Cold box wine storage project

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tshank

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I've been following this thread for awhile and am really interested in building a similar cold box in my garage here in central Florida. Is there any reason that I can't use a ranco temp controller verses the coolbot for the ac control. My garage is usually in the 90's during the summer months.



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NorCal

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Tshank, My intention was to use a coolbot, but I'm choosing not to. The benefit of a coolbot, is that it is a smart controller. The coolbot has a probe which heats the temperature probe of the AC, which allows you to use a low cost window AC to get the box down into the 30's.

A regular controller simply turns the AC on and off and will only get as cold as the AC will go, before freezing up.

I found the 5,000 btu AC unit would cool my box down to 65 degrees, even on a 100 degree day without the coolbot, which was good enough for me. If you wanted to obtain and maintain the 55-58 "cellar temps", I would use the coolbot. If mid to high 60's are acceptable, then you could get by without a controller at all, or if you like to really know and control the temperature, then any controller that you can turn on/off the 110v source should work fine. I'm cheap and like to tinker, so I built my $16 controller solution.
 

tshank

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NorCal, thank you for the reply, I only want to use the cold box for fermentation to replace an aging chest freezer, so 65 degrees would be great. Not having to shell out cash for the coolbot is good, more cash for wine!


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NorCal

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Interesting note: I set my AC to turn on at 69.1, turn off at 64.9. I put a thermocouple in a full wine bottle to see what the temp change would be in the bottle. We had some 90 degree days, so the AC saw some cycling. After a week of monitoring, the high temp was 68.8, the low was 67.8, or 5X less fluctuation than the ambient air.
 
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Kraffty

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Thanks for sharing that bit of hands on test info. I just assumed the actual wine temps moved slowly and in smaller increments but not as dramatic as your numbers show.
Thanks, Mike
 

NorCal

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To close this project out, the final thing I had to do is to figure out how to keep the doors closed. What I found was that if I could keep the left side door closed tight against the seal, the right door diets nice and snug by itself. Here is my solution, with parts found in the garage.

 

syncnite

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Very nice. I'm considering a similar solution. Do you manage humidity?


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NorCal

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I monitor the humidity and put an open container in there for a while, but I can't say that it did much of anything. I plan on drinking or giving away the wine within a few years, so I think the uncontrolled humidity and my 60's degree storage profile will work for me.
 

NorCal

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Here in the Sacramento area, the summers are brutal, the fall wonderful, the winters mild and the spring my favorite time. I've left the system on, but it hasn't cycled for a month. It will be interesting to see how cold it gets in the winter months and when the Box starts cycling again. It could be that the AC only runs a few months out of the year.
 

NorCal

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Putting my thoughts together for the upcoming season. I have family and friends that want to go in on a barrel, enough interest to warrant a 60 gallon barrel. I borrowed a 60 gallon from a neighbor to test the fit with my two 30g barrels and 30g flextank, and looks like it will fit fine, without doing an "addition".
 

NorCal

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I had some concern about the AC unit freezing up when it was stressed. There is a device you can buy "cool-bot" that prevents this, but my unit ran like a champ as it is, even when the garage temps hit 104 degrees.

 

vacuumpumpman

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Great Job NorCal !!

We have a national celebrity on winemakingtalk !!

Looking forward to reading it
 

bchilders

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Great job NorCal and congratulations on the article. Can't wait to ready it.
 

Steve_M

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NorCal congratulations. Now maybe I can convince SWMBO if you let me just have this much space....

Steve
 

Busabill

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That is a really great thought out and executed project! Well done! I have been making wine in our spare room (to my wife's dismay) and have been concerned about moving operations to the garage because of our hot Norcal summer. Love this!!
 
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