TETB kegerator build

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The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Great read altogether though the rear of the display on top of the tower maybe open to corrosion through condensation in the tower unless the room and tower are equal temps.Might be worthwhile spreading a thin layer of hot melt glue across the contacts and edges to seal it off.Cracker....
Thanks! That’s a good point about possible condensation - I’ll stick a disk of high density foam under the display to ward that off 👍🏻
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Gas connections

So todays mission was to sort out the CO2 input to the fridge and subsequent distribution to the kegs.
I thought this was going to be pretty straightforward but it's taken a lot longer than expected... I'm very pleased with the results though.

The first question was where to bring the gas in. I had a few different ideas for this but eventually decided the safest way was to take it in across the top and then down through the 'roof' of the fridge as that route seems so far to have been clear of tubes and wires (touch wood).

To keep things simple I decided to route the CO2 pipework in 1/4" tubing because it's more flexible and offers negligable resistance to the gas flow.

First step was to make a mounting for a 1/4" push fit bulkhead for the back panel and bring in the tubing. Virtually identical to the what I did for the electrical connections but on the other side:

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Next, distributing the gas to the kegs.
I bought a two-way manifold from BKT. Quite a bit more expensive that just using JG tee-pieces but it keeps everything neat and tidy. What's more I hadn't realised that each port has not only an isolation valve but a check valve too.

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It did take a while to decide how to mount it though. It's got a slightly unusual shape and the flange with the mounting holes is a bit too narrow to fix it firmly to a slightly flexible surface like the plastic liner of the fridge. Finally the 'input' was at the wrong end for several of the more obvious ways to orient it.

After a fair bit of head scratching I decided to fix it to a mounting plate that I could bolt though the 'roof' to one of the metal cross-pieces. First some careful measuring and probing with the small screwdriver; then I carefully removed two 'cores' of insulation using (what else but) an apple corer :-). Then M4 bolts through from the inside, add a nice big washer to spread the load and tighten up wit a box spanner before pushing the cores back in to insulate the hole:
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I chose the location so as to be easy to reach the 1/4" input tube using a 90º elbow and a stem reducer, then realised I didn't have a spare reducer. Therefore a bit of an ugly temporary fix while I get one delivered (yuk!)

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Finally I could hook everything up, load the kegs and pour myself a pint... felt like I needed one after that lot :-)

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Leon103

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The input on the manifold should be swappable with the other side.

What is the lead strapped to each keg?
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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The input on the manifold should be swappable with the other side.
Yes I thought so too but when I tried to unscrew it wouldn’t budge under reasonable torque so I assumed it might have thread sealant on it.

What is the lead strapped to each keg?
Temperature sensors - the little digital stainless steel ones (DS18B20). There are three in total: one per keg and a separate one to measure the air temp at the back of the fridge. This is so the controller can chill the beer down to the required level without the air temp getting too cold in the process.
 

Binkei Huckaback

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Yes I thought so too but when I tried to unscrew it wouldn’t budge under reasonable torque so I assumed it might have thread sealant on it.
That's correct. I spoke to Johnny at BrewKegTap who confirmed and said I'd invalidste the warranty if I tried to remove the plug to swap it to the other end. It's a bit of a pain in the neck to say the least.

I can't remember if they're cast or milled. If cast, I guess they produce one very long manifold and then cut it to length but can't see why, if milled, they can't produce 'left'and 'right', but it obviously boils down to cost.
 

dcbrookes

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That's correct. I spoke to Johnny at BrewKegTap who confirmed and said I'd invalidste the warranty if I tried to remove the plug to swap it to the other end. It's a bit of a pain in the neck to say the least.

I can't remember if they're cast or milled. If cast, I guess they produce one very long manifold and then cut it to length but can't see why, if milled, they can't produce 'left'and 'right', but it obviously boils down to cost.
The manifolds are tapped each end and the plug and input are fitted with an adhesive / sealant. They will unscrew if you hold the body firmly in a vice and apply a lot of torque with a ring spanner or socket. I swapped mine and then resealed them with some blue stuff I got from Toolstation (can't remember the name, but it is a plumbing sealant). Everything went back together fine and I have not had any leaks.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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The manifolds are tapped each end and the plug and input are fitted with an adhesive / sealant. They will unscrew if you hold the body firmly in a vice and apply a lot of torque with a ring spanner or socket. I swapped mine and then resealed them with some blue stuff I got from Toolstation (can't remember the name, but it is a plumbing sealant). Everything went back together fine and I have not had any leaks.
Yes for sure. Often threads are sealed with an adhesive that is designed to weaken when heated, so you can bake the part in the oven for a bit or (briefly) apply a blowtorch. Definitely inadvisable here though because of the seals in the taps.
Manufacturers’ warranties are of virtually no use anyway - generally more effective to inform the retailer you’re returning the item under the Sale of Goods Act as being of un-merchantable quality / not as described etc.
 

The-Engineer-That-Brews

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Corny Scales

Next step in this seemingly-unending build is to fit load cells in the bottom of the fridge in order to measure how much beer is left in each keg.

Spent a while this afternoon cutting and shaping a plywood base for the floor and the two weighing pads. These all have to be quite accurately made as the kegs are quite a tight fit and obviously each keg needs to rest on just one of the pads - which became made more tricky when I realised that (a) the width of the interior tapers slightly towards the back; (b) there's a 5mm radius on the internal corners; and (c) the door mouldings intrude a bit at the corners.

However after a bit of work with the plane and sandpaper the base and pads are looking about right (1mm clearance all round)

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Next job is to fit the load cells...
 
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