Cold box wine storage project

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francois_du_nord

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Awesome work, and thanks for the tip on CoolBot. I'm doing some looking myself, wondering if I can use it in a new wine cellar I'm contemplating.

Best, Fran
 

NorCal

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Not much progress as of late. I did get three 4 inch heavy duty hinges for each door and I don't see any problems having that work just fine. I do need to figure out how to keep the door closed with a slide latch or something. I did get the K's mocked up, the name of our garage winery (Ken & Kathi) and serve as our door handle. I will fabricate the letters out of 2" steel and frame the archway in 1" steel. I went to pick up the AC unit at Wal Mart and with our heat wave, they were sold out. I ordered one on line, for store delivery in a week.

 

Extram

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Be sure to insulate the edges where the foam board meets the 2x4's. Use some spray-in expanding foam (closed cell) and just trim off excess, but eliminate all gaps. Remember, a 2x4 is a terrible insulator - the problem is referred to as thermal bridging. I would prefer to see an insulated floor, off the concrete, but since the space is so small, the a/c unit will probably be sufficient to overcome some energy inefficiencies.
 

NorCal

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Extram, thanks for the advice. My goal will be to have insulation join insulation where ever possible. I did calk all of the joints to avoid any direct paths to the open and very hot garage.
 

NorCal

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Finally got done time to work on it. Got the bottle rack in and a rough install of the AC. I turned in on to try it out and it dropped the inside temp ten degrees in 15 minutes. Need to get the door sweeps on, insulate it, make the handles, figure out a latch and I think it will be ready to use.

 

NorCal

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In use!

An un intended benefit of the cold box is being able to reduce the temperature of fermentation. I simply have a dolly under the bin, which allowed me to roll it in. I've been running it during the day on 7/10 setting, with the fan on low. It has been keeping the ambient air at 64 degrees and must temps in the low 80's. Comparing this to a neighbor's fermentation, I think it has taken ten degrees off of the fermentation temps. I've yet to hook up the coolbot, I guess that would depend on if I wanted to drive the temps real low, like in the 40's. The Cab Franc has dropped from 26.8 to the current 15.6 in 33 hours. Seems rather quick, but this is my first fermentation on this scale.
Note that the door sweeps and the insulation around the doors are in place. Also note where I had to shave the door to eliminate the interference :)

 

seth8530

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Great project, I temp control all of my ferments, but I am a bit of a geek if I do say so myself.
 

NorCal

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I've had the box running for three weeks now. The AC without the coolbot will keep it at 65 degrees. Running it through a 100 degree day with it dialed back to 75%, it holds between 66-69 degrees. I then played with a timer, to hard shut the AC down for 45 min, the turn it on for 45 min. It also held between 66-69 degrees. I just received a programmable controller I picked up on bay for $10. I think this will be the final solution.

 

NorCal

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I got a scrapped, server power supply (free) and took the insides out, leaving me a nice box and a power cord. I bought this 110v Fahrenheit controller on ebay for $10 delivered and another $6 for the power receptacle at Home Depot and I now have my Cold Storage controller. It is temperature controlled and you can chose the set point and the trigger point. I ran out of time tonight to fully test it out, but it looks like it is going to do the job nicely. With this set up, I will leave the AC on high and just turn it on and off using the controller.


 
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seth8530

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Impressive, will you be able to create a deadband so that the AC will not constantly cycle on and off?
 

seth8530

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Sounds nice, one thing you might want to try ( not sure if your AC unit can handle it) would be to have the temperature probe linked to the temperaure of the must you are fermenting. Thus, you could get good temperature control of the fermentation.
 

sour_grapes

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I believe that control keyed to a variable that the apparatus does not directly influence is one of the banes of feedback loops.
 

Runningwolf

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I like the barrels. Are those 30 gallon?
 

NorCal

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I believe that control keyed to a variable that the apparatus does not directly influence is one of the banes of feedback loops.
It is a closed loop system with the AC providing the cooling, the controller sensing the temperature inside the box and turning the AC on and off based on the feedback of the temperature.

The controller is nice because it allows me to turn the AC completely off, including the fan. It allows me to control the temperature where I want, which is at the barrels. It also allows me to use a $90 AC unit and I think will do the job that I need it to do.

@Running, they are both 30 gallon barrels, one a American oak, the other a French Oak.
 
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sour_grapes

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Sorry, Norcal -- my comment was directed at Seth's suggestion of keying off the temperature of the must. I should have quoted him to make that clear. Your setup already sounded great to me!
 

NorCal

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Here in the Sacramento area, we have really hot summers, meaning 3-4 weeks of 95-105 degrees and there is a good chance it is during harvest time, as it was this year. Once fermentation started in earnest, I just rolled the must in the box and turned it on full blast and left it there. My ferment peaked at 90 degrees vs a neighbor's 100 degrees. Could be other factors, but I know it didn't hurt.

 
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