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Building an Inkbird ITC - 1000F for my brew fridge

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Bigjas

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I thought I would have a go at making my own temperature control for my brew fridge. I also like documenting my builds and experiences, so here it is. First off, this is not a tutorial, I am not an electrician or have any electrical experience, just getting my excuses in early…….. I also felt it might be of some use to anyone who is thinking of setting up a brew fridge.I bought my tall larder fridge second hand from Gumtree for �£20. It was a bit manky but it works ok, so plenty of bleach was used to get it clean. I keep it in my garage which gets cold in the winter so it will be interesting to see how well it works over the next few months.

I have the Inkbird ITC 1000F as the temp controller. It comes as a basic unit and really needs housing in a box or something. So I bought a 115x90x55mm Waterproof Plastic Power Project Case to put it in. I think it’s a little small but will try and get it all in.



First job was to cut a hole for the Inkbird to sit in. I worked out that the orange tabs each side of the unit come off, you then slide the unit in to the case and reattach the tabs to hold it in place. It’s an easy and effective way of holding the unit in the hole. There are no instructions for fitting the unit, but I guess it could be fitted in lots of different ways. So I marked out the size of the hole needed and then cut it out using a Dremel with a saw blade in it. One thing to note, don’t let the chuck of the Dremel come in to contact with the box when using it or it marks the edges of the box as can be seen in this picture…… d’oh!!!





Now to start wiring it up….. I have a basic understanding of how an electrical circuit works, and I reckon this is all you need to be able to wire this unit up. I did find the wiring instructions that come with the unit ok, but I also looked on line and found some that were a bit clearer, so for a numpty like me it was good to see different wiring diagrams.
I had an old extension reel that was broken, so used the cable from that to wire up the unit. I used the choccy blocks to connect the wires together and followed the wiring diagram. I drilled out the holes in the back of the box for the main feed going in and the heating and cooling wires coming out. I also drilled a smaller hole for the sensor wire to come out. I used cable glands that I bought online for the 3 larger cables and a small grommet for the sensor cable. I think it pays to do this to prevent chaffing on the cables and it makes it look a neat job. The glands were only �£3 for a box of 20 and you can get a box of 10 for about �£1.50.





I then wired up the two sockets for the heater and cooler and put the lid on. I have a Dyno labeller, so stuck some labels on it to smarten it up a bit. I plugged it in and it all worked. To be honest, it was a lot easier to put together than I thought it would be. I plugged my brew fridge in to it. I have a small tube heater in the fridge too, so plugged that in as well. I then read the basic instructions that came with the Inkbird to set the temperature and also the temperature difference. It is easy to set up, just follow the instructions and scroll through the menu to set the parameters you want. I am currently using this fridge to cool my beer ready for serving. I went with 12°c temperature and a +/- of 1°c. I also have the compressor delay set at 3 minutes. This stops the fridge compressor turning on and off repeatedly, so prevents damage to the fridge I believe.



So far, so good. The controller is keeping the inside of the fridge at roughly 12°c and copes well at this time of the year where daytime temps are high teens and it drops to about 8 or 9 ° overnight. I have another under counter fridge that I mainly use as a fermentation fridge, so I might look at seeing if I can fit one of these controllers directly in to the fridge and hard wire it in. This really is a cost effective way of controlling temperature for brewing. The Inkbird was �£10.99 on Amazon, which is really cheap for what it is. The box and bits of electrical stuff was less than a tenner. The fridge was �£20 and the tube heater was �£15. So for about �£55 and a couple of hours work I have an accurate temperature controlled area to put my beer, either for fermenting of serving. I can also ‘cold crash’ after fermentation and I might even look at making a lager. No more worrying about what the weather is doing and it is peace of mind that my beer has a constant fermentation temp. I also really enjoyed putting this unit together. This is where I bought my Inkbird from https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IJ0F2OW/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20


 
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BeerCat

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Fil

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@Beercat its a 10 minute job with a jnr hacksaw blade in a plastic box, if you go for a metal box then a nibbler is a good tool,
and going 'slow' with a hand saw makes it easier to get right,

but if you 'need' a multi tool, hehe, that would work with a steady hand too.

@Bigjas, Nice tidy job there,
 

Bigjas

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Nice build mate. Finally understood how to wire one up. I still have not managed to buy a fridge but at least i have the most of the parts. Do you mind posting a link to the glands and grommet you used. Looks really neat. How easy was it to cut out the hole? Seen some of these on ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/401129329656?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT
Cheers Beercat

The glands I got from here https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01IJK2XES/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
You can buy smaller packs for less if you look on there. The small grommet was from a multi pack that I had in my garage, but you want something like these http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/121851328997?_mwBanner=1
If you look around you will be able to get a selection box of them.
The project box I used was this on https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00LGKH9E8/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 you can get cheaper ones, but I wanted a quality box for the Inkbird to sit in.

That multi tool looks great for the price and is similar to what I used. Makes cutting the hole really easy. Good luck with the hunt for a fridge.
 
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Bigjas

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@Beercat its a 10 minute job with a jnr hacksaw blade in a plastic box, if you go for a metal box then a nibbler is a good tool,
and going 'slow' with a hand saw makes it easier to get right,

but if you 'need' a multi tool, hehe, that would work with a steady hand too.

@Bigjas, Nice tidy job there,
Thanks Fil, I was pleased with it, just annoyed with scratching the box when cutting out the hole with the dremel
 

BeerCat

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Thanks Gents. I would be lost randomly searching the net for answers so this community is really appreciated. Also not flush so trying to save where i can. I think i have a junior hacksaw will see if i can find it and give it a go. I also have a Inkbird PID which will be wired up next as soon as i order an other box. I have seen some fridges but as i don't have an estate anymore i am reliable on the unreliable to pick it up. :)
 

Fil

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Thanks Gents. I would be lost randomly searching the net for answers so this community is really appreciated. Also not flush so trying to save where i can. I think i have a junior hacksaw will see if i can find it and give it a go. I also have a Inkbird PID which will be wired up next as soon as i order an other box. I have seen some fridges but as i don't have an estate anymore i am reliable on the unreliable to pick it up. :)
A Pid/ssr combo can generate a lot of heat, to save complexity, fans, and enable using a smaller box by considering mounting the heatsink externally to the box.

this can be done fairly easily using small diy 'tabs' you can cut and drill to fit inside the ssr/heatsink securing hole depression and secure under the M4 screws that pin the heatsink to the ssr. the taps can then be screwed/epoxied/slotted to/into the case wall..

Examples:
a power controller with amp/volt meter

and my ever evolving controller with 2 x pid backups.
cooling the external heatsinks with a Hdd 2 x fan tray cut in two each fan run off the same dc drive circuit that runs the ssr ;)
 

BeerCat

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I have not used mine to control anything yet but just as a thermometer in the garage. Today i tested my new analogue one from Wilko and they were exact. I have a heatbelt on order which is going on it as soon as it arrives. Definitely be building some more as great fun and easy to mod.
Do you remember what size drill bit you used for the glands?
Hows the fridge holding up? :)
 

Bigjas

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The Inkbird and the fridge are doing really well. I have a Porter in there at the moment, it's been keeping it at 19*c +/- 1*c and I have just changed the temp to 3*c to cold crash it. It's so easy to use, best bit of kit ever for this. Makes fermentation so stress free :thumb:

I used a 16mm drill bit for my glands I think?
 

BeerCat

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Hope your fridge is running well. Good news for me. I have bought a sh one which will be here tomorrow and i am now building my 3rd STC. Do you mind posting a link for the box you used? Inspired i just wired up my pump to a speed controller and on/off switch. Sadly the box came without screws so its still held together by selotape. Looking forward to dropping this down to 3c for lagering.
 

Bigjas

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Hi Beercat

The link for the box is on post #4

My brew fridge is working really well, I keep it in the garage and even through the recent cold weather it has kept my brews at the right temperature.
 

Bigjas

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I am very pleased with my Porter. It is my first go at a Porter and to me it tastes great, I might even enter it in to the comp in January.....
 

Ale

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I wired up my STC 1000 recently as well. I've put the unit and plugs in the box rather than wires and plugs externally. I did have one issue though......don't laugh.....



I didnt have a proper project box, but to try the wiring I used an old ice cream tub, just to try it out. But do you think I got around to buying a proper project box....of course not. So I now have a heat belt plugged into an old ice cream box. Works a treat.

I will get a proper project box when I go to the part of town where Maplins is. I dont have a fridge yet as its cold enough in my garage to do the cooling part, I only need to heat. I have a mate who is a kitchen fitter so will ask him to keep his eyes open for a tall larder fridge then set up with that.
 

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I got mine built last week. Got a box big enough to hide all the components inside it.

@Ale Screwfix have adaptable boxes if you have one of those nearby.


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Ale

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@Ale Screwfix have adaptable boxes if you have one of those nearby.


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Thanks, I couldnt find them on the website. DO you know what they are called or have a link? If not dont worry as I need something else from Maplins anyway.
 

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