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Brew fridge

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by Hangover68, 9/2/20.

 

  1. Hangover68

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    Posted 9/2/20
    I picked up a freebie ex medical supplies fridge that i want to use as a brew fridge, it has a digital thermostat with a wide range of settings and currently doesn't seem to cool but temp is rising as if it was heating.
    Quite a solid unit and fits my fermenter in perfectly, being ex medical it has had regular testing/servicing so i hope it can be fixed cheaply.
    Any one here able to give me some ideas on how to test it or even bypass the thermostat to trace where the issue is ?

    IMG_20200209_123457.jpg
     
  2. koshari

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    Posted 9/2/20
    does the compressor run, if so i would say your looking at a paperweight unless you know someone that could try gassing it, otherwise if the compressor isnt running your flying, just bypass the controller with an stc1000.

    looks like it would fit perfectly in the cavity in the front as well.

    most fridges have a wiring diagram sticker on em, take a pic and post it.
     
  3. H0U5ECAT

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    Posted 9/2/20
    it already has a STC (sic) built in. Thats the digital controller at the top.
    Generally the controllers on these are all generic. The operation of them should all be the same.

    Check out this operation vid on how to operate them.

    You may find out if the temp control is stopping it from getting cold or if it's set right, the compressor/gas etc is fukkered
     
  4. Hangover68

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    Posted 9/2/20
    Compressor runs fine and it was tested/service 16 months ago so assume not much wrong with it apart from not cooling which i'm hoping is a lack of gas. I didnt think that an STC 1000 would fit in there nicely if the controller is toast, i found a manual for the controller and although it has a lot of parameters that can be adjusted the basic temp control is simple.

    IMG_20200209_152908.jpg
     
  5. koshari

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    Posted 9/2/20
    all looks pretty straight fwd t me except the "shower" part L??.

    so the compressor is running (and not in a stall) and its not cooling, IMO sadly its not worth getting a professional to fix it, theres 2 issues here the bill will be more than you could get another working 2nd hand frig for and theres likely to be some other issue if the gasd has escaped in the first place, also these disposable fridges wont have gas ports on them, they will simply be a charge up and crimp and silver solder jobbie. you can get clamp on ports hat pierce the tail and give you a single service valve but again its prolly throwing good money after bad.
     
  6. Hangover68

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    Posted 9/2/20
    I thought about adding a bullet valve , pity as it would be perfect. Been trying to find a small fridge without a freezer to use but either they go quick or the sellers wont answer messages.
     
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  7. koshari

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    Posted 9/2/20
    iam hearing you, in the end i settled on a 350l upside down, the freezer section is pretty small and is wasted but the upside is the fridge shelf of perfect height and doesn’t have a compressor bump in the fridge cavity.
     
  8. djebel

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    Posted 9/2/20
    It depends how the fridge is chilled, and whether it has independent temperature controls for fridge and freezer. I had an upside down (totally agree about it being the ideal height) that I modified so that fridge controller was bypassed, and fridge cooling controlled by my external controller. The freezer still worked as a normal freezer, ideal for storing hops in .

    Sadly it died :(. Only 19 years old, picked up off the side of the road for nix. They just don't make them like they used to!
     
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  9. koshari

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    Posted 9/2/20
    it seems there are heaps round when you dont need one but as soon as your looking for one its like the supply dries up or they are miles away. wonder if i should put one aside if one comes up locally.
     
  10. djebel

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    Posted 10/2/20
    Definitely. Gives you time to clean it thoroughly, make a nice job of removing the door shelves, etc.

    Plus you might be able to sneakily use it as an extra fermentation chamber at times. And then gradually integrate it in to the brewery until, "Of course I've always had two fermenting fridges in here dear ;)."
     
  11. Grok

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    Posted 10/2/20
    Or you could convert a fridge/freezer like this!
    fridge freezer convert.JPG fridge freezer convert1.JPG
     
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  12. Hangover68

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    Posted 10/2/20
    I need something a bit more compact, at the worst it will make a good winter brew chamber.
     
  13. Grok

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    Posted 10/2/20
    From my experience with fridges, and I am not a pro, but I have seriously researched refrigeration and bought gear to be able to service and repair my own, if the compressor runs but doesn't cool very well inside, probably low on gas, or inside fan (if it has one) is not working, or the radiator arrangement (condenser) is not efficient enough for Australian conditions in the summer (could be the outer skin or a radiator at the back), probably ok for Europe etc. If it has a radiator at the back, often a simple fan blowing air over it when the compressor starts makes all the difference in efficiency, think of your car radiator without a fan, its all about heat exchange and air flow! I find older Australian made fridges usually have a nice big radiator and can easily cope with hot conditions. If the radiator is getting hot, that's a good sign, because it will exchange some of that heat into the atmosphere if it can (a fan helps!).

    If it has a clamp on bullet service valve, they do sometimes (often actually!) let a tiny amount of gas past their sealing arrangement and therefore the system slowly loses its gas charge over time, its best to have a proper permanent service valve soldered into place.
    If you like the fridge, maybe worth getting it repaired.
     
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  14. Hangover68

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    Posted 10/2/20
    I do like it and my fermenter fits perfectly and i think it would be worth fixing, current model of this fridge is $1900. Looking at the specs its more of a cooler than a fridge (like a wine cooler) and maybe sitting it outside on my deck on a 30c day wasn't the best idea.
     
  15. KegLand-com-au

    www.KegLand.com.au - A Land of Stainless Steel AHB Sponsor

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    Posted 10/2/20
    $1900 is kinda expensive. The RAPT fermentation fridges will cost a lot less than that and already have data logging, heating and cooling integrated.

    I hope you guys don't mind us throwing a question out there but we really would like to get your feedback. With the RAPT Fermentation Chamber do you think you guys would prefer a foam filled front door or glass door.

    1. Glass door
    The only advantage is that you can see what's going on inside and show off your brewery bling.

    2. Foam filled door
    - The advantage is:
    a) The fridge will use about 1/3 of the power consumption.
    b) block damaging light so beer doesnt get skunked
    c) can drill holes through the door to install taps if you did want to also use it for fermentation or kegerator

    I know many customers seem to really like glass doors and most of our staff seem to want foam door for this product but we really would like to hear from you guys before we bring the stock in.
     
  16. KegLand-com-au

    www.KegLand.com.au - A Land of Stainless Steel AHB Sponsor

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    Posted 10/2/20
    If you guys just need a brewing chamber without cooling we sometimes get the Series 4 and Series X fridges that have damage to them. For instance we from time to time get them hit with forklift and gas comes out of the fridge. These units would make a good insulated brew chamber if you just fit a temp controller and heating device. So if you guys want one of these then touch base with us from time to time and we might have something for you. It would be better to see these go to a good home rather than landfill.
     
  17. dkril

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    Posted 10/2/20
    Foam filled all the way.

    Whichever way you end up going, could you sell the other type of doors as a separate part for a reasonable price?
     
  18. Hangover68

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    Posted 10/2/20
    I wanted the glass door so i can see whats going on plus it wont be running for long so efficiency isn't an issue, its an ex medial syrum fridge hence why they are expensive - i would never pay that.
     
  19. Bob65

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    Posted 10/2/20
    I would want the foam door.


    Just looking at the link you gave it says they are out of stock.

    When are you expecting them in?
     
  20. Grok

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    Posted 10/2/20
    Foam door should be the default I reckon, with the option of a glass door, as stated on your shop page.
     
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