Author Topic: My first kegerator build (photos now working)  (Read 429 times)

Offline Belgian Samurai

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My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« on: August 17, 2019, 06:26:19 PM »
Where to begin ...
After almost 3 laborious months of trying to resolve this kegerator project that was nearly above my aptitude, I have succeeded! (Pats self on back ... and faints! lol) Yes, I realize this intro didn't really help this post, but I'm still processing that I actually am "done" with the build. hahaha

Alright, now to the important part! I've been home brewing LME kits for a few years now and now that I'm able to create my recipes, I figured it was time to build myself a kegerator. Seeing so many builds by other home brewers, I was greatly inspired! I might have jumped off into the deep end of the pool, but I learned to swim quick!  :o 8) 

The Kegerator / Fermentation chamber:






The fridge is a 4.4 or 4.6cu.ft. unit. The extended chamber is an additional 34cu.ft. area. The fermentation chamber is 7cu.ft area. The keezer side will be at 40-45f as it will be for kegs, bottles, etc. The fermentation chamber will be held at 68f controlled by a temp controller shown in the 5th image above.
To aid the fridge condenser, I have been suggested to place a few jugs of water in the keezer side as they will chill and help the ambient temperature. I need a fan setup on the keezer side and am looking at a bilge fan setup from reading about other keezer builds.

Question:
  • Why did the fridge ice over in the first 12hrs? (I had the fridge set to 2 on the 6-point fridge thermostat.) From what I've ready, a simple fan blowing on the freezer shelf in the fridge may resolve this. See photo below. (BTW, The keezer side dropped only 1-degree from 74f to 73f during that time. I shut if off at the circuit breaker panel as I was heading out on vacation and am just now able to get back to it.)



I have a photo journey of the build process on my Instagram profile if you are interested in seeing further images. I'm looking forward to your hope-giving replies ... if there is no hope for resolution, please just lie to me...I couldn't take the bad news. hahaha

Thanks!
:)

P.s. I big thank you to BrewBama for helping me resolve the image issue and for telling me about TapaTalk! What an awesome app!!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 09:51:42 PM by Belgian Samurai »
Recent batches: Chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter
On the drawing board: Citrus Wheat Kolsch, Moose Drool clone, Grapefruit IPA
IG: @BelgianSamuraiBrewing

Offline Belgian Samurai

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Re: My first kegerator build
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 06:31:09 PM »
well, that was anti-climatic!
how do i embed those photos? or link them properly if embedding is not allowed?
Recent batches: Chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter
On the drawing board: Citrus Wheat Kolsch, Moose Drool clone, Grapefruit IPA
IG: @BelgianSamuraiBrewing

Online BrewBama

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Re: My first kegerator build
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 06:51:37 PM »



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Brewed in the Tennessee Valley. Rocket City — Huntsville AL

Offline Belgian Samurai

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Re: My first kegerator build
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2019, 06:55:06 PM »


Thank you! Prior to asking, I searched and found a similar question/solution, but still couldn't get it to work. I think the issue is a privacy/sharing setting on the image itself. Stay tuned and thanks!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 07:10:41 PM by Belgian Samurai »
Recent batches: Chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter
On the drawing board: Citrus Wheat Kolsch, Moose Drool clone, Grapefruit IPA
IG: @BelgianSamuraiBrewing

Online BrewBama

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Re: My first kegerator build
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 07:14:41 PM »
If you have access to Tapatalk it is much easier to post photos IMO. Simply click the ‘mountain’, select a photo from your computer, click ‘done’, select what size you’d like and *PFM* photo is in the post.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” — St. Arnold

Brewed in the Tennessee Valley. Rocket City — Huntsville AL

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2019, 12:42:46 PM »
Question:
  • Why did the fridge ice over in the first 12hrs? (I had the fridge set to 2 on the 6-point fridge thermostat.) From what I've ready, a simple fan blowing on the freezer shelf in the fridge may resolve this. See photo below. (BTW, The keezer side dropped only 1-degree from 74f to 73f during that time. I shut if off at the circuit breaker panel as I was heading out on vacation and am just now able to get back to it.)

I looked at the photos you posted on your Instagram site and, unfortunately, the pictures do not tell the story.  So, I did some very basic calculations on the cubic feet numbers you provided and if your numbers are correct, and I understand those numbers, and my math is correct, you’re asking a refrigeration unit that was designed to cool a 4.6 cubic foot chamber to cool a chamber that’s 20 times larger.  That’s a major chore indeed!  This may be part of the reason why the temperature only dropped 1° in 12 hours.

Also, the frost you’re seeing is caused by the humidity within the chamber.  The humidity within the chamber is there because it does not appear there are any door seals on any of the many doors.  While a refrigerated chamber needs to be well insulated, equally as important is a vapor barrier.  Without one, the evaporator coil will frost, than ice, than the evaporator is no longer effective and you loose your cooling all together; then when it thaws, and without a drain system, you have one heck of a mess on your hands.

Lastly, I’m confused with the fan.  Is it simply circulating air within the chamber, or is there another function?  Where is the fan located with respect to the evaporator section?  Further, where is the compressor/condenser section of your construction?

I would like to help answer your questions if you could answer a few of my questions??   ;D
« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 02:00:15 PM by KellerBrauer »
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline Kevin

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Re: My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2019, 03:19:56 PM »
That's an awful lot of space to try and chill with a dorm fridge. Imho a better use of the dorm fridge is a single purpose ferm chamber something like this...
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/diy-fermentation-chamber.html

Then a separate unit as a kegerator or keezer using a chest or stand up freezer.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHWy_Vlw3J4

If it was me I would see if I could use that space under the stairs as the fermentation chamber and place the keezer where you current build sits.
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Offline Belgian Samurai

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Re: My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2019, 06:10:54 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I will get back to you soon with updates. 

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Recent batches: Chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter
On the drawing board: Citrus Wheat Kolsch, Moose Drool clone, Grapefruit IPA
IG: @BelgianSamuraiBrewing

Offline Belgian Samurai

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Re: My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 04:32:37 PM »
Boy oh boy, what a journey this has been and I'm just now able to respond to this thread! Let me see if I can answer your questions and provide further details.

So, when I originally started this project, I scoured many home brew setups across the internet and used them as reference. When I thought about the wasted space around the staircase and how it was useless (for much anything else), I interpreted that as "just a little space" so it would work, but my mistake was not figuring in volume. The fridge is 4.6 cu ft and the total volume space post installation was 40 cu ft. Okay, so I took the following comment and began experimenting.

So, I did some very basic calculations on the cubic feet numbers you provided and if your numbers are correct, and I understand those numbers, and my math is correct, you’re asking a refrigeration unit that was designed to cool a 4.6 cubic foot chamber to cool a chamber that’s 20 times larger.  That’s a major chore indeed!  This may be part of the reason why the temperature only dropped 1° in 12 hours.

I began to wall off each chamber progressively shrinking the volume to see what size the fridge could handle. I am now down to about 10 cu ft, which according to a couple other builds out there, should work. In the following image,  you will notice the temp control sensor (hanging black wire). I was able to achieve 47.5° even with frosting/icing on the freezer shelf.



In regards to kellerbrauer's comment about vapor barrier, would aluminum sheathing and rubber door gasket resolve this issue? I referenced this build how-to ( https://bit.ly/2kgKJPE ) as a basis for my project. It appears he has a pretty simple door/frame seal without such seal.

You asked where the fan was located and how it was utilized,  here are a couple of pictures.

So now that I had achieved a sufficiently(?) cold temp for the kegerator,  I now wanted to suck some of that cold air up into the fermentor which would sit at 68°. Fan installed. Temporary duct work installed. Insulation installed. What is confusing me is after flipping on the fan, the upper chamber increases 2° in about one hour,  which is why I added the insulation as I thought the heat was coming from the chamber with the ducting.  Even with the insulation, it didn't help,  so the heat has got to becoming from the little motor, but I figured the air moving acrossed it would keep it from heating up.  Actually,  I didn't think this fan motor would ever be a heat issue!









I'm going to stop this reply here and see what your initial comments are and I'll get your more info as needed.

Thanks for everyone time and helpful input.

Sent from my LG-H830 using Tapatalk

« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 04:34:23 PM by Belgian Samurai »
Recent batches: Chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter
On the drawing board: Citrus Wheat Kolsch, Moose Drool clone, Grapefruit IPA
IG: @BelgianSamuraiBrewing

Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2019, 01:03:38 PM »
Okay, let’s start from the beginning.  If I understand your post, you said you shrunk the space down to 10 cubic feet.  That’s fine, but still larger than the refrigeration equipment was intended to handle.  So, okay, you got the temperature down to 47.5°.  That should be fine depending on the intent of the “chamber(s)” in your build.  But now you wish to put cooling into a fermentation section using a fan?  Is the fermentation section included in the 10 cubic foot volume?

In so far as using aluminum sheeting and rubber door gaskets for the door seals, I can say that these items will work providing they’re used and installed correctly and the doors themselves close tight.  So, without knowing exactly how you intend to use these components, I cannot guarantee they will serve your intended purpose.

The fan, I’m still very confused on the fan.  It appears from the pictures, you have the fan mounted to a bulkhead of some kind with cardboard ductwork on the exit side of the fan/bulkhead, but I’m not clear on where the cardboard ductwork leads.  Ok, if you want to use a fan to move air from point “A” to another in a sealed chamber, room, box, whatever, (point “B”) you will need to provide relief for the air being pushed into Point “B” otherwise, there will be NO circulation.  Instead, you will only increase the static pressure in that Point “B” without actually moving air into Point “B”.  So, to correct this condition, you need to provide a pathway for air to move back to the place from which it came - this is known as “return air”.  Typically, the return air is larger in size than the supply air and the return air location is typically opposite the supply air.  Now you’ll have circulation and now that space temperature will begin to change.  How much will it change?  Well that depends on the volume and temperature of the air you’re moving as it directly relates to the load within the chamber you wish to cool. I hope this makes sense.

Good luck, I hope this information helps.
All good things come to those who show patients and perseverance while maintaining a positive and progressive attitude. :-)

Offline Belgian Samurai

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Re: My first kegerator build (photos now working)
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2019, 08:13:42 PM »
Thanks for that info! The static pressure explains the issue perfectly. BTW, the fan was drawing the cool air from the lower chamber (kegerator) to the upper chamber (fementor), but obviously,  unsuccessfully.

I've been talking about an alternate approach that will keep me from having to dismatle the build. The lower chamber will remain the same. The fan and cardboard ducting will be removed from the equation. I will then go with a watercooled radiator with fan setup as shown in this forum post ( https://bit.ly/2kD5kxS ) from another brewer's forum. I will try to get to this portion of the build this week.

Thoughts?

Sent from my LG-H830 using Tapatalk

Recent batches: Chocolate maple bourbon barrel imperial porter
On the drawing board: Citrus Wheat Kolsch, Moose Drool clone, Grapefruit IPA
IG: @BelgianSamuraiBrewing