As I mentioned towards the end of 2012, I’ve got a few projects lined up and wanted to share these easy upgrades that all target producing higher quality beer at home. Instead of having to purchase an insulated cooled box (read: a chest freezer) that can hold your beer, why not purchase a smaller cooling unit (read: mini fridge) and just extend it to the size you need by taking off the door and building a larger insulated box? Start by building a base out of your 2x4s that is as wide as your fridge and long enough to hold the number of buckets and carboys that you want to fit, and the space you have available. Add a cross beam in the middle for added support, as you will have a lot of weight on this thing.
Next, you will need to cut the OSB for the walls of the chamber, attaching another furring strip across the top edge and adding a sheet of foam sheathing to each side (You can also do 2 layers on the top, notched around the furring strip).
Make sure everything is well sealed (use calk and duct tape as necessary), and squared up (use clamps to hold it together while screwing and gluing).
On the side that will be facing out, cut a door in the OSB (but not the furring strip) and insulate it separately so that it will be able to swing open and shut.
Once it is all in place, go over it and make sure you’ve sealed all of the seams well.
Looking at the outlet, locate the side that does *not* have the green ground wire screw is the hot side – this is the hot side.
Once this is done, you can cut a hole in your project box (I recommend the top or the back of the box) and attach the outlet. Go ahead and cut the hole in the project box where the temperature controller will be placed.
The first thing to do is to create some wires by cutting off the female end of your extension cord. In written form, what you’re seeing in the above diagram is the power coming into the box from the extension cord. The incoming neutral line (white) connects to one of the two neutral screws on the receptacle. To finish the power connections to the receptacle, run a short wire from pin 6 of the controller to one of the receptacles hot screws. Now you have an outlet to plug in your heat source (light bulb or space heater) and an outlet to plug in your mini fridge.


I built something very similar about 2 years ago (yours looks nicer though), but my mini fridge could not keep up with the NC summer heat and it generated a lot of moisture.
It you look at the temp controller build, you can see that it accounts for both cooling and heating. I am not counting on being able to hold lagering temps during the summer, but I expect it will be able to easily hold normal 60-70 degree fermentation temps for a long time without turning on very often. One thing about a chest freezer is that you have to make sure that there is enough room on top for your carboys or Cornies, or whatever. Nothing against celsius, but since this blog is directed towards brewers in North Carolina, it is worth noting, as most of our readers use fahrenheit. Make sure the description of the item explicitly says that it is 110v, or includes the text mentioned in the post.
I’m a little lost on the incoming green or neutral wire being routed to the duplex outlet. You can install custom firmware for the STC-1000 temperature controller that will use Farenheit, add brewing profiles, and more.
Built something very similar to yours and I can only seem to get it down to about 52 degrees in the middle of an 83 degree summer.
Thank you for putting out such a useful explanation of how to wire a temperature controller. With this one, we altered some of Geek Mom’s steps, so we’ll share what we did differently, but overall, we followed the steps in the book fairly closely.
It was pretty much natural light…I turned off all other lights and just messed with the settings on my camera…and then photoshop helped, too ?? Oh, and I took about a billion pics to get a few good ones!
For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser. For customers from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, most Asian Countries, South America and Africa, we will ship 220 V versions.
If you found one that looks like the image above, and it costs less than $20 (after shipping is added in), then it is probably a 220V one.
Since you didn’t break off the tab between those two neutral screws, you can piggy back off the other screw and continue the neutral wire on to pin 2 of the controller to complete the power connections for the controller itself.


The problem is I don’t think we have the duplex type power outlets you use here in the UK. I had a look again and realised how obvious it was that I just have to fit a normal UK duplex outlet.
Since it is extending the space that needs to be cooled, without a larger cooling element, it is going to struggle to get it much less than 20-degrees below the ambient temperature. I just finished setting mine up and for some reason, the heating element seems to randomly turn on and refuse to turn off. Adding the tape and holes on the top would’ve prolonged the  drainage from the top bottle to the lower, make the tornado last longer.
There are other controllers out there that look almost identical but have only 2 buttons on them. Run another short wire from pin 8 of the controller to the other hot screw of the receptacle. It wasn’t quite so easy as snapping off a bit of metal to get them out of parallel but I sorted it in the end. I’ve triple checked to make sure everything is all sealed up air tight and I cannot find any noticeable leaks. I’ve not ever had much trouble getting it down into the low to mid 60s, but have not attempted to cool beyond that, as I have an indoor converted chest freezer that I use for lagering, chilling, and carbonating.
To break it off, grab the tab with a pair of pliers and bend it back and forth until it snaps off.
He had been putting ice in it but I am going to cut a hole in the side and slide in a tiny dorm fridge I already have. Is there a way to set a few degree buffer between the heater and the cooler so that they are not fighting each other back and forth, (i.e.



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