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Kegerator/ferm chamber build

I was thinking of making a fermentation chamber or coming up with some plans for the future. I have a small dorm fridge that I was thinking of using.

My idea is to keep the fridge intact(don’t want to risk damaged coils) and mount/seal to the side of a chamber, this chamber would be the cold side of a two chamber unit… the Kegerator/refrigerator. Then for the fermentation chamber have an insulated divider to a fermentation chamber. I thought to use some 4" PC fans as intake and return to maintain the correct temp.

Then for the colder months I was thinking of just plugging the holes in the divider and warming the fermentation chamber as needed. This way I could keep using the cold side for my finished beer.

What should I use to control this? I was searching around and now I have to many options. It would need to be able to switch from cooling to heating mode.

  1. PID
  2. Love controller
  3. Johnson Controler

What are your thoughts on the three controlers?

And what are your thoughts on the overall two chamber combo unit?? I haven’t drawn up anything yet but I’m just trying to kill two birds with one stone/fridge.


I was also planning on making this a off the floor unit, somewhere around countertop height, so I can reduce the amount of bending over to lift(bad back).

This would be in my basement somewhere near my washer/drier utility sink, this is where I do my cleanup/sanitizing and bottling.

ONLY disadvantage I see now is that I would need to go into my basement just to get a beer, but I will buy a pitcher to transfer more beer at once. And of course bottles can go in the upstairs fridge. Space is limited in the “living” area of the home.

I’ve seen temps down in the 60’s and as high as 80 ish in the hottest of summer. Incase it matters.

Does anyone think that the fermentation side should be vented to the outside any, I’ve read of some builds that vent, is this for co2 buildup or is this a waist of temp control?

I’m sure I will have this thing super insulated, I’m thinking of doing a combo of ridged foam panels foil taped to the inside and having fiberglass bat around the exterior then covered with either plywood or some paneling. I may use 1X4 frame to keep weight down, the ext. plywood would keep it strong. I’m hoping for something like R-18 ish when finished. Most likely I will finish the inside with that paneling that they use in RV’s for easy cleanup.

I was hoping to fit about 3-4 carboys max and maybe 2-4 5Gal kegs.

In my opinion, i would use the dorm fridge for your kegging system & pick up a cheap chest freezer for fermentation chamber. Seems it would be much easier & you could do lagers in ferm. chamber as well as ales. I use the Johnson controller with good results in my ferm. freezer. I can get 3 buckets in there. Good luck! :cheers:

I don’t think a chest freezer is an option right now. With my limited space and budget, not to mention I would then have to lift the carboys straight up and out. That could hurt my back with that much bending over to lift.

My stairway to the basement is narrow too, I remember having to disassemble my dryer just to get it downstairs.

If I could just get a freezer I wouldn’t be looking to do so much with a little fridge.

Thanks for the thought though, just not the right time and home for that setup.

Can the johnson controller do heat mode too?

The aquarium controller in my signature line heats and cools. For $50 less than a Johnson’s

There are post on the net about using a dorm fridge to cool a larger container. The effectiveness is going to depend on the insulating. As the cooling unit was build for only the size of the fridge.

What is the Cubic Feet of your fridge?

I think the fridge is around 1.7 or 1.8 cf.

The small one.

I’m planning on insulating this thing greatly, I will be using great stuff foam in any gaps, foil taping seams and mating surfaces, as well as a combination of both rigid foam and batt insulation. I know the 1" foam is around R-5 and I see a bunch of chambers using only this, so I’m going to use either 2 layers of 1" or one layer of 2" plus R-13 batt insulation(I have some still in the bag from another project).

So I will be around R-18 to R-23 ish total insulating value. Which is much greater than anything I’ve seen others make.

Where can I look for this aquarium controller?

And how reliable is this controller vs the Love or Johnson controller?

In my signature line, $25 digital controller. And the associated links to wire it.

It is as reliable as any other piece of electronics. One will last a life time. Another will go belly up in 6 months.

Do they come in Fahrenheit? With the same features and price?

Has anyone had moisture issues in their chamber? Will the fan’s be enough to keep condensation away?

Or should the whole thing have a vent? I’ve seen some put a fermentation lock on theirs but I think this is only for any pressure buildup, if it is built that tight.

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