How to...build a fermentation fridge

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How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby Gethin79 » Sun Apr 27, 2014 18:41

Firstly, I shall start by saying that I am only showing you how I made MY fermentation fridge. There are other ways and other materials you can use, but mine has proved to be successful, so I thought I would share!

1. Get hold of the materials you need

I managed to source a working fridge from ebay for £10.

The other main things I sourced from Amazon, for around £40ish in total:

Image

- STC1000 Temperature Control Unit
- 60W tubular greenhouse heater
- Maplin project box to house STC1000 and associated wiring

You will also need some cable (1.5mm 3 core flex), 3 x 20mm glands (from B&Q), some 13A electrical connector blocks, wood and screws.

2. Cut a hole in the project box to house the STC1000

This is the most fiddly part of the whole job, in my opinion. The box I used had removable ends, which made it a lot easier. The instructions for the STC1000 give you a dimension required for mounting the unit, which was pretty much spot on. After an hour or so of messing around with a hacksaw blade and a drill, I had a hole suitable for the unit. This would have been much easier if I had a multi-tool, like a Dremmel, but I haven't...so I couldn't!!

I then drilled 3 x 20mm holes in the other end of the box to accommodate the glands through which the power cables will go.

Feed the STC1000 unit through the hole until it is flush with the mounting surface of the box. The unit comes with some orange clamps, which hold the unit in place. Fit the 3 x cable glands to the other end of the box.

3. Wiring up the STC1000

Disclaimer: Don't forget you are dealing with 240V, which can kill, or cause a fire if done incorrectly. If you are in any doubt about how to carry out this installation, consult a qualified electrician
There...that's my small print bit done.....!

Now you have the 3 cable glands and STC1000 installed, it is time to wire it all up.

The glands are for the following cables:

-Heating socket
-Cooling socket
-Power supply
There is also a temperature sensor cable, but this fits through one of the glands along with one of the other power cables as you will see later.

Cut the 3 core power cables to the length required. In hindsight I cut mine too short, which has limited where I position my STC unit due to cable lengths, so cut them longer than you think you'll need. Feed them through the each gland in turn, leaving plenty of spare cable inside the box to be able to complete the wiring. I left the power supply cable very long to reach my supply socket, which was some distance away. Feed the temperature control probe cable through one of the glands along with the power cable. It will fit (just). Tighten up the glands to hold the cables in place.

You can now wire up the STC1000 :

Image

There are various wiring guides available online for this unit. Be careful, as it would seem that some of the units vary in which terminals are which. The terminals I detail below are correct for my unit...just make sure you check yours first.

Terminal 1:Power Supply in (LIVE)
Terminal 2:Power Supply in (NEUTRAL)
Terminals 3&4:Temperature sensor probe cable - this has 2 cables which can be wired to either terminal. It makes no difference.
Terminal 5:Heating Supply IN
Terminal 6:Heating Supply OUT (to socket)
Terminal 7:Cooling Supply IN
Terminal 8:Cooling Supply OUT (to socket)

You will probably be able to follow the cables in my photo to see how it was wired.
I used connector block to branch the live supply from the power supply cable to terminals 1, 5 and 7.
I used connector block to connect the neutral from the power supply cable to terminal 2 and to connect the neutrals to the heating and cooling cables.

DON'T FORGET TO MAKE SURE YOU CONNECT ALL EARTH (YELLOW/GREEN) CABLES TOGETHER, OTHERWISE YOUR APPLIANCES WILL NOT BE EARTHED.

Your power supply cable will need a plug wired to the other end (with 13A fuse).
Both the heating and cooling cables will need sockets wiring to the other end. I marked the heating cable with red insulation tape and the cooling cable with blue...just to avoid confusion later on!

Image

4. Construct a platform for your FV

This will, of course, vary depending on the model and construction of your fridge. I have posted a photo of mine below. It is probably a bit of overkill, but supports a full FV and loads of bottles with no problem whatsoever. I decided to build it with "slats" to allow the heat from the heater to rise to the top of the fridge. I don't think the original trays that come in the fridge are man enough to support the weight of a full FV.


Image

5.Install your heater

Again, the method you use will depend on the fridge you have and the space available. I attached my heater to a wooden plinth, which sat neatly between the back of the fridge and the platform I had built. This keeps the heater nicely in place and also has the benefit of keeping it off the floor of the fridge, in case of any spills!!

Image

To avoid the need for drilling holes in the fridge, and the possible consequences of getting it wrong, I managed to feed the power cable to the heater through the fridge drain hole. I had to cut the original plug off first, but re-wired it afterwards.

Image

Once this is done, fit your platform and heater...

Image


And there you have it...you are pretty much ready to use your new fridge. The temperature sensor cable just runs through the door opening, as it's thin enough to not affect the seal too drastically. You now have a fridge which will keep your beer at a constant temperature while fermenting, and at the same time you can also store bottles while they are carbonating:

Image
Image

...and once you've done this, you'll want another one...and another one...

I hope this helps anyone wanting to do the same. If anyone has spotted any errors, please feel free to comment and I shall edit the post accordingly.

Happy building!! :thumb:
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby mark1964 » Sun Apr 27, 2014 18:58

Great how to well done :hat: :thumb:

ITS TIME 4 ANOTHER BEER
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby storm in a teacup » Mon Apr 28, 2014 00:36

Fantastic as I was just wondering about this as im going to attempt it my self in june. :thumb:

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go crazy?

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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby JDGBrew » Tue Apr 29, 2014 21:08

Great read that fella!
Picked up an undercounter fridge today from me mums school :)
Will be using this fantastic how to in the coming weeks!

Its just a great bit of kit, constant FV temp, keg&bottle conditioning and keeping me keg at the right cool temp during summer, just great! I could see these somehow multiplying..... :whistle:

'I saw one guy loose a tooth lunging for a foaming mug and miss judging it'- Aleman

FV1 - Coopers Aus Lager (Raspberry)
FV2 - Coopers Stout
BBkt -...
Keg1 - nowt
Keg2 - Citra Wherry (left over from wedding......I didn't hide it?!)
Keg3 - Empty
Conditioning - Brewferm Grand Cru - Razorback - Youngs IPA 7.5%! Citra/Centennial Wilkos Golden Ale. Brewferm Tarwebier w/orange & coriander. Rioja 25 bottles
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby Oldstunty » Tue Apr 29, 2014 22:52

Brilliant how to :thumb:
Got my fridge last weekend and this will be next weekends project.

Cheers,
Jon.

I enjoy a glass of wine each night for its health benefits. The other glasses are for my witty comebacks and flawless dance moves.
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 07:09

Excellent thread, will certainly referencing this in the coming weeks.
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby HoppyG » Wed Apr 30, 2014 18:38

Great TUT,will be doing mine in a few weeks :thumb:

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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby HoppyG » Sun May 04, 2014 18:44

Was going to do this today,creosoted the fence to get in SWMBO good books,mowed the grass etc sat down to do the wiring and got totally flummoxed ,then realised I'd ordered a WH7016E temp controller :doh: It will only do one source not both. Anyhow I've wired all the plugs and sockets together as I now await a STC1000 :pray:
I got it off Amazon after googling STC1000 which took me to a page full of em except one......which I picked, cause it was the cheapest :roll:

On Victory you deserve beer. On defeat you need it.......
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby Gethin79 » Sun May 04, 2014 21:54

Nothing worse than planning to do something and getting stopped by something like that...especially after earning brownie points first! :D

Hopefully it won't take long to arrive and you can crack on with it.

I'm seriously thinking about building another one! :thumb:
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Mon May 12, 2014 10:33

Totally lucked out this weekend, a guy a few miles away was selling a fridge on Gumtree but by the time I had emailed him, he'd sold it... but then a short whilst later he got back to me and said he had another one but not in as good condition that I could have for free if I wanted.

Went and picked it up yesterday, apart from a few scratches and wobbly shelfs, it's perfect for what I need!

Last edited by stuart180 on Mon May 12, 2014 18:46, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby chojo » Mon May 12, 2014 18:44

Is there any way of knowing which units are wired wrong before you start connecting them up like a certain serial number and if not is there anyway to know if it's wrong other than connecting it and if it is wired wrong what happens if you do connect it are we talking little puffs of smoke then mild bangs and a few sparks or shwarzenegger and Stallone fast roping in and destroying your entire post code? I only ask because i've got my fridge and am awaiting the other bits to get started.

FV 1- The Range Make your own white wine.
FV 2 - Wilkos Mexican cerveza
FV 3 - Empty
DJ 1 - Orange and cranberry hippy juice
DJ 2 - Turbo cider
DJ 3 - Empty
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby Robbo » Mon May 12, 2014 19:28

Great guide....Eventually I'm going to build two fermentation fridges and put them in the attic. It's all boarded out and has electricity.
I have a staircase and a door at the top so there is not problem of access.

Nice one thanks. :thumb:
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Mon May 12, 2014 19:34

chojo wrote:Is there any way of knowing which units are wired wrong before you start connecting them up like a certain serial number and if not is there anyway to know if it's wrong other than connecting it and if it is wired wrong what happens if you do connect it are we talking little puffs of smoke then mild bangs and a few sparks or shwarzenegger and Stallone fast roping in and destroying your entire post code? I only ask because i've got my fridge and am awaiting the other bits to get started.


There is a simple wiring guide knocking about. Will try and link one -

Image
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Mon May 12, 2014 19:41

Pretty sure I used that diagram. .. pretty sure there another guide that shows the heating block and cooling block the other way round (not sure what that's all about?)
Make sure you check the spec of the one you get.
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby chojo » Mon May 12, 2014 19:42

stuart180 wrote:
chojo wrote:Is there any way of knowing which units are wired wrong before you start connecting them up like a certain serial number and if not is there anyway to know if it's wrong other than connecting it and if it is wired wrong what happens if you do connect it are we talking little puffs of smoke then mild bangs and a few sparks or shwarzenegger and Stallone fast roping in and destroying your entire post code? I only ask because i've got my fridge and am awaiting the other bits to get started.


There is a simple wiring guide knocking about. Will try and link one -

Image


Cheers for that mate. So i take it i should ignore the wiring diagram on the unit no matter where i get it from and just used the one you've posted?

FV 1- The Range Make your own white wine.
FV 2 - Wilkos Mexican cerveza
FV 3 - Empty
DJ 1 - Orange and cranberry hippy juice
DJ 2 - Turbo cider
DJ 3 - Empty
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Mon May 12, 2014 19:44

chojo wrote:
stuart180 wrote:
chojo wrote:Is there any way of knowing which units are wired wrong before you start connecting them up like a certain serial number and if not is there anyway to know if it's wrong other than connecting it and if it is wired wrong what happens if you do connect it are we talking little puffs of smoke then mild bangs and a few sparks or shwarzenegger and Stallone fast roping in and destroying your entire post code? I only ask because i've got my fridge and am awaiting the other bits to get started.


There is a simple wiring guide knocking about. Will try and link one -

Image


Cheers for that mate. So i take it i should ignore the wiring diagram on the unit no matter where i get it from and just used the one you've posted?


I used that guide because thats the way my heating and cooling ports were. Check what type you have (should be printed on the STC unit)
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Mon May 12, 2014 19:45

Have a look on you tube, there's some really good vids of people making them
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby Joe1002 » Mon May 12, 2014 20:00

Just look on your STC to see which way around the heating / cooling terminals are and amend accordingly. Go by what it says on your unit.

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Mon May 12, 2014 20:08

There was a good thread on another site, will see if I can find it tomorrow when I get back on my Mac (think I've got it bookmarked)
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby chojo » Mon May 12, 2014 20:33

Thanks for all the help guys.

FV 1- The Range Make your own white wine.
FV 2 - Wilkos Mexican cerveza
FV 3 - Empty
DJ 1 - Orange and cranberry hippy juice
DJ 2 - Turbo cider
DJ 3 - Empty
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Tue May 13, 2014 06:56

Here's the other diagram I found when I was doing mine.
For some reason the heating and cooling ports are a different way round (no idea why they'd switch these around the same model....???)

Image

Will keep looking for that thread I found a while ago.

Said about what gauge wire to use, what size wiring block to use etc. (handy, if like me, you're not in to electrics).
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby Gethin79 » Tue May 13, 2014 17:03

The additional cables I used were stripped out of some 1.5mm 3 core cable, the same cable which was used for the power supply and sockets.

This is more than man enough for the job.

From memory, my connector blocks were rated at 13amp. Again, man enough for the job!

Just to note though, I'm not an electrician, just confident with electrics, so if in doubt get some qualified advice!
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby sh3pp13 » Tue May 13, 2014 17:25

Looks great im going to get on with mine in 4 weeks :clap: :thumb:

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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby stuart180 » Tue May 13, 2014 18:58

Gethin79 wrote:The additional cables I used were stripped out of some 1.5mm 3 core cable, the same cable which was used for the power supply and sockets.

This is more than man enough for the job.

From memory, my connector blocks were rated at 13amp. Again, man enough for the job!

Just to note though, I'm not an electrician, just confident with electrics, so if in doubt get some qualified advice!


Good advice, the connection block I used was 13amp too plus some heavy duty wire
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Re: How to...build a fermentation fridge

Postby GAZ9053 » Tue May 13, 2014 19:43

1.5mm has a current carrying capacity of 10A. well i think it is slightly more but will do 10A

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