Author Topic: Kegerator temp control  (Read 2274 times)

Offline dano14041

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Kegerator temp control
« on: November 06, 2010, 06:57:35 PM »
I want to build a kegerator or keezer for my next project. I haven't decided which one yet and have been watching the "refrigerator versus chest freezer" thread.

If I go with a refrigerator to kegerator conversion will I need a temp controller or will the internal control work? (I am thinking not, but want to get opinions)
Also If you want to keep the CO2 tank outside, how do you/did you know where to drill the hole for the hoses?

Thanks!
Dano

Tulsa, OK

Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Kegerator temp control
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2010, 10:02:48 PM »
I have done a few fridge conversions.  I like them because you don't have to worry about the temperature inside the fridge.  It's a fridge and will keep beer between 34°F-48°F just by using the internal fridge dial.  One thing to note during a conversion is the light bulb.  The heat generated by a fridge light bulb will overpower the cooling done by the fridge itself.  When you remove the plastic moulded part from the fridge door, there is a good chance that will prevent the light from turning off because that moulded part contacted the light switch in the fridge.  You either need to loosen the bulb or duct tape the switch shut.  Alternatively, you can put a non-working bulb in there as a placeholder.

Most inexpensive fridges have a compressor at the bottom back of the fridge and the heat dispersing element runs up the back.  The sides and the top/bottom of the fridge are insulated with fiberglass insulation--very similar to home insulation.  Drill a hole from the inside of the fridge only far enough to breach the plastic shell (pilot hole).  With a metal rod (I cut a shirt hanger and used that) push it through the hole and tap it around.  You should feel the tapping on the outside metal of the fridge and you should be able to determine if there is something in the way of your hole.  There probably won't be anything there, and if so you can use a hole saw to cut through the plastic and the metal.  Use silicone to seal up the hole after you've threaded the CO2 line through it.

It's best to do these modifications when the fridge is off and at room temperature.  The sealant needs to be warm to cure properly.

If you are worried about drilling through the side of the fridge, you can go through the door.  This is a pain in the butt because you need to be mindful of your CO2 tank and hose when you open the door, but there's nothing in the door but insulation so you don't have to worry about hitting an element.

I'll post some photos of the current fridge I have to give you some ideas.
Tim McManus
Haskell, NJ

Offline Tim McManus

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Tim McManus
Haskell, NJ

Offline dano14041

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Re: Kegerator temp control
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2010, 12:18:13 AM »
Thank you Tim! That is what I was hoping to hear! Now to find a 'frige on craigslist.....  :D
Dano
« Last Edit: November 07, 2010, 12:24:22 AM by dano14041 »
Tulsa, OK

Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Kegerator temp control
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2010, 02:42:01 AM »
One other word of advice:  When you inspect potential fridges, bring at least two kegs so you can measure the height from the crispers, the width across the fridge, and the depth of the fridge.  If the kegs can rest on the crispers, the door will close.  Also be mindful that you'll need to keep the plastic moulded door part intact.  This will be your guide to cut a plastic replacement (Lowe's or Home Depot will have something) and it will also show you where you need to drill the 15-20 screw holes in the door.

Door modifications are the most complicated part of the conversion and be as meticulous as you can when doing these modifications.  I usually put the plastic replacement on the door before drilling shank holes.  Drill from the outside toward the inside because plastic is forgiving, metal is not.  To keep the door closed while tapping, search for a draw hasp.  It's the metal clamp you can see at the top left side of the door on the fridge, and it keeps the door closed until you release it.  Otherwise, you'll be opening the door when you pull a handle.

Let me know if you have any other questions.  I've screwed this process up enough to know how to do it right.  :)
Tim McManus
Haskell, NJ