- The main purpose of this blog is for us, the authors, to stay up to date with what we are doing in regards to brewing and winemaking.
- Create a DETAILED guide for those interested in doing something similar.
Before we get started, here are all of the tools that I used and equipment.. You may need less or more, but this will pretty much cover anything you need to do.
- Really big screw driver(mostly for prying)
- Red and Green Tin Snips
- Bit to grind through metal and plastic(sometimes one bit can do both)
- Electric Drill with 1/4" bit, but really most any size will work...just making a hole.
- Step bit, not entirely necessary....I had one, I used it.
- Ryobi Impact Driver
- Phillips head bit
- Socket head bit (not necessary if you just want to use the socket wrench, but this is faster)
- Quick change magnetic bit holder(the open end actually fit the hex bolts)
- Power saw
- Tape Measure
- Safety Goggles and Mask (Trust me...with the plastic and foam flying everywhere...)
- Plastic Junction box
- Standard wall outlet
- 8' of a power cord
- 115v AC powered cooling fan
- 4" dryer vent
- Wire strippers
- Electric Tape
- Wire nuts
- Can of spray foam
- Wood for taps to to be installed on
- Plywood for shelves (Had some laying around)
- Angle Iron, I used about 8-10'
- ~50 1/4" Hex head self tapping screws and washers
- (2) ITC-1000F Thermostats (Amazon.com)
Alright, so this is what I started with. A Kenmore Coldspot Model 106.59702992. I got it off Craigslist for $150, the seller wanted $170...the usual Craigslist haggling. I made sure he had it one before I got there so I could test to see that the freezer side was working properly as well as the fridge side. I looked for all areas/possibilities that a hose or wire could feed through, and I also checked for, and this is a BIG MUST, that the thermostat controls were dials...NOT DIGITAL. I also liked that it had the water/ice dispenser on the front...makes a great place to feed tap lines and place a wood plate for taps to install on.
|Check the FULL LOAD amps...make sure it does not exceed what your temperature controller can handle. Mine was 6.5amps and the ITC-1000F I got said it could handle up to 10amps.|
|All shelves on this side are coming out, as well as the ice maker.|
|Dial thermometers...Good! All glass shelves are coming out, and the door shelves, I will hold on to in case I have room in the fermentation chamber to possibly store items.|
Pulling and detaching shelves is the easy part. Now it is time to go after the stuff that is screwed in.
|The icemaker was easily removed by unscrewing three screws in which you can see their holes on the left. Then detach the electric plug.|
|Now remove the motor for the ice crusher...again just screws...4 on each side.|
|This plate can get removed as well to give you more space for your kegs. The bottom plate will stay to protect the freezer coils.|
|Back side of spout. Two screws, get rid of them.|
|Now just pull it out...and voila! A hole to send your Carbon Dioxide line through, therefore freeing up more space in the freezer and fridge sides!|
Now it is time to disconnect the water lines. We don't need them and they will just get in the way. Follow the polyethylene plastic tubes to the bottom and unscrew/cut the lines.
|I removed the cardboard. Inside was dust and mouse poop....I don't see much of a reason to use that cover again.|
|The blue spigot with threads is where the water line was coming from, I just unscrewed it.|
|Two more lines, each going in/out of the fridge side.|
|There was a huge dirty, moldy, coiled up roll of tubing in the fridge side behind the drawers. No need for it. Cut and pull it all out. In to the trash.|
I started by removing anymore light bulbs I could find. I also looked inside and under for all possible screws that hold the control panel together.
|You can see one of the two or three screws that I had to remove.|
|Taking the cover off was easy, just get behind it with your nails or a flat head screwdriver and pop it out. Work your way down and the tabs come out easy. Remove the dials first, and memorize, or take a picture of which dial controls which side.|
|Oh look, more screws. One the left and right(out of picture).|
Almost all of the wires you will now see are non-essential to our purposes. For example, the yellow and white wire hanging down from the top and going to a connector then to the control panel...yeah that is for a light bulb. How do I know? Because the same two wires are popping out in the middle of the fridge where a light bulb outlet is located. DO NOT CUT ANY WIRES RIGHT NOW!
|Gently let it down and take in what you see.|
Let's look closer....shall we...
|Disconnect the yellow and white wires from the clip, and unscrew the green ground wire.|
|This plug has about 9+ wires coming in and out of it. Our main power wire(RED) is coming through here. Disconnect this clip. DO NOT CUT!!|
|Freezer thermostat. You can see the red wire in the back left, and the white wire. Green/ground is coming out to the right.|
|Getting ready to disconnect the plug, and remove that screw that hold that cover going to the cold air vent.|
|More wires leading to plugs, unclip them. You can also see the temperature probes. They are translucent and gray.|
|I am getting rid of these as well, the STC-1000 comes with probes. Just pull them out. They are metal, but they bend.|
|Here is the freezer side probe. I'll pull it through the cold air vent.|
I got rid of the vent that came with the fridge because I installed an AC(alternating current) fan with a dryer vent cover(like the one on the outside of your house). Much better control and power. It will hook up with the STC-1000 and turn on when I need more cold air, and the vent will close when the fan is off.
|...but don't forget about any clips that may be on the freezer side holding the vent in place.|
|The only thing holding this all on is the main plug...time to unclip.|
|I highly recommend taking several shots of the original wiring. Use different angles.|
The freezer door has wires going through the top hinge. Just a clip...you know what to do.
|There is also a ground wire that can be left screwed in place.|
Time to clean. Bleach and Vinegar. I filled a large bowl with two capfuls of bleach, and half to a cup of vinegar. Put on the rubber gloves(TRUST ME) and start scrubbing with a NEW sponge and abrasive pad, (Not metal). Use some elbow grease, if the stains do not come out let it soak a bit and try again.
|After. There is just something about the smell of bleach that says,"CLEAN!"|
The tap lines will come out of the drink dispenser, so all of that has to be removed. The cover had some tough clips holding it on. Took a flat head screw driver, claw of a hammer(and rag), and some muscle to remove it.
|Oh hey, more wires...unclip.|
|Unclip everything...there were some wires that went up through the dispenser into the door. I cut those. They lead to that previous clip I showed you on the freezer door hinge.|
|Just pull the wires up from the top of the door. I had to remove some rubber around the wires at the dispenser to make it pull easier.|
|Unscrew the ground wire now.|
That was all the time I had for that day, so I cleaned up and took my wires with me. I returned that evening when the kiddos went to sleep to make the first hole for the STC-1000.
|Keep the control box, we will use it to house, hide our wires. Find the screws and take them out. This will release all thermostats and circuit boards.|
|H for hot, N for Neutral, G for Green....not that hard.|
|You can see the first thermostat. I measured to the middle of the butter bin and...|
|I brought the measurement to the front of the door. I also measured from the side as well.|
|You can remove the back plate to get a better outline of the size you need.|
|I used a step drill bit that I had when making holes in my SS kegs for my all grain system. If you have a Dremel, I suggest using it. I had one, but not the correct bit.|
|So I resorted to tin snips. A red snip and green snip should get the job done. Dig out the insulating foam with a screwdriver.|
AWWWW, MAN!!!! This is what happens when your mind is in two places at once. I was snipping and talking/watching my daughter play around me. Not the end of the world. I was planning on putting a plate over each hole anyways to cover up any boo boos, this just happens to be a bit bigger of a boo boo. BUT FIXABLE! Also, the instructions that come with the ITC-1000 list dimensions for you to use to cut a proper hole size.
|Matuz, you dumb, dumb....|
I did have a dremel bit to take care of the plastic on the inside. I first drilled 4 holes at each corner from the outside to mark my corners. Then used the dremel to cut out the plate. Doesn't have to be pretty, and it will be filled around with spray insulating foam at the end.
Let's go back into the fridge. Remember that cold air vent? Remember how I said was putting a fan in there? Well, the fan came in the mail while I was working...NICE!
|I measured the outline of the fan, and transferred those measurements over. You could also trace if you want.|
|I did have a dremel bit for the plastic. I cleaned out the foam, and pried out the plastic vent.|
|Remove any screws form the freezer side, if you have any, before you remove the vent...it makes it a lot easier.|
|Same as the thermostat holes. Drill the corners, and dremel. I used the tin snips to clean it up a bit.|
|Look out for any side contraptions, like the humidity controller on mine. I was lucky it was not in the way...so I did not try to remove it.|
I had some left over plywood from...something. So I used that. It does not need to be fancy...just needs to work.
Next I measured how tall a carboy(my tallest carboy) would be with my tallest airlock. This will give me my height to my next shelf. I believe I went with 26.5" or 27" so that I had some wiggle room.
|First coat of chalkboard spray paint.|
Some of the paint rubbed off where there was a block of wood on the bottom of the dolly to push the fridge away from the wheels. This was a dolly that was modified with bigger and better wheels for more stability and ability to work on rockier terrain. The doors had to come off to fit in my house. Easy to take off, just remove the three screws on the top of hinge of each door as seen in previous pictures.
Now all the interior wiring can be done. The junction box will be mounted in the fridge on the back corner opposite of the fan. I could use screws, pre-drill the junction box and mount it that way, but I am just going to go with the Gorilla Glue. It's fast, strong, and if I need to I'll come back and use screws, but I highly doubt I will have to do that.
I could draw what I did, but it is the exact same as this diagram. There are so many diagrams out on the web, Google Image Search, and I just went with a simple setup that seemed to resonate through the forums and images.
|This is all wired up into a junction box. Top runs fan, bottom runs ceramic heater.|
I found a ceramic "bulb" on Amazon.com, and ordered a light fixture base(like the ones in a garage), as well as acquiring some more 16 gauge extension cord wires. I spliced off the female end of the cord, wired up the base, and put in the heater bulb. When I want cold, the fan turns on, warm, the heater turns on, all monitored by the STC-1000.
|Some foam insulation came out, I need to get an exacto knife on that.|
|Right now, only the fan is plugged in.|
|One wire for power, one wire going to keg side with temp probe.|
Once I started running it, I noticed I had to disconnect my defrost timer from getting any power. It would kick on, but then stay on and not turn off. I cut the wire, but may come back someday to figure out what exactly went wrong. This may not be the case for you and it could just be my model of fridge.
|The chalkboard paint actually scuffs really easily. I would recommend a paint primer first. I wish I did that.|
I am waiting to get a piece of wood cut to mount my taps. Then I will cut out the foam plug and feed the tubes.
If you do go through with getting an STC-1000, I highly recommend a few things to make it work best.
- Use Celsius, it is more accurate to the temp by 0.5 degrees, Fahrenheit is only 2 degrees.
- Put your temp probe in your keg side into a bottle of water for more accurate temperature reading and to keep from over cooling when you open the door, let warm air in and BOOM, the fan turns on.
- When first lowering your temps, do it in 15 degree increments. My fridge actually became way to cold and ended up freezing the water in the bottle. I set to go to 2C, and it went below 0C.
- Be ready to turn the temp up every 3 months or so to defrost if you have to deactivate your defrost timer.
- On the fermentation side, apply the probe to the side of a carboy and surround with Styrofoam and tape on. OR, purchase one of those rubber bungs that allows you to stick a thermometer in it, and instead stick the probe in there.
- Relax, have a home brew, and take your time.
If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to make a comment below!