Author Topic: Install Temp'Controls in Fridge for fermenting  (Read 7238 times)

Offline CR

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Install Temp'Controls in Fridge for fermenting
« on: December 03, 2009, 04:54:43 PM »
for lagers the 40 Deg F upper range of most fridges is OK for Ales I'd like the low 60s F
Any one figured how to hack the fridge?

Johnson Controls and Ranco sell units intended for temperature control
Anybody installed one on a fridge?
Was it hard?
Were you able to isolate the fridge from the freezer?  This allowing the Freezer for  hops storage?

I've been surfing the web for instructions on these controls.
 What I've found is a lot of people talking about using the temperature controller as a crude power interrupt switch.
The "pre-wired" units are equipped with a 120 VAC  output into which you p plug the fridge's power cord and a pig tail that goes to the wall outlet.
This makes no sense to me.
It  seems reasonable that the  Freezer should not have to go on and off with the main body of the fridge.
So it ought to be possible to leave the freezer alone and attach to the Fridge's  main temp control assembly.


Then there are issues I read about with Frost Free fridges  dropping internal temperature by 6 - 10 degrees during defrost cycles.  Is this a phenom of older frost free units a or is it   current.  





« Last Edit: December 03, 2009, 06:12:43 PM by CR »

Offline CR

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Re: Install Temp'Controls in Fridge for fermenting
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2009, 09:26:18 AM »
I learned that it is indeed possible to do as I hoped.

The Freezer's flapper valve that shunts cold to the fridge to do the job ov cooling is the thing that must be  controlled.
So it's a question of altering  something about solenoid
Either build a little circuit that reduces voltages sufficiently to power the solenoid which is  might (or not)  be drawing  A full 120 VAC.   A multi meter on the power leads to the solenoid will answer that forthwith

Worst case is that the fan and valve require a lower voltage in DC,  which can be supplied VIA any respectively sized Power Supply and old Computer PS units supplies provide a variety of  very smooth DC power through the  various leads which you can even combine to get higher power increments.

Then re route the power to the solenoid to a  power supply which is controlled by the Johnson Controls unit.  And Presto-Chango you will have the solution.

I gotta say it's a much more elegant solution than  interrupting the power to the whole fridge and wiping out the freezer function.

However:
I own a couple of window Air conditioner units that I don't use since the HVAC  install I did and  it occurred to me that the more elegant solution is to build a cold room from ply, sandwiched around center ripped 2x4s and  insulation.  I even have 6 foot thermal pane glass that will make up some really slick doors.  I can drive the cold room with an AC unit by by passing the thermal switch and using a Johnson Controls unit to regulate the temp.
Hell I can even create a multiple cold zone  cold room with one for Lagering and one for Ales by installing a partition with a valved duct and a fan slaved to another temp; control.  The down side Is I'll be warming the Cellar with the exhaust heat from the cold but, so what?   I mean what do I care if the Cellar is a touch warmer?

And on the up side ( again)  a cold room can be customized to accommodate pretty much whatever application I want.  So If  do decide to buy or build that conical fermenter I can make it  large enough so that it'll fit.   You won't get your conical 20 or 15 gallon fermenter in a fridge.

So I'll be buying some lumber and insulation instead of a fridge.



Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Install Temp'Controls in Fridge for fermenting
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2009, 03:12:34 PM »
I own a couple of window Air conditioner units that I don't use since the HVAC  install I did and  it occurred to me that the more elegant solution is to build a cold room from ply, sandwiched around center ripped 2x4s and  insulation.  I even have 6 foot thermal pane glass that will make up some really slick doors.  I can drive the cold room with an AC unit by by passing the thermal switch and using a Johnson Controls unit to regulate the temp.

An AC-chilled shed works great inside my garage.  Even in the heat of summer it doesn't run excessively.  I keep it b/t 56F and 60F with the Johnson thermo, and plan to ferment hybrids there too. 


Offline jthoresen

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Re: Install Temp'Controls in Fridge for fermenting
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 07:51:01 AM »
I have a Fridge for fermenting (Lagering and Aleing). The Johnson Controller works great (you will need a thermometer inside the fridge as the controller is slightly off). For Lager I keep the Fridge at 52 F and the Freezer stays at 35. (good place to keep the beer cold). Get a used Fridge off of craigs's list about $50 a Johnson Controller about $50 to $60 and a fridge thermometer about $4. I live in TX so this is the only way to replicate a cellar.

I'm still new to Lagers (15 ales and 2 lagers under my belt)

Jesse
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 09:11:05 AM by jthoresen »