mini fridge conversion

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Heloco, Nov 1, 2019.

  1. Heloco

    Heloco New Member

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    anyone out there use a mini fridge for fermenting in? wondering if i can take out the "freezer tray" or is it the piece that actually cools the fridge? it's making the fridge too cold and froze some beer i had in there yesterday
     
  2. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I believe that is part of the evaporator so it's what cools the frig. I have seen people tear out the compressor, evaporator and condenser and put it in a different box, but man that's a lot of work. It's hard to beat the convenience of a keezer setup.
     
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  3. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    couldn’t agree more. Buy a cheap freezer from Lowe’s (sale or scratch and dent), and buy a temp controller (inkbird) and you are done. If you are pretty thrifty, you can do it all for less than $300
     
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  4. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    How do you ferment in a keezer when the kegs in the keezer are at a temperature possibly well below the temp you need to ferment?
     
  5. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    You won’t be able to ferment and keep cold beer in the same unit* at the same time
     
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  6. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Having one refrigeration unit for fermentation and one for serving is not a bad way to go. I did that for many years. I had an old Johnson Controls mechanical temperature controller.

    Now I have a single keezer setup. Kegs are stored at one end for serving. I have a chilled water reservoir at the other. The chilled water is circulated externally to a heat exchanger in the fermenter for temperature control.

    Many ways to approach this problem.
     
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  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have a fridge in my basement, which is a bit of a man cave, and one in my garage for fermentation. Fortunate to have the space.
     
  8. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I've been thinking about this bubba so you pump cold water out from keezer in through external fermentor to regulate fermentation temperature? Sorta like a glycol system but just using water?
    Great idea
     
  9. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Using the SS Brewtech fermenter with FST controller. The chilled water reservoir is made of 4" PVC pipe with some elbows to form a " W" shape. Pull chilled water from one end and return to the other.
     
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  10. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    And how you pumping the liquid bubba submersible or some inline type thing?

    I was thinking along the lines of submersible in cold tank controlled by cold relay on stc1000 temp probe in fermentor
     
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  11. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    I have space issues and my wife would make me sleep outside in 2 freezer/refrigerator set up.
     
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  12. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I used to ferment in an old wine fridge controlled via STC1000 yes you couldn't really cold crash but it did the job. In just found it cycled a lot more than the mini freezer setup I've got ATM

    See a freezer has better insulation.
    And when you open the lid the cold air stays in it doesn't run out on ya feet like in a fridge.
     
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  13. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I have an old apartment fridge, it has the coils on the outside, I added a specific fan attached to the freezer section that blows into my styrofoam box, I had to add a box fan zip tied to the coils, it chills to 60F easily
     
  14. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    It's a submersible pump supplied with the SS Brewtech system. I've been using it a little over a year. It's a touch pricy, but a great system.
     
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  15. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    I have an SS Brewtech BrewBucket, but I use a Fermwrap for fermentation. But I recall them having problems with the head unit. Sounds like yours has been working good though.
     
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  16. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Yep. 3.5 gallon brew bucket here.
     
  17. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Get an external temperature controller. Set the temp where you want it and your problem is solved. No need to modify the fridge if your fermenter fits in it.
     
  18. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    I found a free BEKO larder fridge TLDA 521 and had misgivings about drilling holes in it but since I would not be losing anything if I did kill it i decided to go for it.
    I bit the bullet and had a look inside to see where the best or more likely position for drilling would be.
    I removed the thermostat housing - which has a plug and socket attachment so it was easy to remove. The long capillary thermo-couple just pulls out of the side of the casing as it is housed in a tube built into the side panel.
    I decided to drill through the side wall at this point from inside the fridge as I figured they wouldn't complicate things by having cooling pipework anywhere near the thermostat!
    The hole I drilled was just big enough for the InkBird thermo-couple to pass through from the outside. I drilled a suitable hole in the thermostat housing so the wire passed through that and into the fridge. Removing the built-in thermo-couple ensures you don't drill through it by accident!!!

    In this way I could assemble everything back together - so there was as little cosmetic change to the fittings - and the InkBird lead can now reach anywhere inside the fridge.
    I also figured that the cooling pipework would also not be all the way down to the base of the fridge and I drilled a big enough hole for the small bar heater wire to pass outside.
    It turns out that there does NOT seem to be any cooling pipes in either side panel of the fridge - it is only in the BACK panel - on the internal side of the back panel insulation - the radiator being outside obviously.
    All works OK so I have not damaged anything by boring through the sides and the InkBird works a treat. Note: The fridge is set to MAX so it can get as cold as designed.
    I suspect that ALL fridges are constructed in a similar manner - it would be a complicated set of cooling pipes if not done this way.
    As you can see, using this particular fridge I can actually get two fermenters in at the same time - if I wanted to.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    UPDATE:
    New wooden shelves - suitably drilled to allow heat to pass and 12v Fans installed in a door shelf to allow circulation.
    upload_2019-11-3_13-2-23.png upload_2019-11-3_13-2-54.png
     
  19. 56 Firedome

    56 Firedome Active Member

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    I used a Mini Fridge & a box I made out of left over MDF & 1" blue foam insulation big enough to hold my 6 gal carboy. I removed the fridge door, cut holes in the box adjacent to the freezer & mounted 2 12v computer fans to circulate air from the bottom of the box into the fridge & into the top of the box. I also added a Brewers Plate heater under the carboy. The heater & Mini Fridge are controlled by an Inkbird that switches from heat to cool automatically.
    I can cool into the low 40s & heat to upper 70s. I use it to control the fermenter & secondary temps. When Dry Hop is complete I fine before I transfer to keg. The Modelo wants 30 days at 30 F in the kegerator before serving.
    Mini Fidge & box are 2 1/2 feet wide by 4 feet long. I mounted casters to make it easy to move around. The downside is it's hard to clean up the box when I have a vigorous fermentation. As a result I've been using a blow off hose & capturing yeast in a brew bucket with an air lock.
     
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