Is my fermentation fridge safe?

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markjohnl

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Hi,

I've managed to get hold of an old fridge to use for fermentation. I've taken the shelves and replace the glass bottom with a bit of wood to take the weight. There is space on both sides to let heat up from the heater tube. although I might stick with the belt for now as it has been good so far.

I have a 33 litre bucket for brewing 23l batches, but to get it to fit I had to remove the plastic housing on the side containing the thermostat, bulb etc. It looks like this at the minute

IMG_20210430_193250668.jpg


I dont really tinker with electronics, but how safe will this be tucked to one side? maybe taped up? Also, that metal lead in my hand goes into the back plate that does the chilling. I cant decide if it is carrying a current or if it is just a piece of metal. Is it ok exposed like that?

... I did warn you I'm kak at electrical stuff.

Cheers,

Mark
 

Pezza24

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There don't seem to be any exposed connections other than that wore you mention. I'm guessing you don't have a multimeter to hand to check it for voltage? Maybe try and house it in something if your worried.
 

markjohnl

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Thanks Pezza, That wire leading to the chilling bit is almost like a coiled wire rather than an insulated cable. I dont have a multimeter, but do remember licking a 9v battery years ago, so could try that :)
 

markjohnl

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Sussed it. That cable is a capillery tube which contains the coolant. Something to do with controlling pressure. Unless someone chimes in to say my setup is dangerous, I think I'll gorilla tape it up and to the side of the fridge out of the way.

Thanks, Mark
 

hughjamton

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It's live!!!!
The 2 brown wires are live!!!
If your controlling it with an inkbird or similar you don't need the thermostat.
look on youtube, it shows you how to make it safe.
Guy called Chris A does a good one, simple and easy to follow.
 

dalecek

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All the connectors are insulated so I'd say gorilla tape is good enough temporary fix if you need to use it now. Wouldn't go poking around with my fingers when plugged in tho.
If you not in rush either of those solutions mentioned
 

Bill_g

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I had a look at the Youtube video mentioned above but I coudl not see the point of all the fiddling about with the thermostat wiring, this part is redundant and I wasn't very impressed that it would leave modified wiring etc inside the fridge enclosure.
I'd suggest that the best & safest answer if the thermostat and light unit is not required and is in the way is to remove it completely. This will have the advantage of removing all exposed mains wiring from the fridge enclosure. I have done this myself to give more room in my keg fridge. You will of course need an external temperature controller such as an Inkbird because the fridge compressor will then be on continuously when mains is applied.
The bare copper tube shown in your picture is the thermostat sensor and will not be electrically live. It should be possible to pull this out and remove it from the fridge.
You will need to work out how to do the re-wiring on your particular fridge but on those that I have dealt with the mains connections are made inside a connector box attached to the motor. A pair of wires come out of this connection box and enter the fridge. These comprise a mains supply to thermostat plus the light via the door switch. The second wire is the thermostatically switched motor supply return. These two wires can be cut off at the point they enter the fridge body. Cut back the insulation and connect live to live & neutral to neutral. Probably easiest done using a chocolate block connector & insulate the interconnection with good quality insulation tape. Be careful not to cut the mains input supply lead or the lead which goes to the motor capacitor.
The picture below might help. This is a fridge compressor removed from a fridge & wired to run without the thermostat etc. for a future super quiet air compressor project I have in mind. You could also open up the connector box and make the wiring mods inside. This would be neater but might be quite difficult to get at with the compressor still in the fridge. It's what I'll do if I reuse the compressor but in the photo I've just made the connections temporaritly to test.
I'm a retired electrical/electronics engineer so these sort of mods are easy for me, however I appreciate might be a little daunting if experience is limited. If you make sure that earth connections are good, that you are on a fused supply and that your mains supply has an earth leakage trip then you should come to no harm. Also make sure that all joints are well insulated and no wires are likely to chaff when the fridge is used or moved etc.

1619883377070.png
 

markjohnl

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Thanks for all the suggestions! Think I'll need to re-read yours Bill, sounds like a good idea to get it out of the way. For now Ive set the thermostat to 7 (highest) and taped out of the way. Not that I need worry for this brew ... a Saison fermenting at 28 degrees on the inkbird :-)
 

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