Last month, I bought a 7 cubic foot chest freezer on sale at Home Depot. I live in Reno, a place where it tops 100 degrees in the summer and can dip down into the 20's in the winter, so I knew that I would need a fermentation chamber eventually, and that when I did build one, a dual-stage controller that would allow me to control both a chest freezer and a heating element would be essential.
Rather than spend $150+ for a dual-stage controller, I opted to go for the DIY route, which is far cheaper, and gives me a fun weekend project to satisfy my inner tinkerer. I used this guide from HomeBrewTalk, and bought most of the parts at Home Depot and RadioShack; the controller was from eBay, and took a little over two weeks to get here from mainland China.
|The parts, ready for assembly.|
- STC-1000 Dual-Stage Temperature controller $23.99
- RadioShack Large Project Box $5.99
- 14-gauge electrical cord $11.99
- Black "Decora style" outlet $1.99
- Strain-relief connector $1.74
- Grommet variety pack $2.39
- Wire nut variety pack $1.88
- Electrical tape $0.59
Total cost: $50.56
And now for the build:
It only took me about 3 hours to build the whole thing, and most of it was spent cutting holes in the project box - my first time using a dremel tool! - and stripping the insulation from the wiring. Right now it is sitting in the closet, I plan on hooking it up to the chest freezer this weekend and getting everything ready for use.