fridge conversions - the build begins

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lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

fridge conversions - the build begins

Post by lord groan » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:25 pm

I've managed to pick up a nice Beko larder fridge which is high enough to have 2 fermenters in simultaneously, I've ordered my STC1000 and 60w heat cable (thanks for the link BenB), now I'm not bothered about the electrics (yet) but I was wondering if the plastic covered wire shelves are strong enough for a fermenter holding 23l, or if the shelf supports moulded in the side of the fridge will cope with that weight or not.
Has anyone had issues with overloading original wire shelves, it's just that I'd like to keep them because they'll not block air circulation
cheers
Last edited by lord groan on Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AnthonyUK

Re: fridge conversions

Post by AnthonyUK » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:46 am

The supports are plenty strong enough but I have glass shelves so I just cut up a couple of batons and use these to support the FVs to improve the airflow.

gobuchul

Re: fridge conversions

Post by gobuchul » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:08 am

I had some offcuts of 18mm engineered wooden flooring and used them, they are only 150mm wide so there is plenty of air flow and they are plenty strong enough.

I used the glass shelves as a template so they fit exactly.

UpTheToon
Piss Artist
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:39 am
Location: Whitley Bay

Re: fridge conversions

Post by UpTheToon » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:29 am

One minor word of warning. I used offcuts from B&Q of plywood and made wooden slats.

I proudly fermented my first ale then crash cooled it... and nearly spilled the lot.

Bear in mind when you are measuring that wood expands and contracts with the changing temperatures!

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: fridge conversions

Post by lord groan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:50 pm

thanks everyone

Fil
Telling imaginary friend stories
Posts: 5229
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: Cowley, Oxford

Re: fridge conversions

Post by Fil » Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:13 pm

why the heat cable and not a tube heater? will the cable be wrapped round both vessels or strung up as a radiant heat source in the air??

adding a fan in either case would imho be extremely beneficial too,
ist update for months n months..
Fermnting: not a lot..
Conditioning: nowt
Maturing: Challenger smash, and a kit lager
Drinking: dry one minikeg left in the store
Coming Soon Lots planned for the near future nowt for the immediate :(

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: fridge conversions

Post by lord groan » Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:42 pm

Hi Fil,
Still mulling over the options on how to set up the fridge, I went for the heat cable as I'd seen a few complaints about tube heaters not lasting awfully well and I thought the cable would be less intrusive and maybe more moisture resistant. It hasn't arrived yet but I think it'll take up much less space, and be less prone to damage by knocking into it, also it was half the price of the 60w tube heater! At the moment Im using a geriatric 25w? Boots heat belt to wrap my fermenting bin and as that has lasted about 30 years I'm quite positive about heat cables and reckoned this new one might be OK for a few years as well.
I asked about using the wire shelves at the top of the post cos I quite fancy cable tying the heating wire around the underside of a low shelf- around both sides and across the back to see if quite an even heat spread can be got this way, it ought to be near enough invisible.
A fan is under consideration, but again I was hoping that if the wire shelves could stay, and the cable ran around 3 or all 4 sides of the shelf then it might not be needed with heat rising evenly all around the fridge. Time will tell tho', when I get all the bits and get it wired up I'll try a few tests with a fermenter full of water and no doubt will end up tweaking things.

A week ago I had no intention of getting a brew fridge - then I went to a general auction, what a mistake! Now I'm doing all this. :shock:
Image

BenB

Re: fridge conversions

Post by BenB » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:58 am

In my installation the heating cable was perfect. I bought a chest freezer (110L) for a second temp controlled chamber. It will happily take a 30L FV but that does take pretty much the entire chamber. The chest freezer has a flat bottom unlike some which have a step due to the compressor. So there wasn't space for a greenhouse heater. Hence looking into alternatives and finding the heating cable. Nice low density heating (40W per metre), takes up pretty much no space and cheap. What's not to like? Mine arrived a week ago and it's very good. Haven't done a brew in the new chamber yet but it looks spot on. I've used fan in my other chamber and it works fine. In this one I'll have to use a 40mm fan so I'll be obliged to use a 12v fan although that's no too tricky....

lord groan
Lost in an Alcoholic Haze
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:34 pm
Location: Hampshire

Re: fridge conversions

Post by lord groan » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:41 pm

Ok the conversion begins - I took the cover off the compressor electics and then fiddled about until i could get the cover off the thermostat/light assembly in the fridge in order to sort out which wires were which;
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I have brown-live, blue-neutral, green/yellow-earth and the black which goes back from the stat to the compressor -the one to switch on the compressor.
Drill a small hole in the plastic cover and feed the thermo sensor wire (black twin) for the STC through, the wire then got pushed out the back of the fridge through the hole where the thermostat cable comes in, next disconnect the now redundant black wire from the stat and tuck back out of harms way. Leave the other wires so the light still works, reattach the stat to the cover
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Reattach asembly to fridge, and test the light
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Whoopee, now fuzzy pic showing original wire plus black sensor wire coming out the back of the fridge, those bungs are murder to get back in!
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Now wire the STC, get some 4-core 1.0mm2 flex, 0.75mm2 would have done but none was in stock! I used brown as live and grey as neutral to the STC, then the black to connect to the cooling terminal and the green/yellow with some red sheathing to the heating terminal, temp sensor attaches to pins 3and 4,
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Stick the lot in a £1.00 Asda container and run the 4-core down the back of the fridge to the compressor.
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The mains comes in to the left 2 terminals (brown & Blue) the third is the connection for the black wire powering the compressor, I have pulled this one free. This is the now disconnected one coming back from the fridge stat. Live and neutral connections just visible below the white plastic mains connectors take power to the fridge stat and light so i've left these in place.
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Spade connectors on the cable from the STC (brown&grey) connect to the live and neutral, and the black STC cooling wire goes to the third terminal to fire up the compressor. The last red sheathed yell/grn wire terminates in the choccy block to await the arrival of my 60w heating cable from Bulgaria
Plugged in and fired up, it began at 18.8c room temp and is down to -2.4c here, I'd set it to -3.0 which it got to shortly after and stayed there until I switched it off. :D
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Now I just have to finish my new brewery build and squeeze the fridge in there!
Hopefully this is of some use to others considering a bit of fridge hacking.

BenB

Re: fridge conversions - the build begins

Post by BenB » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:58 pm

Nice! I like the cable coming out of the light / thermostat bit. Very tidy.

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