Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIY Temperature Controller

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.
Parts List:
  • 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.

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