Beautiful Kegerator, Built the Hard Way

[Luke] brews his own beer. And like all beer brewers, he discovered that the worst part of homebrewing is cleaning out all the bottles. Time for a kegging system! And that means, time for a kegerator to keep the brew cold.

Normal kegerators are just a few holes drilled in an appropriate refrigerator. Most fridges have a step in the back where the compressor lives, which makes kegs an awkward fit, so [Luke] decided to build his own refrigerator.

He used beautiful wood and plenty of insulation. He failed, though, because he succumbed to the lure of the Peltier cooler. If there’s one problem with Peltier projects, it’s building first and looking up the specs second. They never have enough cool-juice. To quote [Luke]:

“… a comment I had seen somewhere on the Internet began to sink in: all projects involving peltier devices ultimately end in disappointment.

(Bolding and italics from the original.) But at least he learned about defrosting, and he had a nice wood-paneled fridge-box in the basement.

Rather than give up, he found a suitable donor fridge, ripped out its guts, and transplanted them into his homemade box. A beautiful tap head sitting on top completes the look. And of course, there’s an ESP8266 inside logging the temperature and controlling the compressor, with all the data pushed out over WiFi. Try doing that with your Faraday Cage metal fridge!

We’ve seen kegerator builds before. Some of our favorites include this one that has a motorized retracting tap tower, and one that’s built into the walls of the house.

11 thoughts on “Beautiful Kegerator, Built the Hard Way

  1. I was in a meeting where a PhD EE suggested a peltier on device powered for 6 months by 2 AAA. My response : ” After you do the math remember that he makes 4 times my salary”

  2. Given that you could get a mini-fridge for ~$75 at a big box store that would provide plenty of cooling power for this, he must be brewing British-style beer to be intentionally kept at “room temperature” (about 55°, or it was when I lived there as a kid).

    So many watts, so little coldness…

  3. personally, i got one free on the curb,
    cooler’s fans were rusted inside and dusted outside.

    after testing it with new fans, i decided it was shit, and might be better suited to generate electricity when bolted to two cast iron pans with top one full of water (that needs constant filling)

    PS: they DO have max temps and setting it down ontop of a raging campfire would certainly kill it, im thinking its best suited for when theres only hot coals left and you want light without throwing on more wood, or charge batteries after cooking lunch.

  4. I’m also a home brewer and built my own peltier cooled fermenter chamber. It’s about the same size as his kegerator, but the differences is in the temperature. Normally I’m fermenting only just below room temperature and the peltier is just providing a few degrees of trim.

    It’s all in the math, peltiers are just not powerful enough. As the temperature delta increases each side of them, they pump less heat. Even using large heatsinks each side, when you add up the heat flows and thermal resistances you are lucky to pump 10 – 20W across them at 20 degC below ambient. Even with thick foam it’s only just enough to overcome thermal leakage in a large keg sized enclosure, however if you actually want to remove latent heat from a fresh keg of beer it’s next to useless.

  5. “all projects involving peltier devices ultimately end in disappointment.“ – I would extend that to “all products”. Except as spot cooling for something like a laser diode.
    A fridge has a compressor, even for Camping use. I want cold beer not a dummy load for my car battery. :-)

  6. Yeah people seem to get drawn in by solid state anything thinking it “must be better” than whatever technology it replaces… In some instances, like cooling imagers for astronomy where you can’t afford LN or the vibration of a compressor, they work fine. But for evvvveerrrrryyyy thing else, unless you have stacks upon stacks of them being feed massive amperage, old school phase change refrigeration is always better.

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