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> Poor Man's Corny Fermenter, contributed by brewmaster808
cj in j
post Jan 16 2006, 11:03 PM
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Poor Man's Corny Fermenter FAQ
contributed by brewmaster808

After much trial and error have found a controlled fermenting setup that works for me. In the past I read peltiers would not work, but this one works fine for me. Some would say, Why not just buy a refrigerator? Well if you're like me and have limited space and live where land is sold by the foot, this might be the thing for you.
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Cost
Leaky corny = free (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/wink.gif)
Cool Works probe = $30.00 - $35.00 (ebay)
Tin oil bubble wrap = around $10.00 for a corny
Power supply, modified from a used PC = free

Power Supply
I used a PC power supply with a few modifications. I had to add a 10-ohm 10-watt resistor to the 5-volt side, and then I spliced the two wires together so the power supply would turn on. Depending on the power supply, you might need to add a switch. Many sites on web show how to modify the PC power supply.

Temperature Control
Depending how well you wish to control temps, this can be added or not. However, I have a HERMs setup so I took advantage of it. I used the PID temp controller with the themocouple mounted inside a corny dip tube. I would suggest the best way is to keep the dip tube straight and not bend it like I have done. (The reason I had it bent prior was to hang it over the side of the kettle when brewing.) If you use a straight tube, this would allow you to tighten down the quick disconnect and make things more airtight. Mine leaks some CO2 around the cane so the airlock is not as active.

Air Lock
At first I simply removed the pressure release valve and insert a bung, with the airlock pushed into it. Later I modified the setup, using the lid with a bung to secure the thermowell and use the in port for blow off.

Ice Probe
This is the Ice Probe made by Cool Works. In the breakdown picture you can see all you have to do is remove the two bolts, remove the peltier chip, add thermo grease to the new peltier chip and re-assemble. Wow you just decreased the cooling time.
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Peltier
If you had purchased one of these peltiers with two plates, well you could still use them but would have to modify them. First, you would need a metal lathe to turn a 1" bolt down so that you could slip a nylon nut down to the threads. This would then need to be fasten to flat stock. The material to use would be aluminum coated with expoxy.
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Results
How well does it cool? Well the Cool Works probe uses a 53-watt 12706 peltier. It was able to cool the fermenter down by 20F in about 12 - 24 hours. Some brewers I talked to though that wasn't quick enough, so I replaced the orginal peltier (12706) with a 89-watt model (12710). The chip cost $5.00 - 10.00 on eBay. The 12710 cooled the fermenter down much quicker. The heat sink will be warm but the final temp will be the same because of the same delta temps.

Lessons Learned
When wrapping the bubble wrap insulation, I would add a bead of RTV at the top and bottom areas to seal better than the aluminum tape. On the rubber bottom of the corny, I would seal with blow-in insulation -- the reason is because the corny got cold enough that the bottom developed condensation and a pool of water formed.

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