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Hacked Fridge Wiring Schematics
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 112
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Dubbel

Working on: APA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:30 pm    Post subject: Hacked Fridge Wiring Schematics Reply with quote


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I have an old Americana upright refrigerator/freezer that I’m thinking of converting to a fermentation chamber. Attached is a marked-up wiring diagram of the hacked fridge. Basically it involves replacing the existing thermostat with a simple BCS-460 controller module. The BCS controller would allow programmed, timed, automatic stepped temperature control of the fermentation process via laptop/smart phone.

The existing thermostat/defrost control would be disconnected. On the AC side, two solid state relays, SSRs, would be installed – one would control the compressor and the other, the “space” (reptile) heater. The DC side inputs for the SSRs would come from a thermocouple/thermowell inside the fermenter, the other would be a thermocouple sensing the chamber temp.

My background is nuts n bolts with enough experience to be dangerous on the electrical side – just wondering if any electrically-inclined members of this forum see any problems with this scheme or have any suggestions.

Note: NIS = Not in Service (to be disconnected/abandoned in place)



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JSB



Joined: 17 Oct 2016
Posts: 83
Location: NE Ohio


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But why cut into the fridge wiring.... I would just go the keezer route and turn the existing thermostat to as low as it will go. Plug your freezer into your controls box. Then your external t-stat (RTD control?) would tell when the freezer needs to run. Also have the run a heater cycle. Make sure to have a 'good' deadband for your cool vs heat cycles.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 8941
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: American Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter, Saison, Kölsch

Working on: Kölsch, Janet's Brown Ale


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+1 to that.

I would also caution against using a cheap temp controller (there are a lot of questionable ones from China being sold these days). I've heard too many stories of units failing and people freezing kegs. I have 9-10 kegs in my keezer and that's the last thing I'd want.

I use this one here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/temperature-controller

It has all the deadband settings as well as cycle time settings to avoid killing your freezer from doing something like turning off and back on too soon.

Kal

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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 112
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Dubbel

Working on: APA


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JSB wrote:
But why cut into the fridge wiring....


Update: I'll only by-pass the temp control unit and leave the defrost control circuit functional...

The keezer route you describe has the advantage in that it’s a simple set-up – no need to cut wires, etc. just plug in a thermostat controller like the Johnson Controls Digital Thermostat Control Unit. The minor issue I have with the keezer set-up is that the control unit cuts power to the entire refrigerator (including interior light) when turning off (not actively on). I’d like to be able to keep the refrigerator interior light functional even when the control unit/ cooling unit isn’t on. That way I can open the door and still inspect how things are progressing at any time – minor point as I guess I can use a flashlight too.

I’m also thinking of installing a computer fan in the chamber too to move air around for better efficiency which I suspect requires that I cut wires anyway.

I’d also like to set it once and forget it when it comes to multi-stage fermentation – for Vienna Lagers, I could set/program two fermentation stages with a PID controller – 1st stage at 50 °F for 2 weeks and have it automatically reset the fermentation temp to 32 °F for 13 weeks. I think the typical keezer series controllers are single-stage, whereby you’ll need to manually reset set point temps for multi-stage fermentations (I tend to be forgetful).

With the PID controller/BCS-460 you can name and save “fermentation recipes” without re-programming for a Vienna Lager made in the future (I’m lazy that way).

My set-up would include two temp probes – one with a thermowell immersed in the beer for direct measurement of beer temperature and the other measuring chamber temp. That way I can observe the differences and make adjustments to the control program to improve efficiencies and reduce response lag times. The thermostat control units used in a keezer set-up can only accommodate one temp probe as far as I know.

The PID hysteresis can be set to 1 °F to maintain temperature and avoid frequent cycling.

Kal’s point about avoiding the use of cheap temp controllers is well-taken.

There are no must have features with what I’m trying to do compared to the keezer set-up as both will get you to the same place – good beer.
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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
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Drinking: Belgian Waffle Strong Ale, Yes Please IPA, Davelnut Brown Ale, Dry Barn Door #13, Blueberry Sunshine, Raspberry Mango Cider

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any update on this project? I'm curious.
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 112
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Dubbel

Working on: APA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update: I revised the wiring to by-pass the temp controller only (defrost control untouched) to simplify the work (see revised mark-up). This reduces the number of existing wire cuts. Trying to source a used BCS-460. Found one on eBay for $75 but lost the bid.

Another thought occurred to me - active fermentation is an exothermic process. Living organisms (yeast cells) generate heat when working. The temperature difference during active fermentation between the wort and the ambient chamber can be 5 deg-f for most small/average beers. Palmer suggests that in some situations it could be as high as 10 deg-f. Without a temp probe immersed in the wort you'd need to set the ambient probe a few degrees lower (the value would be a guess) than the target temp for the wort. The two probe, PID approach provides just another level of control of fermentation.



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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve done a lot of testing by building my own chamber with an apartment fridge and 2" thick Styrofoam box and I have used a thermal well in the wort through the top of the fermenter and also just measured the air and all worked fine, for the air I just set the temp to 60F and even if the fermenter rose 7 degrees it was fine in most cases but just out of laziness I just ended up sitting the fermenter on top of the temp probe cable and it seems to even out the temperature better, I personally use an ink bird controller and plug the whole fridge into it with no heat added and it works the best, I'm not sure if this helps but good luck anyway
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
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Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Dubbel

Working on: APA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I’ve read good reviews on the inkbird controllers and that’s one way to control fermentation – this is helpful.

Being a borderline beer geek control freak, I like the idea of using the BCS-460 to remotely monitor and control fermentation via a web based interface for laptop or smartphone. The set-up would involve two SSRs – for this application the amp ratings would be less than what I used on Kal’s back-to-back 50-amp electric brewery. The plan would be to fully integrate the SSRs into the fridge – mounting the SSRs adjacent to the compressor. No need for heat sinks (I anticipate) and no need for separate SSR mounting boxes. The heater would be a “tube heater” – easy to mount, clean and inexpensive. I’d probably install a computer fan in the enclosure to help with response time.

Preliminary materials list would be:

• 2 ea. SSRs (10 or 25 amp) – will need to run numbers for the sizes
• 1 ea. 50-100 Watt tube heater
• 1 ea. AC-powered computer fan (4 wired: possibly one with PWM input for fan control) – need to check BCS-460 limitations/compatibility
• Various wires and cables
• BCS-460 (preferably used)
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you can also control or just monitor the same as a bcs with this site or downloading it your self like i did, I set up a website local that tracks my fermentation temps, you can even set it up to control it or anything you want really, I've worked with the developer and he is very nice, hope this helps

https://www.brewbench.co

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Last edited by Ozarks Mountain Brew on Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 112
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Dubbel

Working on: APA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great - I heard about Arduino as well - Will check this out - like the interface!

thanks
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought the dragino shield and it works and is much cheaper
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
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Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Dubbel

Working on: APA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What type of inkbird controller do you use?
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inkbird Pre-Wired Dual Stage Digital Temperature Controller Outlet Thermostat 110V, 1100W Heating and Cooling for Fermentation Kegerator Heating Mat ect

http://amzn.to/2pwcVwr

Link updated to support our forum at no cost to you - thank you!

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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you cant control the inkbird temperature settings with the website i just monitor it that way, if you want to control it from your phone or tablet/pc you'll need to build a device similar to what your were doing, we have set it up to use multiple temp gauges and relays, it also has a power duty cycle setting in it to lower power similar to what a pid uses
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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
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Drinking: Belgian Waffle Strong Ale, Yes Please IPA, Davelnut Brown Ale, Dry Barn Door #13, Blueberry Sunshine, Raspberry Mango Cider

Working on: Maple Mead


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must of missed something. How can you monitor your temps from the inkbird you linked? It doesn't connect to wifi as far as I know.
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correct you at least have to have the yun or shield and a separate temp probe, if you look at the picture I put the red arrow to the probe,

Just to monitor you only need the shield and the temp probe, the shield hooks to the network and communicates with the website,

to power anything you need a ssr or relay switch and a coil for safety and power in just like your control box, what’s shown here is just a 115v set up to power a light and you have to have the correct ssr that doesn't leak to use the pid pulse, if you just needed it to power a fermentation chamber everything in the picture would work



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Last edited by Ozarks Mountain Brew on Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 463
Location: Midwest

Drinking: Belgian Waffle Strong Ale, Yes Please IPA, Davelnut Brown Ale, Dry Barn Door #13, Blueberry Sunshine, Raspberry Mango Cider

Working on: Maple Mead


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you are controlling with the Inkbird and monitoring with brew bench?
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
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Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

for the time being, I just got lazy and was having issues with all the changes, updates and reconnecting so I temporarily stopped, my board had some issues connecting to the website at one time after an update, I'm impatient lol
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
Posts: 593
Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri

Drinking: Hoppy Pale ale, English Pub

Working on: Vienna Amber lager


PostLink    Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I shared a brew session thats comes with the software, I brewed today and tried out my new toy, 10 ounces of hops in the whirlpool so not good example but it worked

http://bit.ly/2pA8JMc



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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
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Drinking: Belgian Waffle Strong Ale, Yes Please IPA, Davelnut Brown Ale, Dry Barn Door #13, Blueberry Sunshine, Raspberry Mango Cider

Working on: Maple Mead


PostLink    Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree it is interesting but confused on why you posted in the fridge hack thread...
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