Old fridge as ferm chamber

I recently bought a house and the previous owner left a pretty beat up old fridge in the basment. For some reason I didn’t think about it until now why not make a fermentation chamber. Well I started taking out the shelves and plastic bins and tossing them in the trash. I took off the freezer door and put it in the dumpster at work. I had a buddy help me carry it out to the garage to set up a trash pickup. Then I realized what I had. So I currently only have a fridge door that doesn’t have a bottom hinge and no freezer door. I don’t need all of the shelves as I can make one and I can buy some kind of trunk hinges to screw into the side of the fridge door. I figured I could make an insulated door for the freezer. I plugged it in seems to work ok.

Anyone have any ideas on how to modify it so I can actually use it with a temp controller? I figured I could remove the fridge door shelving panel and replace it with a smooth panel while keeping the door seal. I can make a bottom shelf to level out the hump at the back of it. Should I just seal up the freezer or make a door that opens still? Does the fridge cool from air from the freezer section?

Most temp controllers hook in through the power cord. So when it’s not cooling the freezer is essentially unplugged. That’s the easy part. Plug the thing in through the temp controller, and put the controller’s probe on your bucket/carboy with some insulation.

If you’re a good enough “redneck engineer” to make the rest of the mods you’re talking about; the temp controller will be a snap.

To the other point, fridge/freezer combos generally work by cooling the freezer, and having it deliberately leak some cold air into the fridge compartment.

It was pretty nasty before. Took an hour or so to clean it up.

Some of the extra parts I removed. The ice cube tray and connector, the lower light bulb assembly and connector, fridge and freezer shelf supports.

The interior trim panel removed with the door seal. Which will be replaced with a piece of smooth white paneling and the door seal reattached.

The door with interior trim removed. I didn’t have to shave anything down like some people do with mini fridges.

I need to make a lower shelf that sits just above the rear compressor hump. I need to find some hinges that I can attach the fridge door with. The upper hinge is there but the lower hinge is missing. Maybe I can put the model number into one of those replacement part sites and find some hardware. I need to make some kind of door for the freezer. Since I threw it out a few weeks ago :disappointed:. For some reason I just didn’t think anything of the old fridge.

You should be able find the door hinges online. Or you could use something like this door hinge.

For the freezer door you could build a simple 1" thick box that would fit the opening and use the above hinges. Use spray foam to insulate it. For a seal you should be able to find one online.

Edit for the link click this door hinge.

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This is the lower fridge hinge. They want $69.24 for it!! The model number for the fridge is FRT22RGCW1 just in case someone can find one.

Finished the door trim panel and reattached the seal. I can also write on the panel with a dry erase marker.

3/4" plywood shelf. I have it resting on the back rest and side brackets for the picture. I took it out and cut a piece to support the front of it. I going to add a shorter support under the back side on the compressor hump. That way it isn’t just sitting on the small plastic lip on the back of the fridge.

Nice build. Good job on your controller. What did you decide for the freezer door?

Thanks! Still working on the door. I figure a plywood type shell with 2" xps insulation board and a seal. I think they make universal seals that are 4 corner pieces that you cut to fit. The freezer seal is obsolete from the manufacturer. The damn door hinge is expensive. I’m going to try and build my own with square tubing welded in an L shape with a short pin on the end. I might try bending some square tubing with the acetylene torches at work.

That door should be PLENTY! Yeah that hinge cost is exorbitant. Any hinge will work really. But if you can build your own, more power to you.

Any thoughts to leveraging magnets to seal the door like standard doors?

Seems perfect for a kegerator to me… Cant see a reason to not use a working fridge…

I might remove the center divider between the fridge and freezer like a fermware build I found on another site. I would make a new shelf probably out of tightmesh wire shelving to maintain good air flow. My thinking is that I would gain the otherwise useless freezer space, and also make it cool more efficiently. Anyone agree with that statement? I could probably build a full door that would be lighter and easier on the hinges that I have to install.

Useless? That freezer will store extra hops, spices, ice, etc. I would leave it as is or it will become useless IMHO.

If the fridge is on a temp controller set for ale temps how cold do you think the freezer will stay? I will have to try it once I get the ITC-1000 setup. I can remove the divider without irreversible damage.

Update on the build: Picked up some 1/4" plywood some 2x3’s, insulation board 1" and what I though was 1/2" but I grabbed 3/4" on accident, and some plastic textured paneling. I made frames with the 2x3’s and put 1/4" plywood on the face. The insulation will be 1 1/2" thick to fill the frame. I will finish it off with the plastic paneling on the inside with the seal. I need to make a seal for the freezer still. I figured the 2x3’s would be a great mounting point for some hinges. I figure I can sheet metal screw them into the side of the fridge.

very nice work! Sneezles61

Finished the temp controller and tested it out to make sure the heat and cool outlets switch properly.

So I finished up the door panels. Slight modification so I could just use the 1" and 3/4" thick insulation together instead of the 1 1/2" thickness of the 2x3’s. I might finish off the edges with some angle stock. I need to go find some solid hinges for them.