Side-by-Side Kegerator/Ferm Chamber

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MG_OR

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Inspired by all the other builds like these below I'm trying todo the same.
Fridgenstein Side-By-Side Kegerator / Fermentation chamber by MisterCameron
Side-by-Side Kegerator/Fermentation Chamber, by Forbein11
Sibe By Side kegerator/fermenting chamber conversion, by rtrevino
ebay aquarium temp controller build, by android
Side by side fridge conversion by bluedog_brewing

My plan is to have two ITC-1000 controlling, one on the freezer side for kegs (so 36ish) and then one on the fridge side for fermenting (40-70+). Right now I'm trying to figure out the wiring just for the cooling portion of things since adding the heater to the ITC-1000 seems pretty simple and doesn't require tapping into the fridge wiring other than to power the ITC.

Why this instead of a keezer? Because I got the side by side for free. Keezer would be easier but this way I can tell my wife I'm saving money ;)

Here are pics of the control side of the fridge:
PXL_20210306_153004876.jpg



And then they go into this control board:
PXL_20210306_152954223.jpg


No wiring diagram is available (I asked Whirlpool and it is apparently in the service manual so they won't release it - it is model GD2SHKXKQ00). From what I understand based on reading the other threads, I need to find: the hot wire and neutral and then the OUT from the thermostats. The kicker: I only have one thermostat. It seems to measure the fridge temp right at the freezer intake/blower (?). The freezer temp is controlled by the manual damper (on the left side of the picture) that just vents more/less air onto the fridge side. Want the freezer colder? Clamp the damper down some.

Given that there aren't two thermostats, I think I should splice the ITC-1000 into the existing thermostat and have it control the freezer side. Temporarily I wouldn't worry about the fridge (as the fan blows when the freezer cooler kicks on and vents into the fridge as well). So for the freezer I think what I need to do is to take the hot into 1 and 7 on the ITC-1000 and 8 will be where the thermostat used to be (effectively replacing the thermostat 'signal out' with the ITC 'signal out').

Long term for the fridge side - I think I can wire up a computer fan in place of the existing damper arm setup, so that the fan is controlled by the ITC and pulls air over when it needs to. This would just need hot from the board and then the 8 output would go to the fan. Even longer term the heat would need a live out from the ITC and neutral from the fridge (I think?).

For the thermostat wiring - I believe the orange is thermo signal and the red is live which will make wiring in the controller pretty simple. I'll feed the temp sensor over to the freezer side through the closest hole and then insulate it some. bluedog_Brewing tapped into the condensor fan and compressor, but I don't think that is necessary if I can essentially utilize the ITC as a thermostat.

ITC should come in tomorrow so I'm going to take a shot at it then.
 

chessking

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I dig what you are doing. Its been a while since I wired up a side by side, and that was without the computer board. I thought about the ferm chamber on one side, but then just got another fridge for that, and made the side by side into one big kegerator. I'm am interested in seeing what you come up with.
I do believe two thermostats are the way to go, with the ferm side controlling the airflow via some fan setup. Based on how a side by side kegerator works, you may not need heat on the ferm side, as you are pulling fridge temp air from the freezer side, not freezer temps.
Also, you may want to keep the damper functional, to regulate the static temperature exchange. With a kegerator, you want even temps on both sides, so in my setup I removed the damper and placed two fans, one high and one low blowing in opposite directions to get a good exchange of air. In your setup, you only want air when needed, and not when not needed. When the fan (or fans) are off, cold air will still creep over if there is not some hindrance.

Keep the build going, and give us more pictures please.
 
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MG_OR

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So I got it wired up - I had it backwards what was live and what wasn't (quick fix) and then had to tie into the neutral off of the light bulb. Temp control was working great and when the freezer at serving temp the fridge side was ~50 degrees.

BUT though the dimensions when measuring the numbers looked like I could fit two or more kegs on the freezer side it was just too narrow to do more than one. So I'm back to the drawing board. Long term I think I'm going to move our food stuff from the chest freezer to the side by side, keezer up the freezer, then rig the side-by-side for freezer/fermenter with a couple of controllers.

Just going to take a bit more planning/doing.
 

chessking

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Are you saying the freezer is too narrow for a keg? Or not deep enough for two kegs front and back? I have four on my freezer side side, though its a tight fit, I put the laggering keg at the bottom back, where it is out of the way. Also, ball lock kegs are narrower than pin locks, if that helps. I'd hate to see you miss out on a great build.
Also. if it is depth you are short on, have you removed the inside door shelving? There is a row of screws under the rubber seal that go around the perimeter, remove them and the plastic panel, fill whatever hole remains from the ice maker, cover the interior of the door with some contact paper, then replace the screws (they hold the seal in place). Maybe that will help.
 

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MG_OR

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Freezer side has maybe 1/2 inch space (1/4 on either side) and can only hold one without removing the shelves. I'd have to remove them as you suggest and then maybe it would fit two depth-wise - but only 1 keg vertically (I could potentially store lagering kegs on their side or something?). I have pin locks (but converted them to ball locks) - yours looks MUCH taller than mine inside, though.

So far I've been working on "builds where I spend no money and don't have to permanently change things". We had the spare fridge and a chest freezer, so I'm looking at moving dispensing duties to the chest freezer (7.1 cuft) and then doing freezer (for meat and the like)/ferm chamber in the side by side. That would require the first permanent change (computer fan and some kind of open/shut from the freezer) and re-hacking the freezer thermostat.
 

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I got you. You are correct in thinking a proper "burn your bridges" kegerator build would not be easily converted back. My thinking is that I will be pouring beer out of this thing for the rest of my life, so make it what you want. Maybe keep your eye out for a side by side on Craig's list or cheap one at a garage sale, but with those pin lock keg dimensions, be sure to measure it first.

I'm just so sold on the side by side dispensing system, that if mine goes out I will quickly build another. I actualy got excited when I found your OP. I was going to ride along with you as you built it.

Another idea from left field, build a separate satellite ferm chamber from plywood and insulation and pipe air from the freezer/fridge over to it, with the temp controller probe in the fermentator and the fans hooked to the cool relay. I got all that stuff laying around in my shop, but you may not.

Any way, whatever you end up with, post it in the kegerator thread. Pictures are welcome
 

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I made one with a $1 craigslist fridge and it required zero wiring...zero.

I had a 1-stage Johnson that I plugged the GE-side-by-side into and set to 45F.

I taped a 35W brew heater mat to the back of the fridge with some aluminum tape. Plugged into an inkbird dual stage.

Then I forcibly removed the passive "damper" between the freezer and fridge portions and replaced by a 120mm hobby fan (120V AC, can get on amazon) and a 4" butterfly damper (gravity closure). Plug fan into inkbird.

Be sure to turn the fridge thermostat all the way down.
Done!
Ps- mine didn't have an ice or water dispenser, so that saved a lot of work obviously!

My experience has been that it's crazy space effecient but maybe not so energy efficient as a keezer. Also bear in mind my fridge is 30 years old...I cannot recharge as I believe it's freon... 😠
 

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So you are saying that you could only fit one pin lock keg in the freezer side? I've built 2 side-by-sides and have had room for a shelf on the bottom both times and I use ball locks and I know pin locks are shorter. That must be one short fridge. I would also recommend removing the inside shelves, especially if they are held on by screws like @chessking said. My first wasn't like that and I had to cut the shelves off but the second was held on by screws. It would be easy to take off, store it, then put back on if you ever chose to do so. I also used metal flashing both times, but am planning on using FRP board for my next build, when ever that is. Both units are still running, the oldest I built in 2011, I believe.
2012-03-31 17.24.11.jpg Smith Beer Fridge 9.jpg Smith Beer Fridge 11.jpg
 

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So you are saying that you could only fit one pin lock keg in the freezer side? I've built 2 side-by-sides and have had room for a shelf on the bottom both times and I use ball locks and I know pin locks are shorter. That must be one short fridge. I would also recommend removing the inside shelves, especially if they are held on by screws like @chessking said. My first wasn't like that and I had to cut the shelves off but the second was held on by screws. It would be easy to take off, store it, then put back on if you ever chose to do so. I also used metal flashing both times, but am planning on using FRP board for my next build, when ever that is. Both units are still running, the oldest I built in 2011, I believe.
View attachment 725817 View attachment 725818 View attachment 725819
That's a nice clean build. It reminds me, I need to clean mine up a bit. The flashing works well and the shelves look better than using plywood. easier to clean as well. My only observation is you need four more kegs on the other side.

Also, what are the three toggle switches for in the inside of the big door?
 

cas3439

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Thanks. I like the wire shelves because they don't block any of the circulating air like a solid shelf would. I like the way you just have the angle iron, but my freezer side is wide enough that I can put bottles of beer in there also with the kegs, so I need more of a shelf. They just pull up and out off of the angle, making it easy to get to the rear bottom keg. I added the toggle switches to be able to turn off either one of the fans. The other one is to kill the heater. Its just easier if I'm gonna be in there for more than an open and shut the door, to just hit the switch(s) than to mess with the controller. These days the right side is only used for fermenting.
 

benstetson

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Finally came across a recent thread for this. @MG_OR I have what looks to be the same controller setup on the side by side I'm building as I write this. Controller for the fridge only and a manual rod damper for the freezer.

From my rough estimates I can get 4 kegs on the left and 4 - 7 gal fermentors on the right. I'll be building the wood shelving this weekend. I have some cosmetic work including removing the ice maker of course and then paint before tackling the wiring. Thank you for posting the other threads you've found on the topic, that helped.

Did you find a wiring schematic for your model? I haven't found anything and am stuck at pretty much reverse engineering. I have components on order now but foresee a lot of testing.
 

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@cas3439 you're onto something with the metal rack shelving, will have to implement. Still looking to see what I can put my temp probe into for liquid, White Labs doesn't make the little vials anymore, those things worked great.
 
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MG_OR

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@benstetson I did get the wiring figured out. I'll have to look at it when I get home, but as I recall you need to tap into three places - neutral (white wire, I pulled it from the light bulb), hot/power (from Tstat), and signal out (from Tstat). For mine, I believe the Orange ended up being power in and red the signal out (which seemed backwards, but whatever). So Orange went to 1 + 7 and Red to 8. Neutral to 2. This bypasses the Tstat completely and has the inkbird controlling the cooling on the freezer.

I just picked up a second inkbird I'm planning on wiring into a 120v Fan for pulling cold air over from the freezer (to use the fridge as a ferm chamber).
 

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@benstetson I did get the wiring figured out. I'll have to look at it when I get home, but as I recall you need to tap into three places - neutral (white wire, I pulled it from the light bulb), hot/power (from Tstat), and signal out (from Tstat). For mine, I believe the Orange ended up being power in and red the signal out (which seemed backwards, but whatever). So Orange went to 1 + 7 and Red to 8. Neutral to 2. This bypasses the Tstat completely and has the inkbird controlling the cooling on the freezer.

I just picked up a second inkbird I'm planning on wiring into a 120v Fan for pulling cold air over from the freezer (to use the fridge as a ferm chamber).

Awesome. Right now I'm looking at doing the TSS2-2100 to run the compressor on SP1 and then engage the installed fan on SP2 to pull cold air over as necessary; thank you for the wiring input. I'm going to keep it simple for now and see where my temps end up. If necessary I'll add heat and also install a TS2 to then run the cooling then move the TSS2-2100 for the installed fan and heater which seems like a really good method to keep a tight fermentation range. We'll see how it all goes. I have to get the shelves in this weekend and work the cosmetic stuff first here yet. Thanks again.
 
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MG_OR

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You are looking at potentially a more complicated solution than me as I never went so far as to separate out the existing fan (and have no clue how to tap into the wiring on that - I never found a schematic, just trial and error). I believe you need the existing fan running when the compressor does (to pull cold air across it), but I'm no expert on refrigeration. I didn't have an independent fan to move air from Freezer to Fridge, just some ductwork that pushed air over when the fan/compressor kicked on. If you have an independent fan that may work though.

My plan (now since I'm using the freezer as a freezer) is to disconnect the ducting (so the cold air is only on the freezer side) and use the Inkbird to control a computer fan to pull air from the freezer and take temp readings on the ferm side. I'll see what temps I can get with just the fan, then see if I need to add heat or need more cooling or what. The hope is to use the fridge as ferm/lagering chamber as needed.
 

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I have nothing to add, but am following intently. My keg fridge is half kegerator and half freezer. I wanted to do something like this, but eventually gave up on it.
 
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MG_OR

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Okay, so here is how I ended on this (for now). The freezer still operates as it did with one upgrade - I pulled the temp controller and put in an inkbird for freezer side. The freezer used to be ~20 degrees, but now we are at zero.

On the fridge side - I pulled the vent that directed the freezer air over to the fridge and replaced it with a computer fan like this. It can keep the fridge pretty much any temp (I tested down to 32). And I have a ceramic heat bulb in a lamp socket as a heat source (haven't done much testing with it). Both are wired into a standard wall outlet + inkbird so I can change it out as/if needed.

All in all pretty satisfied with the capability and was pretty cheap all things considered.
 

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@NickTheGreat I'm shooting for a keezer for cold conditioning kegs prior to my serving keezer and then a fermentation chamber on the right.

That was my original plan. My kegarator is half keg, half freezer. Originally planned on doing what you said, but then didn't.

Then my wife wanted a fridge for baby milk and baby food. I happened to buy one that will fit my carboy inside . . .
 

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Phase I is complete. I've been working my Phase II list, but it's turned out well thus far. I'll probably do a master write up when I'm complete and make sure to include the 8-10 threads of posts that inspired this.

20210710_084628.jpg 20210710_092730.jpg 20210710_103323.jpg 20210711_081905.jpg 20210717_054822.jpg 20210717_063040.jpg 20210718_140424.jpg 20210725_084621.jpg 20210725_095714.jpg 20210725_095718.jpg 20210725_103756.jpg 20210725_103800.jpg 20210726_161825.jpg 20210726_161838.jpg Fermentor.Wiring.jpg
 

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chessking

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I see the fan on top of the dividing wall, but do you have a portal for return air? If not, the fan is pushing against a sealed room of air.
In a perfect world the fan portal would be on the bottom, drawing the coldest air from the freezer, and the return would be on the top with a flap to keep it closed when the fan is not on, that way you get less cold creep. You could make an argument for the reverse setup as well. Something to think about.

Does any of this therm-o-circular theorizing make any difference? Probably not.

Nice bit of body work on the door.
 

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I see the fan on top of the dividing wall, but do you have a portal for return air? If not, the fan is pushing against a sealed room of air.
In a perfect world the fan portal would be on the bottom, drawing the coldest air from the freezer, and the return would be on the top with a flap to keep it closed when the fan is not on, that way you get less cold creep. You could make an argument for the reverse setup as well. Something to think about.

Does any of this therm-o-circular theorizing make any difference? Probably not.

Nice bit of body work on the door.

Phase II will add another fan for a push / pull, also adding another controller and using the TSS2 to add heat and control the fan for strictly the fermentation chamber.
 
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MG_OR

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Yours looks so clean @benstetson - great job, I'm going to steal some ideas when I clean up the wiring. I ended up going with a small office heater and then a similar fan to yours to control hot/cold on the fridge side. I believe there is a small return vent at the bottom of the fridge already. Two ITC-1000F, one for freezer and one for fridge.
 
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@bkboiler
I was about to post when I saw your comment. I’m interested in building this side by side kegerator/fermentation. All of my searching shows everyone rewiring and tying into the compressor. Why not just plug the fridge into the inkbird and run temp probe to freezer(kegs) set to 40 degrees. Then hook up another inkbird to the damper/fan and pull air when needed. Compressor will kick on when warm air from fermentation chamber is pushed into freezer side. Sounds like exactly what you did. How is it working?
 

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Phase II will add another fan for a push / pull, also adding another controller and using the TSS2 to add heat and control the fan for strictly the fermentation chamber.
hey- when you cut into the wall between the freezer and the fridge, did you see anything in there that was cause for concern? any wiring to avoid or refrigerant lines, etc?

i figured my unit was going to stay as a freezer, so i only need to cut the fan hole, add the damper, and then wire in a temp controller for the fan to blow cold freezer air and a heat wrap on conical to bring it back up.

hoping there's nothing to avoid or worry about when i go to cut the hole...?
 

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I had no issues, all the lines appear to be in the back wall(s). All refrigerant lines are pretty much visible in the back of the freezer where you can see the condenser.

You're planning to keep the freezer and run a fermentation chamber on the right? You really only need a fan to cool if you need/want the ability to cold crash or lager. If you only need ale temps, you just need a bit of heat.
 

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I need them- all, ale, lager, and cold crash. it ends up simplifying the job to boot.
my understanding was that the dividing wall was “empty” but then saw a few vague references to something possibly being there. But I think we figured out that was a misunderstanding. Nice to get confirmation before I go at it with the hole saw.
 
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MG_OR

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The dividing wall is empty (to my knowledge), but I just used the existing hole going from the freezer to fridge. I picked up this fan which blows enough to get the fridge down to 30 degrees (as cold as I've tried it). That fan was a great plug and play into the existing hole, much better than a big square one (IMO)
 

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The dividing wall is empty (to my knowledge), but I just used the existing hole going from the freezer to fridge. I picked up this fan which blows enough to get the fridge down to 30 degrees (as cold as I've tried it). That fan was a great plug and play into the existing hole, much better than a big square one (IMO)
i actually already have a fan just like that. its what i use in my freezer chamber to get the air moving.

you have a pic of your mounting for it?
 
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MG_OR

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This was definitely one of those solutions that I thought I would fix up to look better/cleaner but it's working well so...
 

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SanPancho

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ha. yeah, i'm with you. have neither time nor inclination to worry about "pretty" just yet. function, then form. maybe.
 

SanPancho

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so on my setup i removed ice maker and air channels, as well as gate for the fridge vent. but my vent was way up in the corner high and tight.
IMG_8298.jpg

took some cutting to get it to cover the majority of the vent. i ran the freezer temp probe into freezer section since it seemed like a good idea to put it back where i found it. then i used some of this window/door sealing putty stuff to seal it up under the louvers and stop as much airflow as possible from the freezer side.
81+X3ZmpBKL._AC_SX679_.jpg

right now i've got my inkbird set to 65F, and fridge side is in the low 50s. i'll wait until tomorrow and see if it comes up to ambient, hopefully at least into the 60s. at that point i think i'm good and dont really need to worry about heating. mostly do lagers and sours, so if its not a lager i'll just leave it out in the basement, possibly with a heat wrap depending on the yeast.

the only thing that sucks is that the fan is making a kind of rattling noise when its running. i'm not sure exactly what it is, dont really want to take it all apart and look but i have a feeling the fan may not like to be upside down, which was the way i had to turn it to make it mate up with the vent opening.

fingers crossed, but so far it looks like i can have the ferm chamber on one side and a 24/7 freezer working on the other side. basically keep all my brewing crap in one place and make the wife happy im not taking up space in the kitchen.

lets see what she says when i bring in the kegerator!
 

SanPancho

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You are looking at potentially a more complicated solution than me as I never went so far as to separate out the existing fan (and have no clue how to tap into the wiring on that - I never found a schematic, just trial and error). I believe you need the existing fan running when the compressor does (to pull cold air across it), but I'm no expert on refrigeration. I didn't have an independent fan to move air from Freezer to Fridge, just some ductwork that pushed air over when the fan/compressor kicked on. If you have an independent fan that may work though.

My plan (now since I'm using the freezer as a freezer) is to disconnect the ducting (so the cold air is only on the freezer side) and use the Inkbird to control a computer fan to pull air from the freezer and take temp readings on the ferm side. I'll see what temps I can get with just the fan, then see if I need to add heat or need more cooling or what. The hope is to use the fridge as ferm/lagering chamber as needed.
what temp does your ferm side sit at? i'm finding that the fridge section seems to just want to stay at 40ish. i cant really feel any cold air leaking in from the freezer side but i'm guessing it must be happening because that's where the ferm side keeps settling.
 

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what temp does your ferm side sit at? i'm finding that the fridge section seems to just want to stay at 40ish. i cant really feel any cold air leaking in from the freezer side but i'm guessing it must be happening because that's where the ferm side keeps settling.
@SanPancho Hey, did you ever figure this out? I plan on doing the same thing as you. I want to keep the freezer as-is and cool/heat the fridge side (fermenting ales) with my Brewpi controller using a fan with dryer vent for the cool and my homemade reptile bulb for the heat.
I had everything working great with a small wine fridge fermenting in a brew bucket but I have a conical now and need a bigger chamber!
 

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@SanPancho Hey, did you ever figure this out? I plan on doing the same thing as you. I want to keep the freezer as-is and cool/heat the fridge side (fermenting ales) with my Brewpi controller using a fan with dryer vent for the cool and my homemade reptile bulb for the heat.
I had everything working great with a small wine fridge fermenting in a brew bucket but I have a conical now and need a bigger chamber!

Yeah. Long story short, you can either Hotwire the existing damper controller if you can figure it out, or just remove it and then rig up a fan with your dryer vent cover over the hole.
best advice—
FIND ALL AIR LEAKS AND SEAL THEM.

seal the main damper vent tight, seal any return vent (but might need to open back up when crashing ), and seal any other ports you find. ( look for one near the veggie bins at bottom). Do your best to have no cold air coming in unless you’re calling for cooling with fan on.
See here
Side by side fridge- a freezer and a ferm chamber- initial success
 

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Phase II will add another fan for a push / pull, also adding another controller and using the TSS2 to add heat and control the fan for strictly the fermentation chamber.
did you ever add the 2nd fan? was it worth the time/energy to put it in?
 
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