, everything else is easy. The defrost circuit is important, especially if you live down south (Im in FLA) but you can get an aftermarket defrost timer on Amazon for $15,
set the timer and duration on it (every 12 hours, on for 20 min etc) so hack the existing defrost wire (common to white and other to the defrost timer) and the input to your freezer inkbird comes from the compressor side of the defrost timer. So the logic is, power is supplied from the defrost timer to the inkbird, which cycles on the compressor as needed to maintain freezer temp (with compressor delay of 1 or two minutes on the inkbird settings) and when the heater is on (driven by the defrost timer) , the defrost timer takes power off from the compressor. The inkbird is still trying to turn on the compressor but without power, nothing happens. You don't want to run the compressor cold while you are trying to heat it up and melt the ice from the evaporator. NOTE : if you live up north, put an override manual switch in line so you can turn off the heater if you have no or little humidity to muck up and ice up your fridge during winter, saving electricity).

Then drive the fan with the other inkbird to keep the ferm chamber at temp.

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kdaz

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Here is the problem I had with my original design. With just the fan coming from the freezer, there was nothing to stop the colder freezer air to come into the ferm side thru the large holes in the fan itself, and I could never control the temp accurately in the ferm chamber. The heater can not compete with 8 degree cold air coming in, just no way. My first design was to trim of the edges of a mini fan, place it in a 4" PVC coupling from HD, reduce it to a 2" pvc pipe and run it long, hoping to mitigate the cold air seeping in. It worked but still could not control the temp accurately. So I found a simple solution at HD, an air admittance valve, sure vent 1.5", $16. It lets air go one way, but not the other. It took a lot of fitting and gluing and custom work, but now the cold air can go in, but only when forced with the power of the fan putting enough pressure on it, with normal pressure it wont allow air in or out. It does not look pretty, but it works and I can control the temp perfectly. With my new design, I am using 12volt ball valves to open and close the air vents into each camber, more elegant but not as cheap or easy to do (can explain more if you like).

Do what you feel is best, but from my experience, scrap any existing controls, and just use the available wiring harness/wires but control everything yourself. Seal up the fan area into the ferm chamber, and in any way you can only let in the cold are you need to keep the ferm temp dialed in. The heater (BREWERS EDGE SPACE HEATER
 

kdaz

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SPACE HEATER( Williams brewing) are cheap $34) and has the glue line so you can stick it right to the back or side wall.

Sorry for the lengthy response but everyone in the brewing community has helped me, other than John Palmer's books, everting I have learned is from the brew on line community. I hope I can save you time and money with my having just done this. Mine in not a side by side, but everything else is the same.

kdaz
 
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