TETB kegerator build

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moto748

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This thread reminds me of threads I have followed on bike forums, showing the same care in detailing on engine rebuilds, with the same total awe! :D It's not a route I think I'd ever want to go down, but it's still great stuff!
 

Perrin_Abara

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Introduction

Does the world really need another kegerator build blog...?

Probably not. But the idea with this one is to make it specific: what model of fridge, where precisely to drill the holes, etc.

Here's what I aim to build:
  • a kegerator based on a brand new, cheapish, widely available (in the UK) under-counter fridge;
  • with room for a minimum of two new-style 19L AEB cornies;
  • and with a two-tap font (tower) mounted on the top.
I'll say upfront that the objective is not to be cheap and cheerful. That doesn't mean I'll be splurging money for the heck of it, but equally I won't be cutting corners at the expense of quality.

Also some of the design will be a bit geeky for many people (e.g. I'll be building a custom temperature controller) but I hope you'll be able to adapt what I do to meet your own preferences, like using an InkBird or similar. If you do that or use different components then please share via the comments so other people can benefit from what you've done athumb..

Hacking the fridge
I'm using a Curry's "Essentials" CUL55W20 larder fridge which I bought new online for £150 plus £10 delivery.
You can read more about it including the internal dimensions in my other thread.

First job was to remove the packing tape and all the internal shelves and door cubbies. They look useful though so I'll keep them for now.

Second job was to remove the thermostat/light module - otherwise there isn't room for two kegs.
It comes off pretty easily, but there's a couple of small winkles.
  • Before starting unplug the fridge from the mains and make sure you are wearing a hard hat, gloves, snow shoes and shark repellent.
  • The module is held in by two pozi drive screws. The first is directly accessible but to get at the second you have to remove the clear plastic cover over the light. To do that, get your thumb under the small grip on the lower part of the clear cover (arrowed), ease it down and hinge the cover open and off.
View attachment 54393
  • Gently pull the module clear to reveal the wiring:
View attachment 54394
  • Carefully pull off the spade connectors using long-nosed pliers, then slide the light out of the mounting grooves. Finally pull the thermostat sensor out of the clear plastic tube at the back of the cavity.
  • You should be left with something like this:
View attachment 54395
The wires are as follows:
BROWN: 240v mains from the plug
RED: mains feed to the compressor
ORANGE: mains feed to the internal light
BLUE and YELLOW: connections to the light
GREEN/YELLOW: safety earth

Tuck the wires away, then you should be able to fit in two kegs like this:
View attachment 54396

To be continued...
Mine seems fine just a slight concern with condensation. Can you see anything glaringly wrong ?
 

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Mine seems fine just a slight concern with condensation. Can you see anything glaringly wrong ?
How are you bringing in the wire for the temperature sensor? I'f you're feeding it through the door seal then you'll need to be very careful not to leave a gap otherwise you'll get a lot of condensation.
 
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Yes it’s gas in. That’s a good idea I’ll look into it. What John guest fittings are available for this?
You will easily find the type that is a 3/8 to 3/16 'stem reducer' - this means it will plug straight into whatever you have the 3/8 line connected to. For gas-in, you can safely use 3/16" for the whole run without any reduction in flow rate.
 
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OK time for an update...

Both fridges have been running well and the third brew is now on its way through.
Temperature control has been stable - especially since I changed the software to target the temp of the beer itself. It's been useful to monitor the air temp as well though: the difference gives a good indication of how vigorously the fermentation is progressing.

tempImagelMJidv.jpg
tempImagem3p2FC.jpg
tempImageSxZ6C1.jpg


In other news, I've just ordered a set of taps to convert at least one of the fridges into a full-fledged kegerator. Quite excited about that, although I dithered for quite a while deciding which way to go.

So after some deliberation I've decided to go for a beer tower on top. It would have been slightly cheaper to follow the conventional option of putting taps through the door. But that would have meant having to bend down to serve a pint; and also I prefer not having any lines getting in the way when I open the door.

I'm getting the tower and taps from brewkegtap, who have complete kits with different choices of taps starting from £102 inc vat. I'm upping that to £130 by opting for the stainless steel Nukataps (but not the flow control versions) and adding a couple of return springs. So all-in-all not too much less than the price of the fridge itself (!)

1635253567061.png


I did look at the MaltMiller equivalent which has Perlick taps, but at £99 plus £80 each for the taps I decided that looked a bit OTT.
I did splurge a bit more and get a SS 'wrap-around' drip tray for £45. In retrospect I should have looked around a bit and got a plastic one which I'm sure would have ben just as good *sigh*

Mounting the tower shouldn't be especially hard but I'm almost certain that the plastic fridge top alone won't be rigid enough to make it feel properly solid. So if this is the case I'll probably end up fitting a thin sheet of plywood under the lid...
 
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Got a few of these miniature OLED display modules in my parts bin.
They are pretty small (less than an inch across) so I'm thinking it might be good to mount one in the top of the beer tower to show the number of pints left in each keg.

Screenshot 2021-10-27 at 15.04.26.png
 

DocAnna

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Display seems to work...

View attachment 56422

Quite surprised how many characters you can fit on such a small display; but in reality I'll have to use a much larger font otherwise I won't be able to read it without my glasses!
That's a remarkable display, but then again, remarkable seems apt for an awful lot you post here with your build exploits!
 
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