How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

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How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:49

I'm considering getting my hands on a shelf cooler - a "Maxi 310" most probably.

How noisy are they to operate?

I've seen suggestions to only operate them early evening for 30 mins and that will be good enough to cool for the whole evening (if only pulling 1 or 2 pints out)?

I've also seen suggestions of fitting an external controller (a compressor friendly one) to set the cooler's water bath temperature to, say, 10C? Allowing the formation of an "ice wall" is more efficient but really only if drawing lots of pints?

And the pumped cold water might be used to cool entire Corny kegs by wrapping a water coil about them?

I'm only after a little cooling, say from 18C down to 15C, or 12C for a few (one or two out of 3-6 kegs).
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PhatFil » Sun Sep 11, 2016 23:41

I use a shelf chiller and the noise is relatively loud compared say to a fridge or freezer as the compressor isnt hidden behind a sound muffling insulated cabinet but sat inside a steel 'sound box' ;)

Also beware they are not suited to being enclosed in a cupboard or small space, they blow out quite warm air and if contained this can simply warm up the chiller, i keep my kegs and chiller in a 1.2m x 0.95m x 2x cupboard, Ive only once run the chiller with the door closed and the cupboard temp soon rose to circa 40C within a few minutes with an ambient temp in the hi 20's and if left close would have continued to heat up.

I would advocate a short 30-45 minute run of the compressor to chill down the waterbath then only run the agitator or recirc pump when pouring if only servicing a few pints for yourself of an evening and a segment timer or £5 sonoff mqtt wifi web switch could easily be employed to ensure a cool pint is awaiting your return home of an evening.. so a little modification to a stock chiller is worthwhile imho.

Generally the flow rate through the chiller is dictated by your set up and any post keg pressure restriction you employ and that will be a significant factor in how efficient the heat exchange between the waterbath and beer is. So suck n see how your set up performs with a chiller before considering the need for an alternative temp controller but That would be the best way to fine tune a specific target serving temp if necessary.
iirc i did some rough testing with a 2 product line chiller and without agitation the max drop achieved running through 1 product coil was 7C which increased to 11C with the agitator on. (after an ice wall had formed using water fed by gravity with about a 1.5 - 2 meter head through the chiller) so you may find you can effect a simple degree of output temp control simply by selecting to run the recirc/agitator or not while you pour ;)

coil wrapped kegs fed by the recirc pump isnt a winner imho Most of the coil would be in contact with the air not the keg wasting most of the chill, when chilling a whole keg is an unnecessary task as since the beer is drawn from the bottom of the base you would only need to chill the keg base in order to chill the next pint out.

if its a consistent 3-6c temp drop your after you could perhaps get that from a jockey box either fed by a continual run of tap water at ground temps and perhaps suplimented with some ice if needed. zero noise/heat/power issues and a lot cheaper to buy too
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Mon Sep 12, 2016 09:39

Thanks very much PhatFil, that's just the sort of information I'm after.

Noisy then. Maybe I will consider stashing the cooler in a sound-proofed cupboard, but have quiet ventilation fans to keep temperature from climbing. And I'll need to take the "suck it n see" approach of beer flow restrictions and switching on or off the agitator/recirculation (didn't know you could do that) before reaching for a temperature controller.

You haven't put me off coil wrapped kegs. I'd intended to have the coils and keg insulated (neoprene Corny keg sleeves) and you presume I'm drawing the beer from the keg bottom (why shouldn't you?) whereas I'm mucking with "cask-widge" floating extractors. A water fed "jockey box" has been considered but you won't be aware that our ground water climbs to 18C in Summer (currently 16C) which is a big enough pain when it comes to coiling boiled wort. Might reconsider a fridge to cool recirculation water, but that is what I hope the cooler will do in a smaller package (but noise/heat/power issues to deal with it seems).
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby Aleman » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:33

I will just say that chilling beer and allowing it to warm up like you are proposing, is probably one way you are certain to introduce carbonation and fobbing issues. constant temperature and constant pressure (no matter how low ;) ) leads to a consistent carbonation. A side benefit of this is that you don't need to bodge complicated 'solutions' to a problem you have introduced.

Just an observation :thumb:

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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:20

Aleman wrote:I will just say that chilling beer and allowing it to warm up like you are proposing, is probably one way you are certain to introduce carbonation and fobbing issues. constant temperature and constant pressure (no matter how low ;) ) leads to a consistent carbonation. A side benefit of this is that you don't need to bodge complicated 'solutions' to a problem you have introduced...


Keeping it simple is what I'm trying to do. But doing nothing is resulting in 18-20C beer, just about okay for the hand-pumped stuff but not the "Belgium" styles I do which really needs to be stored at 15C max, and as for take tentative steps into the "American" styles (joining the "craft beer" craze?) well...

Are you saying trying to achieve 12-15C is going to take a lot more maintenance than my ideas allow for? I want consistent temperature, constant pressure I'm doing okay with (apart from the odd "wild" one, which cooling should make rarer). Hence I post this to try and get advice - thanks, keep it coming!

I consider the very popular "kegerator" to be complicated, at least building one is. And after serious consideration (a few months of it) I concluded I haven't got the available space for a "kegerator's" footprint (I may have 6 Corny kegs to cool at a time).
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby Springer » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:59

For me keeping a lot of things simple gives very acceptable result. I have not built a kegerator but it looks a simple build the way I see it ?
As for space keep it simple, do we need 6 cornies on the go? One does for me, could have a few bottles to hand if you want a bit of variety?

S

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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Mon Sep 12, 2016 15:21

Springer wrote:For me keeping a lot of things simple gives very acceptable result. I have not built a kegerator but it looks a simple build the way I see it ?
As for space keep it simple, do we need 6 cornies on the go? One does for me, could have a few bottles to hand if you want a bit of variety?

Cheers Springer,
Only up to 4 on the go (2 hand-pumps, 2 free flow taps) but I can reckon on 2 prepared to go (right temperature, right pressure). Recently I had one keg I'd just pushed in a corner somewhere get up to 100psi before I wanted it (the disadvantage of a home brewery that churns out a minimum of two kegs) so a setup that stops this happening again is a plus.
A "few bottles" is what I do now - filling a few from a keg so I can put them in a fridge for half an hour. Right pain-in-the-... , more likely I haven't had the forethought to set up some bottles.
So by simple I mean something that's done and ready when I want it. And something my partner can manage when I'm not too good at doing it myself (I've good reason to think that way - in fact forget "reason", I've good *fortune* to be able to think any ways).


BTW I've ordered my "Maxi 310" so I'm a bit committed now.
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby Springer » Mon Sep 12, 2016 18:23

:D
"There is always more than one way of skinning a cat" I presume that was a saying in the days of big game hunting :hmm: and not a saying relevant in suburbia today :D :lol:
S

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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PhatFil » Tue Sep 13, 2016 02:01

rather than the coils surrounding the kegs have you considered/checked out the 'Pods' which typically i cant find a link to or picture of.. but trust me they are not fictitious items..
**(Finally found a link .. http://www.brandels.co.uk/index.php?rou ... uct_id=504 )


simply they are discrete product coils chilled via being plumbed inline within the recirculation loop of a shelf chiller. So you can service more kegs than the chiller has fitted product coils..
they do appear on ebay occasionally..

I suspect you could also use a plate chiller wrapped up in insulation too ;)
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Tue Sep 13, 2016 09:14

PhatFil wrote:rather than the coils surrounding the kegs have you considered/checked out the 'Pods' which typically i cant find a link to or picture of.. but trust me they are not fictitious items.. ...

Interesting! Pods are a new one on me.

I'm not going to shift from attempting coil wrapped kegs 'cos that's cheap and will be trying to get the entire keg cooled to 15C or so, which should help prevent the occasional "wild" keg and loss of condition through warming up of the hand-pumped stuff. (Please don't tell me I need a "kegerator" - I've not room). But the "Maxi 310" which I've bought now only has two, long not short, product coils which worried me about versatility (too cold, maybe not cold enough?). "Pods" give me the option to retrofit solutions at a later date.

Also came across "FODs" after you inspired me to going hunting after PODs. Nothing to get exited about (just highly efficient PODs) but the descriptions describe bypassing the coils with a flow controller to adjust temperature (i.e. restrict the percentage of beer going through the cooling coils by having such as one of these <http://beer-goggles.net/flow-control-cw-john-guest-inlet-38x22-to-516x22-281-p.asp> in parallel to the cooling coil). But I guess such adaptions may result in fobbing.
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby Kev888 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 09:57

For me, simple, effective and quiet would certainly be a fridge/keggerator. Over the years, I've tried several beer coolers, air conditioners, peltier devices, evaporative jackets and a variety of elaborate setups. They all worked (aside from the evaporative one) but many have disadvantages; in the end nothing comes close to fridges for almost effortlessly storing and dispensing beer in the home IMO.

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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:52

Kev888 wrote:For me, simple, effective and quiet would certainly be a fridge/keggerator. Over the years, I've tried several beer coolers, air conditioners, peltier devices, evaporative jackets and a variety of elaborate setups. They all worked (aside from the evaporative one) but many have disadvantages; in the end nothing comes close to fridges for almost effortlessly storing and dispensing beer in the home IMO.

Hi Kev!

Hmm, more suggestion that I'm going to be in for a shock (noise-wise) when this "Maxi" turns up. It's actually one of your earlier suggestions in an older thread I filched to get to here:

Kev888 wrote:... I also saw an idea (not mine) where a chap had used the cold recirculation of a maxi110 to supply some copper microbore fixed to the wall, which kegs were pushed up against (and all insulated over) as a sort of long, narrow DIY keggerator.


...but I didn't want the "fixed to wall" suggestion so I plumped for wrapping the tube about the kegs and insulating them individually, and to keep cost and work down I'll probably try PVC tube first (not as effective but I'm only trying to get 5-7C below ambient in the more extreme cases).

I've not completely given up on "kegerators", but I figured I'd need a pretty large freezer to get six Cornys in. "Effortless"? But building a collar for a chest freezer ain't going to be effortless, neither is taking the window out because there's no way it'll go through the 2'3" doors. A tall (or even a pair of low) fridge isn't going to go under the stairs either. But a small temperature controlled freezer just for storage would double for messing with "lagering" and "cold-crashing" (choke - who came up with that flippin' phrase?).
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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby Kev888 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 13:25

Yeah circumstances may prevent the better solutions; in my current flat I have no space for such things any more either. By effortless I meant once set up and running, rather than getting there to begin with, although 'if' space allows they are pretty simple.

That example of the wall mounted setup was in a cellar IIRC; beer coolers are relatively hot and noisy, especially the larger ones. They are essentially a powerful fridge compressor that uses a small radiator and noisy fan instead of a large passive radiator like a fridge. They also have high speed agitating (and sometimes also recirculating) pumps for the water/ice bath that can be quite noisy, and in some cases the sloshing noises are quite intrusive too. I would say that all the 310s I've had were noticeably noiser than a typical portable air conditioner, for example, most people would not like one running in living area. Depending on circumstances, you may be able to site one outside the room and run the coolant through the wall?

In their intended use its possible to switch them off once the ice bank has formed and still get several pints cooled down of an evening, but as has been mentioned for keggerator style use the temperature wants to be kept stable constantly. There will be significant heat gain from even insulated pipework and cornies, TBH I'm not optimistic that you'll be able to have the cooler turned off without the temperature rising too far; at least, it hasn't worked for me using one to keep a fermenter cool overnight.

If noise is a concern, as it seems to be, and if you can't accommodate a standard larder fridge or chest freezer, you could consider butchering one or two fridges to use their mechanisms for your own custom cool cabinet; I've had some success with that in the past. Or possibly a small chest freezer could be used as a quieter means of making a cold bath if there is space for it; I've seen that done for fermenters but not for kegs but it may work.

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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby Aleman » Tue Sep 13, 2016 14:30

The other thing no one has mentioned is condensation. Any exposed lines and coils will produce a vast quantity of liquid via condensation of humid air.

Python lines in a commercial setup are 2-3" in diameter because of the insulation required to prevent condensation, regardless of heat loss in the lines.

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Re: How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby PeeBee » Tue Sep 13, 2016 15:44

Aleman wrote:The other thing no one has mentioned is condensation. Any exposed lines and coils will produce a vast quantity of liquid via condensation of humid air.
Python lines in a commercial setup are 2-3" in diameter because of the insulation required to prevent condensation, regardless of heat loss in the lines.

Thanks. Right, I'll build line insulation into the design, though I think I'll probably manage with something much small than 2-3" dia.?
Kev888 wrote:... Or possibly a small chest freezer could be used as a quieter means of making a cold bath if there is space for it; I've seen that done for fermenters but not for kegs but it may work.

I'd already come around to thinking a small chest freezer might be worth budgeting in for lining up kegs (most chest freezers will accommodate Cornys minus the dispensing bits, without constructing collars). The possibility of supplying cooling water rather than a noisy "Maxi" will be an added bonus (it may have to be manually handled and not plumbed in). And on really hot days I could stash the dispense beer in there for temporary periods. Hum, I'll check the piggy bank.

A sound proof cupboard seems to be essential for the "Maxi". Pity the "pub" isn't upstairs as there's already a redundant sound-proofed and ventilated cupboard up there (for the old baking hot computers).

For 8 months a year there will probably be no need to do anything (ambient is less than 18C). All this working out and building will be for Summer 2017.
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How noisy are shelf coolers like the "Maxi 310"?

Postby LeeH » Tue Sep 13, 2016 18:18

The chillers only work well if your keg is at a set temp, we all know the 2 variables to pour a decent pint. Temp and pressure.

For that reason I ditched the maxi and store the kegs in a fridge.
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